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Squarespace vs WordPress: The Real Cost of Maintenance

When it comes to creating a website, there are a variety of choices to make regarding which platform to chose, but it often boils down to Squarespace vs WordPress. Here at Compass, people come to us all the time wondering what the differences are between the two as far as maintenance costs, which makes sense for two reasons. First, many of our clients are small business owners or entrepreneurs who are often on a budget and actively trying to avoid spending an arm and a leg on a website. Second, when people try to sift through all the information out there to figure it out on their own, they usually finish more confused than when they started.

Thus, when it comes to making such an important decision for the online presence of your work, professional advice becomes about as valuable as it gets — and transparent, unbiased advice is positively priceless, which is what we’ve got to offer. We’re not attached to any platform in particular, so if you’re on the hunt for objective recommendations when it comes to deciding between Squarespace and WordPress, look no further.

Costs in the World of WordPress
One of the biggest myths we run into with WordPress is that it’s significantly cheaper than Squarespace. While it’s technically true that WordPress is “free” to download, the devil is in the details. It’s absolutely not free to make WordPress functional — you have to pay to host your site in order to make it a real place on the internet and Wordpress relies on plugins (little bundles of software that give your site certain capabilities) to give users the functionality they’re trying to achieve.

Setting all of this up on your own is really difficult unless you’re incredibly web savvy, so you’re going to have to pay someone to not only build the site for you, but to set up hosting as well.

The biggest hidden WordPress cost, however, is in continued maintenance. Unless you have some serious backend programming and frontend design chops, or you know someone who does and doesn’t mind working for free, dev and design maintenance costs are really going to add up. Making design edits to a WordPress site is more technically challenging than other Content Management Systems and the work involved should not be underestimated. WordPress also requires having someone to update themes and plugins over time as well to fix problems when parts of your site inevitably break due to conflicts with new WordPress updates and plugins or themes you are using.

Without these essential builds and tweaks, you risk running a janky site with parts that don’t work and, worse, you’re almost certainly going to encounter serious security issues sooner or later since broken parts leave your site vulnerable to hacking.


Spending in the Squarespace Sphere
In contrast to WordPress, Squarespace requires almost zero webmastering. If you can click, drag, and drop your way around the internet, you already have all the necessary skills manage a professional Squarespace site. However, the ease and convenience that comes with Squarespace is reflected in subscription costs. The most common Squarespace pricing plan costs $16 a month ($12/month when paid annually). For more powerful plans this cost goes up even more.

With these kind of rates compared to WordPress’ $10 per month, you’re probably wondering who in their right mind would ever choose Squarespace, especially considering the myth floating around that Squarespace lacks the customizability that WordPress offers. In reality, that simply isn’t true. In the hands of a professional web designer, Squarespace templates are actually extremely customizable — we can create dozens of templates from the same theme that look nothing alike.

So, really, there is a choice to make.

Making Your Selection
When it comes down to it and everything from beginning to end is considered, Squarespace often ends up being the cheaper option over time. That said, there’s more to making your Squarespace vs. WordPress decision than the financial bottom line.

You should go with WordPress if, either now or in the future, you anticipate needing multiple websites or are planning on publishing multiple types of online content. With WordPress you can duplicate entire websites (something that can’t be done with Squarespace) and hosting a mashup of podcasts, blog posts, interviews, and more through one site is no problem — WordPress is a much more flexible platform designed to handle these kinds of varied needs. Also, if there’s a WordPress plugin that you must have for your website, then you’ve already made your decision.

Yet, Squarespace is the platform we usually end up recommending the most. More often than not, for our small business and entrepreneurial customers, Squarespace can provide all the functionality they’re looking for without the hassle of the overhead maintenance that WordPress requires. While WordPress is more flexible and scalable, a Squarespace site is more affordable when it comes to both time and money.


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"Hiring someone to build our website was unchartered territory for us, but Compass made the process really easy! We recommend them to everyone that we hear is asking for a website."

Matt Wallace