Squarespace vs Bluehost: The Battle of The Website Builders
Suppose you’ve recognized you need your own website to ramp up your online presence past just a social media account. In that case, you’ll need a site builder to do this. But which one to choose? There are dozens out there, and it can be time-consuming and stressful when you don’t know where to start.
To help you out, we’re looking at two such platforms: Squarespace and Bluehost.
More specifically, we’ll provide the low-down on:
- What Squarespace does
- What Bluehost does
- Squarespace’s key features
- Bluehost’s key features
- Squarespace’s pricing plans
- Bluehost’s prices
- The pros and cons of each
- Squarespace and Bluehost’s customer support
- Our final verdict
There’s a lot to zone in on, so let’s start.
Squarespace vs Bluehost: What Squarespace Does
Founded in 2003, Squarespace describes itself as the leader in website design. Its features hone in on providing everything you need to create a professional-looking website, online store, or portfolio. It’s especially aimed at creatives and ecommerce merchants selling beautiful products who want a website to showcase their products and/or work.
Squarespace unlocks access to award-winning templates that form the foundations of your web design. These templates are conveniently categorized into industries and use cases such as real estate, weddings, food and drink, and online stores – to name a few!
One of Squarespace‘s biggest sells is that you don’t need any technological or coding knowledge to build a new website.
All you need to do is:
- Open an account
- Select the type of website you want to develop (blog, online store, portfolio, etc.)
- Choose your template
- Follow Squarespace’s guidance to start building.
Bluehost vs Squarespace: What Bluehost Does
Founded in 2003, Bluehost is usually better known for its website hosting packages. However, Bluehost has since introduced a new feature: Bluehost Website Builder. This is for anyone who wants to build a WordPress site faster and easier than traditional building tools.
Like Squarespace, you simply select one of Bluehost’s hundreds of website templates. You then use Bluehost’s drag and drop builder to customize your preferred theme. In addition, users have access to an image library to help them populate their website full of exciting visuals. It’s a great option for beginners.
But before you can do anything, you have to choose which price plan you want. Then you’ll be prompted to either enter your existing domain name or choose one (although you can do the latter later once you’ve finished building your site). Compared to Squarespace, the main difference here is that you have to enter your payment information before setting up your account and going further. In contrast, with Squarespace, you can just create an account using your email address or log into your Google account when prompted.
Squarespace vs Bluehost: Squarespace’s Key Features
Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s focus on Squarespace’s core website building features. We don’t have time to cover them all in this review, so we’ll stick to the headlines:
Customizable Templates Built by Web Design Pros
Squarespace templates are famously attractive, contemporary, and expertly designed with various industries in mind. For instance, restaurants, online retail, and art – to name a few!
They’re also customizable, so with a bit of tweaking, they’re suitable for all kinds of different websites – blogs, eCommerce stores, galleries, and more. Using Squarespace’s drag and drop page builder, you can customize every aspect of the template to fit your brand, including fonts, colors, and layouts.
It’s also worth mentioning that these templates are created with modern internet browsers and mobiles in mind and are fully responsive. There are around 110 templates in total.
Web Page Elements
You can post all kinds of content on your website, including videos, images, text, audio, products, forms, menus, social links, quotes, buttons, etc. As a result, you can build a website as interactive as possible and provide customers with an engaging experience.
Built-in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Each Squarespace website comes with built-in SEO to help maximize your organic reach. For example, generating sitemaps, creating SEO page titles and descriptions, clean URLs, SEO settings for pages and items, etc. These features are presented in a dedicated SEO panel from which you can control your website description, title, page titles, etc.
You can further optimize your site for SEO using Squarespace’s best practices checklist. In addition, Squarespace was the first website builder to integrate directly with Google Search Console. As a result, you can easily view which keywords customers use and optimize your site accordingly.
