Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress (Feb 2023): The Battle of The Website Builders
If you’re on the hunt for the best site builder and wondering how to choose between all the options, you’re in the right place. Here, we’re taking a close and critical look at three of the most popular website builders on the market: Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress. All three are industry-heavy-hitters and enjoy great acclaim for different reasons.
More specifically, we’re exploring their:
- Features and ease of use
- Templates and designs
- Pricing plans
- Apps and add-ons
- Customer support
- SEO (search engine optimization) capabilities
…and then we’ll reveal our final verdict.
Hopefully, by the end of this comparison, you’ll have a good idea of which platform best suits your requirements.
There’s lots to cover, so let’s get started:
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Features
Any website builder worth its salt should make website creation easy and enjoyable, empowering you to add all the functionality you need via an intuitive interface.
That said, let’s take a closer look at each of these website builders’ most notable features:
Wix is famously easy to use, making it perfect for beginners or anyone requiring a simple website.
Wix makes it easy to edit your site and add extra functionality via its app store. Here you’ll find hundreds of extensions and widgets to choose from!
Wix also presents website analytics to provide an insight into your website traffic and visitor behavior. With this info to hand, you’re better positioned to make data-driven decisions on how best to optimize your website.
Wix even enables you to launch a live chat widget on your site to engage with website visitors in real-time.
You can also add a professional mailbox and create member’s logins to collaborate with others. This is especially handy if you have a team helping you with website management.
Other notable features include:
- Wix Stores: You can:
- Build a simple online storefront
- Track and manage your inventory
- Create product pages
- Offer customer’s coupons and discounts
- Offer worldwide shipping
Wix Stores are best suited to small online brands as its ecommerce functionality is very restrictive for complex e-stores.
- Blogging platform: There are several layouts you can choose from to create a simple blog. But, you don’t have much control over your post design, tags, or categories. However, Wix enables you to manage comments and share blog posts on social.
- Bookings: You can manage 24/7 bookings from your Wix website via desktop or mobile. You can also offer private or group services and sync appointments with your Google calendar.
- Music player: You can add a customizable music player to showcase albums, tracks, and playlists on your site. You can also enable fans to share or buy your music on-site, commission-free. You’ll also receive engagement statistics.
- Media galleries: Add a wide range of media galleries to your site. You can set the image quality and edit snaps from your media library.
- Basic email marketing: You can start collecting email addresses and sending email campaigns to your client base.
Squarespace calls itself the ‘leader of website design‘, so yes, you guessed it – that’s where the majority of its core features lie.
Unlike Wix, which relies on add-ons to build upon its base functionality, Squarespace is feature-rich right out of the box.
In addition, there are over 100 professionally designed templates to choose from. All of which are customizable, so you can edit them to suit your brand’s aesthetic. Visually, Squarespace templates are very impressive and knock some of Squarespace’s competition out of the park.
All in all, it’s one of the best website builders if you’re looking to design a good-looking portfolio or display lots of visual content.
On top of that, Squarespace also provides a robust suite of ecommerce features, including scheduling and events tools, bookings management, and you can even create member’s areas.
Squarespace also boasts solid SEO tools and a range of helpful website analytics to help you grow and scale your site. Here you’ll see where visitors are coming from, how they interact with your content, and you can review your best-selling products.
Other notable features include:
- Blogging tools: Share company news, personal stories, and thought leadership pieces with an on-site blog.
- Mobile editing: You can manage and edit your site, blog, and online store via the Squarespace mobile app while you’re on the go.
- Ecommerce: It’s easy to create a stand-out online store from a range of templates. You can also:
- Create your own product pages
- Launch a simple and efficient checkout
- List and sell unlimited products.
- Embed videos
- Create product categories
…and much more.
- Customer management: You can create audience profiles and add tags and notes to send targeted email campaigns. It’s also easy to view, search and filter through your customer, donor, and subscriber lists.
- Scheduling: You can create one or more calendars for you and your team, set automatic email reminders, and sync your calendar with platforms like Google and Outlook. On the client-side of things, customers can purchase single, recurring, and/or bundled appointments with you and your team.
