With so many options for deciding on which type of website platform is right for you, it's difficult to make a decision and may leave you in cognitive overload! Here we break down the differences between Square space, WordPress, and Wix so that you can finally decide once and for all what platform you should use for your blog!
So, you have narrowed it down, but still boggled? Rightfully so!
In the past you would have to hire a web developer, but now these providers make it easy with advanced software and plug and play features.
This article will compare all three website platforms: WordPress, Wix and Square Space so that you can make an informed decision.
We will walk through the pros and the cons for all in addition to pricing so that you can walk away knowing what you need!
When it comes to popularity, WordPress currently dominates the industry with 34% market share per kinsta.com, that’s 60% of the CMS (content management system) market.
WordPress is not just for blogging; they are the leading e-commerce platform. WordPress has been growing in market share one to four percent over the past 8 years.
From 2018 to 2019 Square Space’s market share increased from 0.7 to 1.9% (year over year 114% growth) and Wix market share increased from 0.4% to 1.0% (year over year 149% growth). Impressive growth!
When you start looking into WordPress sites you will see a dot org and a dot com option to purchase.
What is the difference between Wordpress.org versus Wordpress.com?
The difference between the .com and the .org is the website host for WordPress.
With wordpress.org, you decide on who hosts your blog or website. With wordpress.com they provide a host.
I recommend using the .org and going through Bluehost as your hosting provider. Why? Because it is a one stop shop for your domain, hosting and setting up your website.
Okay, what are hosting providers?
Hosting Providers are basically the land that your house (website) sits on. Your hosting provider hosts your website on their server.
It is up to them to keep your website live and running, safe and secure.
Pros of Wordpress
Best CMS System
As the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, it is no surprise that some of the most advanced sites like Vogue, Time, The Rolling Stone Magazine, Beyoncé, the New York Times and soooo many more big-name companies are using WordPress.
WordPress provides the most versatile option as a website platform because it is customizable to do and display anything that you might desire.
Although for beginners, word press requires a learning curve to get the hang of it, if you are a bit techie, its not too hard speaking from experience.
Even though I am a blogger, I wanted the versatility that WordPress offered and wanted to be sure that when I was ready to scale my company that I was on a platform in which I had faith could do so.
You are also able to change your template anytime you like so you are never hindered when you want to make an update.
Drop and Drag Plugin
I knew that I would need a type of software that had drag and drop capabilities and luckily there are over 50,000 third-party plug ins for WordPress as it is on the open market, so I knew I would be covered.
I ended up using Elementor for drag and drop software as it is super intuitive and works like a charm with only a small learning curve.
It also allows you to view and make changes to both mobile and tablet versions of your website.
I even upgraded to the Elementor Pro version solely based on its ability to provide more otherwise will need to know coding.
For those of you that are planning on using a web developer you will be happy to know that there are unlimited coding capabilities.
Creating a unique site that uses functionality that may be different or out of the box is 100% feasible on this platform.
There are over 55,000 plugins to choose from, which means that the sky is the limit on what you want your site to look like and how you want it to function. Check them out here.
There are some plugins that you may decide you want to pay for.
You may also want to check on reviews prior to downloading as with any open market, there are some lower quality plug-ins that you will want to filter through.
If you are looking to enter the ecommerce world then WordPress is your match.
It provides users with the ability to use WooCommerce free version and then scale up as necessary.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
WordPress is the most SEO friendly platform. They provide SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO to assist in ensuring each page on your website is SEO friendly.
With Yoast you will be able to see the keywords necessary to ensure that Google and other search engines can easily rank your site.
WordPress has backup plug ins such as updraft that will allow you to back up your site for free.
The backups can be stored easily on your Google drive so that if anything were to happen to your site, you can easily refresh based on the last save.
WordPress has become very cost effective and it is more affordable than you may think to have a customizable site that can do it all.
For example, I used Bluehost as my hosting provider (however there are many options out there) and bought my domain for two years all for under $200.
WordPress essentially is free and you just need to pay for registering your domain and hosting service.
I'll talk a little bit more about hosting later in the article.
However, WordPress beats SquareSpace with flexible pricing plans across a multitude of hosting providers available to choose from.
Cons of WordPress
Any tech literate person can figure their way around WordPress without knowing coding.
I certainly did and I am not an IT genius. It will require a bit of time to get the hang of things, however my school of thought was that I wanted the flexibility that the platform had to offer so I was willing to watch a couple of YouTube videos to ensure I was getting the hang of it.
