Which website builder is best for your needs: Squarespace or WordPress? There is no one right answer. It depends totally on what is most important to you for your site, your level of technical expertise, and the features and functionality you want to include.

This article will outline the features and benefits of using Squarespace vs WordPress . The WordPress we will be discussing is the self-hosted platform WordPress.org.

An Overview of Squarespace Vs WP

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS). This means anyone can use or modify the software at no cost. It is a tool that enables users to manage website elements such as the content, and build a website without having to be a programmer.

Similar to Wix, Squarespace is an online platform that provides website building and hosting services. Customers can use pre-built templates and drag and drop elements to create websites.  

Compared to many other content management systems , WordPress is relatively easy to use. It sacrifices some beginner-friendliness in exchange for a significantly higher degree of control and flexibility over the look and functionality of your website. On the other hand, Squarespace emphasizes user-friendliness over flexibility and control.

While WordPress is open source, Squarespace is closed source (see comparison). For the average beginner, the important differences are flexibility and ease of use.

Ease Of Use

If your goal is to quickly and easily build a basic website that looks good on any device and you don’t mind giving up some flexibility, your best choice is Squarespace. Building a website on WordPress can also be easy, but just not as simple as Squarespace.

Getting Started With Squarespace

  • You don’t need to purchase a domain or hosting. Just sign up for an account with Squarespace to get started.
  • Squarespace takes you through a start-up wizard so it can provide the most relevant templates based on your responses.
  • Either select a category, write one in the Describe your site box, or click the SKIP button. You can answer the questions on the following screens and click NEXT or click SKIP to move to the next section.
  • When you choose a template from the library, you can preview your selection or get started using it.
  • Once you select your template, create your account using Google, Facebook, Twitter, or your email.
  • Your website is now ready to customize with the text and images to make it your own. It only takes a few minutes.

Getting Started With WordPress

Before you can get started building a website on WordPress, you must purchase a domain and a web hosting package.

Then you will need to install the WordPress software before you can continue. Many hosting companies come pre-installed with WordPress, often within your cPanel under Software > QuickInstall. Others enable you to install it with one click.

While there are extra steps with WordPress, it doesn’t take too long. Once you install the software, you can have a basic working website by installing a WordPress theme.

Control Over Site Functionality

With over 55,000 available plugins, WordPress beats out Squarespace by far in terms of functionality and depth of control.

Squarespace offers a small set of integrations that enable you to :

  • Edit and change content
  • Add custom CSS
  • Control basic SEO page settings
  • Make some tweaks to the design of your site
  • Select the social sharing buttons you want to display

If you don’t want to use a template, start with a blank page and create your own design by dragging and dropping content blocks.

You can control many aspects of your website with Squarespace. But the level of control is nowhere near what you get when using WordPress.

To compare apples to apples, if you like the Squarespace page drag and drop editor, you can do the same thing and so much more on WordPress by using a page builder plugin such as Bold Page Builder.

There is a WordPress plugin for almost anything you want to do on your website, such as:

WordPress has tens of thousands of third-party plugins you can add to your website to enhance its functionality.

Your choice is between the added functionality and flexibility of WordPress or the more beginner-friendly platform Squarespace.

Adding a Shopping Cart: WordPress vs Squarespace

Squarespace has a simple, efficient, and practical out of the box online shopping platform for your website.

You can:

  • Add a product page and items to create your store
  • Include product variations
  • Sell digital and physical products, including subscriptions
  • Control your inventory
  • Integrate your online store with other services such as MailChimp for email marketing

Payment processing for an eCommerce site on Squarespace is limited when compared to WordPress. Squarespace only accepts PayPal, Square, and Stripe.

If you build your online store on Squarespace, you do get a variety of useful features and functionality. For simple online stores that you want to get off the ground quickly, Squarespace is a good choice.

But there is no doubt that in terms of eCommerce control, features, and functionality, WordPress wins hands down over Squarespace. Even though it doesn’t have a built-in eCommerce tool, there is a wide range of plugins available to add comprehensive online shopping functionality to any WordPress website. The most popular plugin for eCommerce being WooCommerce.

WooCommerce even has plugin add-ons for additional functionality.

WordPress has numerous themes that seamlessly integrate with WooCommerce that make it even easier to set up your online store.

With WordPress, you have no limit on the number of products you want to add, how you sell them, the way they are displayed, or how you accept payments.

Use WordPress to set up an online store if you want more sophisticated eCommerce features and better control over how your store looks and functions on the web.

As your online business grows, the limitations of Squarespace could present a problem. Whereas with WordPress, your eCommerce site will scale better as your business grows.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Squarespace lets you edit meta descriptions and title tags. You can create 301 redirects and custom URLs.

WordPress has more robust SEO features, although they are not as easy as Squarespace. WordPress lets you use SEO plugins (of which there are many) or manually tweak the HTML.

The most widely-used plugin is SEO Yoast, with over five million active installations. Some of the many features include:

  • Advanced XML Sitemaps
  • Title and meta description
  • Full control over breadcrumbs
  • Canonical URLs
  • Schema implementation

The Final Verdict: WP Or Squarespace?

If your needs for a website are minimal and if you want a basic out of the box professional-looking website builder solution, Squarespace is your best choice.

Don’t just look at your needs today. Where do you expect and project your business to be in one year? Although it will take more time and effort using WordPress, the number of options available far surpasses those offered by Squarespace. For example, offer a membership area, searchable databases, multilingual support, and a robust, scalable eCommerce solution.