Squarespace vs Bluehost: Bluehost’s Key Features
Like Squarespace, this isn’t a comprehensive list of Bluehost’s features. Instead, we’re zoning in here only just some of Bluehost’s standout website building features:
Bluehost users have access to over 300 templates, neatly categorized into use cases like an eCommerce store, blog, portfolio, etc.
All templates are desktop, tablet, and mobile-friendly and can be customized to suit your brand, including fonts, colors, and image sizes. You can use Bluehost’s intuitive drag and drop web page builder to endlessly customize your pages and view changes to your site in real-time as you build it.
Using Bluehost you get access to the following core marketing features:
- Ad landing pages: you can build single landing pages for your digital ads
- Social post buttons: visitors can easily share pages or blog posts to their social pages
- Call to action buttons: these are customizable to enable you to encourage customers to perform the desired outcome, such as “buy now” or “learn more.”
- Form fill templates: Create a range of forms from templates to encourage customers to interact with your site. You can prompt them to give you their email address or provide feedback on a service, for example.
Bluehost users get access to an extensive library of free-to-use images. You can also upload your own photos to the Bluehost image library, with unlimited storage. However, the downside is that you can’t edit images you select from the library, apart from resizing them.
Squarespace vs Bluehost: Squarespace Prices
The platform is offering 20% off any website plan at the time of writing, although this expires at the end of May. You can either pay annually or monthly, with the latter being between 25% and 30% cheaper, depending on which of the four plans you go for.
The four plans are below; the prices below are based on annual billing:
- The Personal plan: $14 a month
- The Business plan: $23 a month
- The Basic Commerce plan: $27 a month
- The Advanced Commerce plan: $49 a month
All plans offer the following core features:
- A free custom domain
- SSL security
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 30-minute video storage
- Free templates
- SEO tools
- Squarespace extensions
- Mobile-friendly websites
- 24/7 customer support
- Basic website metrics (traffic and traffic sources, geography, search keywords, activity log)
Plus, all Squarespace plans include fully-managed cloud hosting, so there’s no need for another web host.
The Personal plan allows you to register two website contributors, whereas, on the other plans, it’s unlimited.
Other features available with the packages above the Personal plan include:
- Advanced website analytics (for example, abandoned cart recovery data, sales by product, purchase funnels, sales, etc.)
- Promotional pop-ups and banners
- Fully integrated e-commerce functionality with unlimited products
- You can register unlimited website contributors
- You can create and sell gift cards
Squarespace vs Bluehost: Bluehost Prices
Bluehost has three price plans, and it’s up to you whether you pay month-by-month for a 12-month or 36-month contract.
Plans are as follows (prices below are based on the 12-month plan):
- The Basic plan: $2.90 a month (a discounted rate for the first year) and then $10.99 a month after that. This is aimed at blogs and personal websites.
- Pro: $9.95 a month (a discounted rate for the first year) and then $14.99 a month after that. This is more of an eCommerce platform aimed at business websites and online stores.
- Online Store: $24.95 a month ( a discounted rate for the first year) and then $39.95 a month thereafter. This is aimed at online stores with product shipping.
The following features come with each plan:
- Unlimited websites
- Hosting included
- 300+ templates
- Blog post management
- An image library with unlimited uploads
- A free SSL certificate
- A free domain for one year
- Email marketing
- Marketing features include social post buttons, ad landing pages, and form-fill templates
- 24/7 support
- Fully responsive mobile editing
Thereafter, anyone who signs up for either the Pro or Online Store plans also get:
- 30+ additional premium design templates
- Domain privacy
- You can accept online payments with WooCommerce
- You can list unlimited online store products
- 10+ pricing and packaging templates to help SaaS businesses display their pricing professionally
Additional features come with the Online Store plan, which, unsurprisingly, are eCommerce related:
- A discount code generator
- Online appointment booking
- Sell and manage subscriptions
- In-cart product customization. Create custom product variations for items listed on your store, such as sizes, colors, gift wrapping, etc
- Local and country tax management
- Basic website backup managed by Codeguard
Squarespace vs Bluehost: Customer Support
If you’re new to website building or migrating across from a competing platform, there’s a good chance that questions will crop up along the way. So, how does each website builder fare in terms of customer support? Let’s take a look…
Squarespace offers 24/7 email support and usually responds within an hour. In addition, its website provides online self-help guides, webinars, and a help center where you can type in your question and hopefully find answers addressing your concern.
