How is this post going to be different from all of the other posts where there’s a comparison of WordPress versus Squarespace (for example, my own, right here)? Easy! This is NOT a comparison. It’s just a real-time, no-bullshit experiment: what are my struggles, what I like and dislike, what are the problems I face, how I feel on both of these platforms. If you’re just starting your career and you’re making a decision about which platform to choose for website creation, I’m here for you!
So, let’s start with a bit of a background of me.
– I’m a graphic designer and I’ve been building website designs for a while now. Although that’s not something I do now on a daily basis – it’s still one of my all time fav design fields.
– I’m NOT a developer. I know only (very) basic HTML code and I kind of understand how CSS works but I get physically sick when I see CSS code in front of me.
– I consider myself pretty “tech-savvy” as long as there’s Google right by my side. I might not know how big is the RAM for my computer or how looks the cord that can be used to add my laptop to tv but I’m working online on a daily basis and I know what is API key and where to find one, how to create and send out newsletters and things like that.
About the experiment:
It was not my intention to write about an experiment like this right until I understood that no one really tells the truth. Online, especially in several specific fields like “creative entrepreneurs”, you’ll see two kinds of people. One will say “I love Squarespace! It’s so easy, everything is set and good to go, I’m never leaving this platform!!!”, other is WordPress warrior and sounds something like “WordPress is the only way to a successful website! It has the best SEO options, better customization, no doubts, it’s just better!!!” And both of them are right… But what’s actually the best way FOR YOU when you’re right between these two strong opinions, starting your own website? Let’s find out!
P.S. I’m totally “Team Squarespace” but I’m trying to stay as neutral as possible through this article!
BEGINNING OF THE STORY: SQUARESPACE
I’ve been on this platform ever since I started my website. It really came like a blessing when I tried to decide how to create a website on my own. I had no time and no willingness to understand how WordPress works – it had all these installations, plug-ins, code – things that, at that time, I really had not the smallest idea about. While Squarespace was there for me with everything set and good to go.
>> YES! That’s true what they say. Starting on Squarespace IS easy.
It was a no-brainer. Even without any technical knowledge at that time I was able to purchase my domain, adjust the template to my website, change fonts, colors, add photos, publish posts and make it look BEAUTIFUL (although at that time it actually looked pretty bad, I’m ashamed of my decisions, haha).
What made it so easy is a very simple user interface. It pretty obviously says “YOU HAVE TO COME HERE TO DO THAT”. You don’t have to guess what’s under each section. Under Pages – there are your pages. Under Design – it’s your design. Under Settings – your settings!
I made my first website in one evening and you can too. Totally!
HOW I FELL DEEPLY-MADLY IN LOVE
My love for Squarespace grew so deep that I decided to offer Squarespace website setup and design as one of my design services. At that time, I really was just walking around and telling everyone – that platform is a BLAST! I had no doubts that I’m staying forever.
With time, I learned more and more options this platform offered. I realized, that with additional knowledge I really can do almost anything. Each template can be customized as necessary. The hardest part seemed to find the right template to start with. At that point, I wrote an article “How to choose the best Squarespace template”, did my part of research and felt like living happily ever after.
OPINIONS, OPINIONS, OPINIONS…
After a year and half of being a super passionate SS user, I started to read more and more comments about how amazing is WordPress. There were several threads about choices successful entrepreneurs had made and 95% of them included word “WordPress”.
I started to see a huge difference between these two groups of people. Most Squarespace users were new (and let’s be honest – a bit lazy) online business owners OR freelancers who had no need to make their website “oh, so crazy stunning!”. While most of the WordPress users were well-established creatives with a huge following and this confidence that WordPress is a big part of their success…
That made me thinking.
>> I DON’T think that platform of your website is anywhere close to any of the key factors of your success. It really depends on how well you use options different platforms offer AND how much you work toward your goals. The website is NOT the success of your business…
HELLO THERE, WORDPRESS
A few months ago I had a client who needed few updates to her WordPress page. Since I had some previous – very basic – experience on WP with my own old blog, I decided to take on the project and help her out while learning to manage WordPress.
