Squarespace vs. WordPress: Which Is Best for Businesses?
Squarespace and WordPress.com are two of the most popular website builders on the market. But which is actually best for business owners?
Squarespace and WordPress are two of the top website builders on the market right now—and for good reason.
Both Squarespace and WordPress offer beautifully designed templates that look good whether your users are on their laptops or their mobile devices. Both platforms provide excellent content management options, meaning you get complete control over the creation and modification of your site’s content. And both builders allow you to blog and sell items to your heart’s content.
That said, Squarespace and WordPress are two very different platforms. One uses a drag-and-drop editor; the other uses a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (or WYSIWYG) editor. Squarespace offers select customization options; WordPress lets you customize literally everything on your site—provided you know CSS and HTML coding.
So what are the pros and cons of Squarespace vs. WordPress? Read on to find out more about which builder works best for your type of site.
Before we go any further
We want to compare apples to apples, so for this piece, we are specifically looking at Squarespace vs. WordPress.com. Like Squarespace, WordPress.com includes hosting—but WordPress.org doesn’t. Just so we’re all clear.
Squarespace vs. WordPress at a glance
Squarespace and WordPress offer different themes and features, so the right choice depends on the website you want. Here’s our brief rundown of each platform.
Squarespace delivers excellent design and e-commerce features for small online stores
Whether you’re building a site for your restaurant or your online store, Squarespace offers the content management tools you need—and they’re all built in.
Squarespace is all about integration, meaning you don’t have to add apps to your plan if you want to sync up your social media or get advanced e-commerce site features. Add that integration to the platform’s drag-and-drop editor and you’ve got a website builder that’s ridiculously easy to use.
What’s more, Squarespace templates are clean and professional-looking, and (bonus!) they’re all free. That makes Squarespace a great choice if you’re short on time or don’t know anything about coding.
The downside? You can customize a lot on your Squarespace site, but you can’t customize everything. That means you may not be able to get precisely the site design or experience that you envisioned, and it limits your ability to optimize your site for search engines (so Google users won’t find your business as easily).
- Easy-to-use platform
- Beautiful site design
- Great blog and e-commerce functionality
- Bit of a learning curve
- So-so search engine optimization
- Functionality sometimes hidden by tabs and menus
WordPress.com is best for business-owners wanting full control
If you want complete control over every aspect of your website, WordPress may be the perfect site builder for you.
WordPress.com features open-source software, which basically means you’re free to get into your code and play around until you get exactly the site you want. It also means you’re able to add third-party tools and plugins to your site and get all the features you need.
The trick is, if you’re unfamiliar with coding, WordPress has a steep learning curve. Free WordPress themes are relatively generic, so to get a fully customized site, you’ll need to either tweak your site’s code or pay for a premium theme. You’ll also need to add the WooCommerce plugin if you want to sell products on your site.
- Near-infinite customization options
- Thousands of available plugins and themes
- Great reputation and user reviews
- Steep learning curve
- Plugins and full SEO features limited to top-tier plan
- Extensive customization required for best results
Squarespace features vs. WordPress features
Squarespace and WordPress are both top-notch e-commerce providers, but they also offer tons of great content management features. Here’s a brief breakdown:
Squarespace vs. WordPress general features
|Online store||✔||Select plans|
|Credit card payments||✔||Select plans|
|SSL security certificates||✔||✔|
|Discounts and coupons||Select plans||With plugins|
|Gift cards||Select plans||With plugins|
|Shipping quotes||✔||With plugins|
|Transaction fees on third-party apps||Select plans||✘|
|24/7 customer support||✔||Select plans|
|View Plans||View Plans|
Just a reminder: we’re showing the features included with the WordPress hosting and site-building platform WordPress.com—not the blogging platform WordPress.org. Got it? Okay, carry on.
In general, we’d recommend Squarespace for e-commerce sites.
If you’re making an online store from scratch, Squarespace’s drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to get your e-commerce website up and running fast. Plus, the platform includes built-in e-commerce features, so you can set up your payment gateway, set your shipping address, and add new products to your online store directly from the Squarespace interface.
WordPress users, on the other hand, get WordPress site hosting, a few free themes . . . and that’s about it. To get even a basic e-commerce store, you’ll need the WooCommerce app. And a few extensions. And possibly a few other premium WordPress plugins to get the specific features you need.
Oh, and did we mention that to even add e-commerce plugins, you need to sign up for WordPress’s most expensive plan? That’s a no for us, dawg.
But . . . while Squarespace’s built-in e-commerce features make it easy to build an online store, it also means that there aren’t a lot of solutions if you need a feature that Squarespace hasn’t built in. So while we think most businesses will prefer the quick and easy route that Squarespace offers, WordPress might still be right for your site if your store needs a highly specific feature you can’t find anywhere else.