- WYSIWYG Editor: Squarespace’s editor supports many content types and complex multi-column layouts. This is amazing if you’re looking for more design freedom. You’ll also enjoy automatically responsive designs and full-screen editing. Not to mention, your images benefit from automatic scaling, which makes prepping media for your website a breeze.
To clarify, when we refer to WordPress throughout this article, we’re referring to WordPress.com – not WordPress.org, the free open source software.
As one of the web’s leading CMS (content management systems), it’s no wonder WordPress provides a vast wealth of features, including advanced blogging functionality. For example, you can easily create a blog from a wide range of layouts, schedule posts, manage comments, add tags and categories, assign authors, and much more.
WordPress’s editor comes with a mobile and desktop app with HTML and Markdown support. It’s also equipped with Jetpack, which provides basic website statistics, basic SEO, site speed optimization, and social media sharing.
Aside from blogging, WordPress’s vast plugin directory lets you add any functionality you need, including its world-famous and free-to-install WooCommerce plugin for ecommerce. When it comes to store management features, rivals ecommerce giants like Shopify. There are thousands of plugins to download and use across various categories, including SEO, marketing, ecommerce, social media, analytics, and more.
Here are some of WordPress’s other core features:
- Website builder: You can choose from hundreds, even thousands, of WordPress themes to design your website. Best of all, you can switch your theme at any time and utilize tons of different website building blocks to customize your brand identity. You can also create global styles with WordPress’s new FSE features and arrange your website’s layouts however you want.
- Accept online payments: Add a payment block to start accepting online credit and debit card payments for digital downloads, memberships, services, donations, tips, etc.
- Community: You’ll gain access to WordPress’s thriving community. Not only is this a great networking opportunity, but should any issues arise, there’s always someone on hand to help.
- Complete customization freedom: You can edit your WordPress website’s source code. So, providing you have the right coding smarts, you’re free to customize your site however you see fit. You could even develop your own themes and plugins to make your site entirely your own.
- Built-in blogging: With WordPress, you have access to some of the most powerful blogging features available. You can schedule and categorize your posts, optimize them for SEO, embed media, and structure your posts however you want.
- Backups: You’ll also benefit from automated backups, meaning you can roll your WordPress site back to a previous version at any time.
- Add admins: If you want, you can add other users to help you manage and produce content for your site.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Templates and Designs
Your website’s a gate to the world, so what it looks like matters. Although we’ve already touched on templates and design freedom, it’s such an important topic that we’re giving it its own separate section. That said, let’s take a look…
Wix’s Templates and Designs
Unsurprisingly, when it comes to templates and web design, Wix’s focus is on simplicity.
To kickstart the design process, you’ll have to choose a theme. There are over 500 options available, all designed with various industries and purposes in mind. These include portfolio templates, news sites, stores, business pages, and much more.
Unfortunately, once you’ve picked a template, you can’t change it unless you’re willing to rewrite all your site’s content. So carefully consider your options before hitting the ground running!
If you’re having difficulty deciding on a theme, you could opt for Wix ADI instead. This will prompt you to answer a few questions about your site and business and propose a theme for you.
With your theme in tow, you can start customizing using Wix’s website editor. Its drag and drop interface is incredibly intuitive. You just click on the element you want to add to your web page (for example, image galleries, scroll effects, fonts, etc.) and drag it to where you want it to appear. Each element can be edited, although your options aren’t as extensive as other page builders.
Another area where Wix’s design customizability falls short is that you can’t edit your site’s CMS and HTML. While you can add HTML snippets, this isn’t quite the same as being able to freely affect the styling of a theme.
Overall, however, Wix’s approach to web design is fun. Its templates and website editor are easy to work with, which goes a long way to making the website building experience enjoyable – even for total beginners.
Squarespace’s Templates and Designs
Squarespace’s website editor isn’t as intuitive as Wix’s. For example, instead of a full drag-and-drop interface, you can only edit sections of your website in a separate window. Which, when you’re new to web design, can require a bit of a learning curve. That said, you can still achieve excellent results and access your website’s code for complete customization freedom.