It really surprised me how easy it was to work with it. Nothing like I had imagined! All those crazy plugins, codes… It was no problem and for these small changes, I had no need to actually experience anything that seemed so crazy in WordPress for me.
Although the job was small, it gave me the option to check WordPress from the other side, when I already had some knowledge about how things work in life. And it was a nice surprise of how easy it seemed for me!
At that point I started to think – maybe, just maybe I need to do this transition…
SQUARESPACE – WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME?!!?
Around that time, I started to experience crazy problems in Squarespace. I have to say – it’s not a common thing to have so many issues, neither for me or anyone else who’s using SS. After consulting their support for few weeks in a row and getting in touch with other Squarespace designers who had an idea of how the platform works, I understood that the problem is somewhere deeper – not on my website or Squarespace but somewhere on my computer.
It’s a sad story that still breaks my heart. Since I have two active websites on Squarespace, this inability to do things properly has taken A LOT of my nerves and I’ve never felt so frustrated with any other platform as I was with Squarespace… I wasn’t able to save my posts or design changes, I wasn’t able to update any photos or literally anything else.
Although it’s no one’s fault really, it all made me so frustrated that I decided to take a closer look at my options with WordPress.
REALITY PUT ME BACK IN THE PLACE
Once again, the destiny was very nice to me and I suddenly had a client who decided to give me the option to create her WordPress website from a zero. The deal was – it has to be crazy pretty AND (what’s important!) with several specific design options included. Meaning, it was not “choose an offered template and it’s good to go” option. I was taking on a huge challenge!
This is the place in this story when we’ve come to this week.
And my main conclusion after working with WordPress so far has been –
OH – MY – GOD. How the hell do you do that, people?!!?!??!?!?!?
I literally have NO idea how someone without any knowledge (or with very basic one) can work around WordPress without losing their minds… I’m applauding for all of you who have taken on work with WordPress without any knowledge of how it works and has worked your way through it!! Really!
SOME STRUGGLES I’VE FACED…
I’ve already made some jokes that my brain cells have died because of how easy the Squarespace is… It was proven when I had SO MANY crazy small (and crazy big) struggles with WP.
– I wasn’t able to find where on GoDaddy I’m able to start building my WordPress website;
– I didn’t find any theme that would look a bit more modern than 2000’s;
– Page Builder drove me insane and everything looked like crap (from 2000’s);
– I discussed with my client the option to purchase a Kleo theme. Which we did. Which was amazing! Up till I had no idea how to edit it;
– I spent 3 hours trying to solve the question HOW can I start working on Visual Composer that was already installed and that was included in the theme but showed me “No Licenses” message;
– When I (finally!) found answers to my Visual Composer questions, I spent 2 more hours trying to find where can I see my “Demo Content” and demo design.
Now I’ve started the journey of actual design and building process. It’s definitely not the hardest part (at least, not for now…). Altogether, I’ve spent more than a week trying to work trough this whole “setup”. WEEK. One goddamn week.
I’m still hoping I’ll be able to actually “get” how WordPress works since right now I’m still always in the process of searching things (“Where did I find that Page Builder yesterday?!?!”). I’d love to build my own websites there but if the struggle will go one… Big nope.
After all, here are my main conclusions:
– Squarespace has REALLY easy navigation for anyone who has NO IDEA how to build anything online;
– You can start a high-quality website in Squarespace in one evening;
– You can start a website in WordPress in one evening (or at least two, if that’s me);
– Squarespace is more expensive and with fewer options but it makes your life pretty easy;
– WordPress is an amazing option if you’re looking forward to building your website/blog not only with great content but also with many future options (subscription sites, forums, great opt-ins etc).
– Both of these platforms are GREAT. Both will make you AMAZING websites.
– WordPress = less money + more time + more knowledge;
– Squarespace = more money + less time + less knowledge.
The choice is up to you!
Let me know if you have any specific questions regarding these platforms and your options. Somehow I feel like this is my all time favorite topic, haha…