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Your blog is doing great! You followed our tutorial on how to start a great blog. You have done everything right when it comes to improving productivity for your blog. Now, it’s time to expand. You are ready to nestle that blog into a fully developed website.
With so many great options available, it can be overwhelming. Should you buy a URL separately or through a host? Will your host allow you to send your URL live without buying their hosting templates, or do you need to buy their product suite?
In this article, I will compare 2 giants of web hosting: Wix vs. Squarespace. I’ll determine their features and weaknesses and go into the pricing tiers for each platform. By the end, you should know exactly which one is right for your needs.
User Friendly Interface
One of the most important things to look at for new websites is how easy they are to build. If you don’t have the budget to hire a webmaster and don’t have a background in programming and design, then you need to find a builder that is intuitive and offers a low learning curve.
If you’re asking whether Wix or Squarespace is more user friendly, the simple answer is that Wix is more friendly for beginners, but Squarespace has a better eye for the finished product, so some of their restrictions are designed to eliminate frustrations in editing.
The Wix platform lives up to their reputation for being user friendly. Even the most technologically illiterate people will find their interface simple to use.
Wix is extremely visual. Everything is built on a drag-and-drop structure that allows for complete customization. When you’re new to the platform, you will also see Help buttons everywhere. These provide simple tutorials right next to every tool you want to use.
Wix has hundreds of templates for multiple different types of website. They will guide you through a process of categorizing your website that takes you to specific templates. Choose one you like and start customizing. You can replace any of the stock content with your own.
The biggest drawback to using Wix is that once your template goes live, you cannot change it. You are locked into place unless you rebuild from scratch and transfer your domain.
Customer service is a big part of the user-friendly environment. Wix offers phone, email, forum, and help center advice. The help center contains written and video tutorials to help address a variety of questions. Their phone is in service from 5am to 5pm, Monday through Thursday, if you want to talk to them in person.
The Squarespace platform isn’t quite as intuitive as Wix, but it is pretty easy to understand once you play around a bit. Their platform excels at professional looking designs. It will take a little longer to get used to building through Squarespace vs Wix.
Select your website’s purpose and fill in some information about your site, and you will be shown some templates. Pick one, and it will be imported straight into your site builder.
These designs go for quality over quantity. While there are less to choose from than Wix, they should already be very aesthetically pleasing. You won’t feel the need to change as much with these templates. Just drop in your information and swap stock images for your own.
Another downside to the Squarespace system is that it doesn’t allow you to preview changes. Once they’re made, they get automatically saved. Because of this, visitors can see errors as they’re made when you update live sites.
They lack the 100% movement of Wix platform. Some of their features are locked into place so you have to move content around them.
Squarespace has fantastic customer service. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They respond to emails within an hour, offer user guides in video, and even have live chat assistance Monday through Friday, from 4am to 8pm EST. Unlike Wix, they don’t have a phone system set up, so it’s a little less personal than talking with a Wix representative.
So… Which is better, Wix or Squarespace? My answer is Wix. Squarespace may be more polished, but it has a steeper learning curve. Wix can be fully customized, and anyone can begin building on it within minutes.
The features can make or break a content platform. This is where the evaluation process gets more personalized. Know what you want to do with your website before going into this section. That will help you make the best decision for your needs.
We’ve briefly touched on templates with ease of use, but let’s look at the designs themselves.
Wix offers over 500 templates in a wide range of design options, including business pages, online storefronts, photography portfolios, hospitality sites, blogs, and more. You are all but guaranteed to find a template matching your site theme.
Their templates come pre-populated with professional design suggestions so you don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out your layout. This makes Wix a great option for people who don’t have a specific design in mind. All you have to do is find a layout you like and replace their stock content with your own images.
Wix also has an advanced mobile user interface with an editor, so you can even customize how your website will look when it is being seen on mobile phones. This eliminates the messy, scrolling pages that don’t convert well from desktop to condensed design.
I also love the option to hide content from the mobile site. If you’ve got media that needs to be seen in full, or uses a ton of data, then you can make sure it won’t appear on phones.
A drawback of Wix layouts is that you can’t change your template once you pick it. This means that you can change your design, but you can’t transfer it from one template to another template without recreating your entire website again. They do this because you can drag and drop content anywhere on your website. That’s already a lot of freedom!
Squarespace doesn’t have nearly as many templates to choose from as Wix. Whereas Wix offers several hundred, Squarespace doesn’t even offer 100. That being said, all of the Squarespace templates are professional and streamlined. They look like a template you would ordinarily pay tons of money for.
