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Squarespace and WordPress are two of the most used platforms for self-hosted blogs. Platforms are where you build your blog’s appearance, so choosing the right one is important for your blog’s brand.
It’s also important to know there is a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.com is not owned by you, and your site will include “wordpress.com” in its URL. WordPress will also take care of hosting for free.
With WordPress.org, you own your blog, but you need to purchase hosting from web hosts.
Good news–if you start a self-hosted WordPress.org blog with either Bluehost or SiteGround (two of the leading web hosts), you don’t need to worry about this difference. They will automatically set you up for a self-hosted WordPress.org blog.
Squarespace and WordPress are two amazing platforms, and it was pretty difficult choosing between them. Here are pros & cons and a basic breakdown of why these differences matter for your blog. And of course, my recommendation. Let me know your personal experiences with these two platforms in the comments! I’d love to hear them!
- Incredibly easy-to-use interface (no coding required)
- Free domain name for one year (only applies to annual plans)
- Large variety of free templates
- Great 24/7 customer support
- Unlimited storage
- $12/month billed annually or $16/month billed monthly
- Customization of blog template (appearance) is limited to interface
- Monthly costs are affordable (depends on web host, but $4-6/month for basic plans – see: Bluehost vs SiteGround)
- Option for free domain name for one year with Bluehost
- Extremely flexible customization with widgets, plugins, tools, and templates
- 24/7 customer support, but quality depends on web host (see: Bluehost vs SiteGround)
- Plenty of online resources to understand how to use WordPress
- Takes time and effort (or money) to build your blog template
- Limited storage with web host basic plans
What does this mean for you?
Honestly, WordPress looks like the cheaper option at first glance, but I spent $122.75 for 24 months upfront ($3.95/month) on my web host and $69 on my template. That came to about $8/month for my first 2 years.
The $3.95/month for Bluehost and SiteGround is a discount only applied to your first purchase plan, so it will increase to $8 or $10/month, respectfully, once your first plan expires. So really, given the time and money spent, the cost isn’t much of a factor unless you are already skilled in coding and design. Then you can save money on the template.
Your Domain Name is typically the name and URL of your blog or website. It doesn’t need to be the same as your name or URL, but it makes it easier to create a consistent brand for your blog! You can also sign up with an existing domain on both Squarespace and WordPress.
Choosing your Domain Name is not easy. It needs to be unique enough to not already be taken. But don’t worry–it’s not a be-all, end-all. Most people focus on the quality of the content rather than the name!
The flexibility in customization is the biggest difference between Squarespace and WordPress. WordPress wins in the amount of flexibility it has, so really it depends on how much work you want to put into it.
If you decide you never want to see or touch code, Squarespace is for you. Squarespace’s biggest selling points are its drag-and-drop features and beautiful (and not to mention, free) templates.
If you don’t mind putting in the time to research and learn how to use WordPress, then try WordPress out.
Even though Squarespace’s unlimited storage is tempting, even SiteGround‘s 10 GB storage is more than enough for a blog or site. Unless you plan on uploading tons of videos on your page, then storage isn’t much of a factor.
Squarespace has their own dedicated support team, so there isn’t much to worry about when you feel lost. On the other hand, WordPress has tons of resources all over the internet, and Bluehost and Siteground have customer support to help as well (see this post for key differences: Bluehost vs SiteGround).
Squarespace is better for when you want to stay focused on your blog and not leave the site. With WordPress, it can be easy to veer off into the abyss of forums and get caught up in “he-said-she-said.”
What do I recommend?
Squarespace’s user-friendly interface was hard to turn down. I almost went for it because I was worried I would never understand WordPress. But after looking at the templates Squarespace provided, I realized none of them was the perfect fit. They seemed to have a heavy focus on visual aspects of blogging (fashion, photography, etc.). And I wanted more of a focus on my content and writing.
I ended up choosing WordPress because the amount of Pinterest posts and online resources made me feel comfortable enough to try it out. And I had the time to do it.
I also couldn’t imagine building a website and being limited in customization. The thought of starting from scratch on WordPress after (potentially) years on Squarespace made me uneasy. I realized I’d rather try WordPress out first. And if I couldn’t figure it out, then Squarespace would be easy to jump into. Plus, I grew up in the MySpace age, how hard could it be?
I also found there are plenty of creatives that sell WordPress templates with user-friendly features built in. You can find these templates on Etsy or Creative Market. With these features, I feel like it’s just as easy as Squarespace to build my site.
Buuuut Squarespace is perfect if you:
- Don’t want to go through the fuss of starting a blog from scratch
- Can’t stand the thought of touching code
- Want to focus on visual aspects of blogging (fashion, photography, graphic design, etc.)
- Don’t have the time to learn how to use WordPress
It really comes down to your personal preference. They truly are both awesome platforms. And just like any business decision, it depends on the time, effort, and money you can or are willing to put into it.