Building a website for your business or personal use has never been easier. Using site building platforms like Wix or Squarespace, you can have the basic framework for a great-looking site up and running within minutes. Both platforms promise to reduce the learning curve and save you the expense of a web developer.
Which website building platform is better for your needs? It depends on what you’d like to do with your website. While both offer similar functionality, including the ability to add an e-commerce store with top-tier plans, the path to a finished website differs between the two.
While Wix sites may be more ubiquitous, Squarespace has actually been around longer. It was founded in 2003, and started in a student’s dorm room at the University of Maryland. Squarespace now claims millions of websites built using their platform. Wix has its roots in Israel but is a publicly traded U.S. company.
Wix Templates & Design
Wix offers over 500 templates for you to choose from, sorted by industry type. This wide variety in design virtually assures that you will find a look that matches your goals for your website.
Wix templates are not mobile-responsive. A mobile-responsive site will serve the same content to visitors on all devices, but formatted to fit their screen and remain readable on smaller screens. Instead, Wix allows you to choose which content elements will be available to website visitors using phones, tablets, or other smaller screens. While there is mobile customization, this also means that a mobile user may see less content.
Wix templates allow you to place website elements such as text boxes, images, etc. exactly where you want them. While this feature provides more precise control than Squarespace does, it comes with some trade-offs. This feature, while providing more design control, has some potential downsides.
The granular level of positioning with Wix allows you to deviate from a previously beautiful website when your elements aren’t aligned in clean columns. It also prevents you from switching templates easily. And if you choose to switch templates with Wix, you will have to replace all the content on the website.
Squarespace Templates & Design
Squarespace offers about 70 templates. While there are fewer design choices available with Squarespace, there are other features to consider. Templates for Squarespace are mobile responsive, making all of your website content available to visitors, regardless of which device they use to access your site.
Squarespace templates offer less precise control of website elements, instead snapping elements into place to fit a grid. This approach preserves the clean look of the theme for both desktop and mobile visitors, but at the expense of more precise placement control.
Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing your website for search engines, so that search engines clearly understand what the page content is about, is important. Increased search engine visibility allows you to generate more leads and create increased awareness for your brand.
Squarespace provides a few additional tools and settings over Wix, including human-readable URLs, which can aid with search engine optimization, or even increase click through rates from the search results pages. Both platforms allow for https to be enabled, which is a security features Google prefers.
Both website building platforms provide the SEO basics including user definable header tags. It will be up to you to build the relevant content.
If down the road you outgrow your Wix or Squarespace website and want to explore other options, you will have some work ahead of you.
Squarespace does provide an option to export to WordPress, but don’t expect all the features that you use on your Squarespace site to be available elsewhere. You may need to find and configure additional plugins to get the same functionality, or even hire a programmer.
Wix does not provide export functionality. You will have to tediously copy paste your content if you wish to move your site’s content to a different platform.
Wix vs. Squarespace Pricing
Getting started with either Wix or Squarespace is easy enough. Wix provides a free plan with a freemium model. Squarespace provides a 14-day free trial with no free plan available. The free plan with Wix features a prominently displayed advertisement at the top of your website directing customers toward the Wix platform.
The free plan on Wix does not allow you to use your own domain name. Instead, your free site becomes a subdomain of wix.com. More advanced plans remove the advertisement on Wix, allow use of your own domain name, and add more features on both platforms.
Wix pricing ranges from free up to $30 per month if paid monthly. Top tier plans include unlimited bandwidth and e-commerce functionality. A basic personal plan costs $12 per month.
Squarespace is pricier, with no free plan available and a top-tier plan featuring e-commerce functionality priced at $46 per month. Squarespace offers a personal plan at $16 per month. Both platforms provide discounts for annual payments.
Wix vs. Squarespace: Which is Better?
Better, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, depending upon your needs, budget, and plans for growth. Both platforms have their benefits and limitations because they are designed for ease of use and to eliminate the need for code maintenance.
Wix is easier to use for people unfamiliar with website design and coding. Squarespace is also easy to use, but provides the ability to edit some code elements for styling, allowing for more customization of templates. While Wix is less expensive than Squarespace when comparing plans with similar features, both platforms provide an inexpensive way to begin building your presence on the web.
In summary, Wix is a good choice for a nascent small business looking for an easy to use and manage website. However, their designs can be less aesthetically pleasing and more obvious template theme designs.
Wix sites may also be on slower hosting and more restrictive in terms of what you can add and export from your site. Choose wisely. Squarespace, on the other hand, is a level up in designs, elegance and functionality.
What About WordPress?
While we have worked on Wix and Squarespace sites, most of the web design/development projects we do are in WordPress. We find that the WordPress content management system offers more customizations, expansion opportunities, and features for businesses looking to grow.
However, if you are a small business with a constrained marketing budget and want to more easily work on your own website, Squarespace and Wix are both worthy of consideration.