Updated: May 5
Both are well-established as top choices, but ultimately we feel there’s a clear winner in the Wix vs. SquareSpace debate.
However, it won’t help you if we just give a short, one paragraph answer.
Instead, take a look at this side-by-side comparison to see which content management system (CMS) is the better option for you.
Before we dig into the nitty-gritty, it’s worth taking a look at some examples of websites built on both platforms. This way, you get a visual representation of what both are capable of.
Here are 3 websites we built on Wix:
And 3 sites built on SquareSpace:
As you can see, both Wix and SquareSpace are more than sufficient to build good-looking websites.
So the design factor might not be much of a deciding influence for you. However, the design tools and other features could tip the balance one way or the other.
The good news is, you won’t need any kind of coding skills when using either Wix or SquareSpace.
Both take the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) drag-and-drop website builder approach – but they do so a little differently…
The Wix Editor is pretty much the definitive drag-and-drop option. You can use the tons of pre-set elements and simply drag them to exactly where you want them to create your own custom layout.
This makes using Wix incredibly intuitive, even if you have no prior experience with website building.
SquareSpace takes a very similar approach, for the most part.
Once again, there are a vast number of elements to choose from and edit, and all you have to do is drag-and-drop.
Where the big difference comes in is that SquareSpace doesn’t allow you to fine tune placement as much as Wix does.
Rather than resting exactly where you drag an element to, the editor automatically snaps it in place according to its section-based templates.
This means there’s more of a learning curve involved, and not as much creative freedom.
Ultimately, this comes down to preference.
Do you prefer rigid guidelines (and having to spend time learning how to use them to your advantage) or creative freedom?
For most people, ease-of-use is king – and as far as editors are concerned, Wix definitely takes the win.
Wix and SquareSpace are both very popular – and popularity can be a good sign.
The more popular a website builder is, the better educational content and support it’s likely to offer. So which is the more popular of the two?
Wix: Growing Fast
SquareSpace: Halfway There?
SquareSpace is estimated to make $500 million in 2020.
Wix is very much the clear winner here. It might actually surprise you to hear it’s not simply because they’ve been around longer – because SquareSpace is actually the older company!
While SquareSpace was founded in 2003, Wix only came onto the scene in 2006. Despite the 3-year head start, SquareSpace is trailing behind by half.
Pricing and Cost of Help
It’s fairly easy to build a stunning website with either Wix or SquareSpace, but at the end of the day, you might prefer hiring someone else to do it for you.
After all, you have other parts of your business to focus on!
You’ll also need to pay for website hosting – in other words, for space on someone’s servers. Depending on your hosting company, this could mean paying anywhere from $3 to $40 a month.
Add another $10 to $15 per year for your domain name, and you’re already at $50 to $500 just to keep your site online.
Coming back to hiring someone to help you build the site in the first place, prices range even further. If you take a look at freelancers and amateurs on Fiverr, for example, you can get a website built for as little as $40.
Going to one of the most expensive agencies, on the other hand, comes with a price tag of over $50,000.
Why such a vast difference?
Well, the skill level of the person or team you hire, for starters. A professional with experience isn’t going to do a cheap job.
The benefit is you’ll be paying for results – because a cheap job isn’t likely to help you drive a lot of revenue for your business.
For reference, we charge $600-$1,500 for both Wix and SquareSpace websites.
Based on our experience, this seems to be the sweet spot for the small, but growing, companies we love to work with.
One of the issues with Wix is most businesses outgrow their plans very quickly.
For example, if you want access to their e-commerce tools and features, you need to get one of their Business & eCommerce plans.
These start at $17/month for a very basic suite and range up to $35/month for the full suite.
However, if e-commerce isn’t a priority or necessity, you could opt for the Unlimited Entrepreneurs & Freelancers plan at $12.50/month instead.
Everything your business needs, such as forms, galleries, and pop-ups, are all available out-of-the-box with Wix. If you’re finding you need a little extra though, there are also free and premium Wix App Market options to consider.
SquareSpace does make it pretty accessible for businesses of all sizes. Only the Personal plan (at $12/month) lacks any e-commerce features at all.
