What’s the difference between SquareSpace and WordPress? We get this question a lot. And it’s a StarWars vs StarTreck, Apple vs Android, Ali vs Joe, dog vs cat, coffee vs tea type of question. There’s no simple answer. Both are great platforms to build your photography website on, but very different.
Squarespace is really ease to use, due to it’s customizable templates and drag and drop page editor. An absolute newbie can quickly understand how it works, tweak a template, and publish a new website. That’s why many new photographers and new website users choose it for their first website.
If this is you, and you’re not considering a switch to WordPress, know that our sister company offers Design Kits for Squarespace via Squaremuse. If you need help with styling your current Squarespace site, and giving it that extra touch of elegance and uniqueness, check out these design kits.
However, if you want to move to the next level, get more flexibility and control over they way your website looks AND WORKS, you will find this article useful and mind-boggling. We’ll explain in more depth the benefits and intricacies of building a website on WordPress, as well as how Flothemes is making WordPress easier and more exciting for you to work with. Keep reading..
First things first, why WordPress? And please do not mistake this with wordpress.com, as we’re speaking in this article purely about the self-hosted WordPress (see difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org).
It’s simple really. WordPress is a robust and very flexible platform, it’s power is in its extensibility. There are tens and thousands of customization options, plugins and extensions through which you can build just about anything on your website. You are the one hosting your website (please choose wisely a hosting provider), which means your website’s performance, page loading speed and many more depend solely on YOU – no constant site outages, no limitations in terms of design or SEO. You have control over all aspects within your website.
Additionally, since there are around 75 million websites built on WordPress, this means that just about any type of question, issues or bug that you may encounter – has been found, dealt with and fixed already somewhere, by someone. You just need to research it (read as ‘google it’) or ask our Support Team for assistance (valid for all Flothemes clients).
And although the learning curve for WordPress is steeper, in comparison to Squarespace, once you get used to it, it’s fairly simple and straightforward. That’s especially true when you’re building a website with our new block based page builder, with all tutorials and documentation integrated into your dashboard. We’ve taken great care and time to create an experience that’s more visual, easy to use and flexible.
But let’s pause here, and go over each reason and criteria separately:
1. Functionality & Design Flexibility
While Squarespace is great and easy to build out pages, it lacks the flexibility to do anything outside its framework. WordPress on the other hand, has an abundance of choices and design features to help you build something unique, tailored specifically to your brand and taste.
Initial set up of WordPress can be more difficult, especially with a poor hosting provider. Since it’s more complex, it takes more time to customize and create a website. And while there are multiple page building tools and plugins available, to help you simplify the process, they’d make your site more bloated, and affect your page loading speed. Site performance, as well as user experience and satisfaction are very important for us.
To improve that experience, and to make things much simpler, we’ve created a new framework for our themes, which is basically a block building system that offers similar flexibility to Squarespace. Think of it as of a Lego for your website pages. You choose a template, tweak it, add or remove blocks from it, add your content, and build out a page exactly as you want it. Each page block is fully customizable, and easy to manage.
We’ve had great response to our new interactive backend, and also some great feedback from users who switched from Squarespace to Flothemes. Here are the reviews:
“I used to have a WordPress website several years ago and it was overwhelming to download, install, create, and manage which is why I moved to Squarespace. [Then with Flothemes] both my wife and I felt it’s safe and warranted to buy the setup help. I knew that the Basic Help would set the site up so far, so I still wanted to watch through the videos and become familiar with what the setup team was doing, what I would have to do, and just how everything was broken down and explained.. Even further than that, all the documentation you created for each step was so easy to follow and understand. Which I appreciate so much. I’m thrilled with my product and so appreciate with how it was created/developed by Flothemes.”
~ Aaron Cheney
“I’ve worked with almost every theme. Flothemes and their support are unbeatable. The newest theme Crowd2 is the future of WordPress. I’ve never seen anything more amazing and easy to work with! Cheers to Flothemes! Above & beyond!”
