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You’ve figured out your niche and can’t wait to get started blogging. The only problem is, you are not tech savvy and feel totally overwhelmed by the idea of setting up a blog.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry! There are plenty of options for building a professional website or blog, EVEN IF you are a beginner. Two of the top site builder options are WordPress and Squarespace, but they are very different from one another. Each has strengths and weaknesses. How do you know which one to choose? WordPress or Squarespace?
In this post, I’m going to walk you through WordPress and Squarespace to help you decide which site builder is best for you.
WHY CHOOSE WORDPRESS OR SQUARESPACE?
Customization and Design
When it comes to customizing your site, WordPress has many more options. It is an open source platform that lets users alter their codes to do anything they want. The downside of this for beginners is you might need to learn some basic coding, or to find a web developer who can help you.
Squarespace is a gated platform, which means only their in-house developers can change the codes or create tools for users. This means there are fewer customization options than WordPress, but on the upside Squarespace is more user friendly and is much easier for a non-tech person to learn.
Moving onto design. WordPress has literally thousands of themes, including a ton that are FREE, while Squarespace has a limited number of themes to work with. But you can still customize the Squarespace themes any way you want to create a beautiful, professional blog.
WordPress offers a huge number of tutorials, Q & A forums and troubleshooting guides, though there is no single phone number or email for customer support. But there is often support for your particular theme, which can be very helpful.
The theme I use is Victoria from Bluchic and the support is amazing! If you are having a problem, you can contact their support team directly and they will usually reply within the day. They also have tons of resources like how-to articles and video tutorials.
Squarespace also has live chat options with support representatives, and community forums on a huge range of topics. They also offer email support if you can’t find an answer to your questions in the forums. The email support is available 24/7, so you don’t have to worry if you get stuck while you are setting up your blog.
The overall cost of setting up a website or blog with WordPress is very low, starting at just $3.95 per month. If you want more features, or a faster site, you will need to spend more money than that on hosting. Or if your blog grows very fast and you have a whole lot of traffic, you will also need to pay more to upgrade your hosting plan.
WordPress has multiple options for adjusting or upgrading your hosting plan based on your needs, so it is easy to switch if you need to. With WordPress, you can select from a huge variety of affordable premium themes to best suit your needs. While there are also a ton of free themes, I really recommend investing in one of their premium themes as they are so much better.
The most affordable Squarespace option is their personal plan, which starts at $12 per month. The downside is some features are limited. You can only add two contributors, there is no e-commerce option, and no professional Google email. If you opt for a Squarespace business plan, you will pay $18 or more per month, depending on which plan you choose. The business plans have many more features, like unlimited contributors, pages and galleries, and plenty of e-commerce options.
SO WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF WORDPRESS?
WordPress offers tons of opportunities to customize codes, templates and plugins, and can be used to create any kind of website or blog. With WordPress, you have endless options to create a very attractive, professional website that captures your unique brand and personality. There are lots of professional looking themes, including many free ones.
Its has thousands of plugins for everything you can imagine, like lead capture, security and social media, and can be easily integrated with other platforms like Mailchimp and Google Analytics.
In short, WordPress has everything you need to create exactly the kind of site you want and can be used by beginners AND advanced users.
If you are a beginner, you might find WordPress is too advanced for you right now. There can be a big learning curve, so if you are new to WordPress you will probably need to put in a lot of time to learn it. Also, given how many options you have and the learning curve, it can be much more time consuming to create your site with WordPress than Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly.
While the initial cost of setting up a WordPress blog is often very low, you might need to invest in upgrades as your business grows. When you add in the costs of upgraded hosting, plugins and other features, WordPress might end up being more expensive than Squarespace.
The quality of the themes and plugins can be questionable, especially the free ones. Some of the themes and plugins are great, but there are also many terrible ones out there. That’s the downside of letting anyone build them! It may take time to sort through the themes and plugins before you find some really good ones that work for you. I suggest you ask other bloggers about their experience before you actually buy a theme, as I’ve had my share of bad ones!
WHAT ABOUT SQUARESPACE?
With Squarespace you have plenty of attractive templates to choose from, and they can be customized to fit your brand. It is simpler than WordPress, it doesn’t overwhelm you with choices. So it is much less challenging for beginners. For example, it is easy to add content, including images, videos and audio files, and the drag and drop content editor lets you design pages and posts. Their visual editor feature makes it easy to customize your templates and pages.
Since all their tools are created by Squarespace developers, they are high quality and compatible with the site. No poorly designed plugins here!
Many people find Squarespace to be more user-friendly than WordPress, which might make it better for beginners. Another big advantage is it allows you to get a professional website up and running quickly, even if you are not a tech person.
The main downside is Squarespace is pretty limited when compared to WordPress. You have a much smaller number of templates to choose from. This will restrict your design options. You also can only use Squarespace’s plugins and features, which means you are out of luck if they don’t have what you want.
Another big problem with Squarespace is that you can only use their hosting. There is no option to change the hosting if you want to. Also, with Squarespace you don’t actually own your site. This means they have the right to close it down. If you want to move your content to a new platform, they’ll only let you export some of it.
While it may be a great option for your first website, Squarespace is probably not the best choice for large businesses. Even if you invest in one of their business plans. As your business grows, you might find that Squarespace is just too limited for your needs and decide to start over again with WordPress. So while it is great when you are starting out and are new to website building, it might not work as well a year or two from now.
So those are the main differences between Squarespace and WordPress, based on my experience with them. I can’t say one is better than the other – it really just depends on what your needs are. I want you to take this information, think about which option is right for you, and start building your blog!
Now over to you: what site builder do you use, and what has your experience with it been like?