The first major decision in creating a website is choosing which platform to build it with. Make the right decision, and building your website will be a smooth experience. Make the wrong decision, and you will quickly become frustrated and likely have to delay the launch date.
To help you make the right decision, we’ve broken down everything you need to know regarding WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace. We’ve chosen these three services since they’re the most popular options and likely the ones you're considering. In this blog, you’ll find a brief overview of the three services. We then dive deeper into them and compare them all on features, customization, and price.
Pros: Lots of templates, drag and drop builder, quick and easy to use.
Cons: Only for basic or small websites, can’t switch templates without losing content, extreme lack of customization.
Best For: Creative professionals looking to create a portfolio site or extremely simple small business websites (i.e one page).
Wix is the simplest website builder on this list. However, with that comes limitations in just how much you can customize your website. That’s the familiar theme you will notice when comparing WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace. The simpler the service, is the more you give up in customization or flexibility and vice versa. Wix makes it possible to create a simple website without any coding knowledge.
For businesses, Wix is suitable if you just want an extra simple website and are essentially fine with just tweaking a template. When it comes to customizing the website and adding extra functionality, you’ll quickly hit a wall. That's why we would only recommend it if you just need a website to test out a business idea before going all in on it. Or if you just need to get something up quickly and have plans to create a more substantial site later on.
Ultimately, Wix makes it especially hard to tailor your website to your brand. Rather, you will have to tailor your brand to the website. We don’t think that’s an acceptable solution to most businesses. So, on to Squarespace.
Pros: Easy to use like Wix but with more features and customization.
Cons: Limited amount of themes compared to WordPress and Wix, all Squarespace sites have a similar look making it hard to differentiate your brand. Definitely more of a learning curve than Wix.
Best For: Small Business owners looking to create a modern website and needs more features than Wix offers but don’t want to hire a developer.
Squarespace is not as simple to use as Wix, but it offers more features and gives you more control over your website Overall, the two services are very similar. Still, you are likely going to run into limitations if you try to go too far outside the walled garden. These limitations are in place so the user experience remains tight and someone without coding knowledge can’t accidentally break the site.
Squarespace websites all sport a modern, boutique looking design which makes more of a statement than Wix. It definitely seems that they had musicians and other artistic professionals in mind over small business owners based on this design choice. Still, if your brand is boutique and hipster enough, we could definitely see Squarespace fitting the bill. Especially if you just need something simple and are looking to bootstrap a new company.
For this reason, we could see Squarespace working if you are just looking to test a business idea before going all in. But ideally, it’s best for creative professionals looking to highlight their own work, again just do the customization limit.
Pros: Highly customizable, not missing any major features, less expensive than Wix/SquareSpace, future proof, open source.
Cons: Need to hire a web developer or designer to get the most out of the platform.
Best For: Businesses that needs a customized website and robust feature set.
WordPress is unquestionably the most feature packed and functional website building platform here. Just ask any web developer, and they’ll tell you when comparing WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace, WordPress is the best. No competition. WordPress is infinitely customizable, and adding extra functionality to your website can be as easy as just installing a plugin.
With WordPress, you're free to create anything you can think of and aren’t limited by cookie cutter templates. However, to get the most out of the open-sourced software offered by WordPress.Org, you're going to need a web developer or designer. That’s the main downside.
The learning curve is pretty significant if you are looking to design/develop a website with no prior experience. In fact, we would recommend against doing that. You will have better results in the end if you just hire a professional web designer. However, WordPress is still easy enough to use that you can manage it once it’s built. Things like adding new blog posts, editing the website copy and images are all things you could handle on your own.
When it comes to comparing WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace, it’s clear that the services are catering to two distinctly different audiences. This ends up impacting the user experience and overall feature set in a big way.
On one end, you have Wix and Squarespace. Both are similar in that they are drag and drop building website tools. However, Squarespace offers a more complete and robust feature set. You can edit the CSS, create multiple user accounts & set access levels, import or export blog or e-commerce data, and manage your site on the go with Squarespace’s mobile app. But, this comes at the cost of usability since there’s a learning curve.
While not a big deal if you are a pro web designer, if you are just trying to set up a website with no web design experience, then Wix may be better for you. Just because it is even simpler to use than Squarespace. Ultimately their feature sets are very similar. When it comes down to deciding between Wix vs. Squarespace, it all comes down to weighing ease of use versus features. There’s essentially nothing you can do with Wix that you can’t do with Squarespace. But there’s a whole lot you can do with Squarespace than you can with Wix. If you know what you're getting into with both platforms, unless you need the extra features of Squarespace you can get by with either platform.