SEO tools are very advanced for WordPress, but require a more hands on approach. It also may require a bit of a learning curve, but let’s be honest, all SEO does.
Some apps are low quality so it will require a bit of research to ensure that your new favorite plugins have rave reviews.
Because WordPress is highly customizable there are a wide variety of built in tools, however the same is true for the plug-in’s that you are able to download.
In my case, I downloaded Elementor and the majority of tools I use to build my blog are within that plug-in.
WordPress is more reliant on these types of app-based or plug-ins for their tools where other platforms have built in features.
Just as I mentioned that WordPress is open sourced, there is the susceptibility to download a plugin that may have malicious code lines or bugs.
Because it is the most popular CMS system in the world it is a target for hackers.
Not to worry though, your hosting provider can provide you with extra security and you are able to download additional security if you deem that important.
Squarespace has some of the most highly creative templates and intuitive designs on the market.
It is an easy to use drop and drag platform that many who don’t want to mess with hiring a web designer or for the less tech savvy go with
Pros of Square Space
Easy to manage
Because Squarespace offers in-house features (no plug-in’s) everything you need is already within the system.
There is no need to know coding, it is a system that is dedicated to helping creatives get online easily and look as though you had a developer create your site.
You can also preview changes as you make them. You can also change your template anytime you like.
Drag and Drop
One of the largest benefits is that Squarespace offers a drop and drag platform that you are able to customize within your desired template.
They also are a self-hosted website which means that you do not have to worry about updates or additional plugins.
When you sign up you sign up directly with Squarespace, no other providers.
There are over 60 well-designed templates to choose from.
Squarespace has some of the best built-in tools a website platform has to offer. Some of the features you can expect are:
- Free Type kit
- Adobe Image Editor
- Email Campaigns
- Social Integration
- Audio Collections
- Product Quick view
- Style Editor
- Video Backgrounds
- And more
Squarespace has specific templates designed for ecommerce. By connecting a payment processor, you can process credit card transactions online and sell your goods.
This is included within the premium package offered by SquareSpace for a higher monthly fee.
Square space has built-in SEO tools that you can use to ensure your site is ranking in google.
All square space templates are mobile optimized, so you do not need to worry about how your site will appear on your customer’s phone.
Every template has a mobile view that is built in so that you can preview your site before launching any changes.
You are not able to make changes to the mobile view, but fear not, all sites are mobile responsive, ensuring a positive user experience.
Cons of Square Space
Squarespace's learning curve is somewhat in the middle in comparison to Wordpress (being more) and Wix (being less). Expect a bit of time adjusting and learning the tools.
Although Squarespace is highly intuitive, it is not 100% beginner friendly. As I mentioned earlier SEO never really is. Squarespace’s SEO tools are less advanced than that of WordPress plug-ins.
Squarespace is less customizable than WordPress. This is because Squarespace has templates that are created for you so you are limited in functionality, where WordPress has no limitations.
Also, there is no plug-in or app store, so all features are already integrated into the platform. If you are looking to be able to customize without restrictions then you may want to look at WordPress.
Squarespace has a multitude of tools built right in, which is great, however I listed this as a con because you are reliant on the tools that they provide and are not able to upload additional features from outside the system.
Squarespace’s eCommerce platform allows you to sell and provides you with everything you need as long as you are on their business package at $26/mo.
There is a 3% transaction fee that you will need to account for and this is for smaller to medium sized businesses.
For a more robust eCommerce platform you will want to upgrade to their ECommerce package for $40/mo.
All sales tools are integrated into the platform and it is highly intuitive for those looking for an all in one platform.
With their eCommerce package you will have the following features:
- Scheduling tool for services
- Email collection and mailing list creation
- Social integration
- Map integration
- Built in tax tools
- Ease to offer discount codes
- Secure checkout on all devices
- Abandon cart recovery
- Shipping calculator and more.
All of these are included with the best plan. It is turn key, just sign up and start selling.
Squarespace is more expensive than Wix and potentially WordPress, all dependent on your needs.
There is no free plan, however, it is true to say that you can try the product for 14 days free. The available plans are as follows:
- Personal — $16 per month
- Business — $26 per month
- Basic Commerce — $30 per month
- Advanced Commerce — $46 per month
Wix is one of the most popular website platforms on the market and for good reason.
Similar to Squarespace, it offers a highly intuitive design and is great for the tech beginner who wants creative control. It is used by over 100 million people and has rave reviews.
Wix's system is the easiest to learn in comparison to the others. Its intuitive design makes it easy for the less techie to launch a site in no time.
