WIX vs Squarespace: In-Depth Comparison
There are so many choices to make when you decide to build your own website. It starts with figuring out what you want to share, so you know what features you need. From there, you have to pick up the right tools to build it all out and connect with your visitors. The whole process can be a little overwhelming.
Luckily, websites like Wix and Squarespace make it easy to create a site without hiring designers and developers, but how do you know you’re choosing the right technology for your needs? What if you don’t have a budget and want to create a quick personal website on your own?
Join us as we explore the main comparison points between the two major “do-it-yourself” website platforms, so you make more informed tech decisions.
Wix and Squarespace are the top choices when it comes to building your own website. Neither platform requires fancy tech skills, and both offer a painless sign-up process that takes less than 30 seconds.
Wix is famous for its simple interface and flexibility. Among Squarespace competitors, it is the most customizable. The platform offers a completely free version, but we’ll talk about the drawbacks in the Pricing and Plans section below.
Go to Wix.com, and simply click “Start Now”, enter your email address, and select a new password. Alternatively, you may link your sign in to Facebook or Google by clicking on the logo icons and entering your credentials.
Squarespace is well-known for it’s beautifully-designed, modern templates, and out-of-the-box E-Commerce functionality. The platform offers a free 14-day trial to get you started, but no free version after that.
Getting started on Squarespace is a little different, because you start by selecting a template you like, then create an account to start your 14-day free trial.
What’s Easier to Use?
When signing up for a website-builder like Squarespace or Wix, ease of use is one of the most important considerations. Afterall, if you had the design and technology skills to create your own website from scratch, you’d probably be making a fortune running your own web development agency, am I right?! Lucky for us, both Wix and Squarespace are drag-and-drop builders, which means you can click and drag elements like images, text, and video to place them where you want.
Wix is an incredibly simple drag-and-drop system known for its ease of use. You can drag anything – including text boxes, photos, maps, videos and more – wherever you want, but if you need an even more comfortable experience, use Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). With ADI, you simply enter the name and purpose of your site and select the design inspirations you like best. Then, voilá, Wix serves up a draft site you can use as a starting point to edit.
As for blogging, Wix offers a limited set of tools with your basic site to get you started rapidly. Many Wix users add the free Wix Blog App to unlock even more features, including:
- Comment Management
- Advanced SEO Settings
- Social Media Sharing
- RSS Subscription Option
Similar to Wix, Squarespace uses AI to help you select the right template to get started right away, even as a beginner website builder.
Squarespace is not complicated to use but has a more robust feature set, and the way the platform’s menus and tools work is not 100% intuitive. This means you will need to spend more time getting used to where things are and what they do, but once you’ve mastered the interface (in about 1-2 days), you’ll feel like building in Squarespace is a breeze.
However, if you’ve ever experimented with Squarespace, you know how frustrating it can be when you’re trying to place an element, and the interface won’t let the dragged item release exactly where you want it. That’s because Squarespace templates are organized into sections, and within the sections, items have to be dropped in a certain way, or it won’t “take.” We’ll get into more detail in the Design and Flexibility section below, but it does have negative effects on ease of use.
When it comes to blogging, Squarespace offers gorgeous blog layouts perfect for adding lots of pictures and videos to your posts. Blogging features come standard, unlike Wix, and include handy things like:
- Social Integration
- Scheduled Publishing
If we’re looking solely at ease of use, Wix wins. Its intuitive and flexible drag-and-drop feature, plus ADI option blows Squarespace out of the water while its users are still doing the doggy paddle trying to figure out where to click to edit a headline.
Let’s Talk About Features
When choosing a visual builder for your new website, a big part of the decision-making process is comparing features. Let’s talk about Squarespace vs. Wix for E-Commerce, and see how the platforms compare on available widgets and plug-ins.
By 2023, the global retail E-Commerce industry will reach $4.5 Trillion in revenue. Since every single transaction has to run through E-Commerce technology, it would follow that choosing the right tool is incredibly important. If you’re choosing between Squarespace or Wix to build your E-Commerce site, it’s worth exploring the options available on each platform.
Both Wix and Squarespace offer 3 different E-Commerce plans, each with tools that help you build your store. They have storage and bandwidth that allow you to host high-quality photos and videos on your site and serve content to your visitors. Then, you can use the built-in Google Analytics to learn about your audience and improve your results by giving them more of what they want.
