Almost exactly a year ago, I made the decision to move my website from WordPress to Squarespace—after being a hardcore WordPress user for about 15 years.
So far, I had always resisted the idea of switching, but I was eager for a fresh start in my business, and building my new website on Squarespace seemed like the perfect opportunity to welcome in some new energy while having fun trying out something different.
Today, I wanted to share my thoughts about my first year on Squarespace, as well as some tips that will help you make the right decision if you’re not sure whether to build your website on Squarespace or WordPress.
What I Like About Squarespace
First, let me share a few things I’ve learned to appreciate about Squarespace.
Without a doubt, getting started on Squarespace was much easier than learning how to build a website on WordPress. (I believe I would say this even if I didn’t have 20 years of web design experience under my belt.)
I loved the fact that Squarespace allowed me to set up a 14 day trial account on which I could test all its features for free before deciding whether or not to commit for a full year.
Thanks to Squarespace’s super convenient drag-and-drop builder, setting up my new website was fast and easy. I can definitely say I saved a lot of time that I would usually have spent on customizing my WordPress theme.
The drag-and-drop builder isn’t just intuitive to use, I also love that it doesn’t take up a lot of computer memory, which means I can work on my website without any lagging effects and without slowing down my browser. (That is an issue I’ve had with other drag-and-drop builders in the past.)
Overall, Squarespace has all the important features the average website owner needs, without feeling bulky or overloaded with unnecessary add-ons.
For example, Squarespace makes it easy to create a fully functional blog, build beautiful landing pages (a.k.a. cover pages), set up an ecommerce store, add great looking opt-in pop-ups or announcement bars, customize your CSS, and even host your own podcast. It also comes with some basic analytics which I find very useful.
The Downsides: What I Dislike About Squarespace
After building all of my websites on WordPress for about 15 years, there are definitely a few things I miss.
First of all, I’m not entirely happy about the fact that once you’ve started a website on Squarespace, moving it to a different platform can be quite the hassle. Squarespace provides a basic export function, but there’s also a lot of content that gets lost when exporting posts and pages. For example, images and other files have to be re-uploaded manually.
Also, I’m not 100% in love with Squarespace’s opt-in pop-ups and boxes—the main reason being that they’re not as customizable as I’d like them to be. For example, you can’t collect your subscribers’ first names without also asking for their last name, which can decrease conversions.
(However: It is possible to use embedded forms in your content, so if you don’t mind tinkering with some HTML and CSS, you can use the forms provided by your e-mail marketing platform.)
Next: Even though you can edit your CSS, completely customizing your website isn’t as easy as it is with WordPress. There are definitely some limitations unless you sign up for a developer account. Also, there aren’t as many plugins available for Squarespace, so if you need more than just a basic website, you may run into problems later down the road.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Pricing Considerations
Finally, hosting your website on Squarespace can get a little pricey compared to a WordPress website, depending on what features you need, and especially once you need hosting for more than one website.
For instance, if you have a business account, you’ll pay $18–$26 USD/month after the first year—and this does not include your domain or e-mail address. Your domain is an extra $20 USD per year, and G Suite is an additional $50 USD/year for only one e-mail address. Squarespace also charges transaction fees for each product you sell via their ecommerce platform.
By comparison, hosting a WordPress website on Bluehost starts at about $7.99 USD/month for a single website (domain + 5 e-mail addresses included) and $10.99 USD for unlimited websites + e-mail addresses. If you want to sell products on your WordPress website, you can do so for free using WooCommerce. In addition, podcast hosting can be about $10 USD/month using an external platform, and if you want to purchase a premium WordPress theme, that can be anywhere between about $30–$120 USD (one time fee).
Should You Choose Squarespace or WordPress for Your Website?
If you’re not sure which platform to choose for your website, here’s what I recommend:
squarespace Is Great if …
You’re not tech savvy and don’t want to put a lot of time/money into customizing your website.
You’re looking for a super easy to use and well designed drag-and-drop builder. (Better than anything you can get on WordPress, in my opinion. Even easier and more functional than Divi.)
You’re okay with paying a little more for the comfort of saving time and not needing to hire a developer to help you set up your website.
You need a basic website that doesn’t need any advanced customizations (such as a membership site, high-level e-commerce, fully optimized blog, etc.).
WordPress May Be Better for You if …
You want hosting for more than just one website.
You’re a blogger and want to take advantage of WordPress’ extensive library of plugins to optimize your blog for readers and search engines.
You want to sell a high volume of products on your website.
You’re thinking about hosting a membership site on your domain.
You want more flexibility overall (e.g. 1000s of WordPress themes to choose from, nearly unlimited customization options, plugins, etc.).
You want to easily be able to move your website from one hosting provider to another.
Where Am I Hosting My Website Today?
In case you’re curious: Yep, I’ve decided to renew my Squarespace website for another year in spite of all of the above. :)
I did consider switching back to WordPress mainly because I want to blog more in the new year. Other than that, I like the ease and simplicity of Squarespace, and the drag-and-drop builder is an amazing time saver.
If I had to start over, I would probably go back to WordPress though. Also, I’d probably choose WordPress for any new websites I might add to my empire in the future, especially any websites that include a fairly active blog or e-commerce section.
Questions? Ask away in the comments below or shoot me a message! :)