Photo by Launchspresso via Unsplash
So you’re thinking of setting up a new website. Hopefully, you’ve done all the prep, like identifying your goals/target audience, and purchased a domain and hosting package. (If not, don’t panic. I’m here to help). Now, it’s time to pick your CMS, and WordPress is (probably) the one to choose.
But let’s back up a bit. If you’re not familiar with what CMS is, it stands for Content Management System, and it’s basically the system you choose to create your site and manage its content — think text, images, products, videos and anything you add regularly. These days, there are tons of CMSs to choose from with various features and levels of complexity that cater to everyone from newbie DIY-ers to experienced web developers. Two of the most popular are WordPress (powering 27 million websites) and Squarespace (powering 2.5 million websites).
You may have also heard of Wix, Shopify, Drupal and many other rival platforms, but in this article we’ll compare WordPress vs Squarespace as they are ranked #1 and #3 most used Content Management Systems in 2020. Whilst both have their pros and cons, in my opinion WordPress should definitely be your top choice. Read on to find out why.
WordPress offers flexibility
While Squarespace may be a good choice for a basic, beginner website, WordPress is the way to go if your website is more complicated, or you’re not sure exactly how your business may grow in the future. In fact, if you have a business at all, WordPress is the best choice.
WordPress is a hugely flexible system with almost unlimited possibilities for customisation, whereas Squarespace is more of a quick and easy, drag-and-drop setup. If you’re doing things on your own, it makes sense that you may opt for Squarespace, because it’s easy and fairly low cost (from £13 / 15€ per month). But it’s also so much more limited in terms of features and customisation.
Although you may need to know coding (or hire someone who does) to set up your WordPress site, you really have so many different options when creating your webpage, especially if you want more advanced features, like an online shop. WordPress allows you to do more, and isn’t that what being a business owner is all about: expansion?
WordPress has endless options (read: plugins)
Plugins are the bells and whistles of websites, and WordPress offers more than 50,000 of them to choose from. While I definitely don’t recommend you install that many (I usually suggest no more than 10 for a basic website or 20 for an e-commerce or more complex site), it’s extremely helpful to have such an expansive array of options to choose from.
It’s okay if you don’t know what plugins are. Basically, plugins are what allow you to customize your website and add new features. Some of my favourites are UpdraftPlus (for creating automated backups), or Yoast SEO (for you guessed it, for SEO optimisation). And if sustainability is important to you, plugins like TinyPNG (optimises images) and Hummingbird (a website performance booster) can make your website go faster and use less energy. As I mentioned, you don’t want to go overboard with plugins, because that can slow your site down. But WordPress plugins allow you to add almost any feature you can dream of, which makes your site, well, yours!
WordPress gives you full control
WordPress allows you full control of your website. While the site itself may be more complicated to create, it’s nice to know that you can do whatever you want with full control over your own site.
If you switch web hosts, you can move your WordPress website to a new host without losing the website’s files, pages, content, imagery and everything else it utilises. Other CMS systems like Squarespace make it difficult to export your website to a new host, meaning if you want to move your site away from Squarespace, you’ll have to rebuild your entire site from scratch!
Update and monitor your website easily with WordPress
While WordPress may seem daunting initially, once your website is set up (regardless if you’ve done it yourself or hired someone to do it for you) it’s surprisingly easy to update, monitor and maintain.
WordPress offers an ease, once set up, that many other CMS systems don’t. It’s intuitively simple to use, even for those who may struggle with tech.
One of the simplest things to do in WordPress once it’s set up is using the back-end area for writing blog posts. If you plan to create blog posts frequently, WordPress is the CMS to choose.
WordPress vs. Squarespace: The ups and downs
The WordPress vs. Squarespace debate is real, but generally, I find WordPress really allows your website to grow and evolve alongside your business. Squarespace, on the other hand, makes everything fairly easy to set up yourself, but you are limited in what you can do.
Because WordPress offers so many options and so much flexibility, it’s harder to set up. If you don’t know a lot about CMS, coding or setting up websites in general, it’s going to be a bit of work.
You may have to hire someone. However, getting it done right from start can help you avoid a lot of stress and website issues later on. After all, do you really want to be dealing with a website redo down the line when your business is booming? No? Then pick WordPress.
If you need help designing your WordPress site, get in touch. I’m happy to help.