WordPress or Squarespace?

wordpress logo next to SquareSpace logo

Recently I was talking with a friend who is opening a restaurant. He mentioned a simple restaurant site (Seven Sows) and how easy his colleague said it was to manage. Curious as I am I looked it up (I also made some reservations) to find out what platform the site was built on.

There it was in the view source <!– This is Squarespace. –>

I think Squarespace is awesome and I have sent potential clients to the platform in the past. Many times a business or individual may not need WordPress or perhaps they just need a simple site, although they now offer e-commerce.

I think this is perfect for many restaurants. Personally, when I am searching for a restaurant I am looking for hours, location, phone number, a few photos of the restaurant and the menu.

My friend mentioned that he wants to update the menu regularly. While this can easily be handled in WordPress I feel that the learning curve for WordPress is much higher than Squarespace and in this case I would recommend Squarespace.

 wrote a great article comparing the two content management systems at Stream SEO and you can read the entire article here: Squarespace vs WordPress – Which one is for me? (2013). Here is an excerpt from the end of the article:

Choose WordPress if…

You want a powerful robust platform that allows you to modify everything you want. Expect to mess up with code sometimes, install and test tons of plugins and themes. At the end it will be a 100% unique site, and you’ll be satisfied, but the learning curve could take days, weeks and even months depending on how tech savvy you are. Also, expect to pay and manage all of your services separately.

I’m a proud WordPress user, and I wouldn’t go back to Joomla or any other nowadays.

Choose Squarespace if…

You want a stunning design and an easy user interface. Think of it as the iPhone. You get functionality, great support, a great product and performance. Everything you probably need is there, at a touch of your hands. You won’t mess up with anything difficult and don’t expect to test tons of plugins and themes. However, you’ll be able to integrate everything in one platform, including payments, statistics and notes.

After testing Squarespace I can clearly see that the idea here is to focus on content, and content is King. Instead of losing hours/days on themes, plugins, statistics and more, I just focus on content and it works.

Am I moving everything to Squarespace? I don’t think so. But I’ll start some projects there and see how it goes. I’m tech savvy, and sometimes I want the ability to modify (and screw) everything with a click of my mouse :)

This is a great insight into the two systems and I suggest reviewing the article if you are considering a website. If your website is integrating various third party plugins or you want to do more complicated tasks I would recommend WordPress. If you are focusing on content and have a simple website in mind, maybe you want to sell a few things, go with Squarespace.

If you would like some consultation on the matter please get in touch and we will asses which platform would be best for you.

9 thoughts on “WordPress or Squarespace?

  1. Hello Steven.
    I’ve just read your article and got to know your great blog.

    I want to thank you for referring my article as a source to clear everything about Squarespace and WordPress.

    Nowadays, I still use WordPress as my main platform, but I’ve got a pair of websites in Squarespace as I get in love with it every day.
    For me, it’s simple. Any business or photographer looking for portfolios, should use Squarespace. For most people it should be more than enough.

    It’s just power users who like to modify a lot of things, try plugins, add a lot of code and more, the ones who could be limited by Squarespace and then move to WordPress. I think most people don’t fall into this category.

    • Thanks Servando,

      I agree that most people don’t fall into this category of wanting to try plugins, add a lot of code, etc.. For many businesses and more complex organizations that hire people to be an administrator of a website – WordPress is great. I suggested that restaurants don’t fall in the category and I like your suggestion that photographers also don’t fall into this category.

      As we watch WordPress grow it will be interesting to see how the platform deals with “simplicity” and UX.

  2. I use Squarespace right now but it’s not working for me. It seems great for a business or a photographer that needs to get a site up and running fast. Things I can’t stand are: Can’t justify text, anywhere. No community/php login for customers. Unable to customize delimiter in templates, or alter the length of a line under your navigation bar. Responsive themes that don’t hyphenate words!! Didn’t anyone test that before they made people start paying for it? Unless you opt for the developer version, you’re going to realize its limitations after awhile. Then again, if you are a developer, you already know CSS and don’t really need Squarespace. The only advantage for a developer is that this could be a real time saver if you have multiple clients.

