Should I use Squarespace or Wordpress to start my blog/website!?
A question heard 'round the blogosphere, circulating Facebook Groups and filling Pinterest boards.
Well here's my perspective on three main items that differentiate Wordpress and Squarespace, as I've had the opportunity to dabble in both platforms over the past few years, although Squarespace is my go-to.
If you're just starting a blog and not willing to invest a ton of money, Wordpress.com is your answer. See this link for their pricing chart. Their plans range from free, to $24 a month. I personally suggest to clients that no matter what platform you are on, select an outside hosting company (GoDaddy, Namecheap, Bluhost) for your URL as it can be used across all platforms and transferred much easier than dealing with switching the URL to a different platform down the line.
If your ultimate goal is to grow your blog to monetize, add a lot of features and eventually handle a heavy traffic flow, I'd suggest Wordpress.org and set it up through a trusted hosting website such as Bluehost. If you choose to start in Wordpress.com, be prepared to export all of your content into Wordpress.org or Squarespace if you choose to switch platforms in the future.
Squarespace varies in cost from $12/mo to $18/mo if you choose a business or personal plan. I chose early on to invest in the $12 a month (aka 3 Starbucks runs I had to give up) as I knew that I didn't want to rebuild my site down the road, and would have all my content in one place. I also had a really easy time getting my website up quickly and have been able to evolve it to what you see today!
2. USER EXPERIENCE
As someone who is a self taught designer and learned coding through reverse engineering, Wordpress is much harder to navigate than Squarespace as there are just multiple places to edit code and content. Squarespace takes the cake on user experience in my personal opinion - especially for those just starting out. Wordpress can seem very daunting to someone who hasn't worked in web platforms before. In WP, you need to make sure you select the theme that you want, then search around through the customizer, settings and possibly even code to make sure it looks the way that you'd like. This occasionally requires hiring an outside developer to have on call to make your tweaks and changes, and in my opinion, it adds up to the cost that you think you might be 'saving' by going with Wordpress in the first place.
Squarespace's drag and drop platform is very intuitive and with their pre-made templates, and starter layouts you're able to navigate through the back-end pretty easily to find and replace content, photos and if need be edit CSS.
Here's where the tricky part comes in. When it comes to customization, Wordpress has a massive library of templates, with new ones being built by designers and developers daily, so options are endless. They also have a HUGE plugin library, where you're able to add in many features, including animation, which Squarespace lacks (unless you're a coding guru and can add jQuery).
Although, with more and more users transitioning to Squarespace for the sole purpose of being able to customize and add content on their own without needing to outsource to a developer, I feel that new features will be added daily. Just in the past few months, features like video headers, a new developer platform and the addition of blog catered templates, Squarespace is on it's way up.
To summarize, I personally feel that Squarespace is perfect for those just starting out on the web, wanting full access, and still have the ability to create a stunning website. Wordpress is for the more experienced, who have mastered their layout and want more features, plugins and have no problem reaching out to developers to adjust and edit their website. Neither is right, wrong or 'better' than the other, it really just depends on what your ultimate website goals are!
Stay tuned next week for my favorite templates to use for blogging in Squarespace!
If you're just starting out and want to begin building your website, check out my resources section for downloads to help your journey!