Squarespace versus Wordpress

In this guide, I will cover the advantages of Squarespace over Wordpress from an admittedly biased point-of-view!

Almost every client I speak to has heard of Wordpress. I would say, of those clients who already have a website, 50% of them have a Wordpress website. And that's no surprise: it is by far the most popular content management system in use today, "powering" 27% of the Internet.

So before I dive into the advantages of Squarespace over the most popular CMS on the planet, let me say first that I think Wordpress has its place; and that place is in the hands of professional web developers and Wordpress professionals. In their hands, it is a truly wonderful open source tool, allowing for rapid, almost-limitless design and development possibilities.

But, for non-web developers and Wordpress professional, I want to cover the [[four]] main reasons why I—as a website designer/developer myself—favour Squarespace over Wordpress:

  • Squarespace is easy to use
  • Squarespace is a closed system
  • Squarespace is easier to budget for
  • Squarespace has excellent support

#1 — Squarespace is easy to use

Any CRM can be daunting, initially, but Squarespace does an excellent job of disappearing into the background. The editor is substantially what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG), meaning the editing of text, page structure and formatting is all done inline.

Settings are changed via a simple menu structure that appears next to the live website. Every time you click 'Save', the website is immediately updated to reflect the changes you just made.

Once a Squarespace website is set up, making alterations to any aspect of the website can be completed in just a few short steps, without needing to hunt through a labyrinth of menus and submenus. Simply go to the page you wish to edit (Log in > Pages), click 'Edit', make the change inline, click 'Save', done. You can even reorder and rearrange elements on the page via drag-and-drop.

#2 — Squarespace is a closed system

The Internet is full of bitter division over which is better: open or closed systems. The easiest example of this to understand is Android versus iOS (Google versus Apple). To totally trivialise the arguments:

  • Open = more flexibility ... but often less user friendly and less secure
  • Closed = more security ... but often completely inflexible and leads to corporate monopoly

The thing is, both have their place. I use open source software all the time, and I'm grateful it exists. But I'm not the majority in this area. I'm not an "average user". I'm a developer.

The vast majority of people using software of any kind are average users. They need things to work, without having to spend time keeping plugins up-to-date, learning how to make sure their website is secure, or spending endless hours researching how to fix bugs that inevitably creep in to the code.

Wordpress is an open system. For an average user, Wordpress has a steep learning curve, and many (in my experience) don't take the time to learn it at all. A website designer creates a Wordpress site, hands it over and the website goes untouched for months, sometimes years.

Squarespace is a closed system. It includes everything an average user will need without the user having to know anything at all about how it works. Setting up a Squarespace site can be difficult, and certainly time consuming if you're new to it, but maintaining it is simple!

#3 — Squarespace is easier to budget for

"But, Wordpress is free!" is something I hear a lot. That is only true in terms of the code used to generate the CMS. Everything else—domain, hosting, SSL certificates, decent plugins, ongoing maintenance—costs money, the same as any other website.

The true cost of creating and maintaining a Wordpress website actually varies massively, depending on the quality of the development and the performance of the hosting package you choose. Here's a good article on the costs of Wordpress. In addition, you can often pay over-the-odds for bandwidth and storage you simply don't need with a Wordpress hosting package.

Squarespace offers four easy-to-understand pricing tiers to suit different requirements. There's the option to pay monthly of annually, with a discount on annual accounts. The price includes the hosting, SSL certificate, and use of the CRM. The only additional cost is a domain. There are no plugins to worry about; no important security updates to track; no hidden costs at all. 

#4 — Squarespace has far better support

Wordpress has been created, and continues to be maintained, by thousands of people when you include plugin creators. This means finding support when something goes wrong is not straightforward. Most turn to their developer to fix the problem, which in itself takes time and costs money.

Squarespace, on the other hand, has a first-class support network, starting with their own Help website. This include video tutorials, guides, and a full knowledge base.

If you can't find a resolution there, the Answers website (a forum) will usually return a positive result, with active members happy to give their time to answer questions.

Then there's 24/7 support via online chat and email; the latter usually garners a response within two hours, regardless of your local time. This can be accessed via the CRM itself; simply click 'Help'.

When I develop Squarespace websites for my clients, it makes me very happy to know that for minor issues, they have numerous options before they need to contact me, and I rarely receive requests from clients to help them with minor issues.

I hope you find this Squarespace Guide helpful. If you're having any problems, I would be happy to help. You can leave a comment below, send me a message on Twitter or use the contact form here.