Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress: Which is Best? [2018 Guide]
Our advancing technology offers advantages, but also disadvantages. It brings powerful software to help automate your business—alongside the added headaches of finding the right option for your organization. Website platforms, much like other types of software, are available in abundance. Some of your options will bring great results, but others may lead to challenges down the road. Want to make the right decision? Utilize this guide and your business will have an excellent foundation to build from. There are, of course, far too many website editors or content management systems (CMS) to cover them all in depth, so we will be focusing on three of the most popular options: Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress. Our goal is that you leave with the facts you need to make an informed decision. For complete transparency, here at CP Solutions we development custom WordPress sites for our customers. However, this does not mean we will solely recommend WordPress for all clients—every situation is different so will do our best to maintain an unbiased approach. Since not all website builders/developers are the same – we chose to highlight the options in the table below that reflect the most common questions that we get regarding each builder.
Defining Each Website Platform
Before we get into dissecting the pros and cons, let’s briefly take a closer look at the history and defining characteristics of each platform, so that we can understand each a little better. First Up: Squarespace.
Founded in Anthony Casalena’s dorm room in 2003 at the University of Maryland, Squarespace has since grown to employ nearly 1,000 talented people and has helped launch millions of websites. You may recognize Squarespace’s name through the commercials airing on television, during podcasts, and even the Super Bowl. They are becoming a go-to option for many businesses, both big and small.
Founded in 2006, Wix has since grown to serve 110 million users in 190 countries. Their main calling card is allowing users to easily establish their own websites for free. Their platform’s foundation is built on HTML5, with more than 500 designer-made templates to choose from.
Released in 2003, WordPress has risen to prominence as THE go-to for most websites and sets a much higher standard. As of February 2017, the platform accounts for 28.8% of all active websites across the Internet. WordPress’s unique trait is that it is an open source platform. This means that the source code is not private, but made available for anyone to use or modify as they see fit. Support and development is open to anyone that wants to delve into the software.
The Pros and Cons of Each
|Design||Squarespace has a top-notch team of designers always developing new templates.||To achieve the richest possible results for your website appearance, Squarespace will require some HTML and CSS coding knowledge.|
|Adding Content||When their builder is utilized correctly, Squarespace can deliver some good results.||Squarespace’s content structure and overall organization leaves a lot to be desired. This can also present problems for search engines when crawling websites.|
|Updates and Learning Curve||Squarespace does not require user updates.||Though Squarespace delivers an editor that is quick and easy to use once you get used to it, it can be cumbersome for first-time users to navigate through.|
|Real Time Changes||Squarespace is a WYSIWYG builder (What You See Is What You Get). As you move photos and change text, you’ll get a real-time view of what your changes will look like once you publish them.||With anything that is WYSIWYG – you have to know what you are doing to make it look the best.|
|Costs||Squarespace is affordable for almost any budget.||If you need a really impressive website, spending less wont get you more. It’s the old adage – you get what you pay for.|
|Support||Squarespace comes with an excellent support system and knowledge library.||If you want to talk to a live person for support – good luck!|
|Squarespace makes it easy to create emails and purchase a domain.||If you want to use Google Suite for your business (which is what we recommend) then the setup of this with a domain managed and purchased with Squarespace can be difficult.|
|Wix has a large array of drag-and-drop website templates for a variety of industries.||Wix’s drag-and-drop functionality comes with messy coding, leading to poor site structure and overall performance.|
|Wix does not require updating and they regularly release features to users.||Though they have made recent improvements through updates, Wix still proves to be the most unfriendly SEO option. Wix sites are more difficult for Google to tag and index properly, which makes it harder for your customers to find you in search results.|
Web Knowledge Needed
|The design options take into consideration what is popular.||You need to have a basic knowledge of what good web design is in order to make sure your website fits your needs – this is not something that Wix teaches you.|
Costs and Effectiveness
|Wix has a free option that allows you to build a presence on the web, at no cost.||Wix utilizes AJAX technology to produce dynamic content. AJAX is not favored by search engines and may not appear properly on all browsers or devices. Again – you get what you pay for.|
|Availability of Options||WordPress has an open source structure, so almost all developers and webmasters can work on the platform. Outsourcing work is easy and cost-effective.||With all things that are open source – you have to protect yourself and know how to make sure a website has the needed protection in place.|
|Options||WordPress has over 50,000 plugins to maximize the functionality of the Content Editor/CMS and improve your website.||WordPress websites can run into performance issues when not properly developed because of all of the options.|
|SEO||WordPress websites offer more SEO functionality than the competition. This allows you better control over how your site appears in search results and helps you achieve a higher position in the listings.||WordPress themes, styles, and page templates may be difficult to update without a developer and this can and will impact your SEO function.|
|Costs||WordPress is an affordable CMS to build a website on.||When you do it yourself, the costs are low but a lot of times, so are the results.|
|Security and Hosting||WordPress is easy to keep updated with the right hosting for security purposes.||WordPress is almost guaranteed to require coding knowledge at some point during the lifecycle of your website but security is part of the hosting and so with good hosting – security is not an issue.|
|Support||WordPress has a large support structure on the website to help you learn and use the platform.||Most website developers do not want to work on someone else’s design – even in WordPress.|
WordPress is almost guaranteed to require coding knowledge at some point during the lifecycle of your website.
Making the Right Website Choice for Your Business
We’ve outlined the pros and cons of each platform. Now it’s time to make a decision! We’ve outlined below specific circumstances that may indicate a particular platform is the right option for your brand, at least in the near term.
Budget Concerns But Need a Website Quickly – Use Squarespace
Looking to maintain your own website while on a small budget? Squarespace is probably the best option for you. It offers a good mix of professional features and affordability while remaining fairly accessible and easy to use. Its customizable templates will allow you to quickly establish a site that looks clean, performs well on mobile devices, and can be found in search results. Just be prepared to get over the initial learning curve on the platform.
Beginners Only That Aren’t Looking To Show Up In Google – Use Wix
The ideal user for Wix is someone needing a free option to start building a presence on the web. I’d avoid the paid versions—Wix’s premium plans are close enough in cost to Squarespace that it’s just not worth paying for. This option is best if you just want to quickly establish a place to house your portfolio or have a link to send out. With no budget—you can start with Wix. Please bear in mind, though, that we often find brands quickly outgrow Wix websites very quickly and are forced to restart with WordPress. So in MOST cases, it’s a short-term option only.
WordPress is the best CMS available for businesses looking to portray their message, branding, products and services in a unique manner. WordPress will allow you to establish any website you can imagine. It offers the added benefit of widespread support of developers and webmasters across the globe. With WordPress websites – it can be built to last and grow with your business. Keep in mind, if you select WordPress as your CMS, you will have the best results when you hire a web designer & developer or work with an agency or contractor to create the website. Although WordPress does offer templates that users can edit, your website will almost certainly require additional coding at some point, regardless of which theme you select.
The Future of Websites
In the end, we always try to make sure we hit what you need now and we try to look into our crystal ball and predict what our clients will need in the future. Believe it or not – there is a science to website development and design. We are prepared to explain to you exactly what you need after we hear what you want.