Squarespace and Wix are both great platforms for building a website. But how can you differ one CMS (Content Management System) from another and are they as easy-to-learn as they say?
With a little bit of effort, some people are able to crack down each website builder and design their own websites as they please. However, a lot of solo entreprenuers can not afford the time to master a CMS and are also seaking an easy solution to build a website that will function as doormat for all their marketing.
This blog post will cover the pros and cons of these CMS options, and help you decide which one is right for your business.
So prepare yourselves, ’cause here comes the clash of Wix vs Squarespace!
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What are Content Management Systems?
If you are not in the web design or digital marketing industry you probably have no idea what CMS stands for, not to mention what it means.
A Content Management System (CMS) is pretty much just a website hosting platform that allows you to easily manage your website’s content. This includes word processing, uploading images or videos and so much more.
Rather than coding everything on your website a CMS makes it easier for whoever is developing the website to manage the process of producing the website content and how it is displayed online.
There are a lot of really great CMS platforms now-a-days that are super easy to learn and have really changed the game of web development. The cool thing about these CMS’ is that they make it easy for just about anyone to create a website.
Using one of these CMS’ to build out your website might be exactly what you are looking for in order to have complete control of your company’s website and continue to manage the tool once it is complete.
Or maybe the opposite. Perhaps you aren’t willing to sacrifice on your website’s design or customization and therefore want to use something a little more robust than Wix or Squarespace.
In this next section of the blog we will go over two very popular CMS’, Wix and SquareSpace, as well as the pros and cons of each so that you have a better understanding of how the CMS you choose to build out your website will impact you and your business!
Wix vs Squarespace
Even if you know nothing about web development you have probably heard of Wix or Squarespace. To give you an idea, Squarespace and Wix account for 55% of websites built with web builders.
These two web building giants have truly changed the way that web development takes place today, and despite having the same overall features and target audience these tools are actually quite different when you put them in practice.
This section will do a side by side comparison of these two “DIY” CMS platforms to better understand their key features as well as shortcomings.
Overview: Wix offers 800+ templates to choose from and a simple to use unstructured drag and drop editor that allows you to move any element anywhere on your page. Wix has over 35 different tools that make it easy for Wix users to create high quality and engaging content on any device.
Of the two, only Wix has a free plan. The plan does come with some caveats like:
- An assigned domain name
- Ads on every page
- Limited storage, bandwidth and analytics
- As well as no payment integrations.
Over 800 free templates to choose from
With over 800 free templates to choose from you are bound to like something they have to help you kick start your website. Regardless of the CMS, a template or theme makes it easier for you to give your website that initial structure and begin to visualize what changes you want made. Getting you that much closer to the final product.
Wix’s ‘video hours’
While most CMS’ will only allow you to embed video that has already been uploaded on Youtube, or Vimeo, Wix lets you upload content directly to your website. For filmmakers, musicians, and online course vendors who wish to charge for access to their video material this could be a game changer.
You can upload up to 30 minutes of video for free. If you need more than 30 minutes then you will either have to embed it into your site from Youtube or Vimeo, or upgrade to a paid plan. The more expensive your plan is, the more hours you get.
Wix’s learning curve
Wix’s unstructured visual drag-and-drop editor is really great if you already know how to use it. Compared to SquareSpace’s editor, which is a structured editor, Wix has fewer design limitations and you are able to do more with Wix than SquareSpace in terms of customization.
However, this can be more of a con than a pro if you are not careful!
Mobile Optimization is not the best
Both Squarespace and Wix automatically create a mobile version of your site for you. Wix’s downfall when it comes to mobile optimization has a lot to do with giving its users too much freedom when they are creating their desktop site.
This is not to say that Wix’s websites are not optimized for mobile devices, simply that there are other CMS’ that do a better job of automatically doing it for you. If you have a Wix website and want to make changes to the mobile version, the platform makes it relatively easy to do so.
Premium plans are a more expensive
The cheapest paid Wix plan is $18 / month (or $14 / month if you are on an annual term). This is their Combo plan. Despite giving you a free domain for the first year, the plan only gives you 2GB of monthly bandwidth.
Meanwhile, Squarespace’s cheapest plan is $16 / month (or $12 / month on the annual plan), comes with a free domain, and does not come with any bandwidth limitations.
Check out Wix’s website for a breakdown of their paid plans.