Squarespace offers over 100 flexible themes that heavily rely on high-quality, well-fitted imagery. In addition, you can edit images using a range of in-built features. For instance, you can apply filters and adjust the image’s saturation, contrast, and other metrics. Squarespace’s themes are stunning and work exceptionally well for showcasing the work of designers, illustrators, and photographers.
Unfortunately, thanks to a recent Squarespace update, you can no longer switch between templates without losing your content. So keep this in mind while choosing your theme.
WordPress’s Templates and Designs
When it comes to themes and templates, the sheer volume WordPress offers is incredible. There are over 8,000 free themes to choose from, which you can narrow down by category or feature. Beyond this, there’s also a wide range of premium themes and themes created by third-party developers.
Now let’s talk about customization. First of all, WordPress allows you to switch your template anytime without losing your content, so you can experiment to your heart’s content. You also have access to your website’s code, which you can tinker with to your heart’s content.
Beyond this, in recent years, WordPress has made immense progress where Full Site Editing is concerned. It first introduced the Gutenberg Editor and is now rolling out a more comprehensive FSE, enabling users to edit their whole site from one visual interface. You can place and edit theme blocks however you wish and even create global styles that make it easy to keep your entire site’s design consistent.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Pricing
Whether you’re a small business, an individual creative, or a huge corporation, one thing remains true for all: Good value for money is crucial. You don’t want to spend more than necessary each month. So without further ado, let’s take a look at how fair and flexible these platforms’ pricing plans are:
Wix provides excellent value for beginners and those wanting to give their website builder an extended trial run. It offers an entirely free plan that lets you create and host your website.
Aside from this, Wix comes with website and ecommerce plans that differ in price and functionality. As you can imagine, Wix’s ecommerce plans enable you to process online payments:
Here are Wix’s website plans; at the time of writing, there was a 50% off discount for some of the plans:
- Combo plan: $14 per month
- Unlimited plan: $18 per month
- Pro plan: $23 per month
- VIP: $39 per month
And the Business and ecommerce plans, again, at the time of writing there was a 50% off discount for some of the packages:
- Business Basic plan: $23 per month
- Business Unlimited plan: $27 per month
- Business VIP plan: $49 per month
Squarespace, in comparison, doesn’t offer a free plan. Instead, you can choose between monthly and annual payments across its four paid plans and save 30% if you opt for the longer billing period.
Here are Squarespace’s premium plans based on annual billing:
- Personal: $12 per month
- Business: $18 per month
- Commerce: $26 per month
- Advanced Commerce: $40 per month
Like Wix, WordPress.com also offers a free plan that’s great for personal websites and blogs. It also comes with web hosting. Beyond this, a flexible range of premium plans are available:
- Personal plan: $3 per month
- Premium plan: $8 per month
- Business plan: $24 per month
- Ecommerce plan: $47 per month
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Who Offers The Best Value for Money?
All three website builders offer similar pricing models, especially when comparing their business plans that unlock ecommerce functionality.
If you’re after a cheap website builder to create and launch a personal website, both Wix and WordPress offer free programs. But, of course, these come with their limitations. For example, Wix’s free plan is limited to a mere 500GB of storage and bandwidth. However, that’s more than enough if you’re just looking to familiarize yourself with Wix’s interface before committing your hard-earned cash.
Alternatively, suppose you’re willing to pay a little more to connect a custom domain name and remove the platform’s branding. In that case, the pricing is somewhat similar between all three platforms. So, at this point, if you’re looking for a website builder laden with sophisticated design features, Squarespace provides better value for money.
Lastly, if you’re willing to shell out for one of the more expensive plans with any of these website builders, WordPress takes the lead in terms of value for money. Their Business plan unlocks access to WordPress’s full range of plugins and themes, making the sky the limit when it comes to customization. While Wix and Squarespace offer similar plans and pricing, their features don’t quite compare. This is especially true if you install WooCommerce alongside your WordPress Business account to establish a fully functional online store.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Apps and Add-ons
No platform can be all things to all people, so what can you do to steer your site in a new direction?
Apps and add-ons are usually the answer.
That said, how do these website builders compare in this arena? Let’s find out:
Wix gives you access to an entire app market where third-party developers and companies host all sorts of extensions for you to download and use.