The Squarespace templates are all about quality. Less is more in this case, because you won’t even notice that you can’t customize these as much. You will love them as they are.
Just like Wix, the Squarespace platform also offers different types of templates, like storefronts, portfolios, blogs, and restaurants.
All of their templates are compatible for mobile websites. You don’t have to change anything to make them work. The downside of Squarespace templates is that you can’t control what is displayed on your website.
Squarespace does allow you to change your template. They automatically transfer all your content to the new template for you. This makes changing your content layout a breeze—just make a few small tweaks instead of rebuilding the entire thing.
The best thing about Wix is their drag and drop performance. It makes everything easy. Squarespace also uses drag and drop, but they lock your content into blocks. You can move, edit, and remove these blocks, but you cannot adjust much within the block. All of the content must be placed next to each other or stacked on top of each other. You cannot place content anywhere on the screen the way Wix allows you to.
Wix wins this category. They offer 5 times as many templates, which outweighs the fact that you can’t change your template after you choose one.
SEO—Can You Be Found?
Unfortunately, the drawback of using a platform for web design is that you have to rely on their focus. Neither Wix or Squarespace is perfect at search engine optimization (SEO) for their users. In fact, this is a massive drawback.
The focus of both of these platforms is a templated design. This makes their pages flat, with very few layers available. Both of them have taken some measures to help their SEO results.
The Wix features are pretty basic. You can add meta data to each page with alternative text for images, but that’s about it. If you pay for their premium features, you get a site map as well. You can’t set your own titles and descriptions per post; they generate automatically based on the post title.
Because Wix uses AJAX, they include # in their URLs and don’t allow you to edit the page’s permanent link. This is really bad for SEO results. You also can’t change post descriptions and titles. They generate according to your post title and content. This means you have to tailor your introductory text to become your search result snippet.
Some of the other drawbacks to Wix include: not being able to utilize H1 headers, no focused keyword settings, and no on-page optimization. You cannot use breadcrumbs, link anchor text, utilize social media images and graphing, include RSS feeds, customize your CSS, use XML sitemaps, or use structured data.
They do allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs, meta descriptions by URL, and alternative image text. They include SSL certificates, CDN options, AMP support, 301 redirects, mailing lists, video and podcast embeds, blog tagging and commenting, and social sharing buttons.
Wix has worked hard to improve their SEO reputation. They’ve added some built-in tools to make SEO easier. They provide users with a guide that allows them to learn to set up their site’s SEO and develop it as their pages grow. Their SEO Wizard offers a personalized plan that you can follow for step-by-step instructions tailored to your individual needs.
Their SEO content is ideal for smaller businesses and bloggers. It covers the basics, integrates Google analytics, and makes it easy to use but won’t do well with the fancier tricks and advanced SEO methods.
Squarespace is doing worse than Wix when it comes to SEO problems. They don’t allow page titles or meta descriptions for blog posts and product pages.
It’s a trade-off on some features. Unlike Wix, they allow custom CSS, XML sitemaps, Facebook open graphs, canonical links, and RSS feeds; however, they do not offer website indexing or allow alternate image text.
Squarespace uses HTML, so their pages are easy to find and index in search engines. They also allow control over page titles. Their headings only allow to subheader 3 instead of all the way down to 6.
Squarespace has begun offering some built-in SEO tools, too. They offer a checklist in the help center to follow for optimizing your site. Like most things, it’s not quite as beginner friendly as Wix.
Their SEO can handle a lot of things, but only if you know how to code it in yourself. If you want to do things like issue search engine instructions, you will have to use their “code injection” feature, which means you have to write your own code and then fit it into their template.
One of the frustrating aspects of Squarespace is that it’s often difficult to manage your SEO data within the template. It often ends up showing up on your website instead of staying hidden in the code.
Wix wins this category. While Squarespace allows for more advanced options via code injection, most people using a template to build their website want everything simplified. If they were programmers, they’d code their own webpage from scratch. Because of this, I recommend Wix. Their SEO Wizard helps beginners optimize their website so they appear in Google searches without having to know how to do the work themselves.
These days, most websites want to include integrated storefronts. Even bloggers have started selling branded tee shirts and tote bags. This is why a comparison of the e-commerce capabilities is important.
Wix also offers intuitive e-commerce features. They offer 6 variants built into each product with the ability to create titles, include images, and add creative descriptions for any products you post.
