WordPress vs Squarespace

A Comparison of WordPress with Squarespace – A One Stop Shop Web Solution

WordPress(.org) is an open self hosted blogging platform while Squarespace is a controlled hosted solution.

The criteria I’ve identified are

  • Ease of Use – for a nontechnical user
  • Initial Cost – covering domain, hosting and service fees
  • Time to Get Up And Running – how long to launch a basic site?
  • Out of the Box Capabilities – what functions are available?
  • SEO friendliness – how does the site rank in the search engines – can you tune it?
  • Extensibility – how easy is it to add features?
  • Security – what security holes have been reported?
  • Maintenance – how often is routine maintenance required?
  • Support – how can I get help?

WordPress vs Squarespace – Ease of Use

WP 1 – 1 SS
Both are pretty easy to use from the standpoint of posting articles and creating pages. As regards creating a specific look and feel this depends on the choice of WordPress Theme or Squarespace Style Template. No customization of look and feel was considered as part of this two hour evaluation.

WordPress vs Squarespace – Initial Cost

WP 1 – 1 SS
For both you need to buy a domain. With WordPress you can host for around $5-10 a month at any hosting company you like while with Squarespace you need to host on their servers with the low end package being $8 a month

WordPress vs Squarespace – Time to Get Up And Running

WP 1 – 1 SS
The basic site we considered was 4 posts, an about page, a faq and a RSS feed. This takes a couple of hours with both Squarespace and WordPress.

WordPress vs Squarespace – Out of the Box Capabilities

WP 2 – 0 SS
Wordpress has hundreds of plugins and themes due to the large WordPress community while Squarespace has tens of plugins and themes.

WordPress vs Squarespace – SEO friendliness

WP 2 – 0 SS
Wordpress gives you the ability to control title and meta description tags and hence search engine optimization is possible. Squarespace gives very limited control over the title tag as it is restricted to some combination of the site name and the post name.

WordPress vs Squarespace – Extensibility

WP 2 – 0 SS
Wordpress does allow some extensibility through EXEC-PHP plugin which allows you add snippets of custom code. Also the Thesis Theme allows customisation through custom functions in the themes/custom/custom_functions.php file. Squarespace on the other hand maintains tight control over its server and hence customization is limited to styles.

WordPress vs Squarespace – Security

WP 0 – 1 SS
Due to the open source nature of WordPress development security weaknesses appear from time to time. They are quickly resolved however the onus is on the site owner to upgrade quickly. Squarespace is on a tightly managed platform so any problems are not publicized.

WordPress vs Squarespace – Maintenance

WP 0 – 2 SS
With WordPress there are often updates to plugins and on average, quarterly updates to WordPress itself. You need to do WordPress maintenance yourself or pay someone to do it. Squarespace maintenance is taken care of by Squarespace

WordPress vs Squarespace – Support

WP 0 – 1 SS
With WordPress there is a large community of users so the answer is usually out there. Squarespace also has user a user community but much smaller but it does have a strong technical support team you can call for help.

WordPress vs Squarespace – Final Score

WP 9 – 7 SS

WordPress is a winner based on more functionality and search engine friendliness. The main weakness of WordPress is around the support model but this can be adequately addressed either by learning about WordPress yourself so you become self-sufficient in WordPress maintenance activities. Or you can pay somebody else to perform these activities for you – such as the Power Blog Service.

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