Squarespace vs. Wix

You’ve got a business, but you need to increase or beautify your online presence. Like everything else in the world, the internet moves quickly and even your average user has to stay on top of trends in order to keep their site up to date. Thankfully, this ability isn’t reserved to computer programmers anymore thanks to the creation of website-builders. These builders allow for anyone and everyone to build their own website without the faintest knowledge of code. Hurray!

Two big contenders for the layman’s market are Squarespace and Wix. Both are celebrated for their simplicity, intuitive interfaces and cheap pricing plans. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty to see which one is for you.

Usability and Design

Both Wix and Squarespace feature drag-and-drop content blocks as the way to build your site. Because of this, they are both popular with amateur website designers. One is asked to choose a template on both sites and whilst Wix also offers many options Squarespace is renowned for its versatile range and slick design.

One other bonus with Squarespace is that it is possible to change the template after having finished your site. Unfortunately with Wix you’re locked into the template you first choose and thus have limited creative freedom.

Growth

Because of the restricted use of templates with Wix upgrading your website and developing it with the growth of your business can become exceedingly difficult. It is often at this point that businesses are forced to pay for a professional designer to decipher Wix’s code. In recent years, the support team of Wix has also come under fire for going silent to clients’ complaints of being unable to update their website.

With Squarespace’s unlimited creative expression templates can be swapped with ease and their structure personalised simply by dragging and dropping different content blocks. This means your website can fluidly grow with your business without the necessity of a professional life-saver.

SEO

Wix only recently started to improve its SEO features that came under fire for providing poor search engine results. It’s finally catching up to other website-builders in terms of its SEO reputation but a quick search on google shows just how damning previous reviews were.

Squarespace prides itself on the quality of its SEO features and the results they provide. Everything is in place to push your business to the top of Google’s search results ensuring more business for you.

And the winner is...

Both Wix and Squarespace serve millions of happy clients around the world, but when comparing the two side-by-side Squarespace takes home first place due to its world-famous designs, versatility and SEO expertise.

Squarespace vs. Shopify

If you’re a business with an online store getting your eCommerce up and running is priority number one! With all the website-building choices in the world, it seems like one can have too much of a good thing - options!

Two of the biggest contenders for your business are Shopify and Squarespace. Shopify, as the name would suggest, focuses exclusively on eCommerce and has been in the game for enough years to have a great reputation. Squarespace launched their eCommerce options five years ago but with a worldwide clientele that applauds its versatility and usability, they’re well worth a look-in.

Know your market

If your business is purely eCommerce and you’re looking to use your website as your main selling avenue then Shopify is a sure bet - it was built exclusively for the eCommerce industry. Having said that, their website templates can be restrictive to those with a creative eye. Whilst anyone can build a Shopify website using the tools provided, if you want to think outside of the box and play around with what’s on offer you’ll need some knowledge of code.

The kicker is Shopify uses Liquid code, which not many people are versed in. If you are trained in Liquid and feel comfortable deep-diving into the code to get the results you want then Shopify is the builder for you. However, if you don’t have the time or background in coding know that at some point you will have to hire a website designer to personalise your site. This restriction is the reason many online stores built with Shopify look eerily similar.

However, if content is equally as important to you as products Squarespace facilitates both crucial angles of the website sphere even for beginners. As the website-builder was originally created for content-heavy websites with the eCommerce features added in 2014 Squarespace seamlessly supports both functions.

Easy as 1 2 3

Squarespace is a dream to use - there, I said it! With no need for coding knowledge they’ve made the website-building game accessible to everyone. With its amazing selection of built-in templates and drag-and-drop usability Squarespace is like the paint-by-numbers option of the website-building world.

This includes deviating from the template provided - Squarespace is so flexible that personalising your eCommerce store and making it stand out from the crowd is as easy as playing around with the content blocks to your heart’s content. With no need for coding knowledge, even beginners can get an individualised Squarespace store up and running in no time.

Simplicity is key

Not only does Squarespace facilitate ease and aesthetics, by upgrading to one of their business plans you can display an unlimited amount of products on your site. For small business that rely on content to increase their SEO reach and create dynamic relationships with clients Squarespace outshines Shopify for its accessibility. Shopify plays in the big leagues of eCommerce and hosts businesses that often have big website budgets, but for small businesses Squarespace provides universal usability, intuitive design and autonomy at a fraction of the cost.




Squarepace vs. SmugMug

If you’re reading this blog you have undoubtedly heard of Squarespace and its powerful yet easy-to-learn functionality as a website builder. But have you heard of SmugMug?

SmugMug is a website builder created by photographers for photographers. It serves a fairly niche market in that respect and was designed to allow photographers to build their own websites that seamlessly showcase their work.

Because of their focused client group SmugMug offers particular features that greatly serve photographers, such as unlimited photo storage and secure galleries. And, like Squarespace, SmugMug offers templates and drag-and-drop features meaning even a newbie can try building their site straight away.

But don’t sign up just yet.

Customisation

Squarespace and SmugMug both offer the drag-and-drop experience when building using one of their templates: Simply choose a feature and drag it to where you want - it’s the lego system of websites.

But while Squarespace’s lego-building blocks are often described as “intuitive” and user-friendly, SmugMug is nothing short of fiddly. Customisation lends itself to be complicated and there are many sob stories on the internet of people accidentally clicking a button on SmugMug to find a feature or their site changed forever. Risky.

