Squarespace vs Webflow (Feb 2023): The Battle of The Design-Centric Web Builders
Nowadays, there are dozens of online platforms that make website building super simple. Whether it’s to showcase your creative work, business, online store, or personal blog, there are many options to choose from.
However, ease of use might not be your number one consideration – especially if this comes at the expense of design capabilities.
If you can relate, it sounds like a website builder specializing in beautiful designs and flexibility would suit you better. That’s why in this review, we’re comparing Squarespace and Webflow – two website builders famous for their cutting-edge designs and customization capabilities.
There’s lots to say about both these platforms, so let’s dive straight into the meat and potatoes of this blog post:
Squarespace vs Webflow: Who’s Squarespace?
Launched back in 2003, Squarespace is now one of the most well-known website builders on the web. It’s often compared against Wix or even WordPress as a turnkey solution with its wide range of built-in features. However, unlike those two competitors, Squarespace focuses on offering a broader toolkit rather than making a big deal out of its extensions and third-party apps.
The platform really shines when it comes to beautifully designed templates and customization tools. With Squarespace, you have everything you need to create truly stunning portfolios, online stores, and websites.
As such, it especially stands out to designers and creatives looking to display their work in the best possible light. That said, Squarespace is also a popular contender for small to mid-sized eCommerce businesses.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Who’s Webflow?
Compared to Squarespace, Webflow’s a relatively new kid on the block. Although founded back in 2012, it’s only recently started to make a splash on a more global stage.
Compared to other website builders, Webflow presents a very unique value proposition. It offers the same visual interface and intuitive drag-and-drop tools, blogging functionality, eCommerce features, etc., as most of its competitors. However, the platform was developed with traditional web design processes in mind and uses industry jargon that most amateurs would be unfamiliar with.
Webflow pays homage to mocking up web designs using tools like InDesign and Photoshop by providing similar control over many aspects of your design. What’s more, you can be confident that your website’s code is immaculate. Plus, you can even delve into the code yourself and edit it manually should you wish.
If that sounds complicated, it’s because it can be. Webflow’s a website builder with a much steeper learning curve, but if you want to bring your exact vision to life, Webflow provides the tools to make that happen.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Their Pros and Cons
Nothing makes a thorough evaluation as clear and straightforward as a pro-cons list. So, that’s what we’ve done. Hopefully, this will help you quickly gauge from the get-go whether one of the providers is more likely to catch your interest.
Let’s start with Squarespace:
- Squarespace comes with a simple-to-use editor.
- You’ll benefit from powerful image editing tools built into the editor.
- Squarespace includes robust features straight out of the box, so you won’t have to rely on untested third-party extensions.
- Squarespace offers affordable pricing.
- It’s a great eCommerce engine for small to mid-sized businesses.
- You get lots of flexibility over the layout and design of your website.
- You can create online member areas.
- Squarespace has recently introduced new SEO tools.
- There’s a mobile app that enables you to edit and manage your website while you’re on the go.
- Since the newest 7.1 version of Squarespace, you can’t switch templates without losing your content.
- There’s no free plan, only a trial.
- The editor doesn’t allow you to simply drag-and-drop elements, which can feel much less intuitive for first time web designers.
- You can only create one sub-navigation menu, making it harder to create larger or more complex websites.
- Squarespace’s page speeds aren’t quite as impressive as Webflow’s
- You benefit from immense design freedom with unmatched design customizability.
- Creatives familiar with using Adobe software for professional design work may find Webflow’s capabilities refreshingly intuitive.
- There are versatile pricing plans available to suit businesses of different sizes and needs – agencies can even use Webflow to work with their clients.
- You can get access to a solid suite of eCommerce features suitable for small to mid-sized businesses.
- Users benefit from fast website speeds.
- Webflow’s customer service is reliable.
- There’s an active community of peers you can network with and get advice from
- There’s a free plan available where you can thoroughly test Webflow’s capabilities.
- Webflow comes with a much steeper learning curve compared to other website builders.
- Overall, Webflow is more expensive than Squarespace, especially if you’re an online store owner wanting to sell many products.
- Webflow’s eCommerce functionality is still relatively new, and some features are still missing. However, these capabilities are evolving all the time – so watch this space!
- The site plans limit how many website visitors you can handle per month, forcing you to upgrade sooner or later if you want to grow.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Squarespace’s Main Features
Both Squarespace and Webflow come with lots of nifty built-in features and exceptionally well-developed website editors. That said, let’s see how their core features compare, starting with Squarespace:
The Squarespace Editor
As we’ve already hinted at, Squarespace boasts a powerful website editor (read our full Squarespace review). From here, you can customize your site’s fonts, colors, and page configurations to create the website of your dreams. In addition, there are tons of professionally designed Squarespace templates to choose from.
