WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace

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read time

5 min

date

May 2020

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace

To anyone looking to build a website, there are many options out there that can help you realise your online ambitions. You no longer need to be able to code and work with computer languages in order to develop a website; there are page builders that take care of the coding for you and even offer ‘drag-and-drop’ functionality to help you put together a webpage. Some of these building platforms can be used for little or no cost and have extensive support networks. This blog will compare three of the major players: WordPress, Wix and Squarespace. 

Just a note on WordPress. It has two platforms. The key difference between them is the hosting provider. With WordPress.com, WordPress takes care of the hosting for you, making it easier to start. On the other hand, WordPress.org requires you to source your own hosting provider. For the purpose of this comparison blog, we will be talking about WordPress.org, because it is a lot less restrictive than WordPress.com and has far more potential for customisation. 

Ease of Use

Wix

As a ‘drag-and-drop’ page builder, Wix does a lot of the work for you. There are over 500 templates to choose from, and they are organised into useful, specific categories such as events, music, and business. Once you have selected one there are built-in suggestions to guide you through building your site, making the process easy for beginners to web design. 

SquareSpace

Similar to Wix, SquareSpace is a drag-and-drop builder that is simple to use and guides new users through the process with an onboarding tour. There are only 60 templates on offer which has the advantage of not being an  overwhelming selection to browse from, but the drawback of there potentially not being a design that quite matches what you desire. 

WordPress

Unlike the other two, WordPress can be overwhelming for new users and it takes time to get used to development tools. Despite the steep learning curve, however, a web design novice can still get comfortable with the builder – you do not need to know code to make the most out of WordPress’ features.

 

Design & Customisation

Wix

The available designs have a clean, modern feel to them, but they can just look like a standard template site. The themes come with imagery and text ready for you to use, or you can choose to select a blank layout and start from scratch. The website builder is mobile-friendly and pages can include Parallax effects which allows text to move at a different speed than the background, creating an eye-catching experience.  A significant drawback of Wix, though, is that once you choose a template you cannot switch it after going live, locking your website into one design forever.

SquareSpace

Although there are a limited number of designs on offer, they are excellent and high-quality, making strong use of typography, imagery and open spaces. You can use multiple themes within each website, they are optimised for mobile, and SquareSpace will suggest various page configurations for you. Unlike Wix, you can switch to a new template should you want to.

WordPress

There is no better option for customisation than WordPress. There are thousands and thousands of themes to choose from, many of them free, and more stunning designs can be unlocked by paying just $50. There are even entire websites dedicated to building and selling themes. You can switch themes whenever you like, and most of them are optimised for mobile. Really professional, beautiful and high-performance websites can be built within WordPress by yourself or a web-design agency.

Features

Wix

Because of the relatively simple templates, Wix is not the best for features. It’s possible to add something like an appointment scheduler or eCommerce storefront but it has to be done so as an extra layer which can hurt performance. Although, multiple payment methods are accepted and Wix does not take a cut of your sales. A nice design feature is that a video can be added as the background of a webpage, giving a different user experience.

SquareSpace

Lots of templates are feature rich, resulting in a pleasing aesthetic. Paying for a premium plan can allow for the integration of Mailchimp or Facebook Pixel. But there is not a directory of plug-ins and any add-ons require coding. eCommerce is available, but payments are processed with a 3% transaction fee and the platform is not well equipped for more complex needs. Fine for if you want to monetise your blog, but if eCommerce is the primary aim of your website then you should consider other builders. 

WordPress

There are a plethora of features available to you because of the thousands of paid & free plugins that offer almost any function you could desire for your website. If you want a membership site, eCommerce store, a directory, or any other conceivable platform, it can be done. WooCommerece is a plugin that provides extensive eCommerce options. There is video integration with YouTube and Vimeo available, and a backup with Dropbox to save your database. 

Scalability and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Wix

You are confined to the design you have chosen so it is very hard to scale up your website if it needs to grow. It is impossible to take your site with you if you decide to leave. You need to think carefully about the long-term vision of your website, because you don’t want to be stuck with a builder that won’t let your site grow. In terms of SEO (the process of getting your site to rank higher on a search engine), Wix only allows for light optimisation and does not include the advanced settings that can be found on other plugins. 

SquareSpace

The templates on Squarespace are only really suited to simple but stunning websites and can’t be scaled up easily. SEO optimisation is also limited: all other pages will auto-generate from the search metadata you have written for your homepage.

WordPress

There are few limits in scaling up your website. New pages can be added easily and themes can be switched to suit your business needs. Despite being well set up for SEO, there are powerful plugins (such as Yoast) that can be installed to take your SEO strategy up a level.

Support

Wix

Wix has a fairly robust help centre, and by becoming a VIP customer you can get priority phone support. 

SquareSpace

There is a good knowledge base available to browse along with videos and live webinars. You can also contact reps through email or live chat. Furthermore, since SquareSpace takes care of the hosting of your page, if something goes wrong with your website it is easier to fix because they have oversight of both the hosting and the design of your page – you are not split between two companies on this. 

WordPress

Although there is no official support centre, there is an extensive community of web developers using WordPress who are happy to provide advice and offer solutions to problems. There are online forums as well as regular meetups. You may also hire a web design agency to help develop the page in the first place or take care of an issue when it arises.

 

Website Management

Wix

Wix handles hosting and security and can help you register a domain. Cheap plans will include a domain that is name.wix.com. But you can add your own domain to your account if you already own one.

SquareSpace

Squarespace handles all of the technical side including hosting, domain and email. Website backups, security, speed and even analytics are included. As previously mentioned it is also helpful to have everything looked after by one company when something goes wrong. 

WordPress

You have to source your own hosting provider and register a domain name before you can launch a site with WordPress, but that does mean the website is entirely yours. Due to its impressive usage (nearly a third of all websites run on WP), it is susceptible to hacking, but there are updates and plugins available to help mitigate this risk. 

Price

Wix

Monthly Costs: £3, £6, £8.50 or £18. 


Domain: Not included. Average price £9.99/year.


Hosting: Included. 


The cheapest monthly package has limited bandwidth and storage and will place Wix advertisements on your site. As the prices get more expensive more features are included such as removing Wix Ads, increased bandwidth and storage, Site Booster apps and VIP support. 

SquareSpace

Monthly Costs: £10, £15, £20 or £30. 


Domain: Included.


Hosting: Included. 


All packages include free custom domains, security, 24/7 customer support, and unlimited bandwidth and storage. Paying more each month unlocks more features such as CSS and JavaScript customisation, advanced website analytics, integrated eCommerce and advanced merchandising options. 

WordPress

Monthly Cost: Free!


Domain: Not included. Average price £9.99/year.


Hosting: Not included. Average price £2.38/month – £11.26 per month. 


WordPress.org is free to start using for any user, but you need to have registered a domain and set up a hosting plan. More expensive hosting plans will provide higher storage, bandwidth and performance. Also, you may end up paying for features like premium design and plugins, depending on your website’s needs. 

Wix and SquareSpace have similarities in their easy-to-use interface, low cost options and accessibility to new web designers, but also in their shortcomings with respect to scalability and customisation. Both are better suited for simple websites, such as blogs and portfolios, but SquareSpace offers more eye-catching designs and Wix has more variety of templates. 

For complete control over your website, for the potential for customisation and scalability, and for availability of a wide range of plugins and features, WordPress is by far the best option. You may need to invest some time in getting to grips with its building tools, or hire a web developer to do the work for you, but the long-term results will be worth it as there is virtually no limit to the kind of website you could design.