From looking through a lot of designer facebook groups and chatrooms, it’s become pretty clear to me that most website designers pick a favourite platform to build on and stick with it. Often, they are fiercely protective of that platform and you will see a tonne of blog posts with titles like WordPress vs Squarespace, Squarespace vs Wix, WordPress vs Shopify and so it goes on.
But for me, it’s not a case of which platform is best, but more a case of which platform is right for which client.
*** Quick note here, I also build on Shopify, but this post is more aimed at my beloved service-based businesses and creative entrepreneurs. ***
So, after starting out using Squarespace, and loving it! I found I was starting to get clients who either really wanted their site built on WordPress, or, the functionality they required just wasn’t available in Squarespace.
So I delved into the world of WordPress and I am loving it! And so are my clients.
So that’s basically the why. But how do I decide which platform is right for which client? Well here are some of the questions I ask to help my clients decide.
1) What is the main goal of your website?
Understanding what the purpose of the website will be one of the very first indications as to whether I recommend they go with WordPress or Squarespace.
For most service-based businesses a simple Squarespace website is the best option. The all-in-one package Squarespace offers allows me to create beautiful websites at minimal cost and more importantly allows me to hand them over to a client knowing they will be robust enough to last them for years.
If however, I start hearing words like “offering courses”, “memberships” and other more involved functionalities I start thinking about whether WordPress might be a better option for them.
2) Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time
This is another great early indicator as to whether Squarespace or WordPress is the best choice for them.
Some businesses start out small, but when a client comes to me with big dreams of where that business will go I need to weigh up whether a platform like Squarespace can handle future functionally requirements, as well as WordPress, could.
Sure, in 5 years’ time they may wish to redesign their site, but if they’ve spent the previous 5 years using and learning one platform, jumping to a whole new one will be an arduous task.
Plus the added work involved in maintaining your SEO when switching platforms can make this a costly decision to take down the track.
3) Are you comfortable maintaining your own website including site backups and security, or are you willing to pay someone a monthly fee to do this for you?
This is a big one. So many of the clients that come to me with existing WordPress websites have no idea that it is up to them to do the backups and maintain the security of their website.
I see people with literally years of blog posts on a website that hasn’t been backed up in 5 years and has zero security due to out-of-date (or no!!!!) plugins.
It’s a hard truth to learn that their website could be hacked and they could lose everything in an instant with no chance of recovery.
One of the best things about Squarespace is that it handles all these things for you. When I hand a website over to a client I can do so knowing that Squarespace will take care of all this for them.
There are loads of inbuilt functions with Squarespace that make it truly the best option for many small businesses.
So when people come to me wanting a WordPress website, or if I identify functionality better suited to the more robust WordPress platform, then I make sure to explain to them the on-going maintenance required to keep their site running smoothly and safely.
I see in a lot of articles comparing these two platforms arguments about which one allows you to create more beautiful websites or WordPress has superior search engine optimisation.
But the truth of the matter is, with the right designer, these points are no longer relevant.
Yes, there are some things I can do, design-wise, on one platform and not the other, but there’s always a way to create a beautiful, unique-looking site whichever platform I’m working on.
And search engine optimisation is such a massive beast. But both WordPress and Squarespace have loads of built-in functionality to allow me to create the best possible base for a searchable website.
So for me, these arguments just don’t stack up.
I hope some of the questions posed in this article help you decide which platform is right for you and your new website! And if you would like to know more, feel free to contact me and we can chat about your project!