Wix vs. Squarespace vs. WordPress (And Why a Custom Website Is Best)

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Template-based website builders like Wix and Squarespace have empowered small businesses and one-person teams with the basics to make perfectly good websites. There are ready-made templates to show off your portfolio, book appointments or bring your retail sales online to reach a global audience.

But which of these customizable website builders is really the way to go?

Finding the Right Fit

Roughly 62% of all known websites use WordPress, Wix or Squarespace. WordPress is by far the largest of the three, with roughly 45% of all sites built on its platform. Even as more CMS tools hit the market, WordPress’s market share has increased by 8.9% since 2011.

A key component of the platform’s success is the versatility of WordPress. It’s an excellent tool for talented web developers to build a custom website or use a template to keep time and cost to a minimum. WordPress also offers a mix of free and paid themes that offer light customizations that can be used by even code-phobic marketers.

For this side-by-side comparison, we’re going to treat WordPress as the custom website option, with Wix and Squarespace as the website builder or website template options.

That requires a definition …

What Is a Website Template?

Website templates are pre-designed web page layouts that serve as the basis of website builders like Wix and Squarespace. Users can resize page elements, change fonts and colors and add their own photos and videos. Think of it as a very simple puzzle – most of the pieces are in place and you’ll be able to move the pieces around until they “fit” your needs.

Squarespace vs. Wix: The Website Builder Showdown

Both Squarespace and Wix are extremely easy to use and affordable website options. For small organizations or sole proprietors, they’re an excellent way to establish and grow your online presence. Here’s what you need to know about these nifty CMS platforms …

What Is Squarespace?

Squarespace is a website builder that initially catered to bloggers, photographers, artists and small businesses in the creative space. Founded in 2003, Squarespace now has millions of users and acquired Google’s domain business in June 2023.

What Squarespace Does Well

Squarespace is the most visually-stunning option compared to Wix. It’s easy to change colors, fonts, text size and almost every element of the site in just a few clicks. That high degree of customization without having to understand code makes it the best choice for creatives – and why so many Squarespace users are designers, artists and videographers themselves.

What Squarespace Needs to Work On

As an ecommerce platform, Squarespace doesn’t have the built-in or add-on tools to serve the needs of a robust online retailer. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify and WordPress offer more scalable options for growing your ecommerce business – although Squarespace works just fine if you’re selling digital assets like photo downloads.

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace doesn’t have a free plan, though you can build your site for 190 days before having to commit to a plan. Your site isn’t live during the trial period, but it will give you time to determine if its features fit the bill. The subscriptions range from the $16/month personal plan to the $46/month commerce plan.

Check out all the Squarespace pricing options.

What Is Wix?

Wix is a popular cloud-based website builder that requires no coding experience. Like Squarespace, Wix uses a drag-and-drop building format to quickly make a sharp-looking website.

What Wix Does Well

Compared to Squarespace, Wix offers a more intuitive ecommerce experience with over 300 apps that seamlessly integrate with your site. That’s nearly 10 times as many apps as you’ll find on Squarespace. Apps help solve common site problems such as inventory management and integration, SEO optimization and updating your XML sitemap automatically.

What Wix Needs to Work On

If commitment makes you nervous, Wix might give you cold feet. While it has more than 800 themes to choose from, once your site is live, you can’t change your template. For organizations that love to update the look and feel of their site or want to build in room to rebrand, that might be a deal breaker.

Wix Pricing

Wix offers a free plan, although you won’t be able to use a custom domain or many of the site’s premium features. Like Squarespace, subscription plans start at $16 per month, with enterprise plans starting at $500 per month.

Wix pricing details.

What Squarespace and Wix Both Do Extremely Well

Both Squarespace and Wix offer paid subscribers exceptional customer service and support. Each platform has a dedicated support staff, a “help ticket” system and chat functionality to answer questions and resolve problems quickly.

What About WordPress?

There are technically two WordPress options to consider.

WordPress.com is the template site option and is comparable to Wix and Squarespace. While you don’t need coding experience, it helps. That’s one reason users rely on the massive library of 59,000 apps to bridge the gap between a truly custom website and a template website. It’s the best bet for beginners or marketers without development chops.

WordPress.org is a CMS that serves as the perfect platform for a custom website. You’ll need extensive development experience to build a site here – you’ll probably want to just call us.

The Real Showdown: Web Developer vs. Website Builder

A custom website versus a template is a bit like comparing Picasso to someone coloring by numbers. Working with a web developer will let you do (almost) anything you want, including custom features, functions and a more cohesive branding experience. Custom sites are also scalable in a way that template platforms aren’t, especially if you’re looking to operate at enterprise scale.

Let’s Talk Websites

Creating a new website or re-platforming content you already have is a big decision and a big lift for small marketing teams. With Oneupweb, you’ll get expert advice that gives you the information to make an informed choice, whether that means working with us or not. We’re always here to help. Get in touch or call 231-922-9977 today to discuss your next move!

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