Squarespace or Wordpress? How to Choose the Best Website Platform for your Business

When it comes to choosing a side in the Wordpress versus Squarespace battle, picking the ‘best’ one can seem like an impossible choice. Everyone has their two cents on what makes one platform more superior than the other, but the reality isn’t so black and white. Both platforms are great options depending on features you want, the budget you have, and what your business needs from its website.

 
Squarespace or Wordpress? How to Choose the Best Website Platform for your Business — Dapper Fox Design - Branding + Website Design #branding #websitedesign #squarespace #squarespacedesigner
 

WHAT PLATFORM I USE FOR MY WEBSITE

I made the switch from a self-hosted Wordpress website to Squarespace about a year ago, and haven’t looked back. Personally, I’ve found this platform to give me everything I need with none of the extra hassle usually associated with maintaining a website. I’m able to make changes by myself anytime I want, and the process of creating blog posts is easy with Squarespace. 

Even though I personally made the switch to Squarespace, I still offer website design for both the Wordpress and Squarespace platform. This is because I understand that Wordpress is a better fit than Squarespace for some. So I’m not going to take any sides here, because each business is unique and has different priorities. Let’s go through the pros and cons of each platform so you can decide what the best decision is for your business.

Let’s look at 6 main factors to compare the two platforms to each other…

 


TECHNOLOGY SKILL LEVEL


SQUARESPACE

Even if you’re not super savvy with technology, Squarespace is a great option for business owners wanting to maintain their own sites. You don’t even have to write a single line of code (although you do have optional functionality for doing so if you want). This is probably my favorite feature of Squarespace- the ability for my clients to take over after I’m finished designing their sites and have full control. I’m all about empowering business owners, and this platform allows for the control to be put completely in their hands. You never have to go through a developer when you want to change anything on your site. Easy peasy.

WORDPRESS

The interface is something that can be a little trickier for some, so if you go with this option, you’ll definitely want to spend some time getting to know your way around. Wordpress utilizes a lot of plugins that can make things easier, but you’ll also want to have a basic understanding of code if you want to make changes on your own. Usually a developer will code your Wordpress site, which means there is a lot of back-end stuff to know. HTML and CSS literally are their own languages!

 


COST


Squarespace or Wordpress? How to Choose the Best Website Platform for your Business — Dapper Fox Design - Branding + Website Design #branding #websitedesign #squarespace #squarespacedesigner

SQUARESPACE

Right now, Squarespace charges between $96-288 a year to use their service. These fees depend on whether you have a basic site with minimal pages, or one with unlimited pages and/or ecommerce. From a startup cost, Squarespace usually tends to be a more affordable option when creating basic or ecommerce sites, since it doesn’t require a developer to write the custom code. You can hire a designer (like me!) to create a beautiful custom Squarespace site, or you can build it yourself!

WORDPRESS

With Wordpress, you have the option of going with a super basic or higher end hosting company. Prices can range anywhere from $60 to $360 a year, and sometimes more depending on your bandwidth requirements (usually just for large ecommerce sites). The platform itself is free and open source, which is wonderful! But unless you’re super tech savvy and can write HTML and CSS, there are costs associated with having a Wordpress website professionally designed and developed (we do that too!).

 


MAINTENANCE


SQUARESPACE

Squarespace sites don’t require any plugin maintenance, theme updates, or platform upgrades etc. They take care of everything on the back end, and with all of their features built-in, there aren’t any plugins to worry about. This is also super helpful in maintaining your site’s security, since those kinds of things are what some hackers use to break into websites. Yikes!

WORDPRESS

Wordpress sites need to be maintained and updated at least once a week. Outdated or inactive plugins are a way for hackers to get their hands on your precious content, so keeping those updated is one of the best things you can do for your security. Theme updates need to be done regularly as well, and anytime Wordpress updates their system, you’ll want to make sure you hop on to update your version too! If you know you want a Wordpress site, but this part makes you nervous, there’s always the option of a monthly maintenance package offered through your developer. I work with a great developer who offers this service for just $50 a month.

 


DESIGN + FUNCTIONALITY


Squarespace or Wordpress? How to Choose the Best Website Platform for your Business — Dapper Fox Design - Branding + Website Design #branding #websitedesign #squarespace #squarespacedesigner

SQUARESPACE

While Squarespace is known for offering clean and simple templates, this doesn’t mean your website has to look like a cookie cutter version of everyone else’s! I’ve noticed this is a common misconception, where people seem to think their site won’t look unique enough if it's designed on the SS platform. Don’t discredit the power of strong photography, custom illustrations, graphics and copy. My own site is created on Squarespace, and I utilize graphics and photographs to make this template my own. Templates are just a starting point!

