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When it comes to building a business website, WordPress sounds like the best choice. After all, it powers 43% of the web. But you’ve heard great things about Squarespace too, and can’t help wondering if it could work for you.

Is WordPress still the best content management system for small business owners and eCommerce entrepreneurs? Or is it possible Squarespace has surpassed it?

To find out, let’s dive into Squarespace vs. WordPress by looking into the important aspects you must consider when building a business website.

Website hosting

A quick overview of WordPress and Squarespace

When deciding between two attractive choices, it helps to look at the bigger picture. Here’s what you need to know about the two tools.

Squarespace 101

Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder and web hosting platform that enables individuals, businesses and creative professionals to make and manage websites — even without technical knowledge.

A screenshot of Squarespace’s homepage.
Screenshot: Source

Squarespace’s key features include its:

  • Drag-and-drop interface and CSS editor
  • Prebuilt templates that emulate various styles and uses
  • Domain registration (free for one year)
  • Personalized customer support
  • Integrated eCommerce features
  • Hosting, with built-in security
  • Analytics and search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Integration with third-party tools and services

It’s worth emphasizing that Squarespace is a proprietary platform, meaning the software’s codebase and underlying technology are privately owned and controlled by the company.

As a result, users have limited options for customizing their websites beyond the tools and features offered by the company.

WordPress 101

WordPress.org is a popular open-source content management system (CMS) that enables users to create, publish and manage online content even without technical expertise. It’s software you can download and use entirely for free, but it doesn’t come with web hosting or a domain name.

Just so you know: WordPress.com differs from WordPress.org, but this guide will only compare WordPress.org, the downloadable open-source CMS.

The homepage of WordPress.org.
Screenshot: Source

WordPress’s key features include:

  • A massive library of WordPress themes and plugins
  • A large and active community that supports and develops the platform
  • Freedom to use a wide range of hosting options
  • eCommerce capabilities via WooCommerce and other WordPress plugins
  • Customizable SEO features
  • Unparalleled integration opportunities
  • Full ownership and control over every aspect of your website

One important thing to remember is that WordPress is an open-source platform, meaning you get free rein to alter or add to its base functionality. Most of the time, you’ll use the platform’s vast ecosystem of plugins, themes and services.

And since you have direct access to the source code, you can unleash the platform’s full potential if you have some technical knowledge and willingness to learn.

Is Squarespace or WordPress better?

Do you have limited technical knowledge and time to invest in website development and maintenance? If so, you’re better off with Squarespace. But if you value flexibility, scalability and customizability, WordPress is the better fit for you.

Of course, the Squarespace vs. WordPress debate has a lot more nuance. The optimal choice depends on your level of expertise, business needs, budget and personal preferences. If you know the platforms’ key differences, you’ll have a much easier time deciding.

Squarespace vs. WordPress: Key differences

To help you decide between WordPress and Squarespace, let’s break down their differences across key factors.

Ease of use

When it comes to ease of use, Squarespace is the clear winner. You don’t need to understand a single line of code to build websites with Squarespace.

Simply inform the platform what your website is about; you’ll get a curated list of template recommendations, which you can customize to your heart’s content.

After describing the purpose of your website, you’ll get a curated list of recommended Squarespace templates.
Screenshot: Source

Customizing your website is straightforward, thanks to the platform’s drag-and-drop interface. Website elements are represented with building blocks, so you can intuitively build your website and make tweaks.

WordPress will take some time to grasp if you currently don’t know much about coding, hosting and website management. You get more control and flexibility but be prepared to learn a few things before you’re able to launch your website.

On the bright side, some hosting services offer WordPress page builders with drag-and-drop functionality and predesigned elements to simplify the website-building process.

Bluehost’s WonderSuite makes it even easier to get started with WordPress. All you have to do is answer simple questions about your goals, then choose your design and layout from the abundance of great options. The hosting plans come with WordPress preinstalled and set to auto-update to make your life easier.

Customizability and flexibility

WordPress wins here and it’s not even close. For one thing: Anyone can access, edit and modify its source code — open-source, remember?

In other words, just about anyone can create new tools and resources to expand the platform’s utility. As a result, you have access to a vast (and still growing) ecosystem of plugins, themes and HTML integrations.

WordPress boasts a massive ecosystem of themes and plugins.
Screenshot: Source

This makes WordPress the perfect CMS for those seeking more creative control and the ability to create unique online experiences.

So, whether you want to enhance your online store’s eCommerce capabilities, optimize for SEO or fill a complex purpose with your website, there’s always a good chance you’ll find the plugin or feature that meets your specific needs.

With Squarespace, you don’t get as much room to shape your website as you envision. Sure, you can add more features by using Squarespace’s third-party extensions. However, you can only do so within the bounds of the platform’s predefined features and options.

Case in point: With Squarespace, you can only have up to 100 product variations because Squarespace imposes a limit on SKUs. Even a small business may struggle with those constraints. And those limits don’t exist with WordPress; using the WooCommerce plugin, product variants have no limits.

Features and apps

At face value, Squarespace trumps WordPress in terms of features. The thing with Squarespace is that most of its features are built-in and immediately served for your use.

