Squarespace vs WordPress: 2020 Web Hosting Price, Free Trials & Ease of Use Compared

So you want create a website — perhaps to show off your wallet while look for work, to share information with wedding guests or to support your business (especially now that so many events have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic). The only problem is that you don’t know where to start. Enter website building services WordPress.com and Squarespace, two solid options for quickly moving from an idea to a live site.

WordPress.com and Squarespace are hosted website building platforms that give you tools and templates to create a custom website on your own domain without any coding experience. Although the end results of each site may be similar, their user interfaces and prices are very different.

Read more: The best web hosts for 2020

Here’s everything you need to know to decide if WordPress.com or Squarespace is the best website building platform for you.

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If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, you’ve probably heard ads for Squarespace. It’s an all-in-one hosted platform that differentiates itself from others in the market with its design acumen, founder and CEO Anthony Casalena told CNET.

“We strive to create the most seamless end-to-end experience within our platform,” Casalena said. “There’s no software to upgrade or plugins to maintain. Everything you need — from domains to email marketing to e-commerce tools — is built right into Squarespace.”

Squarespace makes it easy to integrate functionality for portfolios, blogs, and commerce sites into a single package, instead of having to patch it yourself, Casalena said. It also offers business sites the ability to sell products online and in person with a POS system, sell services, accept donations, and book appointments. Online businesses can also take advantage of third-party extensions such as QuickBooks Online.

Start building a Squarespace site with a 14-day free trial, no credit card required. You can skip each of these steps, but I found them helpful. First, search through the “what’s your site about” options for starter ideas and examples, ranging from a personal resume site to education to fitness. Next, select your main goals, such as selling products, promoting yourself or your business, or getting appointments. Then tell the site where you are in the process, such as “gathering inspiration” or “growing an existing business.” From there, you’ll see several different templates available to start with.

You will receive a brief tutorial on how to create, edit and style pages. The interface is simple and easy to use – just click on an area of ​​your site you want to edit, and do it right away. You can click an icon to switch between the desktop version and a mobile preview of your site. Built-in SEO tools can help your site get more traction in web searches.

Squarespace’s beautiful templates can be especially appealing to photographers and visual artists. Its affinity for style and its all-in-one platform are also very attractive to small business owners and entrepreneurs, as it saves them from having to hire a designer, consultant or e-commerce expert to create and maintain an attractive and functional website.

“Squarespace allowed me to get started with no prior development knowledge and create a professional-looking website,” said Julia Goldstein, who runs JLFG Communications. “I can quickly and easily update content, add pages, and more. Templates work seamlessly to create a uniform look and feel. Features like a mobile-friendly website and analytics are built-in to the platform, and it integrates well with third-party apps. . I don’t spend a lot of time figuring out how to deal with website issues.”

If you already have your own domain name (like YourName.com), you can transfer it to Squarespace, so that the same address is then hosted on its platform.

Pricing

Pay monthly or save money with an annual subscription to Squarespace. here is how much does a squarespace site cost:

  • Personal: $12 per month, billed annually at $144 (or $16 per month billed monthly)
  • Enterprise: $18 per month, billed annually at $216 (or $26 per month billed monthly)
  • Commerce Basic: $26 per month, billed annually at $312 (or $30 per month billed monthly)
  • Advanced Commerce: $40 per month, billed annually at $360 (or $46 per month, billed monthly)

WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular open-source web publishing platform, powering more than 35% of all sites on the Internet, including the sites of The Walt Disney Company, Quartz and Mercedes-Benz. It’s a bit confusing, but WordPress.com is a WordPress-based hosted website building service. While WordPress requires you to purchase a domain name through another site and do more hands-on work to build your site, WordPress.com does all of that for you, making it easier to use, but more functional. limited.

Create a free test site to try out WordPress.com and select the type of site you want to create: blog, business, professional, or online store. I chose the professional category. Getting a basic version of the site was easy and only required a username, password, my name and the site name. You can then go to Design > Customize to do things like add a logo or a widget (like audio, a Facebook plugin, or a follow button).

WordPress.com is a bit less intuitive than Squarespace, and it takes some trial and error to figure out what you’re doing – although each section you click on has mini tutorials to help you out. But you can play with it for free and upgrade to a paid account if you like the results. You can also preview your site on desktop and mobile.

“The biggest thing we see with other website builders is that they might work well for one person in the short term, but because they’re not open ecosystems like WordPress, people quickly start getting confused. find themselves limited or locked in on how they can expand or customize to their growing business needs,” Mark Armstrong, managing editor at WordPress.com parent company Automattic, told CNET. “WordPress has the largest ecosystem of plugins, services, and developer and designer expertise, working hand-in-hand with the software.”

To extend and personalize your site, WordPress offers a number of plugins that appeal to users, including Yoast SEO (for SEO help), Jetpack by WordPress.com (for site security and performance management) and WPForms (to create a contact form).

“Depending on your client’s needs, WordPress can be highly customized with plugins and has a flexibility that simply cannot be matched with other template sites,” said Basil Larios, SEO Content Creator for Falcon. Marketing. “Whenever we run into hurdles with design, it’s usually because clients are building their sites first on a template basis. Once they start to see growth and want to bring more concrete changes, the model site becomes more restrictive than they originally expected.”

As with Squarespace, if you already have a domain name, you can transfer it to WordPress.com, so the same address is then hosted on its platform.

Pricing

You can create a basic site for free, if you accept that the domain is “YourSite.wordpress.com”. Or, you can register a domain like “sitename.com” which you pay for.

here is how much does a WordPress.com site cost:

  • Personal (best for personal use): $4 per month, billed annually at $48 (includes custom domain name and access to 24/7 support)
  • Premium (best for freelancers): $8 per month, billed annually at $9 (includes advanced design tools, custom CSS, and Google Analytics support)
  • Enterprise (best for small businesses): $25 per month, billed annually $300 (includes custom plugins and themes, 200GB of storage, and live support)
  • E-commerce (best for online stores): $45 per month, billed annually at $540 (includes a more powerful and flexible platform designed to grow as your business grows)

The bottom line

As with almost all online platforms, the best web building and hosting service for you depends on your individual needs. If you are a complete beginner in building a website and want a simple and intuitive platform with beautiful pre-made templates, I recommend Squarespace. But if you have a bit of experience building websites and want a highly customizable platform, I would go with WordPress.com.

The good news is that you can try WordPress.com and Squarespace for free, to get an idea of ​​what will work best for you. With the free version of WordPress.com, you can create a working website with a wordpress.com domain. With Squarespace, the free version of your site is set to private by default. Although you can upload it, it will be hidden from search engines and accessible only with the URL.

Pricing between Squarespace and WordPress.com differs: WordPress’ option for a personal site costs less ($48 per year for WordPress.com versus $144 per year for Squarespace), but its option for e-commerce costs more ($540 per year for WordPress.com versus $360). annually for Squarespace).


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James S. Joseph