While you can make a Squarespace site personalized and unique, one of the biggest drawbacks is that this platform just isn’t as customizable if you're one who likes to be able to change every. single. thing. Squarespace just can’t match the unlimited amount of possibilities that come with Wordpress design. But we have to remember that SS is simple for a reason, and with that simplicity comes a sacrifice in flexibility. 

WORDPRESS

Some websites need to be completely customized from the ground up, with the additional functionality and flexibility that comes with having a Wordpress site. When you work with a Wordpress designer and developer, you get exactly what you want, without any of the design compromises. The functionality of the site can be tailored to a T, so you're able to optimize your website for any purpose, and you'll never find yourself limited with placement, sizing, features etc. This is the #1 selling point of Wordpress for my clients- the ability to have any design and functionality you want.


ECOMMERCE


SQUARESPACE

Squarespace makes ecommerce ridiculously easy. Setting up your store, updating products and fulfilling orders is a breeze. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of customization available within the store, and the shipping options take a bit of finagling to figure out just the right formula. But if you have fewer than 100 products and straight forward shipping requirements, this platform is usually a good choice. The layout is clean, easy to navigate and simply... simple. Here's an example of a recent site for StudioAndolina that uses Squarespace's ecommerce. I love the way the design is cleanly laid out and to the point, providing all the essentials of an online shop.

 
Squarespace Website Design for ecommerce by Dapper Fox Design in Park City Utah
 

 

WORDPRESS

If you want an online shop that is much more customized, Wordpress is the way to go. There are several different plugins that will allow you to build a completely custom, unique shop on your site. For example, a recent site I designed for The Custom Studio utilized a custom swatch feature for each product. This kind of add-on or special feature isn’t available with Squarespace (yet!), so if you need custom options like this, you’ll want to create your ecommerce site in Wordpress. I love the way this came out though, since it allowed us to add in an extra touch of personality to each item.

 
Wordpress Website Design for ecommerce by Dapper Fox Design in Park City Utah
 

CUSTOMER SUPPORT


SQUARESPACE

One of my favorite parts about Squarespace is their amazing customer service. I’ve only had great experiences with them, being accommodating and extra helpful. They have a database and forum that is continually growing, which is great and pretty useful. They usually respond to any problems or inquiries within an hour, and have online chat as well as email contact available.

WORDPRESS

Good luck finding help directly through the Wordpress platform. Since Wordpress.org is a free, open source content management system, they aren’t too concerned with helping out with your individual site. There are no direct contact numbers or emails to reach someone there, but they do have a ton of online resources that different Wordpress experts have created. Since Wordpress is so extremely popular, there are thousands of people who have dedicated their time to creating extensive databases full of knowledge and help. Plus, if you join a Facebook group for your theme (Like Genesis WP), you’ll be pleasantly shocked at how quick to help the group members are! Fear not if you want a Wordpress site, you can usually sign up for a maintenance plan through your developer that allows any questions to be answered and any problems to be solved.

 


THE QUICK SUMMARY


If you were able to make your way through reading all of that, you’ll realize that each platform definitely has both strong and weak points. Overall, Squarespace is a great option for business owners who want a website that is cheaper, easy to manage and make changes to without all the fuss. Wordpress is a perfect choice for those who want a highly custom site with unlimited amount of features and functionality.

Having a hard time figuring out which one is right for your business? Send me an email today and I can help you decide which platform will work best for your unique business!

 


EXAMPLES OF WORDPRESS + SQUARESPACE SITES


Looking for examples of what websites look like designed on each of these platforms? Here are a few below from the Dapper Fox portfolio

SQUARESPACE WEBSITE DESIGN EXAMPLES

 
 
 

WORDPRESS WEBSITE DESIGN EXAMPLES


Copyright Rules Every Blogger Needs to Know

The Internet has changed the way we view, share and create content. Much of what is displayed on the web today comes from numerous sources. A single web page, for example, could have text, graphics, sound, and other images totaling dozens of items displayed and each one of them could be coming from independent sources. It can be so easy to think all of this content floating around is readily available to use however we like. Reality check? That's just not the case.

