Squarespace is a popular platform, but let me tell you the difference and how to choose the right one for you. Hint: it’s WordPress!
Recently, I decided to overhaul my photography business. Part of that included a redesign my now defunct Wix Photography website. This is a poor choice in today’s market. After some research, I narrowed the options down to Squarespace vs WordPress.
My website history
The website was slow to load and the overall design and theme were not user-friendly. It’s also not optimized for all devices.
There are many sites that allow you to show your work, such as Flickr, Instagram and 500px. However, nothing is more professional than a website with your own URL.
You have two options: either you use a website building tool or you build it yourself using an open-source, self-hosted platform like WordPress.org (not WordPress.com, which is more similar to a website builder). It can look very similar to a pre-made website builder, depending on which WordPress theme you choose.
This blog post is a Squarespace vs WordPress comparison. However, there are many website builders that you can choose from.
- … and many other things
Before I go on, let me say that I’m not being paid by WordPress or any website builders. I chose two of my favorite website builders, and I added another because I was previously with them.
Website builders offer a website that is ready to go with high-quality template designs. You just need to follow the steps and then upload your content. They take care of all the hard work.
This route is the right one. Perhaps you don’t enjoy coding or prefer simplicity of use. Or maybe you are short on time and require it immediately. It will likely be the former for most people.
Alternatives could take weeks or even months of development. The website builder option can take as little as a couple of hours up to several days depending on how complex your website is. Let me tell you about the three options I would consider.
Which is your favorite? Squarespace is currently the best. Squarespace is the best choice if I had gone this route. Squarespace has some of the most modern, high-quality websites.
Squarespace is a sponsoring platform that allows multiple creators to be featured. This may have been obvious to anyone who watches YouTube. Their partnership with creators has resulted in some stunning websites.
Alen Paander and Sean Tucker are two good Squarespace examples. These two examples have a clean and simple design.
Sign up now and get started creating. It takes only a few minutes to get started. The trial period is 14 days. After that, you don’t need to pay anything. Squarespace allows you to create your website immediately.
Squarespace believes that once you have created your website, you will be convinced to sign up. It’s tempting.
This interface, which is a left-side bar control panel, is easy to use and intuitive. It is also consistent across all themes. WordPress themes can have many sidebar structures, and not all of them are as ergonomic as the others.
Squarespace is intuitive. Everything I needed was right there. In WordPress, setting that you need can get lost in layers of menus can make it frustrating.
Squarespace uses a drag-and-drop user interface to edit elements. However, the template determines how much you can modify. It works with an on-page editing system. It allows you to simply go to the page you wish to edit, and then make changes there. You can see the changes in real-time.
WordPress requires you to log in to the backend to edit, and then to check the font end for the final results. It can be frustrating to go back and forth. It is better to see the changes immediately.
Squarespace’s template designs are what sets them apart from other companies. These templates are stunning. Every detail, from the layout to the small things like font pairings and symbol designs, has been carefully considered to make them look stunning.
They look modern and minimalistic, and they are easy to use. They work as well as they look.
There are no clunky templates to be found. No jittery or sloppy menus. There are no dead spaces or margin issues. They just work.
Squarespace is so simple to set up and maintain, it’s why many Photographers avoid coding.
Squarespace offers the complete package: a domain, hosting, email, and support. This could be argued to be like having all your eggs in a single basket. It is a strong deciding factor if it works consistently.
Although I recommend that you have your domain URL with another provider, It would make it easier to move your domain URL from Squarespace.
Squarespace has a dedicated team that supports their platform 24/7 via email, live chat, and Twitter.
Although they don’t provide a phone line, I found it odd. However, having used WordPress support, I found that email and live chat were sufficient. To get the best support, it is essential that your support team can access your website to diagnose any issues. Phone support seems redundant.
Squarespace has a lot of articles and a growing community. Although it doesn’t match WordPress, Squarespace seems to be more than enough for website maintenance.
Format is an alternative to Squarespace. Format is a website theme that can be used for all genres. Squarespace does not offer such themes, but Format was created with photographers in mind. Format will be high up on any list of ‘Best Photography website builders’.
Their website builder was very similar to Squarespace. It was similar to Squarespace’s interface, with a sidebar and few steps to reach every setting.
Squarespace offers the same functionality and ergonomics as Squarespace. It was easy to use the platform.
Squarespace’s main difference is in its theme design. Although I believe Squarespace is the best, that’s subjective.
Format customers are great examples of what Format can do.
Format’s additional features are where Squarespace for Photographer is superior to it. Format was created for photographers and it shows. You should not overlook some of their other features.
Format allows for proofing which is essential for photographers, particularly wedding photographers. You can send your client a few photos by email or dropbox if the work is small. Email is not the best option if you’re a Wedding Photographer who needs to deliver hundreds to a few hundred images to your client.
Format allows you to create a private album that the client can access and download the final photos. It is easy for both the Client and the Photographer to access all the photos from one place, their website.