Squarespace vs. WordPress e-commerce features
|Mobile-responsive themes||✔||Select themes|
|Unlimited storage||✔||Business plan|
|Unlimited products||✔||Business plan + plugin|
|Coupons||Basic plan and above||Business plan + plugin|
|Gift cards||Advanced plan||Business plan + plugin|
|Shipping discount||Up to 100%|
|Up to 100%|
Business plan + plugin
|Tax calculator||✔||Business plan + plugin|
|Checkout on your domain||Basic plan and above||Business plan + plugin|
|Digital goods||✔||Business plan + plugin|
|Search engine optimization (SEO)||✔||Business plan|
|Advanced site stats||✔||Business plan|
|HD video and audio||✔|
Embedded videos only
|Premium plan and above|
|Video backgrounds||✔||Business plan + plugin|
|Product reviews||Any business plan + plugin||Business plan + plugin|
|Site search||✔||Business plan|
|Lead capture||✔||Business plan + plugin|
|Members||Any plan + plugin||Business plan + plugin|
|Email marketing||✔||Business plan + plugin|
|Abandoned cart emails||Advanced plan||Business plan + plugin|
|Inventory management||Basic plan and above||Business plan + plugin|
|$100 Google Ads credit||✔||Premium plan and above♱♱|
|Free domain*||✔||Personal plan and above|
|View Plans||View Plans|
If you’re hoping to build an online store with WordPress, you’ll need the WooCommerce app. From there, you can get extra store customization options with WooCommerce extensions and other plugins.
When it comes to blogging on Squarespace vs. WordPress, it’s a toss-up between the two platforms.
Squarespace offers an easy-to-use content management platform. You can easily add new posts, and you use the same editor to build all your content, whether that’s blog posts or any other page on your site. That makes things simple and consistent across the whole platform.
Squarespace blogs are also professional-looking, thanks to the platform’s well-designed templates. WordPress sites, by comparison, tend to be pretty generic—unless, of course, you upgrade to a premium theme or add plugins that let you change your format.
Still, blogging is one of the few things that WordPress makes easy. WordPress was originally a blogging platform, and it’s stayed true to its roots. The WordPress content management platform is pretty straightforward and simple to use, and the platform does offer lots of search engine optimization (SEO) customization. As per usual with WordPress, though, you will probably need to know some basic coding to customize your posts.
Squarespace pricing vs. WordPress pricing
The cost of Squarespace and WordPress can vary a lot depending on which themes, plugins, and plans users choose. So which platform offers the best deal?
In general, WordPress prices are lower, but you don’t have the option to go month-to-month—you have to pay for the entire year up front. Squarespace, on the other hand, lets you pay monthly, but it’s more expensive than the annual billing option.
Squarespace vs. WordPress business plans
|Plan||Yearly cost||Month-to-month cost||Learn more|
|Squarespace Business||$13.50/mo.||$18/mo.||View Plans|
|Squarespace Basic||$19.50/mo.||$26/mo.||View Plans|
|Squarespace Advanced||$30/mo.||$40/mo.||View Plans|
|WordPress Personal||$4/mo.||N/A||View Plans|
|WordPress Premium||$8/mo.||N/A||View Plans|
|WordPress Business||$25/mo.||N/A||View Plans|
On the surface, it seems like WordPress is the cheaper option (even if you do have to pay annually). But here’s the catch: if you’re building an online store or want a drag-and-drop editor to customize your blog better, you’ll need one or more WordPress plugins.
Not only can plugins themselves cost extra every month, but WordPress users also can’t add any plugins unless they upgrade to the WordPress Business plan (yes, the most expensive one). And then there are templates, which can cost $50 or more up front. But hey—at least the hosting’s free, right?
All told, that seems like a pretty steep price to pay for a site that basically requires you to know or learn coding to make the most of your options. Squarespace is only a few dollars more per month, and you don’t have to worry about extra plugin or template costs because everything’s included. Seems like a pretty good deal from where we’re sitting.
Both WordPress and Squarespace are hosting providers, so you don’t necessarily need to pay extra for your hosting. But if you want the faster load times, better uptimes, or enhanced security features offered by other web hosting providers, you’ll need to include the costs of that hosting provider in your budget.
You also need to remember to budget the cost of your domain name. Both Squarespace and WordPress offer free domain registration for the first year of your plan, but you’ll still need to pay for your domain every year after that. You can buy your domain through a third party (like GoDaddy or Bluehost), in which case you’ll be subject to whatever charges they impose for your domain registration.
And then, of course, there’s the cost of your themes and plugins. Again, Squarespace users don’t have to pay extra for templates or content management features, as it’s all included. But since WordPress is a developer platform and doesn’t include everything, WordPress users should make sure not to overlook the extra costs for extra customization options.
Building with Squarespace vs. building with WordPress
So what was the experience of building a site on Squarespace vs. WordPress? We actually did both, so here’s our take.
Squarespace makes content management easy. In addition to themes and hosting, Squarespace plans include tons of e-commerce features and customization options, all baked into your interface. So if you want to sell your products on social media, you just have to sign up for the plan that includes multiple sales channels—no need to comb through thousands of options in an app store to get what you need.
Squarespace’s editor also makes it easy to tweak design elements on your site. All you have to do is navigate to the Design menu, click on the part of the page you want to customize, and tweak your fonts, sizes, or colors. You can also drag and drop pre-built content elements wherever you need them on your page. And best of all, you can see any changes you make in real time.
