Squarespace, Wix or WordPress?
There are many factors to consider as you begin to think about which platform you would like to use to build a website for your business venture. Wix, Squarespace and WordPress are some of the most popular site-building platforms, and to this day I still use all 3 of them for different purposes. Some people pick favorites, but I think there’s a time and place for each of them. If there wasn’t, then one of these would eventually go out of business. This same philosophy applies to your business and its relationship to the industry you are in. You will be competing with other companies who are really strong in some areas, but if you can find your place in the market and offer something that excels in other areas, you can coexist with no fear.
No matter which option you choose, I recommend paying annually rather than monthly. The cost savings are pretty significant, and I think one year is a fair amount of time fully evaluate the platform. In this post, I will address the cost of each platform, and other strengths and weaknesses. If you are serious about starting a business, I don’t think cost should play any role in your decision. You should only be concerned with cost if you are unsure about starting the business to begin, or if it is just a hobby. I’m going to ignore the cost of domains for simplicity, which usually is about $20-25/year no matter which platform you choose. For hosting, I recommend you do not use a third-party to host your website. It’s a lot easier to host on these platforms and keep everything in a single pane of glass.
The cost of running your website on Squarespace is $216/year for the business package. As your free trial period comes to an end, they may even offer you a deal where you can get the first year for about $175.
The greatest strength of Squarespace, by far, is the ease of use. If you don’t have time to commit to learning how to build a website, this is your best option. They give you prebuilt templates that are constructed so that your website can translate easily to a mobile device too (we call this “responsiveness” in the design field). Another huge plus, is that they include G Suite with your subscription so you can have an email address @ your domain. The other options have added costs for this feature.
Using drag and drop, you can easily move stuff around and load the template up with photos and text. If Apple made a website builder, this would be it. Now of course, there are some downfalls. Your ability to customize and move things a fraction of an inch are pretty limited. Squarespace is meant for people who don’t want to deal with coding, padding/margins, etc., so if their templates don’t work for you, there’s not much you can do.
To sum it up, Squarespace is the lowest cost of all the three options, easiest to use, and takes the least amount of time to set-up. You can get a nice, clean looking website built fast even if you have 0 experience. But your customization options are limited. Overall, I think this is a great starting point if this is your first website. After one year, you may decide to try something else.
The cost of running your website on Wix is between $216 and $324/year, depending on the package. They have a lot of different options to choose from, depending on which features you may need (online shop, logo design, etc.). Many of their options include Ad Vouchers for Google ads, which is pretty nice! However, Google ads are quite expensive so $100 doesn’t get you very far.
Similar to Squarespace, this company wants your business and will often send you promotional offers toward the end of you free trial that can give you significant savings on your first year with them. In my experience, they offer better first-year promo deals than Squarespace does!
The greatest strength of Wix is the ability to customize with little knowledge of coding. The amount of widgets, stock photos, editing options and other web elements out of the box is virtually unbeatable. Wix does have much more of a learning curve than Squarespace, but once you figure it out, you can get quick with it. It is very slick, but because of an overwhelming amount of features you may feel lost for a while. If you are very tech-savvy and are willing to invest a bit of time into building your website, Wix can bring your vision to life. Unlike Squarespace, Wix makes it easy to move things around (even a fraction of an inch) so you can make everything perfect. One of the downfalls here is the way they handle responsiveness (as we talked about earlier). You can build a perfect website for desktop, but you will need to invest many hours into tuning up the mobile version of each page you built.
To sum it up, Wix is in the middle cost-wise, and allows unlimited customization but requires an investment of time to get things looking nice. If you have time to invest and are willing to watch YouTube tutorials and read guides to learn the ropes, this may be my top recommendation for building a website yourself. Once you get the hang of it, your options is pretty much limitless.
The cost of running your website on WordPress is $300/year for the business package. And you’re going to want the business package because the lesser options don’t give you access to their plugins. We’ll talk about plug-ins later. WordPress isn’t as good about giving you first-year deals as the other two options, but that’s because they know they are the best. The thing with WordPress is, you have to pay additional costs for just about everything. If you were to build a website using what they give you for $300/year out of the box, you probably won’t be all that impressed.
It’s a very clunky platform. If you want to take advantage of the benefits of WordPress, then you should consider purchasing themes/templates on third-party websites (ie. Themeforest), which are about $60. Adding in Gmail costs an additional $120. The costs can add up.
The greatest strength of WordPress is the library of plug-ins, and the ability to customize. Think “App Store”. The hundreds of thousands of plugins are all created by third-party developers for various purposes, and you can find a plug-in for just about any feature you could possibly need. You can use these to duplicate pages easily, to translate language easily, add web security, create unique widgets, create forms, or optimize SEO. The list is endless. Every aspect of every web page you build can be moved down to the millimeter, and your customization is unlimited. This may sound very appealing, but it can also be overwhelming. Learning how to navigate in WordPress’s clunky and uninspiring user interface is not very enjoyable. Sometimes you will run into issues with how your website is displayed and you will have to add some code to fix issues. Sometimes plug-ins will stop working because they aren’t up-to-date. Similar to Wix, you will have to adjust every single page to display properly on mobile.
Quite frankly, the options are limitless but it is a lot of work and is the most expensive option. My relationship with WordPress is very bipolar- I have created some of my best work on this platform, but it also causes the most frustration and headaches of all of these options. That said, their customer service is absolutely impeccable. They are the only platform where I actually had to use their customer service because it’s so easy to mess something up, but their staff is amazing and patient and extremely helpful. I have some comfort in knowing that if I break my website, I have someone who can help me out (another benefit to letting them host your site).
In conclusion, if you are building your website yourself, Squarespace is the best for entry-level and allows you to build a nice website without a ton of headaches and the G Suite is a huge added benefit. Wix is superior to Squarespace if you are willing to invest double or triple the time because it gives you unlimited customization. And WordPress I would suggest leaving to the experts, like GoodBoy Design, because while it can create the most beautiful websites, it’s a huge pain in the @$$.