You can choose from hundreds of plugins across various categories, including:
- Selling online
- Services and events
- Media and content
- Design elements
All apps are displayed with a ranking so you can see what others thought about them. You can also see whether the plugin is free, comes with a free trial, or require an upfront payment.
Squarespace‘s apps and add-ons are all listed under “Squarespace Extensions.” These add-ons are heavily focused on ecommerce capabilities and include the following categories:
- Shipping and fulfillment
- Inventory and products
- Sales and marketing
You’ll also find apps for email marketing, SEO, and accounting. However, in terms of web-design extensions or smaller widgets, Squarespace is lacking. Overall there are only 27 extensions to choose from. Some are free, whereas others come at a one-off cost or have monthly fees to consider.
Although the Wix app store is sizeable, none of our contestants can compete with WordPress’s sheer array of plugins. This popular platform enjoys thousands of paid-for and free plugins created by WordPress itself and third-party developers. In fact, in 2019, there were over 54,000 free WordPress plugins available in its directory.
Of course, this places the responsibility of research on you. After all, it’s easy to add too many plugins. Or pick a less-than-ideal option with so many extensions to choose from. Luckily, the plugin directory comes with reviews for each tool and many other valuable details, so you can make a fully informed decision before downloading the add-on.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Customer Support
There’s nothing worse than running into technical difficulty and having nothing and no one to turn to. This is where customer support comes into its own.
That said, let’s see what Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress have to offer when it comes to customer care:
You can contact Wix’s customer support via email, social media, or via their community forum. That’s as well as on the telephone from 6 am to 5 pm PST.
The platform also provides detailed self-help documentation, which you can access inside of Wix’s website builder. A help button appears with every element that might require further explanation. When clicked, you’ll be taken to the appropriate documentation.
Squarespace offers live chat support alongside its forums and an online knowledge center. Live chat is operative between 3 am and 8 pm EST, Monday to Friday. In addition, their email support is available 24/7, and Squarespace aims to respond to all emails within an hour.
While Squarespace notably lacks phone support, extensive online self-help documentation is available, including webinars, workshops, and videos.
WordPress offers a range of support options, including unlimited email and live chat support. However, the promptness of WordPress’s responses will depend on the pricing plan you’ve subscribed to. Also, with the ecommerce plan, you get access to personalized expert support sessions.
On top of this, WordPress’s active community is always ready to help. Just post your query in the forum, and wait for someone to get back to you.
You can also find plenty of guides and tutorials both on WordPress’s own website and many other third-party blogs.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: SEO
If you want your site to reach as many people as possible, SEO is vital. But not all website builders are constructed the same when it comes to supporting your SEO efforts. So let’s take a closer look:
Wix’s SEO tools encompass all the basic functionality you need to rank well on search engines. You can edit image alt texts, meta titles, URLs, and meta descriptions.
Wix comes with a built-in SEO wizard that will guide you through what you need to do to improve your website’s SEO. Using a traffic light system, the wizard outlines where your web pages could perform better.
However, beyond this, Wix’s SEO is limited on a technical level. For example, there’s no automatic sitemap creation, and you can’t easily edit the code of your current website. It also uses a slightly strange link structure that search engines find harder to read.
Squarespace also offers a very robust set of SEO features. Similarly, you can edit meta titles, headers, tags, descriptions, alt texts, the structure of your URLs, and create redirects. But, unlike Wix, Squarespace makes it easy to create and update your sitemaps.
But, although Squarespace doesn’t lack when it comes to SEO, it isn’t the most user-friendly. To master it, it helps if you already bring a little SEO experience to the table. It’s also worth noting that Squarespace offers little in the way of SEO plugins, so if the in-built SEO features aren’t to your liking, you’re a bit stuck.
Unsurprisingly, WordPress also allows you to modify the basics, like meta titles, headings, tags, and alt texts. On top of this, you can determine how URLs are displayed.
WordPress is also well-optimized for mobile, and its Jetpack feature provides the kind of security and speed that search engines love.
However, where WordPress’s SEO capabilities really shine is in the platform’s flexibility. Remember those tens of thousands of plugins we mentioned? Naturally, WordPress’s directory includes near-on every SEO plugin under the sun. Of course, the most popular is Yoast SEO, which walks you through the steps you need to take to improve your SEO.