With WordPress, you’re not limited by native features. Instead, you can access a wealth of plugins created by independent developers worldwide. This gives you more freedom to make additions and changes to your website.

And depending on what web hosting provider you choose, your WordPress plan may come with curated plugins designed to bolster your website. Bluehost, for example, provides plugins out of the box, catered to the type of website you’re making — so there’s no need to search for what you need.

But even by default, WordPress offers more features than Squarespace if you search WordPress’ vast repository of third-party plugins.

SEO

WordPress takes this one. A big part of WordPress’s SEO-friendliness has to do with its open-source nature. Third-party developers have contributed a ton of add-ons to optimize your website for search.

On your WordPress site, you can optimize everything, including image alt tags, bulk editing and SEO-friendly WordPress themes. WordPress is simply the better option if you want your target audience to find your website easily on search engine results pages.

Yoast is a free SEO plugin for WordPress websites and comes preinstalled on all Bluehost plans. It’s the perfect way to make SEO content because the plugin gives you optimization guidance as you’re making and publishing your content.

That’s not to say Squarespace’s SEO capabilities are poor or non-existent. In fact, the latest version of Squarespace has many SEO-friendly features, like XL sitemap creation and alt tags for gallery sections.

Pricing

Generally, WordPress is cheaper. For one thing, it’s free. On the other hand: If you want a fully functioning website, you need to pay for a hosting plan and a domain name. Optionally, you can spend on premium plugins and web development.

Small business owners may be wary of the cost of building a WordPress website. The trick to keeping expenses down is to start small, adding extensions and paid services as your business grows.

Moreover, this is where it’s most important to choose the right WordPress hosting provider. Many providers have plans designed specifically for the website you’re creating. For example, Bluehost has online store plans that come with all the tools and features you need to sell products and services.

Squarespace pricing is more straightforward. You choose between four plans with prices ranging from $16 to $49 when billed annually. The cheapest plan caters to individuals, while the most expensive is the advanced eCommerce plan.

If you want to start an online store immediately, the Squarespace Business tier will get you up and running; it’s $23 per month, billed annually. But note this plan has a 3% transaction fee, which will hurt your profit margin as you start selling more items.

If you want to do away with the transaction fees, go with one of the Commerce plans; the lowest is $27 per month, billed annually.

Squarespace provides a full list of pricing plans.
Screenshot: Source

What if your eCommerce site grows to a level requiring specialized tools for abandoned cart recovery, subscription sales and complex shipping? At that point, upgrade to the Advanced Commerce tier, which is $49 per month when billed annually.

eCommerce

Squarespace has all the basics to start and grow an online store. eCommerce integrations and marketing tools are ready for use from day one.

Moreover, the eCommerce features and functionalities tie in well throughout the platform, allowing for an intuitive and consistent user experience.

Squarespace has a long list of partnerships; these collaborations result in everything you need to fuel your eCommerce business’s growth if you’re running a conventional online shop.

While Squarespace’s eCommerce capabilities are impressive, they are somewhat limited compared to what WordPress can offer.

Baseline WordPress isn’t a selling platform, but you have access to countless eCommerce plugins, enabling you to add just about any feature your online shop needs.

WooCommerce is the best option for WordPress users. The plugin’s flexibility is almost limitless — regardless of your payment processing needs, or the type of store you’re running, there are options for you to create a website that meets your specific vision.

For example: Squarespace users can only choose Stripe and PayPal to receive online payments. In contrast, WordPress users who download WooCommerce extensions can use any payment gateway on their online store.

If you want an eCommerce platform that scales, WooCommerce is the plugin to choose.
Screenshot: Source

Security

Squarespace wins in terms of security because of its white-glove service, meaning your subscription comes with a dedicated security team actively monitoring and protecting your website from online threats.

Squarespace has more than enough security features to protect your assets and data. This includes:

  • SSL certificates
  • Denial of service protection
  • Support for two-factor authentication
  • Options to enable password-protected pages

With WordPress, you aren’t handed a secure website from the get-go. In fact, the platform is a notable target for hackers because it’s open-source. Yet, WordPress is used by some of the biggest security-reliant organizations in the world, like the White House and Harvard University. Why? They use the top WordPress security plugins, which you have access to as well.

To ensure your website stays protected against all types of security threats, make sure to implement WordPress security best practices:

  • Keep your themes and plugins updated
  • Use secure managed WordPress hosting
  • Set up a firewall
  • Get an SSL certificate
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA)

Choose a WordPress hosting company with state-of-the-art security features and proactive server monitoring. If Bluehost is your choice, you’ll enjoy features from a top automated security service, SiteLock.

Bluehost also comes with malware detection, free SSL certificates that keep your traffic encrypted and automatic backups to restore your website and reverse data loss.

Monetization

If you want to maximize your revenue streams, use WordPress. Whether you’re offering digital products, providing exclusive content or exploring affiliate marketing, WordPress can integrate the tools you need to turn your website into a profitable venture.

That doesn’t mean Squarespace is lacking. In fact, Squarespace offers numerous methods to make money, including ads, members-only content, eCommerce and donations.