Blog

One of the huge disadvantages of SmugMug is the distinct lack of a blog feature. Yup, really. If you want to create a blog on your SmugMug-powered site you’ll need to add a third-party site to do so. Or you can resign yourself to a page and a couple of text boxes. But with so much website traffic generated today by content and blogs this is a missed opportunity on SmugMug’s part that could translate into missed revenue and traffic for its customers.

Squarespace naturally has a blogging feature - in fact, they have many, depending on the template you choose, and then plenty of extra features for your blog within each template. It’s hassle-free, leaving you with more time to write that awesome post you’ve been working on.

Another important thing to note is SmugMug takes 15% commission on every item sold through one of their sites. Squarespace’s transaction fees are 0 -3% depending on your plan.

Conclusion

SmugMug and Squarespace appear to offer the same service - but not to the same people. SmugMug is truly made for photographers to showcase their work, and even assumes most photographers are tech-savvy enough to navigate their customisation system. So unless you’re looking to pay a 15% fee on each product sold through your website that cannot generate traffic through blog posts and is hosted by a builder many people haven’t heard of, go with Squarespace.

Squarespace vs. WordPress

So, you need a website. The good news is it’s never been easier to build one. The bad news is there’s a lot of conflicting information out there for a newbie. Let me break it down for you:

The two big contenders today are Squarespace and Wordpress. Squarespace is a website-builder that offers in-built, templates, features and intuitive use. Wordpress has two branches - wordpress.org is open-source code and wordpress.com is the average joe version.

Google Employees vs The Rest Of Us

Both versions of Wordpress are a top choice for those who know the ins and outs of coding (or are even versed in multiple code “languages”) but for the rest of us code is just a bunch of nonsense on a screen.

Enter Squarespace, who offers every client ease, comfort, and a sleek and intuitive interface. Your ability to use Squarespace is not dependent on your ability to decrypt Javascript and everyone can easily navigate its tools and produce a beautiful, professional-looking website. It’s kind of like the difference between a Linux computer and an Apple computer - the professionals of the world enjoy the open-source freedom the Linux Operating System gives them, meaning they can code their own programs and tweak the OS perfectly to their needs. The majority, however, enjoy the comfort Apple has to offer and wouldn’t even know what to do with a source code if presented with one. Squarespace, like Apple, has already predicted your needs and resolved your problems - they use their expert knowledge so you don’t have to become one yourself.

Blind editing vs Drag and Drop previews

One of the most amusing things of working with Wordpress.com is seeing the high-spec front-end of a website (the part of the site presented to the world) dissolve into Wordpress’ uniform and monolithic back-end. No matter how flashy or individual each site appears, everyone working with Wordpress has to navigate the same button-riddled back-end in order to make their changes.

For those without a photographic memory this renders editing a bit complicated because Wordpress does not offer a real-time preview of your changes. In fact, the preview function will open the front-end of your site in another tab meaning you then have to compare the back-end and front-end to find the problem if there’s an issue with the modifications. This preview does not update automatically, meaning every time you make a change in the back-end and wish to see the result you’ll have to reload that preview function.

Squarespace takes a different approach offering a real-time drag-and-drop built-in preview-extraordinaire. Picking, switching and personalising your templates could not be easier with their drag-and-drop function: building your site is as easing as stacking lego blocks and their preview function means the site appears before your very eyes as you build. This is called What You See Is What You Get editing. The back-end of your site is presented as the front-end with editing functionality meaning you won’t get lost as you build and changes are easier to imagine. Let your creativity fly!

Mobile

The quality of Squarespace’s designs and functionality are world-renowned for good reason. Not only do they offer over 60 impeccably-designed templates to work from, every single one of these templates is mobile-optimised ensuring your website is perfectly adapted for mobile devices with no extra work on your part. The mobile view is automatically built in with every template so you can monitor how your site will appear on a phone or tablet. Considering over half of all website traffic worldwide is generated through mobile phones this is vital for anyone building a site.

Wordpress has thousands of designs to choose from for your site, however this aesthetic freedom does not guarantee quality. If you choose an older theme you might miss out on mobile-optimization meaning your new website will look outdated to half of your visitors.

Plug-ins vs Built-In

Every Squarespace template comes with loads of tools and features for ecommerce, customisation, blogging and design - to name a few! Here are some examples of the tools integrated on Squarespace’s platform:

  • Free Typekit and Google fonts

  • Adobe Image Editor

  • Install multiple templates

  • Social integration

  • Email campaigns

  • Quick product view

All of these - and many, many more - come with your standard Squarespace editor. Simply go to your dashboard, click the feature you want, and drag-and-drop to your heart’s content. You’ll be up and running in no time. And the cherry on the cake? Squarespace updates and introduces new features all the time at no extra cost.

Wordpress is a powerful website builder thanks to the thousands of plug-in options. Wordpress does have some built-in features but to make the most of the site’s functionalities users need to search and download plug-ins and apps. You also need to keep an eye out for new releases and update your site manually. Whilst the range is vast this does leave your site more vulnerable to hacking. An outdated site is a huge security threat - a quick google search of “wordpress plugins hacked” show multiple articles warning readers of the plug-ins to avoid. Not everyone has the time to manage their site for fear of an impending security risk - nor should you - which is why Squarespace is a safe and viable alternative.

Conclusion

Unless you’re inundated with job offers from Silicone Valley or willing to hire a full-time expert Squarespace is my professional recommendation to everyone. Enjoy their breadth of quality templates, built-in features and high-level security that make building and maintaining a website easier than ever before. And for the tricky bits that involve maximising your business reach? That’s where I come in.