Useful topics covered in the online guides and tutorials include Connecting a Domain, Formatting Images for Display, Transferring a Domain, and many more. There are also helpful videos on topics including Building a Restaurant Site, Building Your First Squarespace Site, Introducing Images, etc. There’s also an FAQs page.
You can also contact customer support through live chat (Monday to Friday, 4 am to 8 pm Eastern Time) or Twitter.
There’s also a forum. Here, other Squarespace users discuss how to best run a website and store, answer questions, and help their peers optimize their websites.
You can reach Bluehost on the phone (via a US number) or live chat. Bluehost also offers 24/7 support via live chat or phone and an online resource center and knowledge base.
You can type in your issue and find answers in the knowledge base. Typical topics include domain names, email, and effective password management articles. The resource center also offers users guides, articles, and videos on various topics. These include What is Shared Hosting And How Does It Work?, Create The Perfect Website, and a range of articles on SEO. Plus, given that Bluehost is for anyone who wants to build a WordPress site, there are naturally articles relating to WordPress. These include How To Disable WordPress Comments and WordPress Security.
Squarespace vs Bluehost: Squarespace’s Pros and Cons
Before rounding up this Squarespace vs Bluehost review, let’s see how each platform stacks up on pros and cons. First up, Squarespace:
- 24/7 customer support via email
- Users get access to a good number of attractive and contemporary-looking templates to choose from
- The staggered price plans offer something for each level, from bloggers to larger businesses
- There’s a generous choice of web fonts (including 600 Google fonts and 1,000 Adobe)
- There’s a 14-day free trial
- There’s no free plan
- There’s no 24/7 live chat or phone support
- Some customers complain of slow page loading times, though this will fluctuate depending on your content and site optimization.
- There’s no App Store – Squarespace was designed to come with everything you need, which means there are next to no native integrations available.
Squarespace vs Bluehost: Bluehost’s Pros and Cons
Now, let’s take a look at Bluehost’s most notable pros and cons:
- 24/7 customer support is available
- There are literally hundreds of template choices
- Access to high-quality stock images
- Ease of use is a priority
- A free SSL certificate
- Bandwidth is unmetered
- Web hosting is included
- It’s a great option if you’re looking to create a WordPress website
- Pricing is cheap for the first year but gets more expensive after that
- There’s no free option
- Doesn’t allow you to switch templates without losing your content and having to repopulate your site
- Image editing is limited
Squarespace vs Bluehost: Our Final Verdict
While we’re not going to guide you towards one or the other, it’s essential to do your research and have some clarity about what you’re looking for. Both builders offer a generous array of templates, built-in features, 24/7 support, plenty of online resources, and different price plans.
Only Squarespace offers a free trial, so it’s worth taking them up on that to get a sense of how it works and if it’s enough for your needs. The advantage of Squarespace is that it’s straightforward to use, and you don’t need any prior knowledge or coding experience to build your website.
At first glance, Bluehost is cheaper, but its low prices are because of its first-year discount. In addition, Bluehost is harder to navigate, in part because you will need to get functionality from different plugins. Squarespace’s templates, in comparison, are super easy to use, and the platforms come with all crucial features built-in already.
That said, Bluehost offers limitless customization with access to the code, whereas Squarespace’s is more limited. So, your choice really depends on what you need.
Are you reading to start using Squarespace or Bluehost? Or are you considering an alternative like Drupal, Weebly, Wix, or Joomla? Let us know which one you go for in the comments below!