The truth about why WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace.

Are you building a website for your business on a tight budget? Still unsure whether WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace? Getting confused and overwhelmed by different people telling you different things?

In this article, I will explain to you why WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace and other web builders if you are serious about your business.

Yes, WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace… for those who are serious about their business

One of the problems that any entrepreneur or small business owner faces when building their business website on a tight budget, is which platform to use to build their websites. So confusing! Too many options, too many people saying different things. Who to believe? Which are the deciding factors?

Here’s the truth as I see it.

Wix and SquareSpace can be the right choice for those who are not planning for their business or personal website to grow. Web builders are fine if all you need is a brochure site, or a page that proves to the world that you exist. These monthly-paid web building platforms allow you to create a web page with minimum hassle.

However, if you are serious about your business and want for it to grow and prosper, WordPress* is better than Wix or SquareSpace. And not just by a little bit. It’s not even in the same league.

If you are serious about your business you shouldn’t even consider using a web builder. You must simply go for WordPress.

Read on to find out why.

*I am talking about the self-hosted version of  WordPress. If you want to know the difference between hosted and self-hosted WordPress, please read my recent post on the subject.

Is it easy to create a website?

These days, the demand to create a website quickly and cheaply has led to the myth that creating and maintaining a website is – or should be – easy.

Subscription-based web-building platforms such as Wix and SquareSpace live off this promise: they take the pain away from building a website, because they take care of all the difficult bits.  Typically, these are: buying a domain name, finding a web host, dealing with possible problems, building the site, or having to find a web designer, and so on.

For a non-designer or non-developer, all these issues are overwhelming. And for a good reason: creating and maintaining a website is not easy. 

Web designers and web developers charge good money because creating a website is complicated. Have you tried yourself? Then you know for sure what I mean.

Creating a good website is not easy.

Creating a good website from the ground up is as difficult as rewiring your own home if you are not a trained electrician, or design and build a house for a non-architect. Sure, it’s possible. But not recommended. Usually it takes years of training and experience before you can confidently call yourself a professional electrician, architect – or web designer.

Complicated electrical wiring. Why WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace.
Electrical wiring. If it looks complicated, it’s because it is. Photo by Jarmoluk on Pixabay.

But WordPress makes it easier.

This is why content management systems (abbreviated to CMS) such as WordPress were created. WordPress makes it possible to create a website from the ground up, even if you are not a web designer or developer.

However, WordPress has a learning curve. You need to take a little bit of time and effort to learn this amazing piece of web-building software. Which is all possible, with a little bit of patience. Still, it’s not immediately as quick and easy as 1,2,3. You need to at least understand how the web works (not a bad idea anyway, in my book!)

Enter the web building platforms. What web building platforms such as Wix, SquareSpace and all the others do is precisely this: they make website building quick and easy for people who are not professional web designers. They have templates and drag-and-drop builders that make it possible to create a website very quickly. (WordPress also offers dozens of similar drag-and-drop builders, by the way. The best is Beaver Builder).

I’m not disputing that. These people may even hate technology and know nothing about the web. Yet they are able to create a website quickly on one of those platforms.

Devil’s advocate. WordPress is considered more difficult than page builders. Yes, you need to take the time to learn a thing or two. However, once you’re past the initial hurdles, modern WordPress page builders and themes such as Beaver Builder have made building a whole website with WordPress as easy as – no, easier – than any of the ‘easy’ platforms such as Wix or SquareSpace. With all the relative advantages.

Wooden shed, or mansion with a view?

To me, choosing between WordPress and page builders such as Wix or SquareSpace compares to choosing a caravan as your home, versus a brick and mortar forever-home.

In fact, that’s not true because a caravan – also known as mobile home – is by definition portable, whereas websites built on one of those platforms are not portable at all. Perhaps a wooden shed versus a brick and mortar, forever-home is a better analogy.

If paying monthly rent for a wooden shed is ok for you – then go with Wix or SquareSpace or Weebly.

If what you want is a solid forever-home with planning permission and space for an infinite number of guest-houses, roof extensions, conservatory, membership club with tennis court, swimming pool, golf course, and a shopping mall or two  – then you must go with WordPress. 

A gothic castle on top of a mountain, in the middle of a green mountain landscape.
Build yourself a castle with WordPress.

The truth about why WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace, in a nutshell, is that those platforms are not a solid investment for the future, while WordPress is.

There are no limits to what WordPress can do for your business. There are many limits to what Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly and all other similar web builders can do.

If I’ve already convinced you, go buy your web hosting (SiteGround is my favourite), watch a free WordPress course (Rob Cubbon has excellent ones, free or not), or hire a designer/ developer, and be off on your wonderful online journey.

If you need to find out more then please read on.

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, at twilight with traffic light trails. Photo by Piccia Neri, all rights reserved.
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris: like WordPress, built to last. Photo by Piccia Neri. If you like this photo, you can download it here.

The blatant differences.