So often, I see bloggers taking content from others without any permission or credit given. Unfortunately, many don't realize this is often considered stealing. I know most bloggers mean well when they share content, but I think it is important to bring to light what is really going on here. There are legal ramifications in using text and images from other authors, so it is important to stay informed about best blogging and copyright practices. Here is a quick guide to keep you safe while still letting your creativity flourish!

Copyright Rules for Bloggers - A simple guide to copyright law for blogs by Dapper Fox Design, a creative resource for entrepreneurs

FIRST, WHY DOES IT EVEN MATTER?

It's important to understand that copyright laws were not established to give authors the right to deny their work but, instead, to encourage creation. The creation of material, whether it be written or graphic, is in the public's interest. So copyright law balances that fine line between what the author or creator feels is just and what is in the public's interest. But the good news is, the law tends to lean a little to the side of the public when it comes to the gray area.
 

WHAT DOES COPYRIGHT LAW INCLUDE?

Copyright law protects original works of authorship. This includes: literary, written, dramatic, artistic, musical, photographs, etc. In other words, if it can be printed or recorded - it's probably included. It's important to know that copyright exists as soon as something is created. That means the instant you take the picture, start painting, start writing, etc., it's copyrighted. The author doesn't even have to register the work in order to make it protected - it just is!
 

WHAT IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTION?

A copyright owner has four distinct, or exclusive 'rights'. They are the rights:

  • To reproduce the copyrighted work
  • To prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work
  • To distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale, rental, lease, or lending
  • To perform and/or display the copyrighted work publicly

Source:  17 USC Section 106
 

SO WHAT CAN I USE?

Ok, so now we know what the rights of the author are to his/her own material, but we really want to know - what can we do with someone else's material? (After all, isn't it really about me, me, me?) This question refers to what is known as 'Fair Use'. In determining fair use, a court would consider four things (completely unrelated to the preceding four rights). The four concerns of fair use* are:

Dapper Fox Design - Business + Design Resource for Bloggers and Entrepreneurs
  1. Purpose
    What are you using it for? This allows use for things such as non-profit, educational, research, and transformative work (using pieces of something to create a unique end product). If the use, however, is commercial, for entertainment, or for profit - you need permission.
     
  2. Nature of the work
    If the nature of the work is fact based and/or has been published, you should be ok. If it is fiction and/or unpublished - seek permission.
     
  3. Amount used
    If the amount used is small or less significant, it is in your favor.  If, however, you are using a large amount, or copying the core purpose of the work - again, seek permission.
     
  4. Effect of use on the market
    If your use of the material would not affect the market, or if it is not possible to obtain permission, you're on the right track.  If your use is major, long term, or has a major impact on the market though...  get permission.

Source:  17 USC Section 107

*Remember that these considerations are interrelated - not independent of each other.  You should consider all four issues on any copyrighted item.
 

HOW DO I GIVE PROPER CREDIT?

Sweet! This picture doesn't need any attribution because it has a Creative Commons License. Of course, you can always share your source since it's definitely appreciated by those giving up their creations to the CC license! This photo came from  Unsplash.com , one of my favorite sites for stunning imagery under the CC license.

Sweet! This picture doesn't need any attribution because it has a Creative Commons License. Of course, you can always share your source since it's definitely appreciated by those giving up their creations to the CC license! This photo came from Unsplash.com, one of my favorite sites for stunning imagery under the CC license.

You've found some information that you want to use and you feel like you're within all of the parameters to keep things legal but you want/need to cite your source and give credit to the original author(s). This is called attribution. The main objective here is that you let the reader know that this information was created by someone else and whether or not you made any changes to it. You want the reader to be able to go straight to the source for that bit of information.

Since 'four' is our theme of the day - here are the four components of attribution along with an example of the following post:

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Francis of Assisi
  1. Title - Francis of Assisi Quote
  2. Author - Francis of Assisi
  3. Source - http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/francisofa121023.html
  4. License - If license is owned or granted, it should be stated.

This would be an appropriate way to display this on a web page:

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi Quote, Source: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/francisofa121023.html


NOW WHAT ABOUT PICTURES?

It is all but impossible to create a web page of any quality without adding some flavor, i.e. pics! Don't be afraid, you are not the first person who's wanted to copy an image from another web page and use it yourself. Just be aware of these guidelines and move forward with confidence.

  1. Fair Use and Attribution
    All the same rules apply. Purpose, nature, amount, and market effect (see above). Remember, however, that 'fair use' has nothing to do with 'attribution'. Even if you attribute the source but violate fair use, you would be in the wrong.
     
