Squarespace vs Wix: What You Need to Know
Switching from Wordpress to Strikingly
When I made my first website in 2012, I used Wordpress and a template. Unfortunately I didn’t find it very user friendly so I purchased a third-party Wordpress drag and drop plugin tool for $99 to make the user experience of designing the website better. Well low and behold, that was even more confusing to figure out, so I just went through the learning curve of figuring out Wordpress.
I have a good eye for design, am pretty creative, and decent with tech, yet I found it difficult to make the website look as pretty as I envisioned it in my head. Because of this, the next time I made a website sometime around 2014 I decided to try out one of those all-in-one drag-and-drop website builders that were becoming more popular.
I used Strikingly. It was definitely easier to bring my vision to life using this tool, but I quickly became frustrated by the limitations of the templates. I couldn’t get the words to go where I wanted them to go and no matter how I cropped or formatted my images and backgrounds, they always showed up weird.
I didn’t touch my website for a little while and the next time I went on it, the formatting was all messed up. Some updates had been made but they didn’t play nicely with my existing website so I needed to fix it.
Switching from Strikingly to Wix
I didn’t want to worry about constantly checking if my website was still working and formatted correctly (and I was about at my wits-end trying to get my photos to look right), so the next time I developed a website sometime around 2016, I decided to use Wix.
Wix was definitely an improvement. It was so much easier to get text and images to look the way you wanted them to look. I also realized the tradeoff of this - it was almost TOO customizable. Every time I changed the page content I had to manually adjust the spacing of the content below it and where the footer began. I would add a new block of text or a button and instead of getting the same formatting I set up the last time I added text or a button, I’d have to make my formatting selections all over again. If I wanted to change something on the whole site, say the color of the main headers, I’d have to manually change each one on every page.
One of my customers showed me how things on my website were showing up funny on her phone. I investigated and realized that the last time I made updates to my website I forgot to check how it looked in the separate mobile view. While this is great if you want to customize things specifically for mobile, I was looking for a simpler solution. I didn’t want to always have to check and adjust the mobile formatting every time I made a website update.
Switching from Wix to Squarespace
SO, the next time I was ready to launch a new website in early 2018 I decided to check out Squarespace, which had become increasingly popular. Just like the others, it had a learning curve but I’ve come to love Squarespace for the ease with which I can create a beautiful website without constantly worrying about whether my formatting is consistent or whether it’s showing up properly on mobile.
Don’t get me wrong, Squarespace also has its limitations, but for me, these are unimportant compared to the benefits it has over the the other drag-and-drop tools. I’ve continued to use Squarespace for the last two years including building another website and I am SOLD.
All that said, Squarespace is not necessarily the website platform for everyone. Some people would have been happier with Wix. Wordpress may be right for some people and businesses.
Why am I telling you all this? Well over the course of seven years, I’ve built and managed six websites for various purposes on four different website platforms. I know from personal experience which one will be the right choice for which circumstances.
Open-source or all-in-one drag-and-drop website builder
In my article, How to Choose the Best Website Platform for Your Business, I discuss in detail when an open-source platform like Wordpress is better and when choosing an all-in-one drag-and-drop website builder like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, or Strikingly is better.
So which is better? It depends on your website needs, your budget, and your personality (if you’re still deciding, read that article first and then come back to this article if you’ve decided to use an all-in-one drag-and-drop website builder).
Even though the choice is a personal one, many have asked about my experience with all-in-one drag-and-drop website builders (I’ve used Squarespace, Wix, and Strikingly) and why I don’t use Wordpress anymore. There are two main reasons:
Better user experience
The first website I built and managed was on Wordpress in 2012. I do not have fond memories of the experience and while I can’t personally speak to how the experience is now, I have many friends who still use Wordpress. For many, their website has been a constant source of stress. Many have switched to a website builder instead and experienced major relief and a simplified experience.
Better design aesthetics
Another thing I’ve noticed is that every time I see a website that I don’t think looks great, I usually find out it was made on Wordpress. It’s my opinion that you have to be more creative and gifted with design to make a Wordpress website look beautiful. Contrast that to all-in-one drag-and-drop website builders which make it much easier to make an aesthetically pleasing website, even if you don’t have a good eye for design.
Choosing an all-in-one drag-and-drop website builder
There are many options out there for website builders if you’ve decided to go that route instead of Wordpress. So, how do you choose?