There are hundreds of templates to choose from, over 500 to be exact. There is no need for coding as they have everything ready for you.
You can choose your theme based on category and then customize from there.
Drag and Drop Functionality
Wix offers a drag and drop functionality, however theirs is more customizable as it does not need to adhere to a template. You can literally drop and drag anywhere on the page.
For those of you that do have a little coding knowledge, you are able to use Wix code which will allow you to edit the raw HTML behind your template as well.
Unlike Squarespace, Wix provides their customers with a hybrid approach by offering in house tools and features and also allowing them to download apps / plugins for their site.
This gives users a bit more flexibility in customizing their site to their business needs. Some of the apps are free and some require a fee.
Some of the features Wix includes are:
- Mobile optimization
- Video backgrounds
- Scroll effects
- Unlimited fonts
Wix is a great beginner site that allows you to sell online without transaction fees. There are 3 different pricing options and 13 different payment platforms to choose from.
Wix SEO tools are built-in. You do not need to download anything extra and google is already integrated for analytics and console.
Wix makes it super easy for the beginner, all you do is add a few keywords and it will guide you through the process creating a personalized strategy for you.
Wix automatically provides you with a mobile view of your website so that you can ensure your mobile users are getting a good user experience.
You also have the ability to make mobile edits only to your site as well.
Once you choose a template with WIX you are not able to change it.
For those businesses that are looking to grow and scale, this may be a cause for concern. You may need to spend more on third party apps in order to scale your site.
Drag and Drop Feature
One of the largest cons to Wix is that the drag and drop feature sometimes is not as visually appealing as a structured format such as square space. This is because
Tracking and Analytics
This does not come free with Wix; you will need to buy a paid plan in order to use Wix’s tracking and analytics.
Wix's free plan is great to get your business off the ground, however WIX forces their users to keep the Wix branding on the site which can be a marketing turnoff to some.
Also, you it may be free, but you are not able to have your own domain. Your domain will be a Wix branded domain.
Otherwise the pricing plan options are below for a regular website.
Business and Ecommerce options are below.
Overall - The comparison across all three platforms
Overall Grid view is below that will show you the pros and the cons of each option.
Recommendation for Best Website Platform
For the less tech savvy, choose Squarespace or Wix.
Square space is intuitive and thoughtful and wins in eCommerce as long as you’re willing to pay the monthly fee.
Wix is the easiest to use, but does not allow you to change/scale your business website as the others more versatility will.
For those that do have a bit of tech ability, WordPress is the best contender. Although it takes a greater learning curve but has no limits to its customization, themes and plugins.
Word Press Hosting Recommendation
If your ready to dive into WordPress, then I recommend working with Bluehost as your provider.
It was SO easy!
If your completely new to the website creation game and you decide that your willing to take it on, know these 2 things that will make your life so much easier:
- Plugins – These are basically add on's to your site that you download (most are free).
- Elementor: It is a visual editor that is relatively easy to learn and will save you loads of time.
Outsourcing: For those that are not wanting to do it themselves
... but want the flexibility of a wordpress site:
- Option 1: Get a WordPress site (Affiliate link) for the flexibility and hire a web designer.
- Option 2: Look for companies that are startups and can offer a site package for an affordable rate. Sometimes you can google for local companies and that will give you the relationship you may want.
If you are outsourcing, I recommend having a good idea of what you want in a site by creating and inspiration board that indicates your ideal brand and your vision from a visual and a marketing perspective
One other thing that you need to know about me is that I love a good deal.
I am a little stingy with my $ and that said, I like to make sure that I am investing wisely. Not to mention, I don't have time to waste either.
Get Your Blog Online: Your Hosting Platform & Domain Name All In One: Bluehost
When I was going to buy my domain, I was not in the mood for messing around.
I don't have time for b.s. A domain name is what people type in to find your website, it is your web address.
I wanted a one stop shop that allowed me to buy my domain and have a hosting provider that was reliable and no hassle.
What provider should I pick?
I chose Bluehost for multiple reasons:
- It is one of the best options financially in regard to annual payments.
- It’s a one stop shop for your hosting, domain name and website platform
- They gave me a free business email i.e.) firstname.lastname@example.org (you receive 5 email addresses)
- One click installation with WordPress
Click here to get a great deal when you sign up with Bluehost.
With Bluehost I was able to get a great deal with no extra hassle. I thought about buying my domain on Go Daddy and I checked out other options as well, I just wanted to get it all in one place for an affordable rate.