Now, WordPress has more features than both of these platforms. But you definitely need some development and design experience to get the most out of them. And those skills aren't something you can learn on the fly. It took us months of working on websites at an agency before we were able to put together good looking websites on our own. Now, WordPress is flexible enough that you could actually install a drag and drop page builder and have a (somewhat) similar experience to Wix and Squarespace.
But what really sets WordPress apart is it’s much more powerful Content Management System (CMS). With WordPress CMS, you can better manage the content of your website and improve your overall workflow. You can save multiple page or post versions and edit in the background before making the changes on your website. Unlike on Squarespace and Wix.
And if your business website is going to be large, you’re almost forced to go with WordPress. That’s because Squarespace and Wix limits you to two levels of navigation. Meaning, at most you can only have on sub-page on a parent page. For example, under “Our Services” you would only be able to link to one other page of services. This is a huge deal breaker. Quite frankly, we are stunned by this limitation, although we imagine it's just to save bandwidth on the servers they run on.
WordPress is a much better-featured website builder. It really unlocks your creative potential and there are no barriers of any sort in your way. With Wix and Squarespace, you need to put up with significant barriers and missing features, but the tradeoff is it’s significantly easier to build a small & simple website.
Again, we find Wix and Squarespace to line up one end of this spectrum and WordPress on the other. WordPress is the most customizable website builder on the market. Its open source code allows anyone to download WordPress and edit the code to produce their own version. There are also many themes available that can dramatically change the look and feel of your website. They aren’t so much templates, but rather style guides that alter the look of the elements on the site.
WordPress also has a library of 10,000+ plug-ins that can unlock lots of functionality for your website. Adding an online order service, reservation system, or e-commerce store can all be done with plugins. WordPress shines in the customization department, which is just where Wix and Squarespace stumble. We’d argue the main feature of Wix and Squarespace is their ease of use. The fact that you could get something on the internet without any coding knowledge would have seemed crazy in the ’90s. But with that comes the customizability trade-off.
With both platforms, you can’t even edit the direct code of the website. Rather, you're limited to whatever the template allows you to do. Wix and Squarespace are essentially cookie-cutter solutions. You can create a website from a bunch of pre-built elements. But try and go beyond those basic elements, and you will quickly run into the walled garden issue. When it comes to customization, this is WordPress bread and butter, while it’s the Achilles heel of Wix and Squarespace.
When it comes down to choosing between WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace, it's likely cost is a big consideration for you. Essentially, WordPress is more expensive up front but over the lifetime of your website, Wix/Squarespace will likely run you more.
WordPress.Org is free to download and an open source platform. The costs that are associated with it are the theme you buy and the hosting costs. Also, you will likely want to hire a freelance web designer or developer to unlock the full potential of what WordPress offers. There is no monthly fee for using the service, which can’t be said for Wix and Squarespace. Below is Wix’s pricing plan.
Followed by Squarespace's pricing.
Ultimately, it will run you about $10 - $40 per month to go with either of these options. The bigger your website or business and the more features you will be needing, the more the price will increase. It’s not hard to see how this can quickly result in a pretty expensive bill at the end of the year. Likely, it will cost a few hundred dollars. Definitely not cheap, especially if you are a small or low budget business that these platforms are aimed at.
WordPress will still be more expensive upfront should you choose to hire a developer. To us, that extra cost is more than worth it. With WordPress and a developer, you will get a much more complete website. It’ll be much more customized to fit your sales funnel so you can leverage your website as a lead generation tool. And you will have complete control over your website.
Ultimately, it will be a great investment for your business that will set you up for future success. Once you view the cost of a website as an investment instead of an expenditure, it’s clear what platform provides the most value.
How To Choose Between WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace
It all comes down to what you want out of your website and what your budget is. If you just need a portfolio website, want to test out a business idea or literally just need to list some contact info on the web, Wix or Squarespace can work. But if you think you're going to want anything more from your website, you definitely should go with WordPress.
For an established business (large or small) we don’t even think it’s a conversation. In terms of budget, with WordPress, you’re looking at hiring a web developer or designer. But with Wix and Squarespace, you can get away with designing it yourself. But then you will have to pay much more money monthly, compared to WordPress.
The cost over the years and months can quickly add up. Before you know it, you could have spent hundreds on your website and have nothing but the most basic of websites to show for it. What seals the deal in our mind for WordPress is long term viability. WordPress has been around for over ten years and is the most popular website builder in the market. It's an open source software and it’s not going anywhere.
However, Wix and Squarespace are privately owned companies. The software behind them is proprietary –not open source. If one of the companies were to go out of business, no one is really sure what would happen to your website. If you're serious about business and in it for the long term –it’s simple. Go with WordPress.