If you’ve listened to a podcast in the last two years, you’ve probably heard of SquareSpace. If you were around when blogging became popular, or have tried to make your own website any time since then, you’ve probably heard of WordPress, too. These two platforms are probably the most popular ways to make your own website on the internet right now.
If you’re looking to make a website, you might find yourself torn between these two options. The difficult part about making this decision is that they’re both solid options for those of us who don't know a coding language. They can both be used for creating sites with a wide variety of uses. Here, we’ll outline what makes them different and which one to choose when designing a site that fits your needs.
WordPress is great if you have an extremely specific site function you need carried out, or if you want specific code carried over from a previous site. It’s extremely customizable, and provides integration with a million and one other services across the web, from online shopping programs to video and image hosting sites. Wordpress is uniquely proficient at cataloging and databasing information you add to your site, making it good for those who need a solid backup of their pages at all times, whether for export or security reasons. Unfortunately for the company, one of the best things about this function is that it makes it very easy to log, save, and export a WordPress site to another platform.
WordPress has a few issues that people who aren’t very web-savvy will find hard to get over. The back-end interface of WordPress can be clunky, and is at times difficult to navigate and counter-intuitive. Its lack of simplicity could intimidate those seeking to make a basic, good-looking site.
Which brings us to another major con: templates. There are thousands of templates one can use to create a WordPress site, which — in our opinion — can feel like drowning in a sea of mediocre choices instead of picking the best out of a few good options. These factors, combined with a lack of CSS integration & responsiveness across multiple devices can lead to over-complicated, outdated looking websites that are hard to update.
Who should use it?
WordPress is best suited for those who have some coding knowledge, or who have code they’d like to see transferred from another platform. The degree of customization available for WordPress sites makes them uniquely beneficial to those with sites that serve a specific function, especially for gathering data. We recommend WordPress to anyone who has a site where functionality and integration with other services takes precedence over design and usability.
Squarespace has some great advantages for people looking to make a simple, pretty website with basic functionality and integration. They have a small number of templates, but they’re all very well designed with specific site use in mind, from photographer portfolios to musician’s pages to small business and personal blogs. Their templates are all 100% responsive, which mean’s they’ll scale perfectly on a laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. The design is sharp, simple CSS with fonts and layouts that scream “2016” instead of “2006.” The back-end interface is simple, minimalist and incredibly easy to understand. Inputting content is — in many cases — as easy as dragging and dropping from a comprehensive pop-up menu of features. Integration is available with many popular sites and programs, including MailChimp, Google software, and various video and image hosting sites. Tweaks to design and customization are easy and fool-proof.
Squarespace can be hard to customize if a very particular degree of control is what you’re after. Some templates block changes in ways that can be frustrating, especially if you have a very clear idea of what you want your site to look like. Drag-and-drop isn’t always perfect, and spacing issues can be a hassle. Code injection is simple enough, but sometimes conflicts with pre-existing templates in a way that can be confusing and difficult. Integration is smooth, but there is a much smaller variety of sites available for connection. Those who want a special looking site without doing the work of customization may find the template selection small for their liking.
Who should use it?
Squarespace is ideal for the individual, creative professional, or small business looking for a clean, beautiful, functional website. It’s perfect for those who seek to integrate social media, email tools, online shopping, or a blog into their website. It is also great for those who like to design their own web graphics, but lack the knowledge or software to create code around these specialized designs. If you use a lot of stock photos or images of your own on your site, Squarespace has a wonderfully designed interface for displaying them.
Squarespace has the unique advantage of working on a sliding scale of customization. You can do as much or as little tweaking as you’d like and your site is likely to come out looking sharp. Whether you have no knowledge of code or you like to create your own CSS, Squarespace is a great and easy option.
So which should you choose? It all comes down to what you need for your own site. To most individuals and small businesses who don’t have the skill or time to fool around with code or spend hours tweaking individual settings, we highly recommend Squarespace. You can make a fully-functional, gorgeous site in hours. For those who require a highly specialized, highly personalized sight with lots of integration potential and code inject-ability, we recommend WordPress. Though it takes some effort, you can create a needle-fine focus for your site and grab valuable data along the way.