Terms to Know
Open source – Software that’s built and added to by the public. Open source CMS’ don’t have owners. A community of developers, programmers, businesses, individuals work on it simultaneously and have rights to the plugins and themes they create.
Themes – A theme is the underlying functionality of a website.
CMS (Content Management System) – A platform for your website that allows multiple users to manage website content, such as WordPress.
Plugins – Plugins are functions that you can add to your website such as a calendar, a reservation bar, a scheduling bar, or to convert to an eCommerce site.
Let’s Get Started
So, how did we decide which builders to compare? We chose WordPress because of its long-standing reliability – which is also why we recommend it to customers. We chose Squarespace for its growing popularity. Before we get into the major differences between Squarespace and WordPress, it’s important for you to know the context in which we’re comparing the two CMS’.
Businesses that use WordPress hire a company (like Old City Web Services) to manage their site. In the same respect, businesses that use Squarespace for their site manage it on their own, without ownership or the expertise of search engine optimizers and designers.
Limited Design Capabilities with Squarespace
Businesses depend on designers and developers to create a website that accurately portrays their business, even if that owner knows how to work their way through a WordPress site. Designers have a trained eye for critical architect-based issues, they know how to make your site responsive on every device, and they know how to grab the attention of users.
Initially, Squarespace is less expensive than hiring a company to build your site. With easy-to-navigate templates and simple, appealing design, anyone could build a website on this software and have it running in a day. But with this quick fix comes some downfalls to be aware of. Your choices of the themes and plugins are extremely limited. You also risk building a biased site that you think is great, but customers might not feel the same about.
You Don’t Own Your Squarespace Site
You legally own the rights to templates and plugins you purchase for your WordPress site. Contrary to that, if you wanted to move your site from WordPress to Joomla or Drupal, you won’t be able to use those plugins in the new CMS. However, this is usually a non-issue for people. The versatility of open source CMS’ is way beyond that of CMS’ like Squarespace. So in a scenario where you’re already using an open source CMS, you’re unlikely to feel the need to move it, because they don’t have the same limitations as Squarespace.
In the section above “Design”, we spoke a little on the disadvantages of designing a site yourself. Now, Squarespace may help you with some design issues such as by providing you with templates that you can insert content or images into. However, that is not your property. They own your domain. If you ever wanted to merge your website over to a more versatile software such as WordPress, Joomla, or Dubla you can’t take your Squarespace site, themes, or plugins with you. To move your content to another CMS, you’d have to copy and paste it from Squarespace.
Additionally, unlike WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, Squarespace doesn’t back up your site for you. If you’re adding content to the backend of your site, Squarespace doesn’t save your earlier drafts. In case you need to refer back to old content, they only recommended that you copy and paste your content into a word document and save it. WordPress, on the other hand, keeps a record of your revisions.
SEO is More Difficult & More Expensive When You DIY
There are plugins available for your WordPress site that can help you with SEO. One of the most popular ones is Yoast, which is easy to use and approaches SEO with a step-by-step mentality. Furthermore, Yoast offers a free version of the plugin that is suitable for many of our customers. The free version of Yoast focuses on keyword optimization, calculation of the Flesch reading score of your content, technicalities in code, along with checking for duplicate content.
While Squarespace has a few plugins, they have nowhere near as many as WordPress. The majority of Squarespace plugins are generic, such as social media icons, photo galleries, and accordions. This means you’ll have to hire extra help with optimizing your site so that it ranks in Google and other search engines. Of course, you can always attempt to optimize your site for search engines yourself. But, this trial and error method will take up a lot of your time.
To Sum it Up…
Since we’ve told you All About the Benefits of WordPress, we thought we should also shed light on the major differences between WordPress and DIY (do-it-yourself) website builders. Using a DIY website builder runs the same risks as creating a DIY logo. In fact, most of the time we recommend our clients only use opensource CMS’ like WordPress and hire a team to build the site for them. We hope this information was helpful!
Tip for Success
Bobby here with another Tip for Success about the risks associated with building a site on Squarespace without a designer. Squarespace is popular because of its easy-to-use structure, right? But, just because the average person can build a website with this software, doesn’t guarantee the finished product is rock solid. To understand this, its important to know the fundamentals of what goes into designing a site.
The task of a designer goes beyond the metrics of color schemes and placement. In fact, a good designer will analyze every characteristic of the page: the navigation, the padding around text blocks and images, the amount of text, the spacing and readability of the font, the sizes of images, the quality of images, the flow of the page, and so much more. The key to successfully doing this is being objective and unbiased – which designers are trained to do!
Our mission at Old City Web Services is to navigate the world of web design, web development, and advertising for our clients so that they can focus on what they do best – running their business! Our business intentions go beyond the metrics of graphics, coding, and SEO. Located on Florida’s First Coast, we run a personable home front service and consider our relationship with our clients as a partnership in their success. If you are looking to increase your business’ visibility give us a call at (904) 829-2772 or contact us today.
Sharing and re-posting this blog is encouraged. Please credit Old City Web Services when sharing. Disclaimer: Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information on Old City Web Services Blog. Squarespace website photo: Mission Chinese Food. Comparison chart: First Site Guide.