  2. Licenses
    1. Royalty-Free | User pays one-time fee but may usually use the image multiple times.
    2. Rights-Managed | User pays fee for each use of image.
    3. Free for commercial use | Often referred to as 'public domain'. These images have no copyrights or rights reserved so they're pretty much free to use! This is probably the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to use images online.  When searching for images on Google, for example, simply use 'search tools' and then modify your search to 'labeled for reuse' and you can feel pretty safe about using the images available. 
Copyright Law and Rules for Bloggers


GREAT, WHERE DO I START?

I wanted to title this 'Just Do It' but since that is obviously a Nike® registered trademark it probably wouldn't be a good idea to violate every instruction given here in the final summary. But the point is - just get started! Go ahead and create the next post that will go viral. Just do it in a more informed way. By being aware of where you are getting your content, you can credit sources and filter selections to avoid pain and suffering down the road. Listed below are some great resources with which to begin:

  1. Public Domain 
  2. Creative Common Search 
  3. Free For Commercial Use 

Please note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please read site Terms & Conditions.


A Formula for How To Write the Perfect Blog Post

Not everyone is a natural-born writer, and that’s okay! However, being able to explain things in a clear and engaging way is an essential skill for all creative entrepreneurs. A lot of times, this explaining comes in the form of a blog post. Not sure where to start? Never fear! Here’s exactly what you need to make the perfect blog post happen:

A Formula for How To Write the Perfect Blog Post - By Dapper Fox Design - A Blog and Resource for Entrepreneurs and Bloggers
 

CREATE A LIST OR POINTS

The reason Buzzfeed is so popular is because people love lists. They’re responsive to content that can be taken in easily and quickly. It's important to have your posts written in a way that is easily scanned by readers. As much as we'd love to think our audiences read every word we write as bloggers, it's just not true. Use this model in your own posts to set a certain amount of points to cover. It will also make it easier for you to organize your thoughts and write! 

GIVE APPLICABLE STORIES & EXAMPLES

People LOVE stories and examples. They’re the easiest ways to explain concepts, plus they show people that you really understand where they’re coming from and want to connect with them. Not everyone gathers information in the same way, so giving examples and stories provide alternate explanations without anyone having to ask for them.

ADD IN A PRETTY GRAPHIC

If you have a blog post that’s all text, eyes are going to wander. Think about it: Are you more engaged in a book with illustrations or just words? A clear, bright graphic gives people an idea of what to expect in your post without even looking at the title (let’s face it—we’ve all become lazy about how we take in content). Plus, people can pin it and drive traffic to your site. 

If you're not a designer, but still want a simple way to create your own graphics, check out Canva.com.

Canva is awesome because 1.) It's FREE! and 2.) It's super easy. Choose your signature fonts that correspond with your brand, pick out a background or graphic, and voila! It takes just a second to learn the platform, and then you'll be on your way to creating your own eye-catching, beautiful graphics in just minutes. My clients love using Canva because I can create a template for their blog posts, and all they need to do is change out the color, picture and text. Easy!

Formula How To Write A Blog Post - Dapper Fox Design Resource for Entrepreneurs and Bloggers
 

UTILIZE A CATCHY INTRODUCTION

Remember when you were in grade school and your teacher told you to start off every paper with something that will intrigue the reader? The same rule applies here. Use the first sentence of the introduction to hook your reader in, then give them an idea of what to expect in the rest of post. Coming up with a killer headline will help attract readers who click through to your blog. Never underestimate the power of a great headline, and don't forget to optimize the headline for SEO. (Click here if you missed the Dapper Fox Design 4-Part Mini Series to learn more about getting your site optimized for Google searches.) Not every headline needs to be jam-packed with your ideal keywords, but try to come up with a headline that works with SEO for the majority of your posts.

FINISH WITH A CONCISE CONCLUSION

Not having a conclusion makes a post seem unfinished, but it doesn’t mean you need to write a novel at the end of your post! A quick wrap-up of everything you’ve written will suffice and let the reader know what you hoped for them to get out of reading your content. Sometimes adding an engaging questions to the end of your post can help comprehension and discussion even further.

 

You may notice now that a lot of blogs use many of these tactics in their format—that’s because it works. If you follow this formula, you'll have a much higher chance of engaged readers - those people who will actually read your content instead of the one or two second skim... I'll admit- I'm guilty of that sometimes! The fact that you made it through this one proves this works, right? ;)