However, Squarespace doesn’t offer a pure drag-and-drop editor. So, you can’t drag elements anywhere you want and drop them into place. Instead, you can edit content areas using block types and their associated options. You can also access and tinker with your website’s CSS code.
With the recent 7.1 update, Squarespace changed how it treats its templates. Previously, templates would include a blog or store layout, and the only way to change those layouts would be to switch the whole template. Whereas now, you can add layout sections independent of the template, giving the user much more control over their site’s setup.
However, this comes at a cost. While you can now make more substantial edits to your site, as a result of the update, you can no longer switch templates without losing all your content.
Squarespace’s Image Editor
One of Squarespace’s most popular features is its design-focused image editor. You can easily drag images from your desktop and drop them into the editor to upload them.
The image loader is responsive and immediately resizes the image to suit different devices, which is a great time saver.
From there, you can edit pictures directly: i.e., you can crop, resize, rotate, and adjust the brightness and contrast of each upload.
For small and mid-sized businesses, Squarespace is an excellent eCommerce solution. You can choose from a selection of eCommerce templates and benefit from features like:
- Quick product views
- Limited availability labels (to create a sense of urgency surrounding your product sales)
- Image zoom
- Site-wide announcements and promotional pop-ups
- Coupons and discounts (a great marketing tool)
- Product descriptions and variations
You can also sell unlimited physical and digital products, and customers can create their own accounts. This is fantastic for building email lists and encouraging repeat purchases.
However, Squarespace‘s basic plan comes with a 3% transaction fee, but this is lifted with the more ecommerce-centered plans.
Unlike many of its competitors, Squarespace has an intuitive and powerful blogging system. Just like a regular web page, you can edit the layout of your blog posts, which provides fantastic flexibility to create a blog that suits your brand.
You can also:
- Organize blog posts using categories and tags
- Scheduled posts to go live at pre-set times
- Set posts as published, drafted, scheduled, or even mark them for review
- Save source URLs and excerpts
You can also customize your blog post’s URL and enable social sharing.
Squarespace comes with built-in SEO tools, so you don’t need to install a third-party integration. You can edit your web page’s titles, meta descriptions, and more.
In addition, you can hide pages from search engines, create and automatically submit sitemaps to search engines, edit image alt text and create clean URLs.
The platform also comes with built-in mobile optimization and clean automatic code markup so that search engines have an easier time indexing your pages.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Webflow’s Core Features
Now, let’s see what Webflow has to offer…
The Webflow Editor
Unlike Squarespace, Webflow’s editor is entirely visual and fully drag-and-drop. As such, you can drag elements anywhere you want to a pixel-perfect standard and enjoy the same design freedom when optimizing your site for mobile.
The design tool is reminiscent of Adobe software. By this, we mean you’ll get options to adjust the:
- Blending mode of elements and images
- Add borders
- Add shadows
- Add glows
- Adjust the site-relative positioning of items
- Edit your typography
The latter even goes as far as allowing you to change the letter spacing, height of the text, and more. In addition, you can easily create complex gradient backgrounds, effects and overlay these with images.
In other words, Webflow comes with advanced full-site-editing capabilities!
Or, suppose you’re working with a developer? In that case, you’ll be glad to hear that Webflow lets you export your clean code to send elsewhere. Handy, right?
Webflow only introduced eCommerce in the last few years. Still, it’s perfectly capable of creating a good eCommerce store for small to mid-sized businesses. You can sell physical and digital products and add custom fields for additional info.
You can also add product variants and tailor the checkout experience to suit different shipping methods. Webflow also offers basic inventory management, meaning you can track orders, keep customer accounts and review every account’s order history.
In addition, the platform automatically calculates sales tax and VAT and provides basic eCommerce performance stats.
In the same vein as its powerful editor, you can make your store immensely stylish with parallax and animation effects, and like Squarespace, you can also create special offers and discounts.
Webflow’s blogging engine divides opinion.
It has a powerful CMS that, in some ways, is like WordPress. You have lots of control over your blog templates, layouts, SEO parameters, etc. That said, it can be challenging to set up.
Webflow’s content management system allows you to organize posts into collections and assign them categories and tags. You can also modify other details, such as your post’s URL.
But, unfortunately, it’s not as easy as hitting “write a new post” and publishing it. So, to start blogging on Webflow, we recommend following some guides.
Webflow provides granular control over your SEO markup. This goes beyond Squarespace and most other competitors. For instance, you can create indexing rules, sitemaps, redirects, and more.
You also add and edit schema markup that’s easily understood by search engines, edit meta titles and descriptions, image alt attributes, and more.
Webflow websites boast impressive load times powered by over 100+ data centers worldwide and feature clean, semantic code. All of which is great for SEO.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Pricing Plans
Like most website builders, Squarespace and Webflow are Saas’, which means you’ll pay a monthly or annual fee to access their platform.