    It’s probably a waste of money for a regular blogger that just needs something simple. The cost to run a squarespace blog with hosting is $16/month if you pay up front for one year. This can really add up over time if your blog doesn’t gain much traffic to cover those costs. Alternatively, you could go with bluehost and pay just a few dollars a month, and pay a one time fee for a great WordPress template like Thesis. The operating cost is much lower over time, and Thesis is more customizeable than Squarespace. The Squarespace learning curve is very low, but it lacks a lot of basic functionality that you need for a truly professional website. I’ve heard Thesis is powerful and fairly easy to use.

    Also, the Squarespace search function block leaves much to be desired. You can’t get the search block to be in-line with the navigation. It’s great for someone who needs a simple, elegant website to showcase their work or a basic blog, but it lacks a lot of essential functions that make up a good website. I didn’t find the promised SEO attributes to really do our site much good, either, even after hundreds of Google indexed pages with good content and great keywords. After almost a year, and daily posts, our blog still has a PR of zero. I am going to try WordPress and see how my experiences add up.

    • Thanks Laura! Great review of your experience. In this case it is apparent that if you are looking for more functionality and power WordPress is the logical next step.

    • Ohh I love how detailed you broke it down for us, Laura! I was wondering about the rest of the pros and cons besides the aesthetic aspect of Squarespace~I have thesis and I’m soooo tech un-savvy, so right now I’m getting really tempted to try Squarespace. I don’t know, we’ll see. :)

  3. I think squarespace may be a bit overrated. I even found a site ranking up in the search results about squarespace vs wordpress that was totally biased. It doesn’t even address how difficult it is to customize an already existing template. Sure, the drop and drag is easy for non-technical people but articles rarely mention that you’re limited to what’s available in the interface?

    For non-techy people who want simple but common websites, SS is good. But it’s not really very friendly when it comes to template customization. I’ve been looking for hours where I can increase the size of the divs. I still haven’t found it. All the available help online is teaching me how to adjust the colors and whatever’s available in the toolbox but what I’m looking for isn’t available in the toolbox. :P

    Guess I’ll just have to make the site look just like any other squarespace site with a difference in color combinations.

    • Thanks for your comment Monika,

      For non-techy people who want simple but common websites, SquareSpace is good.

      I think that really drives home the point I was trying to make in the article. So if you are person looking to have a completely customizable experience SquareSpace may not be what you are looking for. Since I was comparing SquareSpace to WordPress I think it is safe to say that if you are a non-technical person and just want a simple plug and play site with little customization, go with Square Space. If you are looking for more functionality and freedom to customize choose WordPress.

  4. I appreciate the comparison! Just a word from a SquareSpace appreciator: as a visual artist and non-tech person, I’ve found the visuals quite simple to customize in both SqareSpace 5 and 6. I didn’t find any limitation of color choice (could pick anything from Photoshop palette) and, after learning the potentials of a particular template, could modify it extensively for visual effect. Certainly, plugins are another matter, but for me, they’re not so important. I love SS for it’s portfolio and gallery possibilities, and the fact that I can concentrate on my content. I’d pretty much agree with Servando Silva’s take on the matter. Thanks to you both! For artists like me who want to focus on content, within a straightforward, swift to manage yet visually customized site, Square Space can be great.

    • Thanks for sharing and I think that your experience with SquareSpace proves a great point. It is a perfect solution for someone who is not as technically savvy and just wants a beautiful website where they can manage their content pretty easily. Originally I mentioned restaurant owners in this article but I think this can apply just as well to artists with a portfolio. WordPress has become a much more complicated CMS and if you really want to get your hands dirty and perhaps hire someone to make some customizations for you it may serve you better. In your case Forest, SquareSpace sounds just right!

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