If you’re not looking to get crazy with the e-commerce features, then the Business Plan ($18/month) is a good option, though SquareSpace charges 3% transaction fees.
It might end up being cheaper for you to go for the Basic Commerce plan instead, which has 0% transaction fees and costs $26/month. As your business grows, you might end up considering the Advanced Commerce plan at $40/month.
All told, it’s a more expensive option, though not by much. Plus, you’ll benefit from the robust business features available out-of-the-box.
Still, there are many free and premium SquareSpace extensions to consider if you find your plan lacking.
Going head-to-head on price, Wix wins yet again… though this time, it’s much closer.
The difference in price tends to be so small that ultimately, it might not even be much of a deciding factor for most.
In the previous comparison point, we talked about hiring someone to help you build your website. However, if you prefer to try doing it yourself and are a little intimidated, have no fear.
The drag-and-drop nature of both platforms’ editors makes it pretty easy to get on your feet.
There are nearly 800 Wix templates to choose from, all by professional designers.
Because they’re designed specifically for Wix, they work really well with the platform. Some of the older ones can look pretty ugly, but the newer ones especially are absolutely gorgeous.
SquareSpace has far fewer templates to choose from, with just shy of 200 in total.
However, there don’t seem to be any ugly ones at all – and it’s very easy to narrow the search down according to the type of website you want to build.
Pretty much the only downside is with fewer templates to choose from, and the section-based editing format, it’s easy to end up with a website that looks very similar to your competitors’.
Once again, I would say it all comes down to ease of use here.
There’s a much wider variety of templates to choose from with Wix, as well as more creative freedom. With SquareSpace, you’re guaranteed to get a good-looking template, though there are fewer to choose from and you don’t get much creative freedom.
Plus there’s that steeper learning curve to consider.
So all-told, Wix takes the win. Though again, this might end up being a matter of personal preference.
Ease of Use
I’ve referenced ease of use several times already, because it often ends up being the deciding factor in the Wix vs. SquareSpace debate.
However, precisely because it’s so important, it deserves its own section.
Wix is Easy
Every time it’s come down to ease of use becoming the deciding factor so far, Wix has definitely taken the win.
It’s not just the fact their editor is much easier to use…. Wix was developed specifically to help non-technical “amateurs” build attractive, functional websites.
Of course, there’s always going to be a massive difference between what an amateur and an experienced professional can do.
However, with Wix, it’s pretty easy to teach absolute beginners everything they need to know in just a couple of days.
Basically, the difference comes down to experience.
So if you’re planning on making money building Wix websites for customers, all you need to do is spend time building them to familiarize yourself with the platform’s quirks, capabilities, and limitations.
SquareSpace Has a Steeper Learning Curve
Yes, I’ve said it before, but it’s true. While Wix is very much a beginner-friendly website builder, SquareSpace is geared more toward intermediate to professional users.
And even as a more experienced website builder, your first time using SquareSpace is going to involve going through a learning process.
Again, it comes down to understanding where SquareSpace forces elements to snap and turning this limitation on its head.
Your first several attempts are invariably going to end up looking like other SquareSpace websites, provided you manage to put a good looking site together to begin with.
Until you learn the quirks and have experimented with using the forced sections creatively, it’s going to be a bit of an uphill battle.
You’re definitely going to need to watch some online tutorials and get loads of practice, especially if you’re hoping to get paid to use SquareSpace to build websites for other people.
But at least you won’t need to learn coding first!
You already know the answer – ease of use has put Wix in the lead every time it’s become the deciding factor. This is no exception.
SEO and Speed
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is how you improve your website so it ranks better on search engine results pages.
So if you have a page with the keywords “Wix vs. SquareSpace,” for example, SEO determines how soon it shows up for someone using those keywords to search for information.
It plays a huge role in the success of your online business. So is Wix or SquareSpace better for SEO?
Wix SEO: Better Than You May Have Heard
But that doesn’t mean Wix is terrible at SEO.
Even though a lot of professionals give it a hard time, Wix has actually been proven (by Ahrefs, no less) to perform no worse than any other CMS. It has everything you need for SEO, especially the standard on-page features like meta tags, alt tags, and custom URLs.