~ Erica Elizabeth Powell
“I have been a Flo customer for a few years now and always found their help and service to be exceptional, especially when a crisis hits! I have just moved form Crowd 1 to v2 and it has been seamless with, as expected, excellent support throughout the process. The new backend is incredible and the amount of flexibility is simply insane! Couldn’t recommend the team at Flo enough, they rock!”
~ Ian MacMichael
2. Own Your Content
WordPress outperforms Squarespace, when it comes to offering you full control over your website. You get to choose your own hosting provider, which in its turn has an impact on your website’s performance – its loading speed and security.
Whereas with Squarespace, you abide to their own terms and server capacity, whether it fits your needs or not. Which is painful when taking into consideration the frequent outages, downtime and DDoS attacks that Squarespace has been subject to lately. You should also know that Squarespace reserves its right to remove your content, if it conflicts with their acceptable use policy. This rarely happens with hosting providers, but even if it would – you can always switch to the next hosting company, rather than need to change your entire website.
And lastly, when it comes to Data Portability, it’s super easy to export and backup all your content with WordPress, while Squarespace has certain limitations in terms of the type of content that can be exported. So better look into it.
3. Ease of Use
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Squarespace is a much easier and beginner – friendly platform for building a website. It’s pretty much a ‘what you see is what you get’ type of site builder. While you drag and drop content on your page, you see immediately how that will look like on your finished website.
Whereas with WordPress, you tweak and customize everything in the backend, and have to check out the preview to see those changes. But even though it takes a bit longer to learn and get used to WordPress, managing and updating it after everything was setup and launched is fairly easy.
Don’t forget about FlexThemes – our new generation of WordPress website templates that have FlexBlock integrated into their framework. This means that most of your blocks are Flex and allow you to customize every single detail inside, on both, your desktop and mobile website. That simplistic Squarespace feel, on WordPress, with much more design and functionality freedom at your hands.
4. Support Network
Apart from the huge WordPress community (around 75 million users), creating and sharing free and paid resources and tools for your website, with Flothemes you also benefit from 2 additional groups of people. The first one is our Flothemes Support team, always at your service to help with any site questions or technical issues. The second one is our Flothemes Users Community, where our new and veteran Flo and WordPress users, are always willing to share their own experience and site building knowledge inside our Facebook Group.
5. Tailored Designs
Without a doubt, Squarespace offers a great and beautiful range of templates (over 80) for you to choose from, when building a website, with only a handful really suitable for photographers. However, that number fades when compared to the large variety of themes available for WordPress from numerous providers.
We, at Flothemes, specialize on premium, elegant and fully customizable designs for creatives. Whether you’re a photographer, a videographer, an event organizing company, a blogger, a florist or any other type of creative vendor, who has a visual portfolio to share – our themes are exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Having worked for over 10 years with creative brands from all around the world, we understand the fundamental requirements of a good looking, highly converting and well functioning website, that stands out from the crowd.
Each of our themes is designed to emphasize your portfolio, captivate your users’ attention and guide them through your website via Call to Actions and strategically placed content blocks. To preserve and empower your brand voice and style, each theme includes multiple page layouts, with the ability to customize the page structure, colors, fonts and icons. All this allows the freedom to create a beautiful, distinctive website, with a Custom Feel for the price of only a template theme.
In our collection, you’ll find everything, from Bold & Ambitious, Moody & Elegant, to Feminine, Airy and Fine Art. You can use the predefined templates, or tweak each page block and layout to craft something unique. Also, check out this article to learn How Design Can Help You Sell and Increase Your Pricing.
6. Setup Help
If you’d rather hand the whole setup and customization process to an expert, since WordPress and website building is a new and doubting topic for you – our team of technical gurus (that’s right, only superheroes and ninjas in our team) can help. We’ll install your WordPress and theme, guide you through the process of migrating your content from Squarespace to the new site, as well as teach you how to customize and manage it, via screen sharing sessions and premium email support for 8 weeks.
You won’t find that in many other places. Sure you can find an external developer to set it up for you, but you can’t be guaranteed of the quality of the service.