The tool you use to build your business website must give you, as the final result, a website that is:

  1. future-proof
  2. infinitely expandable
  3. flexible
  4. portable
  5. truly SEO-friendly
  6. compatible with 1000s integrations
  7. completely yours.

A WordPress site is all these things. Wix or Squarespace websites are not any of these. I know, it sounds harsh: true, though.

#1: A WordPress site is ‘future-proof’.

If I had to give just one reason why it’s better to build your site with WordPress over Wix, SquareSpace or Weebly, it would be this: a self-hosted WordPress site, if built properly, is future-proof.

This is because WordPress is here to stay: at the last count, around 27% of all the websites in the world run on WordPress. This is a staggering figure. You will not run the risk of losing your site because the platform shuts down. It is, indeed, safe as houses. Here to stay, and built to last.

Another important consideration to make is that WordPress is an open source content management system, which means it is built collaboratively by people who don’t necessarily get an immediate monetary reward for what they do.

Any innovation is peer-reviewed and collaboratively tested and improved. The core code for WordPress will also always remain completely free. And the community of clever geeks contributing to it is simply enormous. These people are on top of the never-ending transformations that take place every day on the internet. Each of its complex moving parts gets constantly updated. This is what open source means, more or less.

On the opposite side of the open source model sit the paid-monthly website building platforms: they are run exclusively for profit. This usually makes the service worse, not better. It means that the money equation will always be there: you’re only good until you pay, and new features are only implemented if they are profitable.

Also, if something is run for money, it may not run forever. It may fail, or be bought off, or it may implement policies that don’t serve you well anymore.

This won’t happen with WordPress, because it belongs to everyone. WordPress, like I said, is here to stay.

Even Microsoft believe that WordPress is built to last and here to stay: Microsoft recently moved around 20.000 blogs from their own proprietary platform to WordPress. Convincing, or what?

This is what I mean by future-proof. And this is why this is the #1 reason why WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace, or indeed any other web builder.

#2: A WordPress site is infinitely expandable.

 

When you get started your business is small. I understand that. But it will grow. Won’t it? That’s a given.

So while starting with a site builder might seem adequate when you start, it won’t later on as your business grows.

You might want to add a simple e-commerce section, a membership area, an online course. If you hire writers, you won’t be able to limit their access to only certain areas of the dashboard. You can’t set up proper multilingual sites, either.

With WordPress, all of this – and much more – will always be possible. With a web builder, you will run into limitations pretty quickly. In some cases, a number of features will be available, but with significant restrictions.

“I moved to WordPress when I realised that SquareSpace could not support a serious business. It was failing in a number of ways, notably SEO and e-commerce.
We spent months trying to get the correct plug in to satisfy VAT MOSS regulations (sales tax from European purchasers) to integrate with SquareSpace. I can’t count the number of calls and help tickets we raised. We even got the plug-in vendor to intervene. No results.

My feeling is SquareSpace makes beautiful “coffee-table book” sites, but it’s not credible as a platform for European e-businesses.”
Kate Hammer, Throughline

The homepage of Squarespace.
Squarespace does look pretty, I’ll admit. But your styling possibilities are limited. And e-commerce is possible, but with many limitations, some of which make trading very difficult.

For further info read a great article by Elegant Themes going a bit more into detail about e-commerce on WordPress versus SquareSpace, as well as other useful detailed comparisons.

#3: A WordPress site has total flexibility.

This is another huge set of drawbacks of web builders versus WordPress. The source files of websites built on a web builder are not always editable or even accessible. Style changes are limited.

SquareSpace has a limit on how many pages you can set up, and only has a finite number of templates you can use. Which can also mean that most SquareSpace websites end up looking pretty much the same.

As regards Wix, the worst restriction to its flexibility is that once you’ve chosen one of the 500-odd templates, you cannot go back and choose a different one. Really? I can’t even believe this one. You are tied forever to the same template. And what if your needs change? Your audience changes?

Wix templates page. When you choose a Wix template, you might love it but you're stuck for life. No divorce possible. So either choose very wisely, or go with WordPress.
When you choose a Wix template, you’re stuck for life. So either choose very wisely, or go with WordPress.

With WordPress there are absolutely no stylistic or semantic or technical limitations to what you can do. It is the very epitome of flexibility.

#4: A WordPress site is portable.

When you build a site with a site builder platform, you build it in a very specific environment. If one day you should decide to move your site for any reason – the platform could have raised the prices, or perhaps you need a functionality that it doesn’t offer – you might get a nasty surprise: it’s not so easy to export a site built with Wix or SquareSpace.

If you have built many pages with a lot of content, exporting the site might be beyond your technical capabilities. A large part of the exporting process is actually manual.

I know this from first-hand experience: my client Kate Hammer had built her shop in SquareSpace before realising that they had no measure implemented to deal with the VAT requirements for selling digital products in Europe. Not a minor detail! In the end, we came to the conclusion that re-building the shop in WordPress would be cheaper, as well as cost-effective.

So if you want to move these are your options: you either lose the site and start over again in a more flexible platform, or you pay a developer to export your site. Please note, however, that you still won’t be able to recreate the same site somewhere else without re-designing and re-coding. Basically, rebuilding your site, really.

