SquareSpace vs. WordPress – which system is better?

Of apples and pears…

Before we get started, we need to clarify what we are comparing. Because there are two different versions of WordPress, on the one hand WordPress.com, the service, and on the other hand WordPress.org, the software.

This comparison is about WordPress.org, the software. You install WordPress on your hoster, install basic plugins and choose a theme for your website.

Check out my article on the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com for more details.

at SquareSpace on the other hand, you register online (similar to Facebook) and can start creating your website immediately. The modular system is offered to you (similar to WordPress.com) as a service and you do not have to worry about maintenance or updates. But more on that in a moment.

So we find that we are comparing WordPress, the software, to SquareSpace, a service.

An unfair comparison?

Now, isn’t this comparison unfair? Wouldn’t it be a lot smarter to compare WordPress.com to SquareSpace?

No, I don’t think so.

Because in this case it’s not about the (marginal) differences between different modular systems (e.g. Jimdo*, Wix*, Weebly*, SquareSpace or WordPress.com), but about the differences between one modular system and a big “real” website system just like WordPress.

Because only on the basis of this basis you can for yourself decide, which system or philosophy is better suited for you, your needs, your requirements and your website.

The Pros and Cons of SquareSpace

SquareSpace is a commercial service and is paid monthly. There is no free version, only a 14-day trial period. You register and can immediately start designing your website in a simple editor. There are a few hundred design templates that you can fill with content.

SquareSpace is a very flexible modular system. You don’t have to worry about hosting, updates and the like, you can focus purely on your content.

Building the website is very easy and you’ll quickly find your way around SquareSpace. Unfortunately, this simplicity also limits, because your website can be not expand at will. There are plugins and extensions, but the number is very manageable.

One downside of SquareSpace is that the backend (where you manage your website) is only available in English. The biggest minus point, however, is that the optionally available online shop is not 100% adapted to the legal requirements in Europe. Therefore, there is a risk of warnings in Germany if you use the SquareSpace online shop.

The pros and cons of WordPress

WordPress from wordpress.org is a free software, which can be expanded flexibly and at will. So you have to download WordPress first and install it with your hoster. But this is now very easy and can be done in a few minutes.

design templates there are 1000s – free and commercial*. By the way, my recommendation is Elementor*, here you can also find a comparison of Elementor and other page builders.

The biggest advantage of WordPress is the flexibility. There are countless extensions (plugins) for WordPress. Whether you want to operate an online booking system, an online calendar, a membership system or an online shop – all this is possible with WordPress.

The disadvantage is the higher complexity. You have to take care of regular updates yourself or hire a service provider to do this for you. The selection of plugins and themes can also be overwhelming at first.

How WordPress works is not always immediately apparent. Tutorials on Youtube are often the only way out.

The differences in detail

The following table gives you an overview of the differences between the two systems:

WordPress SquareSpace
Type content management system modular system
license open-source Commercial service
extensions Can be expanded as desired with plugins, functions can also be programmed to do so Can be expanded, but there are not nearly as many plugins as for WordPress
design Very easy to customize as you like, there are tons of free and paid design templates* A few 100 designs are included for free.
developer They are easy to find and relatively cheap
WordPress can be expanded at will
Are harder to find and more expensive
SquareSpace cannot be expanded at will
flexibility High flexibility, “everything” is possible Less flexibility
Online shop Easy to set up and 100’s of possibilities up to very large web shops Simple shop, limited number of products, not 100% adapted to EU requirements
complexity High complexity and a steep learning curve at the beginning Very easy to get started yourself, flat learning curve
effort for the creation Medium effort for the creation of your website – either in the time you invest or in the form of costs for a service provider. Little effort because you can concentrate on the content.
language Translated into (almost) all languages Only available in English

Is WordPress or SquareSpace Better for You?

It depends on!

Are you more the Do-it-yourself guy and want to start with a simple website, SquareSpace is your system of choice. You don’t have to worry about any updates and can start creating the content immediately.

On the other hand, if you want to start with a simple website and then add an online shop or member area, or do you want your website from a graphic designer design, then WordPress is the better system. Here, too, you can start small and simple – but your website can be flexibly expanded at any time.

As you can see, you have to make the decision yourself!

If you have any questions about SquareSpace, I can recommend my colleague Ricarda Kiel. Do you need help around WordPress? Then feel free to contact me.

Let’s just build websites

PS: What is your experience with SquareSpace and/or WordPress so far? Please leave me a comment!

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