Better yet, the website builder’s drag-and-drop functionality makes monetizing easy to set up. Want to offer exclusive content to subscribers for a monthly fee? Squarespace lets you set up a members-only area and receive recurring payments, all using preset features.

With WordPress, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to create a members-only page, including installing a plugin, setting up membership levels and managing user access.

On the flip side, the open-source CMS platform makes up for it by offering access to a wide range of WordPress membership plugins — with each one offering unique features like trial periods and multiple membership tiers.

If you see the value in providing a tailored experience for your audience, use WordPress.

Support

Squarespace takes the win here. With the platform’s in-house support team, you get dedicated 24/7 assistance via multiple support channels like email, live chat, a knowledge base and even Twitter. You know who to reach whenever you find yourself in a pinch as a Squarespace user.

That’s not quite the case with WordPress, where support is decentralized. If you need help with something, you can seek help from the platform’s vibrant and active community. Here’s where to find helpful people:

  • Hosting providers
  • Forums
  • Tutorials
  • Documentation
  • Independent WordPress communities
  • Independent WordPress developers and experts

In this aspect of the Squarespace vs. WordPress debate, the better choice still depends on your preferences and needs.

If you prefer having direct access to a dedicated support team, try Squarespace. But if you love being part of a supportive and diverse community, WordPress has your back.

Marketing and analytics

WordPress can’t be beaten if your goal is to set up the best possible marketing tech stack.

WordPress offers a wealth of marketing plugins to choose from, centered on things like:

  • Popup opt-ins
  • Lead generation tools
  • Social media integrations

Some add-ons go above and beyond in their utility. For example, the popular plugin MonsterInsights lets you create custom metrics and track data that even Google Analytics doesn’t track by default.

The MonsterInsights plugin enables tracking custom dimensions and metrics in Google Analytics.
Screenshot.

WordPress has a learning curve, but the customization and scalability more than make up for it.

For those looking for basic marketing capabilities, Squarespace is a good place to start. It’s because the platform makes marketing easier without much of a compromise in flexibility and customization.

Do you expect to create custom video content, manage targeted email campaigns and gain powerful insights into your website’s performance? Squarespace has all those built-in marketing tools and more to help you grow your audience and engage with your customers.

Final thoughts: Squarespace vs. WordPress and which is best for your website

Squarespace and WordPress are both powerful platforms for building a business website. Each has its distinct strengths. Choosing the right one for your business requires thoughtful consideration.

Take the time to assess your specific needs and preferences. That way, you can create a website that not only looks stunning but also drives profit and growth for your business.

If you’re looking for a user-friendly, all-in-one solution with beautiful templates and reliable support, Squarespace is an excellent choice. If you value customization, scalability and endless possibilities, it makes more sense to choose WordPress.

If you want to capitalize on WordPress’s advantages but you’re concerned about the learning curve, choose Bluehost as your hosting option. With Bluehost’s specialized WordPress web hosting, you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds — you can enlist experts to handle your web design, digital marketing and web security, so you can focus on what you’re best at.

Squarespace vs. WordPress FAQs

Is Squarespace easier than WordPress?

Squarespace has built a reputation for its user-friendly interface and intuitive website-building process. You’ll start with professionally designed templates to customize easily in a drag-and-drop editor. You can build, manage and modify Squarespace websites even if you have zero technical knowledge.

WordPress requires more learning for beginners. That said, its open-source nature allows for unparalleled flexibility and control, giving you more room to create a unique user experience tailored to the needs and wishes of your customers.

Is Squarespace a CMS?

Yes, Squarespace is a content management system (CMS). Squarespace provides all the essential CMS functionalities, enabling users to create, edit and publish content easily. Like most CMS platforms, Squarespace handles your hosting, security, backups and updates so your experience is simplified.

Who uses Squarespace the most?

Squarespace is popular among creative professionals, artists, photographers, bloggers, small businesses and entrepreneurs. With its visually appealing templates and user-friendly interface, Squarespace is often an attractive choice for those seeking to build a stunning and functional website despite with limited technical expertise.

However, many find the need to incorporate more complex customization options as their business grows and evolves. Choose WordPress when you need advanced functionalities to enhance your website’s performance and user experience.

The flexibility and scalability of WordPress make it an ideal platform for businesses with long-term goals of expansion and higher levels of customization.

Does Squarespace own my website?

No, Squarespace does not own your website. When you sign up with Squarespace and build your website using their platform, you retain ownership of all the content you create and upload.

Even as you maintain ownership, Squarespace retains the right to use your content for promotional purposes related to their services. This can include displaying your website as part of their portfolio and promotional material — to showcase the possibilities of using their platform.

  • Minal Agarwal

    Minal is the Director of Brand Marketing at Bluehost. With over 15 years of business experience in the technology industry, she strives to create solutions and content that fulfill a customer's needs. She is a dog mom and a stickler for calendaring.

    Education
    Masters in Marketing Management
    Previous Experience
    Strategic Partnerships, Customer Success, Events and Community
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2 Comments

  1. Sunny Kumar Reply

    I also love using WordPress. WordPress have a lot of features and plugins which helps to skyrocket our blog.

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