But, on top of that, there are plenty of plugins for one-click sitemap creation, creating a better mobile experience, checking your site for broken links, and much more.
And if plugins don’t do the job for you, you have full access to the website code to make your own edits and additions.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: What’s the Best Website Builder for you?
So, there you have it, our Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress comparison. We’ve now covered all there is to know about these three web-building giants. Of course, each has its own advantages and disadvantages and will be better suited for some purposes more than others. But, overall, it’s clear that WordPress boasts the most flexibility in terms of extended functionality, design freedom, and ecommerce.
With thousands of plugins and themes on offer, you can use WordPress to bring your web creation dreams to life.
That said, flexibility isn’t everyone’s priority. Instead, WordPress might not be your first choice if you’re after the most intuitive web design experience. Instead, you might favor Wix. Or, if creating a website to display tons of visual content is your focus, Squarespace might better suit your needs.
To help you decide which platforms best suit which purposes, we’ve compiled a quick round-up below:
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Best for Small Businesses
The Winner is: Squarespace
While Wix is undoubtedly the most user-friendly editor for sole traders, it has limited in-built functionality. On the other hand, WordPress can be overwhelming, and its ecommerce features are better geared towards larger shops.
In contrast, with a robust suite of turn-key features, Squarespace is an excellent compromise for small businesses. It has all the features you need to run a business from a single website. This includes marketing tools, the ability to manage bookings and services, launch an online membership area, and an array of sophisticated design tools to create a stunning online storefront.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Best for Creatives
The Winner is: Squarespace
Although Wix’s website editor is the simplest and offers many templates, it doesn’t always give you enough control to bring your exact vision to life.
In contrast, WordPress provides thousands of themes and unlimited customization options. Yes, this is a fantastic platform for creatives. However, if web design and development isn’t something you’re familiar with, the sheer array of options may seem overwhelming.
This brings us to Squarespace, which presents the perfect compromise for creatives. It provides everything you need to ensure your visuals shine. With its image editing options and automatic scaling, you can easily ensure your photography, illustrations, product photos, etc., look fantastic.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Best for Ecommerce
The Winner is: WordPress
While both Wix and Squarespace offer ecommerce functionality, their online selling features are somewhere basic. You can create a simple, beautiful storefront and manage products. However, their sales and inventory management features are limited, making it difficult to scale your store.
Whereas, with WordPress, you can install the WooCommerce plugin for free. WooCommerce is incredibly feature-rich and scales well. Small businesses and enterprises can rely on robust inventory management, order fulfillment, and store management features. Couple this with the endless plugins and design options, and you won’t find many limitations when running an ecommerce store with WordPress
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Best for Beginners
The Winner is: Wix
Neither Squarespace nor WordPress features the most intuitive drag-and-drop editors. On top of that, they provide a wealth of features that, although they certainly have their perks, can seem overwhelming at first. They also rely on a little more technical knowledge.
In comparison, Wix provides the most intuitive editor out of the three and makes website building fun and easy. You can set up a site in under an hour by choosing your favorite theme and customizing it for your brand. The dashboard is easy to navigate, as is the in-built SEO wizard. But, if you get stuck, there’s the in-editor help feature that will direct you to the most relevant documentation and assistance. In addition, no coding skills are required to work with Wix whatsoever.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Our Final Verdict
The ever-expanding world of web design software is a confusing one. Ultimately, only you know what’s suitable for your website and what features are a must-have for you. As a result, it’s difficult to recommend any one of these three options over another, as each meets the requirements of a particular niche.
Beginners may flock to Wix, whereas designers and small businesses could benefit from the slightly more advanced Squarespace editor. In contrast, WordPress facilitates bloggers but is also the most feature-rich and customizable website builder making them a terrific option for larger companies and websites looking to scale.
Let us know whether you’ve decided on Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress, or has an entirely different builder caught your attention? For example, Wix may find a competitor in Weebly, whereas those interested in Squarespace might look at Webflow. We’re curious to hear what you think! So speak soon, and until then, take care.