Many years ago, a charming CEO emailed me about his website builder, Squarespace and after a few demos, I was sold. It was super easy, drag and drop but also gave you the ability to tinker with the code as well. That was Squarespace version 5. They have since moved on to Squarespace 7 which I have very little experience with. The only thing I couldn’t quite get over was the cost. $8/month doesn’t seem like much but it adds up. And when my hosting costs about $100/year for an unlimited amount of sites and wordpress is free, it was a bit of a tough sell. But that CEO gave me a couple of Squarespace sites for free and I had been hosting my music and personal site there for years. But I finally decided it was time to move to WordPress (and for the purposes of this post, I mean WordPress.org not WordPress.com). I wanted to own my content, own my theme and have complete control over my site. I had so many problems moving my content from squarespace 5 to WordPress. Eventually I had to create a new Squarespace 7 website and then import all my old content there so I could export it to WordPress. It was a HUGE pain and Squarespace’s generally wonderful support was not helpful at all.
But I realize WordPress isn’t for everyone. Because it’s so open there’s a lot of crappy, confusing themes out there. Even the themes you pay for can be daunting to get up and running. But as a developer, it makes sense for me. I can tinker with it and make it feel more like mine. I can also build a theme from scratch which is often what I do for my clients. Unfortunately, there are just more pieces to link together with WordPress. You need a domain, hosting and a WordPress build. With Squarespace they can package that all up in a neat little bow for you, soup to nuts.
People ask me all the time what they should use for a blog and I always have to ask them, how much help do you have/need setting it up? If you want no one to help you but you’re not that tech savvy, I say go with Squarespace. It will cost more in the long run but you can get your site up in no time with very little effort. If you’re willing to invest a little bit of time to save money in the long run and own everything on your site, go with WordPress. There are also other options out there such as WordPress.com, Tumblr, Wix, Weebly… but I feel like WordPress and Squarespace are the most legit out there.
So in the end, my advice is: it depends. I know that’s not the best answer but it’s what I’ve got. Personally, I choose WordPress.