I’ve been asked by clients and peers several times about my thoughts on Squarespace and I usually resort to this answer:
“I think they have pretty templates to choose from.”
Beyond that I don’t really give Squarespace much more of a thought. Their templates are minimalistic and appealing to certain clients in certain industries. Though both give you the ability to create a polished looking front end website, WordPress has a far greater number of advantages behind the scenes. As the most popular content management system in the world, WordPress is used by a disproportionately greater number of websites than Squarespace.
Here are my 10 reasons why serious web designers, developers and online marketers choose WordPress over Squarespace each and every day:
#1 WordPress Can Be Downloaded for Free (it’s open source)
The WordPress software is a free to download open source content management system (CMS) that can be integrated on the hosting partner of your choosing. You can download right now here: https://wordpress.org/download/
Conversely, Squarespace is limited only to their hosting. While some might argue that is a benefit because it eliminates the headaches of dealing with a separate hosting partner it also makes Squarespace less flexible because you’re boxed in to only their hosting options and that could be a long term issue for your online growth.
#2 The Community
The WordPress community is vast. Have a problem? There’s likely someone else who’s encountered the same issue and has openly shared their solution. The WordPress support forums are filled with valuable information available to anyone to post and share their solutions and issues.
While Squarespace has a community as well, it’s not nearly as robust as the WordPress community.
#3 WordPress Offers Extensive Features with Plugins
This is a big one, especially from a website development point of view. WordPress boasts an arsenal of over 49,000 plugins, developed mostly by third party developers, which allow for even more personalized capabilities that extend their platform. Practically any feature you might want to include for your website will be available with plugins. These additional capabilities include advanced functions for SEO, social media, performance, online scheduling, online payments, e-commerce, contact forms, file sharing and more.
Squarespace is a what you see is what you get solution. This includes their visual editor, which is nice for making updates, to text and images. However, if you need or require certain functionality for your website you’re out of luck.
#4 Better Analytics Options on WordPress vs Squarespace
Website analytics allow you to track and the activity on your website. This is essential for businesses because it supports decision making by providing relevant facts that will allow you to make informed choices. Analytics allow you to examine hidden patterns, correlations and other insights to make decision-making easier and more effective.
WordPress offers numerous comprehensive plugins that can add analytics straight into your sites back end. For example, the MonsterInsights Google Analytics plugin adds advanced features right into the back end of your WordPress admin dashboard.
Of course, Squarespace also includes a basic analytics feature, but the information provided is lacking in all the important data that Google Analytics provides and the two cannot be connected together inside their admin area.
#5 Top Companies Use WordPress
There is something to be said about a platform trusted by such top companies as Walt Disney, CNN, LinkedIn, The New York Times, NFL, Variety, The Wall Street Journal and many more. You can check the WordPress Showcase for yourself to see even more examples.
Squarespace, on the other hand, features mostly small businesses that are not as high-profile as those that are built on WordPress. Even if you are a small company, the benefits of trusting a platform used by large corporations far outweighs the disadvantages, especially when you factor in the other nine benefits listed here.
Trust me you won’t see a website like The Wall Street Journal making the switch to Squarespace anytime soon!
#6 You Own Your Own Domain
Some domain registrars dictate that the main contact listed in the WHOIS database for a domain is the owner. This means that if domain privacy is important to you, you should know that your registrar is listed as the main contact and owner of the domain you purchased.
While both WordPress and Squarespace let you choose which registrar you use to get your domain for your site, but only WordPress does not force you to choose a specific registrar at any point.
If you create a site with Squarespace and sign up for annual billing for any one of their plans to get a discount, you get a free domain for the first year, but you are forced to acquire that domain if you decide you want to leave Squarespace in the future.
#7 Unlimited Pages and Contributors
With WordPress, you can set up as many pages and contributors as you deem necessary. WordPress does not limit the amount you can have in either case. Your only limitation comes with the amount allowed by your hosting plan.
Squarespace only offers up to 20 pages and two contributors on their Personal plan and you need to upgrade to add more.
#8 More User Role Flexibility
When you use WordPress and their vast array of plugins, you can customize the default user roles to create what you need for each of your users. WordPress itself gives you ultimate flexibility because you can create your own plugin to adjust the user roles as you see fit.
Squarespace has set types of user roles that cannot be customized, leaving your only option to be the user roles already available. Again, what you see is what you get.
#9 Build Upon the Software
A huge benefit to website developers is that WordPress has a GPL 2.0 license, essentially that means that you can make all the code changes you need to customize your website as necessary.
Squarespace does not hold this license and actually forbids users from trying to reverse engineer their code or platform.
#10 Your Copyrighted Content Cannot Be Used for Free
WordPress has no claim to publish any part of your site for free.
Contrarily, and quite distressing, Squarespace’s Terms of Service state that they can use any part of your site for uses such as advertising, even if the content they take is copyrighted.
By signing on with Squarespace, you are agreeing to let them use any part of your content they want for free. They do not even have to contact you first since you have consented to this practice upon starting service. While you can opt out, it is not an easy, one-click option.
Obviously for us when it comes to comparing WordPress and Squarespace, there is really no comparison. WordPress simply outperforms Squarespace in every possible scenario. While you can create a visually appealing website using Squarespace, the platform is way too limited when compared side by side with WordPress.