(*keep in mind that the price they display is their monthly rate that they give you when you close an annual plan – if you want to see the actual month to month rate you will have to go to checkout to see the rate)
Overview: Squarespace offers 80+ professionally designed templates to choose from and a simple add and drop editor to make hosting and building a website easier than ever. Squarespace’s all in one tool lets you buy and host your domain directly on their site. Their easy to use Blogging, Email marketing and SEO tools really make Squarespace an appealing CMS for someone that is just starting off.
Award Winning Website Templates
Besides the fact that Wix has an unstructured editor and Squarespace’s editor is more structured, the main difference between Wix and Squarespace is Squarespace’s templates.
Just by looking at Squarespace’s website you know there is something unique about this company. Their templates are all professionally curated to look appealing, but most importantly optimized your users’ experience.
Easiest to Learn
Because Squarespace has a structured editor this makes it so easy for you to add sections and elements while still maintaining a cohesive design. The built in SEO tools work well to get your website indexed quickly. You can easily add images and videos, rapid contact forms, and so many other features that will make your website more interactive and increase your conversion rates.
Squarespace’s blogging tool is perfect for someone who is looking to create a blog, but doesn’t know where to start. Squarespace’s blog has all the usual blogging features, including commenting, multi-authors as well as geolocation tags, AMP support and the option to schedule posts.
In addition, Squarespace provides integrated hosting for your podcast if you want to start one. You will also be able to easily add a contact form, a newsletter, or a map: none of these features are available in Wix’s blog editor.
Like Wix, Squarespace’s editor also has its shortcomings. Because it is a structured editor it is very easy to use, however it limits the customizations that you might want to make on your site. Most of the simple customizations that you can make revolve around changing colors and fonts and rearranging page elements.
Both Wix and Squarespace allow you to add custom HTML code and change things like meta tags, however these customizations are not as intuitive as one might hope for someone creating their own website.
While Squarespace offers a wide range of features, there are times when you will want to add additional plugins to your site. Unfortunately, because Squarespace has a structured editor it is not as easy or straightforward to add functionalities that other website builders allow.
On top of that, purchasing plugins for your Squarespace site is also quite pricey.
No Phone Support
Although Squarespace does not have any phone support, the website builder does have a live chat and email option. Both support options are super efficient in troubleshooting any issues you might have. However, sometimes a conversation to answer one simple question is really what you need.
Squarespace and Wix are both fantastic platforms for people who are looking to create a stunning website that looks beautiful and appeals to their audience.
On one hand you have Wix, a more free form editor that gives you access to more customization options than Squarespace. While on the other hand you have Squarespace whose professionally curated templates, easy to use editor and blogging tools make this CMS platform one of the best out there.
So, which one is better?
If you are a local small business or young entrepreneur looking to highlight your services and process payments through your website then both Wix or Squarespace will work for you. Most website owners only need the essential, which both Wix and Squarespace provide.
However, if I had to choose one I would choose Squarespace because:
- Squarespace is the easiest CMS to learn and even if you don’t put in the time to learn the tool itself you can still have a fully functional and esthetically pleasing website.
- There are so many resources out there that can help guide a first time Squarespace website builder. These resources also include tutorials on any customizations you might want to make.
- Even though both CMS platforms will give you all the essential tools you need to build a website, what most website owners really need help with is design. And Squarespace’s platform does a better job of giving website builders that necessary structured design.
However, if this isn’t your first ball game and you are looking to really customize your website you might want to look into other more robust CMS’ like WordPress or Shopify.
If you are an individual or business that meets one or more of the criteria below then Squarespace and Wix are not going to cut it –
- You have a huge library of content, or product selection
- You are looking for greater customization and plugin integration
- You want to implement internal linking, crawl budget, testing HTML elements at scale, etc.
- SEO is essential to your long-term marketing strategy or you are working with an SEO professional
For most websites this stuff is simply not relevant, however for others it is important to think about before you sign up for just any CMS.
Regardless of which CMS you choose to build your website on, we are here to support you and make sure that you feel 100% comfortable in managing the tool that you choose.
Shoot us a message or call us anytime! We are always happy to connect and answer any questions you might have about getting started on your digital journey.
Or if you really want to take the backseat on this one, know that we can build out, manage and make the necessary updates you might need on your website for you.
To learn more about our Web Development Services and prices checkout our website here.
Web development is an umbrella term used to describe a spectrum of services that ranges from custom design and application development for shopping systems and news sites, to SEO services, content management system (CMS) development, mobile site development and much more.