The only place where Wix kind of drops the ball is loading speed.
It’s hard to properly compare apples to apples here, but Wix can have a tendency to load a little slowly – which does affect search rankings.
SquareSpace SEO: Not So Beginner-Friendly
SquareSpace doesn’t perform poorly at SEO – let’s squash that assumption as quickly as possible. There’s a full suite of built-in SEO tools to help you get things right, along with SEO support.
However, SquareSpace doesn’t come close to Wix on ease of use (as you should know by now). There’s no way to get tailored SEO suggestions to improve your use of the available features.
On top of that, the SquareSpace website itself loads fairly slowly – and that’s built by the people who developed and run the platform using their own website builder.
Not everyone is an SEO whiz.
If you’re just getting started learning about SEO, then SquareSpace is going to give you a much harder time than Wix will. The speed issue is also a tricky one…
Using Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to test some websites built with each platform, it takes over 3 seconds to find the first contentful paint – in other words, how long it takes for the user to see anything on their screen – with the Wix website.
That’s long enough to lose over half of your visitors. For SquareSpace, it was also over 3 seconds – and a few milliseconds longer than Wix.
So once again, Wix takes the win.
Blogging is a great way to add content to your website that engages with your target market and helps you build a reputation in your industry.
It’s also a great way to practice SEO and attract more visitors!
Basic Wix Blogs
Any blog you build with Wix is going to end up being fairly basic.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and you’re still going to get a decent blog with all the features you need. However, surprisingly, there’s not much in the way of customization on offer here.
With that said, Wix does keep improving on this section, so I expect to see them become a fiercer competitor in the future.
Slightly Better SquareSpace
SquareSpace doesn’t offer a whole lot more than Wix does when it comes to blogging – and of course, the entire platform isn’t exactly customization-friendly.
However, where it does inch ahead of Wix is with the inclusion of a single feature: comment moderation. Comment sections are a great way for your target audience to engage with you after reading your blog posts, but you do get the occasional troll.
With SquareSpace, you can moderate the comment section, a definite plus.
Ultimately, comment moderation gives SquareSpace a slight advantage over Wix.
Selling products and services online (e-commerce) is the gold rush of the 21st century.
I’ve already mentioned it briefly, but if you’re planning to build an e-commerce site, it’s worth digging into a little more detail.
A major advantage is building an online store is easy with Wix.
If you use one of the business plans, you’ll have just about everything you need to set up all of your store pages and add products or services in a matter of minutes.
Wix even allows you to start accepting payment before you’ve finished configuring your payment processor. They’ll hold onto the funds for you and release them as soon as you’ve added your details.
With 3 of the 4 available SquareSpace plans, you’ll get e-commerce tools and features. The more you’re willing to pay, the better the features you’ll get.
Setting everything up is still plagued by the same rigid sectioning as anything else in SquareSpace, of course. And if you’ve opted for the Business plan, you’ll also have to pay 3% transaction fees.
Surprisingly, SquareSpace doesn’t offer an automatic tax calculator. To be frank, this is a feature you absolutely need to have.
Not only does ease of use come into play yet again, but the inclusion of transaction fees as well as the lack of some important e-commerce features sends SquareSpace down to second place yet again.
At the end of the day, both Wix and SquareSpace are great CMS and website building platforms. In most areas, the competition is pretty fierce too.
However, as has become the unintended mantra for this comparison guide, ease of use ends up putting Wix streaks ahead of SquareSpace.
This is consistently true and ends up being a major deciding factor in most areas where it’s otherwise a very close call.
Essentially, unless you already have a fair bit of experience with building websites and you’re willing to spend time making mistakes while battling the steep learning curve, I’d recommend giving SquareSpace a miss.
If you’re just starting out – or you want to do what we do here at Parrot Digital Marketing by running your own online business building websites – then Wix is by far the better option.
But that’s just our opinion!
We’ve seen other professionals offer a very different take. So, Wix vs. SquareSpace: which platform are you planning to use?
Let me know in the comments!