However, there are different pricing plans available that unlock varying features, so let’s take a look at what’s included:
Squarespace, unfortunately, doesn’t offer a free plan. But there’s a 14-day trial available. After that, there are four pricing tiers to choose from. All of which offer a choice of monthly or annual billing. If you opt to pay annually, you’ll save up to 30%.
Let’s take a closer looking at these pricing plans:
The Personal Plan
Priced at $16 per month ($12 a month if you pay annually); the Personal plan includes:
- An SSL security certificate
- SEO features
- A decent choice of beautifully designed templates
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- 24/7 customer support
- Access to Squarespace extensions
- You can invite up to two contributors to work on your site
The Business Plan
For $26 a month ($18 a month if you pay annually), the Business plan adds:
- As many website contributors as you want to add
- Access to advanced website analytics
- You can create and use promotional pop-up banners
- Integrated eCommerce – but customer payments incur a 3% transaction fee.
- You can create and manage gift cards
- You can list and sell unlimited products
- You can accept donations on your site
- You benefit from $100 worth of Google Adwords credits
The Basic Commerce Plan
At $30 a month ($26 a month if paid annually), the Basic Commerce Plan unlocks:
- No more transaction fees
- Customers can create accounts
- Access to a point-of-sale functionality
- Access to more powerful eCommerce analytics
- You can display ‘related products.’
- Customers can join ‘product waitlists.’
- You can sync your inventory with your Facebook and Instagram Product catalog, allowing you to sell via social media.
- You can edit products in bulk via spreadsheets.
And finally, the Advanced Commerce plan for $49 per month ($40 a month if paid annually) gives you access to:
- Abandoned cart recovery emails
- You can sell subscriptions
- Access to advanced shipping options (automatically calculated shipping rates)
- Commerce API, so you can build your own custom plugins for order fulfillment, inventory management, etc
- Advanced features for discounts
- You can use ‘limited availability labels’ to create a sense of urgency
Aside from these pricing tiers, Squarespace also offers Squarespace Select. This is an enterprise option that’s custom-priced for individual businesses. If this is of interest to you, you’ll have to contact Squarespace’s sales team for a customized quote.
Unlike Squarespace, Webflow comes with a free plan. This is the perfect place to test out its design capabilities and become comfortable with them before launching your website. Because that’s the catch – although you can create two projects for free, you can’t host them live online.
So, when you’re ready to launch, you’ll have to choose between Webflow’s Site or Account Plans. Site plans are priced per individual site, whereas Account plans are charged per user account and are more suited to agencies and small businesses.
There are quite a few plans to get through, so let’s take a look.
Let’s start with the Site Plans:
For $15 per month (or $12 per month billed annually), this plan unlocks:
- A free custom domain
- You can create up to 100 pages
- Support for up to 25,000 monthly visits
- Support for up to 100 form submissions
- 50 GB bandwidth
This plan costs $20 per month (or $16 paid annually) and adds:
- Support for up to 100,000 monthly visits
- Support for up to 2,000 collection items (this is the maximum number of records you can have in your CMS database. A record could be a blog post or a piece in your portfolio)
- Support for up to 1,000 form submissions per month
- 200 GB bandwidth
- 60 API requests per minute
- You can register three content editors.
- Site search
The Business plan at $45 per month ($36 per month paid annually) further includes:
- Support for up to 500,000 monthly visits
- Support for up 10,000 collection items
- Support for up 2,000 form submissions per month
- You can enable visitors to upload files to forms on your site and store these on Webflow
- 400 GB bandwidth
- You can register up to 10 content editors
- 120 API requests per minute
- Access to the global CDN
There’s also an Enterprise plan with custom pricing offering unlimited form submissions and custom monthly visits.
Next, there are eCommerce plans, which also apply to individual sites:
For $42 per month ($29 when you pay annually), you get everything in the CMS plan above, plus:
- Support for up to 500 items (this includes eCommerce products, variants, categories, and CMS items)
- Access to eCommerce design options for custom checkouts, shopping carts, and product fields.
- Email marketing customization
- An integrated CMS for blogging
- The ability to make sales with a 2% transaction fee
- Integrations with social media platforms and Analytics tools
- You can configure manual shipping rules
- A yearly maximum sales volume of $50k
The Plus plan at $84 per month (or $74 per month when you pay annually) includes everything in the Business plan above, plus:
- Support for up to 1,000 items
- The removal of Webflow’s branding from transactional emails
- No transaction fee
- A yearly maximum sales volume of $200K
And finally, the Advanced plan costs $235 per month (or $212 per month when you pay annually):
- Support for up to 3,000 items
- You can register up to 15 staff accounts
- Unlimited annual sales volume
If you’re an agency or freelancer looking for account plans, there’s a further differentiation between individual and team plans. This mostly depends on how many people you work with. Because this review is mainly aimed at smaller enterprises building their own website, we’ll only quickly list the pricing for these plans here.