To me, this is a major reason why WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace. Your content is always totally portable. Not forever lost.

A man with a trolley suitcase walking towards the sunset in the middle of a deserted tarmac road. Take WordPress with you, everywhere.
Take WordPress with you, everywhere.

#5: SEO.

This is a hotly debated issue. The guys at Wix and SquareSpace swear blind that Google DOES like their websites. The word on the street is that it doesn’t.

For anyone who is serious about an SEO-optimised site, I’m sorry to say that neither platform can give you all the tools you need in today’s incredibly overcrowded marketplace. If you want to tailor your SEO and be found online, it’s imperative that you are able to modify the title tags and the meta-description tags. You can’t do this on SquareSpace.

On the other hand, it’s a bit laborious but you can do it on Wix. However, the problem with Wix is that it’s heavily reliant on Ajax and Javascript technology. I realise that this might mean nothing to a novice. Put it very simply, this can make the site slower and affect Google rankings, which favour speedy sites. For a much more in-depth explanation of Wix’s relationship with SEO, Ajax and Javascript here’s an excellent article. Not all of the bad things that people say about Wix’s SEO are true, but too many are.

None of these problems apply to WordPress. With WordPress, you are completely in control of your site’s SEO.

#6: WordPress has 1000s integrations.

Besides adding functionality to your website, you’re going to need a number of essential integrations with all the other web tools that you are using. Your email marketing tool is an example.

WordPress has plugins that will connect your site seamlessly with any other application out there.

And if the one you’re looking for isn’t there right now, it sure will be tomorrow. Some clever developer is probably beavering away at it as I write.

#7: Completely yours.

I’m going to say again what I said at the beginning. This is a #1 reason why WordPress is MILES better than Wix or SquareSpace.

When you build your website on one of those platforms, you do not completely control your own content. It is actually not quite yours: it’s the platform’s. You don’t own the URL and you don’t own the hosting.

A wooden shed in a nature setting in spring.
A wooden shed can serve as a home. It can also be pretty, but it’s not a permanent, future-proof, expandable solution. And it’s not even yours to take away with you!

So you are not just choosing a wooden shack against a forever-home: you are actually building the shack yourself, but you’re renting it, and when you do want to upgrade to brick and mortar you won’t be able to take either the shack away, or most of the stuff that you bought for it to make it nicer or functional.

All that time and money that you invested in making your wooden shack home better more or less goes down the drain. To me, this is an ‘end of’ point to the argument.

Yays and Nays

Having said all this, I want to specify that I do not mean that Wix and SquareSpace are bad, per se.

In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that they can be fine, for certain needs. Here’s a list of websites for which using Wix or SquareSpace can be a YAY option:

  • Personal page or resume
  • Simple, one-off event website for a family celebration
  • Notice-board type sites, to pin things up
  • Can’t think of anything else because I still think you should be using WordPress anyway.

Just don’t use them for a professional website. I can assure you that it shows. Especially Wix websites: they never look as professional as a ‘real’ website.

Conclusions

Fundamentally, I just think you should simply bite the bullet, take the time to learn the basics of WordPress (which doesn’t take very long if you want to be a simple user, not a developer), get good, cheap hosting (Siteground is great), pick the right theme (easy choice there: Beaver Builder as said above) and get building.

It is not 123 easy, but it’s not that difficult either. It’s just a time investment, which you will reap huge rewards from.

And it’s a great deal cheaper, all things considered, than Wix or SquareSpace.

If, on the other hand, you know for a fact that you won’t be able to take the time to learn and build your own site by yourself, then by all means hire a WordPress designer-developer. That’s what we are here for.

And yes, we do work for money, but – can you really put a price on freedom?

A straight asphalt road with double yellow line in the middle stretching all the way to the horizon, blue sky with clouds. WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace because it gives you freedom.
WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace because it gives you freedom and a limitless horizon.

9 thoughts on “The truth about why WordPress is better than Wix or SquareSpace.”

  1. Great and thorough article, loved it. I’d have to admit that SquareSpace is more high end platform than Wix but I still detest both of them for their lack of flexibility, even for the most basic enhancements or tweaks – ultimately a remotely hosted platform needs to be as secure as possible to prevent hacks or vulnerabilities – but this comes at a price. Since WordPress matured from a purely blogging platform to a total site solution it’s never really looked back.

    • Thanks Nick, really appreciate your feedback as I know you are a WordPress expert, too. I agree on SquareSpace being on a different level from Wix, but still, it’s not flexible as you say. Yes WordPress is more vulnerable but there are so many excellent measures you can take in order to prevent attacks. I’d rather that, than be locked in forever!

  2. Great article!
    I feel there’s nothing like winner or loser. It all depends upon your needs. However, I am a WordPress fan but I use it with a website builder TemplateToaster which provides me the compatibility with all the major CMSs and those hating code, guys this builder is for you. Try once and see the results. Using WordPress with TemplateToaster provides a lot of benefits such as thousands of responsive themes, advanced features etc.

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