Top 5 reasons why I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace
After switching my own website from Wordpress to Squarespace I was hooked. I have to admit that I feel somewhat like a traitor when it comes to this topic since I’ve attended 3 Wordpress conferences and have designed in Wordpress for over 3 years while working in the agency world. While Wordpress is a fantastic platform for many, I believe that Squarespace is a better fit for my business and the clients that I want to work with.
If you’re looking for a super customized website with complex functionality (such as member logins or recurring payments), then Wordpress is the way to go, but I’ve found that many businesses don’t need all the bells and whistles that Wordpress offers and many clients find it confusing and even scary to make updates on their own. My overall goal is to be able to hand over a website to a client and empower them to update, change, and add anything they want without my help. As a business owner I know how often I make changes to my website and I love knowing that I can do that without having to ask someone to do it for me. Here are the top 5 reasons why I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace:
#1 Squarespace is more intuitive
When I finished designing a website in Wordpress I would sit down with the client, give them a tutorial on the backend of the site and send them a pdf with screenshots and instructions on how to make changes. I was surprised to find that even the most “techie” people felt overwhelmed at times and still needed to check in and ask me questions because they were so nervous they would break something. Now, when I hand a site over in Squarespace I feel confident they can handle it on their own and can already see a level of comfort that was missing before. I love checking in on sites that I’ve designed and seeing that the client has already added a few buttons, switched out photos, or added content. It makes my heart sing to see that they’ve already taken ownership of their web presence and feel confident maintaining the site on their own.
#2 You never have to worry about updating the software, themes, or plugins
Wordpress has an overwhelming amount of themes, plugins, and widgets to choose from and download. While this can be a great thing and give you more options for functionality and design, it can also cause huge problems. Plugins and themes are created by developers all over the world and sometimes the latest update might not be compatible with the other parts of your website causing it to crash. Likewise, if you let your website go too long without updates it can cause a lot of glitchy things to happen to your site which may lead you to hire a developer (usually in a state of panic) to fix if you don’t have someone regularly maintaining the site. Squarespace on the other hand is a self-contained platform meaning all the parts will work together, always. You never have to update software, plugins or widgets or worry that changing one part will break another. You don’t even need to have a monthly maintenance plan with your designer or developer because Squarespace handles it all.
#3 Squarespace is more secure
Wordpress has so many third-party plugins that it allows more ways for hackers to access your site and your data. Not only is it a scary situation because your private information can be stolen, but it can be a pain to figure out how to solve the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Squarespace manages everything themselves making their platform more secure. They offer free SSL certificates to provide a secure connection for visitors. They also make regular security scans to guard against potential hackers.
#4 Squarespace is simple
Although Wordpress has way more themes to choose from, you unfortunately don’t have the beauty of playing with different themes or switching them since you typically have to commit to a cost before you can even install it to your Wordpress (sometimes up to $70). Then, once you install the theme, you have to learn how the developer setup the backend. Unless you’re using the same theme company or developer, your dashboard and settings can vary from theme to theme. Where one might use a portfolio item to display an image on your home page, another might do it a completely different way. This was the most frustrating part of Wordpress for me. It would be like opening up a familiar program like Word to type a document, but your buttons and tools would be scattered in different places each time. This step added a lot of time to my design process. On the other hand, Squarespace has 84 templates to choose from and navigating the backend of the site is a breeze. The templates are really more of a starting place and then I can easily customize each site knowing exactly where to find each tool. I can even inject code or add custom CSS to further customize the site. Since all the templates live in Squarespace you can switch from template to template if you find that you’d rather try out a different style (without any extra cost).
#5 Squarespace has reliable support
Since Wordpress themes are developed by so many different people, the support can be all over the place. You have to make sure that you’re buying a theme that is proven to provide help. I’ve had to purchase a new theme once because the theme I had already purchased had ZERO support. It was brand new and therefore there wasn’t a forum of questions and answers and when I attempted to email the developer they were MIA. This can be maddening if your client has a specific request and there’s no way to find the answer. Squarespace has incredible support. Live chat is available from 4am - 8pm Monday through Friday where you can message with a live person about your specific problems (they are incredibly kind). Outside of those hours you can shoot them an email with a question and typically have a response by the next day or even hours. You can also search the web with your question and usually find a discussion about your exact problem.
While I prefer Squarespace for my own business, that doesn’t mean that Wordpress is a bad option. All of the Wordpress examples I mentioned refer to using “out of the box” themes. Many agencies, designers and developers work to make fully customized sites where the designer designs the site in Sketch, Photoshop or Illustrator and the developer codes the site and customizes the site to your exact needs. This can be a great option for some businesses, but you’ll definitely spend more going this route and typically have to wait months before the site is complete. You also have to setup a monthly maintenance plan with whoever created your site to ensure that your site won’t crash or have any of the above problems I mentioned (unless you feel confident managing the site yourself).
Hopefully this helps answer some of your questions about these two popular platforms. If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to reach out!
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