Wix doesn’t charge a commission, but Squarespace does. Squarespace offers a simple, low-tier plan (with a 3% transaction fee) aimed at helping you sell a few things online. Its other two plans are more feature-rich with recovery options for shoppers who abandoned their carts, zero transaction fees, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and gift cards, to name a few.
Plug-ins & Widgets
Every website builder on the market offers its own mix of tools, features, plug-ins, and apps to help you build the website of your dreams. Squarespace and Wix are no exception, and both offer a wide array of built-in features.
However, whereas Wix has its own App Market with over 200 tools to choose from, Squarespace uses only built-in features. Either platform offers enough to keep you busy updating and polishing your site with new bells and whistles for years to come. Here are some fun examples:
- Gorgeous and Creative Photo Galleries
- Chat Functionality
- Instagram Feed
- Customizable Forms
- Integration with Email Programs like MailChimp
When it comes to features, Squarespace wins, because of its high-quality, built-in selection of tools. When using Wix, you will need to download the apps, which may be either free or available for an additional fee.
Design and Flexibility
As much as we want to believe our offerings and content are everything, the appearance of our website is just as important and needs to be a priority investment. You have 15 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention, or they will leave your site and never look back. Design is a huge part of this because it provides the look and feel that helps you share your brand in an instant. Design helps the visitor consume information and, most importantly, convert as a customer or lead.
Let’s talk about design and flexibility on Wix vs. Squarespace, and see how the hex codes land.
One of the main advantages of using Wix to build your new website is the gorgeous templates the platform provides. While Wix’s competitors do have some beautiful templates, the platform’s sleek, modern designs surpass other template-based website platforms by far.
Wix is one of the easiest ways to build your own website, and anyone can complete a simple site in about a day. The platform features over 500 mobile-responsive templates to choose from and offers industry-specific designs for restaurants, motivational speakers, service providers, and more. The drawback is once you select a template, you can’t change it without completely rebuilding your site.
The Technical Stuff
While many of us don’t know or don’t want to think much about the technical underbelly of our websites, issues like website loading speeds, security and SEO settings are incredibly important, especially in a business context.
Site Loading Speed
In today’s world of instant gratification, site speed is critical. If your webpage takes more than 2 seconds to load, you might as well send an engraved invitation to your competition to take your business.
Slow load times cause visitors to lose interest, wonder about your technical prowess, and even question the integrity of your business. Website Tool Tester did an excellent speed test on the top website builders out there and found that neither Wix nor Squarespace scored high enough on load speeds to earn a green rating.
How to Help Slow Load Speeds on Wix and Squarespace
While speed tests proved lackluster for both Wix and Squarespace in recent trials, that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on your site. There are a few things you can do to help those pages load faster.
- Optimize your content by choosing your mode of delivery carefully. Text always loads faster than images or video. If you can say it clearly with text, and it doesn’t take away from your site’s visual appeal, go for it.
- Compress your images and only use size as large as you need, not larger. Large images take a long time to load.
- Limit your use of scripts for things like animations.
Wix is slightly better than Squarespace in terms of load speeds. We encourage to you use our tips to optimize load speeds.
SSL stands for secure sockets layer and is a security protocol meant to protect the communication between two devices on the internet. Here is a video that helps explain what it means when your website is SSL encrypted.
Visitors look for the HTTPS:// and padlock symbol in their URL bar, especially when purchasing something, or entering personal information on your website. Because of this attention to security, it’s essential to make sure your site is up to snuff.
Wix automatically enables HTTPS (via SSL) at no charge when you start up a new website on the platform.
Squarespace offers free SSL certificates to all of its customers, whether they are using a Squarespace domain, or connecting a third party domain.
With Wix, SSL comes standard and is automatically added to new sites. On Squarespace, it takes a few clicks in the Settings menu. Either way, your site can be safe and secure on these two website builders.
SEO Tools on Squarespace and Wix
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for being found on search engines like Google. Populating your SEO settings correctly, and using the best possible tools to ensure your pages are optimized for search engines can help your site rank higher and be found more often. So, how do website builders like Squarespace and Wix stack up?
Wix has excellent essential SEO tools for small businesses, personal sites, and blogs, but lacks the advanced features that Squarespace offers. Both platforms easily allow you to take care of basic SEO functions like meta descriptions, custom URLs, and image alt text for each page and post. However, of the two, only Squarespace allows advanced SEO.