Here’s what clients who worked with us say:
“I spent such a long time looking into my website, how I wanted it to look and feel. The layout, the pages. Whether I wanted to build it myself, have some help or have someone put together everything. After having a look around I decided to go with Flothemes as I find there themes super easy to build [..] I went with Crowd 2. Due to being crazy busy, I paid for the installation which was awesome!
Vlad did exactly what I asked for and helped me fix or change anything I didn’t like.
The whole process was really smooth and so easy to do! I’m totally stoked with how my site turned out and would recommend this to anyone!”
~ Agnes Black
“Flothemes did an amazing job with my website! It wasn’t easy because I knew exactly what I wanted, but I couldn’t do it by myself, and fortunately they did their best, and now I’m more than happy to have a website that reflects who I truly am. My picture are really enlighten now, and I know that I count on a personal help if I need to. This incredible crew is listening to you, the tutorials they made are helping you to create a beautiful website and the templates allow to show your own personality. That’s exactly what I needed”
~ Coralie Monnet
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), WordPress is without a question the best platform to build your website:
Firstly, it allows you to build a solid Image SEO strategy, by adding alt tags and creating unique image names with keywords (not as flexible with Squarespace).
Secondly, with WordPress you can use highly effective SEO plugins, such as Yoast, and gain more control over keywords, catchy titles, and they way your site and posts looks when shared on social media. Unfortunately there is no comparable plugin or functionality for Squarespace users.
Thirdly, your website loading speed is in your own hands. This does not only affect the experience your users have on your website, but also has a bit impact on your Google ranking. Page speed depends on a few key factors, such as the hosting provider you use, as well as how well you optimize your images before uploading them to your website.
A heavy website (uploading too large images) and poor performing servers will slow down your site, taking ages to open a page or image blog post. That’s why we continuously keep stressing out about the importance of investing into a good hosting provider, and to be proactive with resizing and optimizing each image, before posting it on your site.
Fourthly, it’s a lot easier to add rich snippets in WordPress, than it is in Squarespace, which are basically that snippet of information (rating, reviews, pricing, etc) that you often see under a search result in Google. It offers additional data to the search engine and your visitors, about your website, and can bump your ranking. Rich snippets can be added manually or with the help of a plugin. Check out this tutorial on adding rich snippets in WordPress.
Additionally, know that our team constantly puts together educational guides and resources, to help you learn and elevate your business through your website and SEO.
WordPress is open source software, and it’s free to download from wordpress.org. To build a website with WordPress you will need to get your own hosting. A fast and reliable hosting plan offered by SiteGround for example, starts at $3.95 per month, which will cost you only $50 per year.
We do suggest choosing the GrowBig package, as it offers server caching and more resources, which equal in better site speed. Now, you’re only missing the theme, which is a $249 one time fee. No subscription or annual fees. You pay once, and the theme is yours forever. All future updates as well as support help are for free.
When comparing to Squarespace, you’ll need the $25 per month business plan if you plan on doing any blogging.
9. Content Management
There are a few additional advantages in using WordPresss, especially when it comes to blogging. First of all it has a Media Library, which allows you to easily store, access and re-use your older images and files anywhere on the site. Also, in WordPress it’s very easy to create and edit galleries. With Squarespace you need to re-upload images every time you create something new (except for gallery images).
Secondly, WordPress is more powerful with tagging and content categorization. If you blog a lot, and want to structure your content by location, type of photoshoot, vendor, work vs personal project, etc – you can just by assigning it to a specific category or tag.
With Flothemes, we’ve built blocks that allow you to add tags to any post or gallery. To make it easier for users to navigate, you simply add a sidebar to your blog, displaying all categories, or include a category switcher on your listing page.
Well don’t just take our word from it, check out all the reviews from hundreds of creatives who switched to WordPress & Flothemes for their site:
How to Switch
Ready to consider a move yet? We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide (Part 1 and Part 2), so you know exactly what to expect from each step of the process. Know, that you can also opt in for a Setup Service, and have our team assist you with the migration, setup and customization process, as well as learning more about Flothemes and WordPress. And if you get a bundle of a theme + Advanced Setup package, we’ll save you $68. Code: SETUP68
And lastly, enjoy some website examples from our clients, built with Flothemes!