Adobe Lightroom’s Format Publisher is an incredible tool. It does exactly what it says. You can publish directly from Lightroom to your site. This tool reduces the time and steps required to publish.
Format is comparable to Squarespace in terms interface and design, but excels in features. It comes down to personal preference. I would recommend either.
Format offers 24/7 online support and is available to help you with your website in a matter of minutes.
Wix was the platform I used to create my first website, and it feels like years ago.
It took a while to load the website template. But we eventually got there. It’s certainly not as intuitive.
There’s a floating sidebar on the left and a floating widget widget on the right that contains general Photoshop tools. Squarespace is more intuitive and user-friendly than Squarespace.
It is just not as efficient as the other two. It takes some time to learn how to use the controls properly to get the most out of it.
You can choose from 40 templates for photography and they are high quality. Although it is subjective, I believe Wix’s templates don’t compare to Squarespace or Format.
Pricing Squarespace vs Format vs Wix
The objective difference is not only in aesthetic design, but also in the pricing.
Format offers the cheapest plan starting at PS4.70 ($6)/month, called ‘enthusiast.
Wix is second-cheapest, with their entry level plan starting at PS6/month. They offer four plans, the most expensive at PS18/month.
Squarespace is the most expensive plan. Squarespace offers two website plans as well as two online store plans. The entry-level plan starts at PS10/month and goes up to PS30/month for an online store with all the bells & whistles.
Squarespace would be my choice, with their PS15/month plan. Their superior design themes and ergonomic builder are my top picks for professional photographers.
Amateur hobbyists? The Squarespace entry-level plan is an option, but Format would be a better choice.
I knew I needed more than just a portfolio website. I wanted more options, more functionality, greater control over SEO and content delivery. Squarespace vs WordPress doesn’t mean you can design without full control. There is much more.
WordPress powers 3.2% of all internet. This is a huge number. WordPress is a popular choice.
Squarespace and Format allow Photographers to select a ready-to-go website. WordPress allows creators to have complete control over their website.
The multitude of plugins and themes that are available makes it possible to create a million different combinations. With the previous website builders, you could identify the template from the site, but with WordPress, you can create a website that is unique and different from any other WordPress website.
The community support offered by WordPress is unparalleled due to the number of web developers who choose it. Nearly all the problems I have encountered, I found solutions to, and I was able to solve them in different ways.
It is important to keep your theme and plugins updated. You could have problems if you don’t update them regularly or not at all. Squarespace and Format allow you to update your entire website whenever it happens. WordPress requires constant self-maintenance to stay current.
WordPress is but not unrestricted. This widely held myth must be dispelled.
Hosting is still expensive. Siteground has been the best WordPress hosting service I have found. Siteground is the most preferred hosting service because of its excellent support and WordPress-optimized design.
I recommend the ‘Grow Big!’ plan. Once your website has more visitors, you can upgrade.
Once hosting is in place, then it’s possible to make your website low-cost. It is usually the paid themes that offer the best website design, support, and user interfaces. I recommend that you invest in a quality theme and one plugin (which I will talk about further down).
WordPress was designed for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is essential if your content wants to be found by Google search engine crawlers, and ranked in search.
It doesn’t matter if your site is beautiful, it won’t be worth the code.
Yoast SEO plugins analyse your page, blog or article to determine what should be changed to make it more attractive to search engine crawlers.
WP Rocket is a caching plug-in. It’s the first one I recommend after Page Composers. It made my website so much more user-friendly.
WP Rocket will install and launch your website and help you organise it. This will reduce load times, improve speed and highlight areas that need improvement.
After installing WP Rocket, my website loaded in less than 3-9 seconds and then took 500ms to load.
WP Rocket can be purchased as a plug-in. As someone who wants to keep running costs low, I was keen to get as many plug-ins free as possible. This plug-in is incredibly valuable for such a low price. This plug-in will increase the performance of your website to the highest level.
It’s my opinion that it’s the only plug-in you should pay for. To get it, click here (This is an affiliate link that supports this website). I purchased the Single Licence and will renew it.
You will receive a 50% discount when you buy your licence. This discount is available until the expiration of your license. This is less than PS15, or $19 for a second year. It’s a great deal, personally.
You also get a 14-day money back guarantee.
According to research, website visitors will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. This is not a good sign. Visitors need instant information and if your website doesn’t provide it, they will leave. You can ignore website performance at your peril.
What is Squarespace and WordPress? There is no clear winner for your website. There are many options. It all comes down to you, your needs and your budget.
Squarespace is a great website builder if you:
- A website builder that is easy to use is what you want.
- Beautiful templates are what you want.
- It’s okay to be limited by the template design.
- Your URL, hosting, and website should all be in one place.
- Coding is not something you want.
If you are looking for a WordPress theme, choose WordPress
- You want full control over your website design.
- You would like to have more themes.
- SEO should be your absolute control.
- You desire more control over security levels.
- You need the best support network.