Ah, the age-old question of WordPress or Wix or Squarespace to start of JazzyWP – A website geared towards WordPress 😉
I know what you are thinking. In a site about WordPress, the results are probably a forgone conclusion.
But bear with me for a few minutes and I hope to point out the one major flaw I see time and again when clients try to compare Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Webflow or any other SaaS platforms for a website to a DIY WordPress website.
WordPress or Wix or Squarespace
The 9 must-have features for any website
For the purpose of this comparison, I am going to limit the discussion to the core features one must have in any website. Since specific feature requirements can be a laundry list of items, it would be impossible or unfair to compare these platforms against each other.
For example: If I wanted a ‘directory’ website or ‘learning management system’ – Wix and Squarespace would be out of the picture because these platforms are just not targeting that market. Still, the six-pack feature requirement would still apply
#1 Must have:
Easy to use
Easy to design and easy to learn website platform
Well these days, I would say, most if not all the platforms can be considered as easy to use, easy to design and easy to learn.
With the help of YouTube you can surely find lots of how-to videos for each platform.
Sure, WordPress will win here in terms of how many videos you will find to help you with your learning, but it can be overwhelming as well.
Still, lets tickle our fancy a little and generalize a bit here about each platform in terms of design and ease of use.
Wix ease of use:
Super easy to use – just drag and drop and choose from over 500 designs without having to search the web. Is a clear winner here.
The fact that you don’t have to configure anything or do anything else to get started is the main draw.
Squarespace ease of use:
More difficult to use at first than Wix, but easy after a few trials, but the designs are amazing. All the Squarespace templates have a clean and modern design that allows you to add a lot of videos, images, text and other design components. These styles work for any industry, but can be very effective for artists and restaurants which can be image heavy.
WordPress ease of use:
Well, lets just say WordPress is clunkier in this space just because there is no single option. Since it’s open source, there are many alternatives as users and commercial entities tackle unique needs of the millions of users on this platform. The page builder or template you choose can and will change your interface. Finding things and learning them will take time.
I am going to say – this is a tie.
They are all about the same when it comes to ease of use, one just needs to invest the time needed to learn the platform of choice.
#2 Must have:
Fast loading website
Google core web vitals pleasing platform
Hosting a fast website is another one of those features that is a must-have, and something one can achieve with Wix or Squarespace or WordPress.
Google revealed in 2020 that it will begin measuring Core Web Vitals for websites in order to assess if they will qualify for a ranking signal boost. These vitals include visual stability scores and page load times, and the go live in May 2021.
Of-course, platforms like Wix or Squarespace are going to address speed and performance to make their platform attractive.
Still, there are a few areas that are worth a mention.
Besides the infrastructure or hosting that needs to be performant, the user aspect will impact website page load. For example – is the user uploading images that are optimized?
Wix website performance:
Well, on Wix this image optimization just happens automagically as the user does not have to do anything on their end. Wix will optimize and deliver the perfect image for you.
Here is what they say about image uploads – “Wix automatically optimizes your images for best online quality and fast download. This means that, unless your file is over 25MB, you do not need to resize or compress it before uploading. “
Squarespace website performance:
Similar to Wix, the Squarespace platform will address your hosting and image optimization for you. It all happens in the backgroud, so the end user does not have to worry about anything.
“Squarespace takes the guesswork out of formatting your images for display on the web. We create seven variations of each uploaded image, to ensure perfect display on any screen size.”
WordPress website performance:
Now, for the self-hosted WordPress, this is another task to add to your to-do items.
You can work with a hosting who offers a CDN service, or you could look into installing a CDN plugin and bring your own.
Either way, it’s more work on your end when you go for a self-hosted WordPress website vs the hosted and managed solutions like Wix and Squarespace.
I would say Wix or Squarespace are simpler options when it comes to managing the website performance, as you don’t really need to do any technical configurations to speed thing up.
#3 Must have:
Easy Backups of your website
Busting the myth that Wix or Squarespace is better!
If you are considering a SaaS website builder, not having to worry about backups and thinking that your data is safer with these SaaS providers is probably one of the main reason why these platform look attractive.
First, lets address this common question – how often should I backup my website?
Well, it depends 🙂
Your business will dictate how often a backup is needed.
Secondly, it depends on the website’s content management system.
For WordPress, you will need all the website’s content, archives, databases, and media to restore it if it is lost. On the other hand, for websites on Wix or Squarespace you only need the content to restore.
Now, I know you just want to focus on your business and probably don’t want to take the responsibility of managing backups, and you figure that these huge SaaS platforms probably have this backup thingy squared away.
Unfortunately, looking at the backup features of Wix and Squarespace below, you will find that this is a myth. The WordPress options are far more robust.
Wix website backup option:
Here is what Wix customer support has to say about backups:
A save happens every 7 days as long as there has been a change in any of the content.
Squarespace website backup options.
A little worse than Wix here. It is not so easy to backup a Squarespace website.
You can restore pages and blog posts that you’ve deleted from your site in the last 30 days as mentioned on Squarespace customer support here but no option to ‘restore the whole site’ to a specific time/date of a backup.
WordPress website backup options:
Let’s say the WordPress options when it comes to backup are miles ahead of the competition.
This is because of the open source nature of the platform and many needs of its users. The open marketplace ensures that commercial entities are building solutions that are unique and robust to meet those needs.
For example, you can have:
- Server level backup right from your web hosting provider
- You can have application level back
- A backup to a remote storage,
- or a backup on your local machine
- or all of them, or a combination of the above backup options.
On top of this, you can have a variety of backup schedule to meet your business needs.
- or whatever combination that your needs demand.
Oh, if that was’nt covering all the bases. Of-course, there is the option to take full backup or incremental backup for each of the above options.
You get the point. No comparison.
The clear winner here when it comes to backup options is WordPress. We can say that WordPress actually has options, whereas with Wix or Squarespace you would be creating workarounds to create some specific backup schedule.
Founder, Managing Partner of Jazzy Marketing.
My first foray into the web was back in 2001 when we needed to get a website build for a telecom venture I was working for. I was given the project of getting our website built with e-commerce integration for calling cards – a huge market at the time. Well, that was the spark that got me interested in website development and I have not looked back since.