When it came down to it, I wanted a one stop shop without dealing with transferring a domain etc.
What does the ideal hosting provider have?
- A good track record
- Good customer service
- Ease of layering your website on top of it
There is HostGator, go daddy, hostinger, and network solutions to name a few, however I felt that Bluehost provided all the traits I listed above as well as customization opportunities.
With unlimited bandwidth as well as 100 free email accounts, (not that you will use that many and dependent on the plan you choose) you have so many add on's.
Plus, it's dirt cheap. Starting at 3.95 per month, it is affordable with the bells and whistles.
They also give you $200 free in ad credits that you can use once your site is up and running (again dependent on the plan you choose).
Wordpress.org prefers Bluehost as their optimum hosting provider.
What if you already own your domain but need a hosting provider and a website provider?
Oh, if you already purchased your domain, then you can just enter it in here and no extra cost. That works too!
All you will have to do is have your domain name point to blue host.
Now...Get your blog online! Choose a Website provider!
First of all, if you choose Bluehost they prefer to work with WordPress and vice versa. It’s a one stop shop!
Why WordPress? Here are a few reasons I use WordPress.
- I wanted the flexibility to grow my site and not be limited in my design.
- I knew that WordPress was a leader in the industry and I wanted any web designer (if I needed help) to be able to help me on the spot. Most web designers know WordPress.
Isn't it difficult to manage? Well, not really. Here are the top reasons people choose WordPress:
- Over a quarter of all websites today are on the WordPress Platform!
- Ability to customize is endless
- So, here is the deal, when you get a website you have these cool things called plug-ins, think of them like accessories for your house. They curate the look, feel and ease of your house and make it look pretty.
- What I loved was once I installed WordPress, is that there are over 50,000 plug-ins, Check out the plug-in's here. Majority of them are FREE, as I said, I love a good deal!
- WordPress is Open Source
- Which means that anyone can create a plug-in
- Competition = Constant Development = Meaning that they will keep developing the best of the best for my site!
- With the ability to format your site in any way you want, the flexibility is amazing for customization
- Made not just for developers, but for the non tech-savvy as well
- I use a visual editor (Elementor) as well so that I can make my site pretty without using the code. Brilliant!
So, let’s get you started! Click here to sign up and hit the green button to get going!
Once you have begun, you get to choose your plan. Dependent on what you can afford, I recommend getting the Choice Plus Plan that provides you with the $200 ad credit and added security.
What does that "added security" mean? It means that with this plan your home address, phone, email, and additional personal information is guarded against online predators.
Bluehost takes care of securing this information for you so that it does not get leaked online.
In my opinion, it’s worth the extra...I don't need any crazies trying to harass or contact my family or myself. Your call friends, no judgement either way:)
Select Your Bluehost Plan
All you have to do is click the, "select" button to proceed with the plan of your choice.
Select Your Domain
Next, you will choose your domain name. If you already have one, great! If not, then you can search to see if your preferred name is available.
This is what it will look like below.
ONE TIP: Make sure that your social handles are also available as your choosing your name! Very important!
If your preferred name is not available, don't rush this step. Just select," I'll create my domain later" and take the time to research your name and the different options. See indication below.
Once you have entered your domain name or you have selected to create your domain later, you will be brought to the final sign up page as indicated below.
Create Your Bluehost Account
Now fill in all the details: Name, Address and Phone number. Wanna save some time? Connect your google account and it will auto fill for you!
Now you will choose the package that is right for you. In order to get the most savings, you would choose the 36-month price of $5.45 per month.
I decided to go with a two-year, 24-month package based on my needs for $6.95 per month.
Bluehost Add On's
Once you have submitted your package information details you will be asked if you are interested in the add-ons offered as indicated below.
I chose Site Lock Security as I wanted to ensure that my privacy was protected and that my site was not being blocked or spammed by malware.
I preferred the peace of mind that my site was being scanned on the daily to ensure that there was significant spam monitoring.
Once you have entered your personal information, package details, and your credit card information, & add-on's, select the green submit button. Bluehost offers a 30-day refund policy on everything, but the domain name.
Now that you are all set up with a domain, hosting and website provider you can begin building your site.
Once your set up with a website there are so many options to choose from. Check out my post on top ten business tips to launch your website.
I walk through all the options I found to be the most helpful in launching my website and so much more.
If your looking for a guide on how to launch your business, click here to download my free, no b.s. checklist! It walks through everything your need to know to get your business off the ground!