WordPress.org vs. Squarespace.com
When we first created the idea of 'Meeting In The Media,' we immediately thought of hosting and creating the site on Squarespace. However, we decided to go with WordPress because we were going for a more 'newspaper' style look, and thought one of the thousands of WordPress templates could accommodate us.
After working with WordPress.com, switching to WordPress.org, and moving through four different templates, or 'themes', over the course of five months, we made the switch from WordPress to Squarespace.com!
Squarespace version 7 currently offers just over 20 templates. With no third-party templates, they're consistently updated and checked for bugs. And - they all use responsive design!
A team of Squarespace developers tests and updates these templates so you won't see incompatibility between the template and your website - too often. While WordPress and third-party websites offer thousands of different themes, templates provided by Squarespace are highly customizable; we ran through hundreds of templates on WordPress and could never find exactly what we were looking for, while Squarespace's customization allowed us to easily create the look we wanted. Check out the details of our new Squarespace look, here!
On top of that, all Squarespace sites use responsive design; they conform to the device the site is being viewed on. There is no need for a separate mobile site for a phone, iPad or other device, because your site automatically transforms to fit mobile devices.
Problem Loading Assets vs. Bugs and Updates
WordPress allows users to purchase, download and install thousands of third-party themes, which means WordPress doesn't control the quality of what you're using. Squarespace does not allow third-party templates, so all templates are consistently updated and checked for bugs. However, Squarespace has a documented problem loading its own assets; if you are using "too many" images, summary blocks, block posts or other Squarespace-created assets on one page, your site may cause an internet browser to crash, freeze, or display an 'Unresponsive Script Error' warning.
You can read more about this script error and additional problems Squarespace has loading its own assets in our related post. Personally, I create most client websites in Squarespace, and have only encountered this problem once - with our site here, Meeting In The Media. While Squarespace is not currently looking into fixing this documented issue (9/2015), this should not be a problem for normal users.
Squarespace is easier to use with its drag-and-drop page builders.
WordPress requires HTML for placing your content in any formation other than one, straight line - a nice 'align left' here, 'width=' there. Sure, you can drag and drop, but the items do not conform to the size of your viewing area. And if you've used WordPress before, you know this can be stressful.
The simplicity of content creation is the number one reason we went with Squarespace over WordPress. Squarespace doesn't require its users to understand internet coding to create a custom look for each blog post, page, and even its shop features. You can easily drag-and-drop an image, text or other item in your content area, and it will beautifully conform to the surrounding content.
As you see here, the image is aligned to the left of this blog post, while this text is aligned to the right. All we had to do is upload an image directly to the blog post, drag the image around the content area, then drop the image in the spot we desired - and it's done!
On WordPress, different themes allow you to display your image galleries in different formats.
One theme will allow you to display your images as a stack, one on top of the other, another theme allows you to display them as a grid, and so on. However, every Squarespace template affords users both of these options, and more; you can make multiple galleries per page or blog post, and each gallery can display the images in a different format.
The Slideshow | The Stack
The options for different gallery formats are also customizable, allowing you to hide next/previous buttons, auto-play the slideshow, display the images in a lightbox, and more. Squarespace templates also offers 'gallery pages' which will display images in a chosen format based on your template design. Learn more about gallery pages directly from Squarespace help center.
You can still customize your template with custom HTML and CSS, too!
If you're interested in a completely custom design, Squarespace allows for HTML, custom CSS, and code injection. In fact, we used custom code with Meeting In The Media to create unique design elements for our new Squarespace site, including a blog sidebar with a background color that differentiates it from blog content, author name links on posts and summary blocks lead to custom author pages, and comment box fonts and colors. See more of our new branding and design elements, here!
All In One Place...
Using WordPress was more of a process for us. We registered a domain name on Network Solutions, purchased a WordPress.org software hosting package with SiteGround - a great site with great customer support and deals, and then had to log into the WordPress.org software separately to control the content. Squarespace does away with all of the tedious details, and offers a domain name along with your website at one inclusive price.
Unlike WordPress, Squarespace can host your domain name, your website, and your website builder all in one place. The user interface is easy-to-use, requires one login, and you use one central menu to customize your website and its content. Check out Squarespace pricing plans - along with a coupon code! - in our post 'Switch From WordPress to Squarespace!'
Importing and Exporting with Squarespace? Well, not quite.
With Wordpress, you can import and export all of your content, allowing you to create a back-up of your website posts and pages that you can re-import at any time. Squarespace 7 does not allow such extensive capabilities. You can import content into Squarespace from Tumblr, Blogger, Squarespace version 5, and WordPress. However, you're only able to export your Squarespace blog posts - and they can only be re-imported into a WordPress site; they can't even be imported back into your own Squarespace 7 website. So, if your Squarespace site magically disappears, or if you want to import your Squarespace blog content to a new Squarespace-hosted site - too bad!
Aside from some strange issues encountered in a blue moon, Squarespace offers some great capabilities that allow you to focus on creating content, as opposed to the tedious task of fitting an image with your text, and completing the process. As if creating original content isn't hard enough, right?
We would definitely suggest you do further research about the pros and cons of each platform before making the choice.
Ready to take the leap?
If you think Squarespace is the platform for you, take a look at our guide about how you can switch from WordPress to Squarespace! If you think you'd like a designer who specializes in Squarespace-based websites, get in touch with our designer Geena Matuson for a quote and client samples!