I’ve used three of the major ones - Squarespace, Wix, and Strikingly - so I can personally speak to those. Based on my personal experience, I would not choose Strikingly (though they may have made some improvements since I stopped using them). I have not personally used Weebly, so I won’t speak to that tool.
Wix and Squarespace are both great options. How they function is VERY different though and is what I suggest making your choice based on. I had to learn by trial and error and so I want to share my experience with you so you can make an informed decision with a lot less stress and time and money wasted than what I experienced.
Here’s the simplest way I can describe the major differences between Squarespace and Wix (things I wished I knew before choosing):
How Squarespace works
You make style decisions for the whole website in a centralized design hub (ie. font, button formatting, spacing, borders, etc.)
You can customize these styles all you want but they will always be consistent across every page. If you change a style, it’ll automatically change on every single page - which can be great or can drive you nuts.
Formatting that you can customize on the page is limited to layout and background colors.
You can change the template you’re using any time (and preview what it will look like before you switch).
You craft your layout using content “blocks” and “pages” which means you can easily move around and reorganize your content without having to manually fix the formatting. Everything moves and snaps into place with ease.
The website is automatically responsive with mobile. This means it will show up nicely without you having to create a separate mobile site.
How Wix works
You can preset some styles but for the most part, you’ll make all your formatting and style decisions on each page. This means that you can customize the style choices to your heart’s desire (or at least within what the template will allow).
This also means that building or making changes to your website is going to be a more manual process. For example, if you want to change the style on something across the website, say the color of the main header, you’ll have to change it manually on every single page.
If you’re not careful, you can have a lot of style and format inconsistencies making your website look sloppy.
Once you choose a template in Wix, you CANNOT switch. You’ll have to start a new website to choose a different template.
Moving content around or deleting it is a manual process and you’ll need to fix the formatting once you do. For example, if you delete a major block of content, you’ll have to manually move up all the content underneath it. If you want to put a block of text before an image, you’ll need to manually move both where you want them and adjust the spacing and alignment.
The website you create is not automatically responsive for mobile. There is a separate mobile editor that you’ll need to format and edit to make sure everything is working properly.
Here’s an overview of the key differences:
Squarespace vs. Wix similarities
There are also some similarities between the two. Both Squarespace and Wix have
A ton of templates to choose from
SEO tools built-in
The ability to add custom code
Partnerships with various plug-ins such as scheduling tools (some are free)
Choosing your website builder
So now that you understand the key differences between the two you can choose which is best for you. Here’s who I think should choose which one:
Wix is best for
Someone who is very decisive about their template (you won’t be able to play around with the templates and switch them as needed).
Someone who wants the ability to “break” their website design rules by customizing style choices on each page.
Someone who wants complete control over the layout on the page and doesn’t mind using a more manual process to get it.
Someone who needs a free website and doesn’t mind having Wix ads and not being able to connect a custom domain (if you pay for a website with a custom domain and no ads the prices are comparable to Squarespace).
Squarespace is best for
Someone who wants to play around with different templates and change them whenever they need to.
Someone who wants a beautiful, consistent looking website and is okay with the design styles not being the same across the website.
Someone who doesn’t need the mobile version of their website content to be different and would prefer to not think about whether or not something is going to show up well on mobile because it’s automatically responsive.
My recommendation: Squarespace or Wix?
Based on everything I know, for the majority of entrepreneurs that want to use an all-in-one, drag-and-drop website builder, I believe most will be more satisfied with Squarespace than Wix.
Of course, one size doesn’t fit all, so if you fall into one of the situations or personalities I described above that Wix is better for, go for it and customize to your heart’s desire! But in my experience, the every day entrepreneur or business owner does not need that much customization and will instead become very frustrated by the manual nature of the tool that’s required to allow that level of customization.
So, if you’re on the fence, I’d say choose Squarespace for all the reasons I’ve mentioned.
Before you build your website
Having a website is very important, but it’s not everything. If you’re still figuring things out for your business, be sure to download this free checklist that will walk you step-by-step through figuring out the five foundational essentials that will set your business up for success. Download it free below:
I’m Stacy Kessler, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you figure out how to craft a unique, compelling, and profitable business you love around your expertise and passion.
You are meant to do important and amazing things in this world and I’m here to help you do just that.
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