Both Wix and Squarespace offer the basic SEO functionalities most website creators will need. If you want to get fancier, Squarespace is the best bet.
Customer Support: Who Gives You More Love?
Nothing is more frustrating than getting excited about your new website, working hard to get everything just right, and then encountering a problem you don’t know how to fix. That’s why customer support is so important when using a platform like Wix or Squarespace. We compared the support options on each platform to help you decide who will give you more love as you work through your site.
Wix offers phone support from 6am – 5pm PST every day. They have an extensive knowledge base that helps you do just about anything you need to do on the site. They also have a forum in case you are running into a problem someone else has already solved.
However, it does not feature a live chat option. If you don’t know what something does or are experiencing an issue, just click on the question mark for some help.
In addition to the help center with articles and guides similar to Wix, Squarespace has a live chat (3am-8pm Eastern) and an email response team working around the clock. They also have frequent training opportunities like webinars and workshops.
Both Wix and Squarespace offer enough help articles, videos, and how-tos for most people to figure things out. In our analysis, the two come in on a tie on the customer support factor, because Wix offers phone support, but no chat and Squarespace offers chat but no phone. These days, people like the online chat function as much as phone. So, it’s a tie for us.
Pricing and Plans
As with any SaaS platform, higher cost membership levels come with fancier features, but Squarespace is a little more expensive than Wix overall. Let’s explore the details.
Squarespace is well-known as one of the more expensive website builders out there, and Wix is commonly known to be more affordable, plus it offers a completely free version.
If you’re looking for something free without much concern for advanced design, and custom functionality, stop reading and go sign up for Wix. It’s an easy builder with enough templates to get you started on the right foot.
However, it’s usually more complicated than that, because your specific vision needs its own set of tools, and those tools differ between platforms and packages. So, let’s compare pricing and plans in more detail, starting with the plans and features each platform offers.
Wix is by far the cheaper option when it comes to website builders, and its free version works just fine for personal websites like a family reunion page, school project, or wedding site. If you’re going the free route, know that there will be ads served on your page (in the form of a subtle shout out and link to Wix in the footer), and you cannot hook up your own domain.
If you need something a little more professional for, let’s say, a portfolio website, don’t be afraid to invest in the Wix premium price with an upgrade to the $13/month Combo package or $17/month Unlimited to remove Wix ads, connect your own domain and get features like video hosting.
Wix premium pricing is still lower than a lot of other builders on the market with similar features. Let’s explore a few highlights before you jump into the features/price chart below.
- Get your company started with the Pro plan for $22 a month, and special add-ons like a visitor analytics app, and free logo.
- With the VIP plan, you get first-priority support and enhanced features to really make your personal website stand out, no matter whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro. The VIP plan is $39 a month on Wix.
- Wix domain cost is free for a year if you’re on any of the 4 paid plan levels, and the platform won’t show ads on your site.
Get more detail on exactly what’s offered here.
If you’re planning to create an online store, or run a larger business, you’ll want to look into Wix premium options for business. Packages range from $23 – $500 a month, and all include E-Commerce with unlimited items without a sales fee.
Important to note about Wix premium pricing for E-Commerce is that transaction fees for any package are the industry standard 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.
Squarespace is priced slightly higher at all levels than Wix but offers a robust feature set and sleeker template designs that some find worth paying a little more.
All plans come with a custom domain, SSL security, and unlimited bandwidth and storage. The chart below comes directly from Squarespace and details each and every item to consider.
The platform offers two E-Commerce levels, Basic and Advanced. Both levels include features like:
- Customer Accounts
- Checkout on Your Domain
- Products on Instagram
- So much more.
The Verdict: Wix vs. Squarespace
The competition is tough. Wix and Squarespace are both easy-to-use visual website building tools with E-Commerce functions and behind the scenes, tech to make a good looking, functional, mobile-friendly website. No matter which of the platforms or packages you choose, you can’t go wrong.
Our best advice is to figure out exactly what you want to do with your site and pay attention to the features you need to make that happen.
It’s a close race, but if we had to pick a winner, there is one area that makes Wix stand out as the better choice: design. With less than 15 seconds to intrigue, convince, and convert a visitor, design can become a huge factor.
If you are in the market for a simple personal website, Squarespace is just fine. However, our analysis names Wix as the overall winner because of the utmost importance of up-to-date, clean, design in today’s crowded online marketplace.