Entrepreneurs are always developing new solutions to problems faced by humanity. Born of creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness, many of the new solutions spur thriving new models of business that result in the rise of entire brands and platforms to take a share of the global business domain. These ideas gain traction and are adapted widely, but they require a medium by which to be distributed. That medium is the driving vehicle for the distribution of these new, innovative ideas: a website.
These websites need a set of tools to be constructed and refined. There are quite a few options to choose from for website building forums. Ultimately, the tool the users choose to build a website relies on the ease of use, its intuitive nature, level of customization, and how well the use of the tools fit into their budget. Therefore, there is no one web building platform that can be deemed as ‘the best’, as they all provide their attributes suitable for different website builders with varying degrees of needs and technical prowess.
Squarespace vs WordPress vs Wix
There are, however, some big names in the website building realm that do stand out. Three such platforms are WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix. These three mediums are all giants in the industry, and while ultimately they accomplish the same goal, they provide different methods of doing so. Ultimately, there is no ‘bad’ choice between these three options. They certainly did not ascend into the top echelon of their field for no reason.
The three platforms have some distinguishing features that make certain ones a better fit for some web builders over others. Let’s take a look at some attributes of these three web building tools to distinguish their similarities and their quite notable differences.
Squarespace’s website builder model is centered on simplicity; this makes it an especially appealing choice for users who are new to the website building game or those who are trying to set up a website for a business but lack adequate technical skills to do so. Squarespace’s website builder is intuitive and user friendly, allowing even the most low-tech aspiring website builder to get started quickly. Squarespace also simplifies setting up an e-commerce marketplace, making it simple to insert product pages, manage inventory, and include product variations. One thing to keep in mind is that Squarespace supports credit card payments only, so owners utilizing PayPal as their primary method should be mindful of this limitation.
This is a great platform to use for the creation of a conventional website or a blog. The website builder has a drag-and-drop tool, allowing users to position the layout of the page a certain way. It is important to note that one cannot simply drop things just anywhere with this web building tool; there is a sensible structure to how the pages are permitted to be organized, and Squarespace forces website creators to stick to them. That means there is little along the way of customization. To customize, you have to make edits on the back end; that requires knowledge of CSS. If you know CSS, then it is likely that a strict template builder like the one used by Squarespace is not your best bet, nor do you need to use such a confining tool.
Squarespace makes it easy to crop photos by leveraging a photo cropping tool that allows images to fit on the page inside of the permitted area. Just because website builders are confined to preset templates, does not mean that there are no options. Squarespace has 70 themes, which gives you plenty to choose from. These themes are tried and tested, assuring that they will all deliver a sleek and on-point website. Another important aspect of Squarespace is their straight to live web publication model. That means that the website adjustments are made as the editing is done in real-time.
Squarespace offers a free trial, and monthly charges start at $12 per month and go up as high as $40 for alternate pricing tier. This is higher than most web hosting service prices, but Squarespace users get the web hosting costs rolled into the monthly price and are paying for the convenience of having to do very little to achieve a good looking website. Customer service is available 24/7 through email support, with an additional chat support feature during working hours.
The customization that parametrizes the confines of Squarespace has no place at WordPress, an open-source web building platform with thousands of themes available either for sale or free of charge. WordPress is a good choice for sites of unconventional nature and once for web builders who do not want to be relegated to choosing from a few dozen themes. This customization provides a load of versatility and flexibility, but it does have a more abstract interface.
The web builder has a lot of options to play with, but all of these options need to be portrayed in a certain way, making the editor feel cluttered and vastly increasing the learning curve associated with its use and utilization. Because of its open-sourced nature, WordPress’s many plugin options end up not being compatible. While you can adapt them to the site, it does require coding knowledge to make adjustments on the back end.
WordPress is a great choice for larger website projects and bigger e-commerce marketplaces. It has multilingual support and utilizes a searchable database. The visual text editor used by the WordPress builder is Gutenberg, which is a drag and drop model of web building. The one shortcoming of this model is that it is abstracted away from the actual website. This means that a builder does not get a full representation and feel for what the site looks like with its edits from the editor alone. To see the reelected changes, you’ll need to use a separate preview version of the site.
WordPress is free to use, but it does not include the hosting costs, so you’ll need to purchase those separately and install them. Another important note is that Worpress does not have customer service support, but most of the plugins used with it do offer some level of customer solutions assistance.
Wix is another interesting website builder platform that offers a decent degree of control to the website creator. For a veteran web builder, the flexibility of options is great, but the amount of them can make the builder tool feel unintuitive and overwhelming. Wix is SEO friendly, being better equipped for search engine optimization rankings. The web building platform offers various tiers, the basic ones start at $7.50 per month plus domain costs, which are not included in the price. That means that the cost of Wix will be roughly similar to that of Squarespace (perhaps a bit cheaper).
Wix allows high theme customization, allowing a builder to create their theme from scratch or select from a library of existing ones. Wix also provides about 250 apps compatible with its platform, and a great number of these are free of charge. One interesting downside that web builders have reported about Wix is that when you add more text on the site ahead of existing elements, the text moves down to allow space for the new additions; however, when you remove elements, the space they leave behind remains, leaving it to the user to deal with the formatting.
Wix stores a historical audit of all of the prior incarnations of a website during the design process. This allows a user to revert to a previously existing historical version if they wish to do so. This is especially helpful in the event of disaster recovery, allowing the website to return to its last saved version quickly.
The more budget-friendly Wix tiers have limitations with hard drive space and bandwidth. One notable downside is that once you select a theme, you must stick to that theme. Changing the theme of the website could trigger the loss of all of the current website content. Unlike Squarespace, Wix offers no 24/7 email service, but you can still contact them that way, and they typically respond within a day.
Find which website builder is best for you
These benefits and downsides may or may not be enough for one to decide which web builder is best for their particular situation, but it is certainly a good primer for weighing the options. The website builder is a key aspect of a website’s development, and the site owner will need to figure out which system and tier work best for their particular set of needs. In any case, there is no bad choice, as they are all solid options. The relevance of the choice will be made with the needs and budget of the website owner in mind.
Which web building tool do you prefer between Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix? Let us know in the comments!
This article originally published on GREY Journal