This transparent, easy-to-use interface automatically gives drag-and-drop editors like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly an advantage vs. WordPress, which makes you preview changes in a separate tab in your browser. WordPress users also don’t get pre-built, mobile-responsive content blocks. You’re basically stuck with whatever layout comes with your theme—unless, of course, you add plugins or get scrappy with your code.
On the plus side, if you ever get stuck, WordPress has a user-generated help forum where you can get help in a pinch. Squarespace has live chat support, but that doesn’t really compare to millions of WordPress users coming together to help each other out with common problems.
Comparing drag-and-drop editors like Squarespace and Weebly vs. WordPress is a bit like deciding whether to get your hair done at a salon before prom or to do it yourself. On the one hand, getting your hair done in a salon costs more, but you know that it’ll look good. On the other hand, doing it yourself is cheap, but it involves weeks of research, preparation, and trial and error—and there’s still a good chance you won’t get exactly what you want.
Squarespace plans start out more expensive than WordPress plans, but they include professional-looking blogs, sleek online storefronts, and free, cleanly designed templates that are optimized for mobile devices. And you don’t have to put in a lot of work to make it all look good.
WordPress, on the other hand, gives you control over everything on your site. But unless you’ve used developer platforms before and you’re familiar with CSS, you’re going to have to put in a lot of extra time just researching how to get the look you want.
Of course, you can buy premium WordPress themes and get better designs. But even then, you’ll need some coding or plugins to get the full range of customization options available on WordPress. And if you’re short on time, that extra effort just may not be worth it.
We recommend . . .
. . . hiring a professional if you’re using WordPress. The experts at 99designs can handle the coding and deliver a professionally designed WordPress theme made just for you. Easy peasy.
When it comes to customization, WordPress takes the cake.
Since WordPress is open-source software, you can adjust the coding for your website and add third-party tools. That gives you pretty much infinite customization options.
Want to make your site easier for search engines to find? You can hop into your code and optimize your sitemap (which tells search engines what’s on your site and how each of your pages interact with each other). Or you can add a plugin from an SEO service to track your meta titles and descriptions (the site page names and descriptions that show up on Google search results).
Of course, if you don’t know coding, you may find WordPress themes hard to customize. In that case, you may be better off using the drag-and-drop editor and professional-looking templates available on Squarespace.
What customers say about Squarespace and WordPress
While we’ve formed our own opinions of Squarespace and WordPress when building websites on each of them, we wanted to hear from other users who’ve built business sites on each platform.
We found that most business owners appreciate Squarespace’s helpful drag-and-drop editor, easy content management options, and professional templates:
“[I chose Squarespace because] I wanted a content management system (CMS) that was easy to use and that I could handle on my own without relying on others for updates. I am very visual and creative, so I wanted a template that fit our image as a business.
“Squarespace is extremely easy to use and update. They also offer great design work and hosting of the website. Plus, it’s very inexpensive.”
“I started off building my site using WordPress but I . . . made the switch to Squarespace after some online research. I decided to stay clear of WordPress [mainly because of] site speed. I would have to constantly watch my site to make sure it was running like clockwork. That’s Squarespace’s job now. . . . I also feel the e-commerce functionality in Squarespace is a lot easier than WooCommerce.”
But it’s really no comparison to WordPress when it comes to flexibility and customization. And because WordPress is one of the most widely used content management platforms on the market, it’s easy to find help when you encounter a problem—regardless of whether you’re experiencing difficulty with your WordPress hosting, your blog, or your online store.
“WordPress isn’t the world’s most popular content management system (CMS) for no reason. It’s intuitive for first-time users, and thanks to its flexibility and modular design, the look and feel of a WordPress site can be easily changed with just a few clicks and a new theme.”
“I would definitely recommend WordPress to other small businesses. It’s very cost-effective, especially for new businesses. And there are so many different templates and plugins you can choose from. Most importantly, you don’t have to constantly hire out in order to make necessary but simple changes to your site.”
“Because [WordPress] is a popular platform, a simple Google search can often provide quick and easy answers when I need to troubleshoot.”
Still, some business owners acknowledge that many first-time site builders feel intimidated by platforms that require coding knowledge and come with a steep learning curve. In that case, Squarespace may be the more user-friendly option.
“I recommend WordPress or Squarespace to small business owners regularly. WordPress is the most SEO-friendly option and tends to be favored by many for that reason. However, Squarespace is more user-friendly and less intimidating to set up.”
In evaluating Squarespace vs. WordPress, we’re forced to conclude that we tend to prefer Squarespace.
Squarespace doesn’t charge extra for themes, doesn’t make you upgrade to a premium plan or add plugins to set up an online store, and provides an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that allows you to see your changes as they’ll appear on your site. Plus, you don’t need to know anything about coding to put together a great-looking website.
WordPress, on the other hand, is a more versatile website platform with more customization options. But most business owners will have to jump through a few extra hoops to get the themes, plugins, and extensions that offer the right features.
Just getting started? Save yourself some time and learn from our mistakes by checking out our guide to building a business website. You’re welcome.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.