SquareSpace and Wordpress. They’re the top two Content Management Systems (CMS) and highly debated. WordPress people are hardcore WPers and those who preach the SquareSpace gospel are just as devoted. Personally, I’ve built over a handful of sites on both platforms. After almost 10 years of building and designing sites in both, I’ve committed to only one platform. Want to know my CLEAR winner? What do I use for myself, my clients, what do i recommend and why? Let’s start by talking about some of the key differences.
1. EASE OF USE
SquareSpace is MUCH easier to use. This is not a huge deal if you’re a skilled developer, but definitely a huge deal if you ever want to update or maintain your website on your own (think photo updates, events, blog posts, etc.).
Wordpress has a pretty dang steep learning curve. Even for a developer, navigating Wordpress can be a challenge. If you ever lose touch with the original developer who created your WP site, it’s not guaranteed that another developer will be able to update your site. They're going to have to invest quite a bit of time into learning your backend structure… and, unfortunately, there’s a chance they could mess it up.
2. PLUGINS VS. INTERNAL FUNCTIONS
SquareSpace has all it’s features built in to the platform. Image gallery, forms, content blocks, text – really almost everything you can think of – is available without needing to leave the platform.
On WordPress, you have to search for and install your theme and your plugins. These can be free or paid, depending on where they’re coming from. Overall, you end up kind of hodgepodging your site together. Since different pieces are created by different parties, it’s impossible to get all your feedback from one spot.
SquareSpace sites are always up-to-date on their own. They’re constantly adding new features and upgrading existing functions, but you don’t have to do anything about it. There’s no tending to your site, it’s just good to go.
Wordpress plugins need constant updating. Your plugins will require updates at different times, since they’re from different developers and sources, so it’s impossible to know exactly when a plugin or theme might need some attention. For this reason, you’ll have to consistently check in on your site. Third party themes that aren’t approved in the WP system have some security vulnerabilities and this makes them need to be constantly updated.
4. CUSTOMER SERVICE
SquareSpace customer service is, hands down, the best I’ve ever encountered. They have a daily online live chat (with a REAL person!) who can access the backend of your site and tell you exactly how to pull off whatever it is you’re trying to do. They’re insanely helpful and incredibly friendly. I’ve even had them create screenshare videos to walk me through processes step-by-step.
With Wordpress, there really is no customer service. Since your site will be comprised of elements from a variety of third-party sources, there’s no guarantee of support.
On Wordpress, you are responsible for your own hosting (they generally want you to purchase through NameCheap).
SquareSpace has their own hosting. When you upgrade from a trial site, you get a free domain that you literally just have to type in and it’s done. Easy peasy.
Can you guess which way I lean?
For these reasons, I am all in for SquareSpace.
They’re easy to use for when I hand off a final site to a client, so they don’t have to pay someone each time they want to update an event. There’s no stress surrounding updating plugins and keeping the site secure. Their customer service is the bomb dot com – you can hop on chat within 10 minutes of running into a roadblock and know you’ve got a REAL person on the other end.
After almost 10 years of building SS sites, I recently became one of SquareSpace’s first authorized trainers. Want to learn how to make a website with me?
I’m running a DIY Your Website Workshop in Grand Rapids, MI on Saturday, Dec 2. Space is limited and this will sell out, so if you’re interested – head here and sign up.
If you’re not able to make it to GR, I will be launching an online workshop mid-December as well. Click here to get first dibs on early bird pricing.
What's your experience with SquareSpace and Wordpress? Who are you all in for? Let me know in the comments!