There is an age-old question, and it’s not, “What’s the purpose of life?” it’s “Should I use WordPress or Squarespace?” I’m so glad you asked. Or even if you didn’t ask and instead you are asking, “Wait, what about Drupal? Strikingly? Wix? Shopify? Tilda?” I am going to focus on Squarespace and WordPress for this blog post. To me those are the two options I like to work with.
When deciding whether or not to use Squarespace or WordPress, you have to ask yourself what you want your website to do and what you want to get out of the website.
I think Squarespace is perfect for a small business that needs an online presence up quickly. It is easy to use and maintain but not so easy to customize. The really great aspect of Squarespace is that the templates are quite beautiful and the default fonts and styling choices are good to use and ready to go. It removes a lot of guesswork for styling issues.
To set up a Squarespace website, you have to have a domain and that’s about it. You could even register the domain through Squarespace but I like to keep things separate. The monthly fee you pay includes Squarespace hosting the site for you.
If you are a small business or consultant who needs the basic pages such as Home, About, Contact, Blog, then Squarespace is great. Squarespace is not great for people who need specific customizations on the site. If you don’t like how the Squarespace template looks, I would not use Squarespace. It is not easy to integrate third-party plugins with Squarespace. For example, if you are a photographer and you use a third-party plugin to share photos with your clients in a portal, Squarespace will not make it easy for you to do that (if it is even possible).
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system. Unlike Squarespace, you do not have to worry about WordPress ever going under and shutting down your website. However free does not actually mean “free,” there are lots of things you have to purchase in order to get your website running. Some of the things you have to pay for include domain registration and hosting service, and possibly a theme. The good thing about WordPress is that it has been around for a while and since so many people use it, there are lots of resources and plug-ins. Plug-ins are extra things you can add to your website if you don’t know how to code something and need to add some extra functionality. If you need something, there is most likely a plug-in for it.
The cons of a WordPress site is that there is a learning curve. If you are trying to maintain the site yourself, you have to get used to the user interface and the dashboard. You also have to make sure plug-ins and themes are up to date because WordPress does open itself up to security issues. WordPress has lots of updates, and you have to make sure your themes are set up correctly so that you don’t lose changes with updates.
There are many pros of using WordPress and one pro is that it is quite easy to change themes. If you don’t like the appearance of one theme, you can switch to another theme and your content will not get lost (in theory anyway). If you are running lots of marketing campaigns and need to analyze analytics, WordPress will give you more control over your website to run these experiments than Squarespace.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a low-maintenance website that looks pretty then go with Squarespace. If you are looking for a website that is going to constantly evolve with different types of functionality then I would go with WordPress.