They are somewhat limited with regards to payment options, though, as compared to traditional e-commerce platforms. They can only accept credit card payments through Paypal, Moolah, Stripe, or Square.
Wix doesn’t have the ability to register users, so you can’t use them for tracking buying habits, records of previous purchases, or regaining abandoned carts.
They do allow for creating individualized shipping rules, or shipping by weight, flat rate, or free shipping. They don’t allow you to print and buy labels or get real-time shipping.
Wix doesn’t allow automatic tax rates. You must set your tax rate by region. They are a nice option for small businesses with only a few products to sell through major marketplace options, but not ideal for larger businesses. The beauty of their system is that it seamlessly integrates into Wix-hosted websites.
Squarespace packages allow unlimited product inventories. They come with no transaction fees and a mobile-friendly checkout process.
They offer inventory and order tracking, tax options, and coupons and allow you to print labels through ShipStation. Unlike Wix, they allow for customer accounts, which means you can recover abandoned shopping carts and track previous order history. They also allow products to be showcased and sold through Instagram.
Squarespace wins the e-commerce battle. They offer unlimited product inventories and the ability to create user accounts. This means you can more easily re-target paying customers. That’s a big win for your bottomline.
Each of these options offer a variety of pricing tiers based on the features you’d like to have. Know your budget and balance this with the things you want from a website to know which package to buy.
One of the great things about Wix is that they have a free option. If you want to try their site out before making a purchasing decision, create a page using their free template and a .wixsite.com domain extension. It offers 500 megabits of storage space and unlimited pages to play with and learn. Once you’ve figured things out, you can upgrade to a paid option to get your custom domain instead of a wixsite.com extension.
You can find a side by side pricing comparison for Wix here if you decide that their option is best for your needs.
Their Combo package is ideal for personal sites. It offers 2 gigs of bandwidth, 3 gigs of storage space, the ability to connect your domain, 30 minutes of video, an ad-free site, and a domain free for the first year. The plan also comes with Google analytics, a customized icon, and customer support for all your questions.
Their Unlimited plan jumps you to unlimited bandwidth, 10 gigs of storage space, and 1 hour of video content. Along with all the features of the Combo package, it also includes $300 in ad vouchers, a site booster app, and a form builder app.
The Pro plan is their most popular option. It includes all of the features that come with the Unlimited plan but increases you to 20 gigs of storage space, 2 hours of video, and adds a calendar of events, professional logo, and social media logo files.
The VIP package offers the same set of features that are included in the Pro package but comes with VIP support and priority response rates when you contact customer service.
Squarespace doesn’t offer a free plan, but they do give you a 14-day free trial. You can use this time to familiarize yourself with their templates, build a site, and prepare to go live. By the end of your trial, you’ll know whether you want to invest the money in their plan or go with another option, and if you stay with Squarespace, your site should be ready to go live.
Squarespace lays their pricing out here. Make sure to read the fine print, because their displayed monthly price is the price that you pay if you bill it all at once. If you choose to pay month to month, the price is higher per month.
They offer 2 packages instead of 4, which makes it easier to decide the best option for yourself.
The Personal plan comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, which is really nice compared with Wix, who even limits your storage space at the top level. The package includes a mobile optimized website, analytic metrics, a free custom domain with your annual purchase, SSL security, 24/7 customer support, and the ability for 2 contributors to work the site.
Their Business package comes with the same features as the Personal package but doesn’t limit the number of contributors. It also includes professional email from Google, $100 of Google ads credit, promotional pop-ups (if you’re obnoxious enough to use them), fully integrated e-commerce capabilities, unlimited inventory capacity, and the ability to accept donations (with a 3% transaction fee for e-commerce and donation transactions).
This one is hard to compare, but I ended up siding with Squarespace. I don’t like the fact that Wix limits storage space on their VIP package. Paying for the top tier product should mean that everything is unlimited, even if they increase the price to accommodate that. If Squarespace can offer unlimited storage for half the price of the Wix VIP package, then Wix should match that easily.
The truth is that both of these platforms are highly recommended for a reason, and the decision will come down to your individual preference.
If you want a lot of creative license and an extremely user-friendly interface, then your best bet is Wix. They offer an intuitive process from start to finish. Everything from design to SEO is done for you so that you don’t have to have any coding experience or web design knowledge to create a fantastic site.
If you’re looking for a little more sophistication and don’t mind putting in some extra effort, then Squarespace may be the best option for you. Their site offers a lot more value for the price in terms of storage capacity and analytics, with the option to inject any code that their templates can’t handle.