The individual plans are:
- The Free Starter Plan: You can set up two projects, as discussed above.
- Lite at $24 per month, or $16 per month if billed annually
- Pro at $42 per month, or $35 per month if billed annually
The Team Plan costs $42 per month per person, or $35 if billed annually, and requires at least two seats per team. This includes all features from the Pro account plans.
While Webflow’s pricing is highly flexible by offering so many options, it’s also difficult to wrap your head around. You can find the complete feature comparison here to help you better understand which plan might suit you.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Ease of Use
If you’re a beginner, building a website using a completely new tool might sound daunting. And neither Squarespace nor Webflow are the most intuitive builders on the market. But which is the most user-friendly?
Squarespace is more challenging to get to grips with than the average website builder. This is because it doesn’t utilize a simple drag-and-drop interface. Instead, you edit sections in a sidebar, making it a little harder to place elements exactly where you want them.
However, once you’re used to this, the interface is relatively easy to use and provides you with plenty of opportunities for customization.
You also start with a range of beautifully designed templates that make most of the extra design work unnecessary. Plus, with Squarespace’s recent update, you can add pre-designed layout sections to easily mix things up.
In comparison, Webflow does feature a drag-and-drop interface that lets you place your elements on a pixel-perfect grid. However, where Webflow’s difficulty picks up is in the overwhelming number of design options that you can tweak and optimize and the terminology it uses.
You’ll find a wide range of customization tools labeled as they would in professional software. However, suppose you’re not overly familiar with Photoshop, Indesign, and the coding process. In that case, you may need to spend some time in their online help center to really understand what’s going on.
However, professionals with some experience with traditional design may find this incredibly liberating and intuitive.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Ease of Use – the Winner is Squarespace
Overall, Squarespace keeps things more straightforward. While it doesn’t provide the most intuitive editing interface, there’s only the tiny hurdle of getting used to how things are done. Once you get that down, you’ll be able to customize your site with ease.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Customer Service
While you might not ever run into an issue with these popular website builders, it’s important to know where you can turn if something goes wrong. Their customer support teams should help you solve queries quickly so that you can get back to improving your site.
That said, here’s how Squarespace and Webflow’s customer service compare:
Squarespace offers live chat support, available from a generous 3 am to 8 pm EST, Monday to Friday. That’s well as its active user forum and online self-help documentation. On its Help Center, you’ll find webinars, video tutorials, and workshops. Email support is also available 24/7, and Squarespace promises a response in just an hour!
Webflow’s support team is also contactable via live chat and email. Their support is available Monday through Friday, from 6 am to 6 pm PT.
Additionally, there’s an active community of web designers that beginners can definitely learn from. Not to mention a helpful blog and extensive self-help documentation on all its features. Finally, the Webflow University includes various video resources outlining the platform’s features.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Customer Support – the Winner, is Squarespace
While online resources are essential, we think the most crucial aspect of customer service is getting in touch with the team and receiving a quick reply. This is where Squarespace takes the edge with its fast, 24/7 email support and longer live chat opening hours.
Squarespace vs Webflow: Which is the Best Website Builder for You?
So, there you have it our Squarespace vs Webflow review! If you want a website builder that empowers you to bring your dream website to life, both Squarespace and Webflow are great options.
Overall, Webflow is the more advanced website builder, making it harder for beginners to pick up. However, it’s a tool geared towards agencies and web design professionals for a reason. You can achieve genuinely limitless and exceptional results and rely on all the classic features a web designer might want in their toolbox. Throw in great SEO functionality, robust eCommerce features, and great collaboration tools for working with programmers, and Webflow boasts a truly unique value proposition.
Because of this, Webflow’s also on the more expensive side. It offers many features and doesn’t restrict them, but you’ll need to upgrade to higher plans to gain more bandwidth, sell more products, and store more content records.
In contrast, Squarespace is a better compromise for anyone up for a challenge but doesn’t want to spend too long trudging up that learning curve. It’s intuitive enough to pick up quickly and offers a bunch of customization options to boot. Squarespace also comes with robust eCommerce features and a much more intuitive blogging engine. In addition, since it recently added membership areas into the mix, it’s now an excellent platform for a wide range of businesses.
In other words, choose Squarespace as the more accessible all-around solution. On the other hand, try Webflow if you have a specific vision or want a platform to match your professional website design standards.
Still on the fence? Why not give both platforms a try? Sign up for Squarespace’s free trial or Webflow’s free project plan, and let us know what you think about their editors in the comments below! Or, are you considering one of their competitors like Shopify?