Squarespace is a popular platform for beginners and those who don’t want to deal with any of the complications of platforms like WordPress. This is understandable. With all of the choices to make, WordPress can feel overwhelming.
WordPress can still be a viable choice. In this article we’ll take a look at themes and plugins that can make WordPress an easy alternative to Squarespace.
What Makes Squarespace Inviting?
Squarespace is an all-in-one website solution that looks professional. Most of the elements are already in place, so creating your own website mostly requires some simple editing. Any kind of website can be built from a personal blog to an eCommerce store. Everything you need is included, so you don’t have to choose anything except a theme.
Squarespace is a great choice to those who want a simple system that’s easy to use. It doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge, making it ideal for someone who just wants a professional-looking site without having to know much about the platform.
It’s a great choice for beginners or anyone that doesn’t want to do much customization beyond basic theme customizations.
The Challenge of WordPress
WordPress requires more setup. You have to choose your host and connect your domain name, and then install the WordPress core, choose and install plugins, choose and install themes, and then set everything up manually.
It’s a great choice for someone who wants a basic platform that can grow with you. It gives you full control over everything. You have choices for eCommerce, security, hosting, backups, and integrations such as learning systems, social networks, forums, etc.
Squarespace comes with 84 templates (at the time of this writing) with hundreds of customization features.
Editing the Site
Editing is easy – just click on the elements and make your changes. You can even drag and drop elements to new locations, resize, add elements, change styles, etc.
WordPress has thousands of themes to choose from, but most don’t have drag and drop functionality.
One option is to choose any theme you want and then use a plugin with drag and drop modules such as:
Another option is to use an all-purpose theme with drag and drop capability, child themes, built-in layouts, demos, etc. Several popular themes include this functionality such as:
Divi’s front-end Visual Builder actually works similarly to Squarespace’s editing system and, at least for me, is just as intuitive.
Content creation is done from the front-end. It includes content blocks that can be edited and moved around.
WordPress Content Creation
Several WordPress plugins and themes have a similar functionality. Again, Divi provides a similar functionality. Place rows, choose columns, drop content elements, drag them where you want, create your content, etc., all from the front-end Visual Builder.
Squarespace has commerce built in. Select a page to hold your store and start adding inventory. The interface is as easy as creating content.
WordPress Plugins for eCommerce
WordPress has several good solutions for eCommerce. Uploading products is the same as with Squarespace, so there isn’t anything more to learn.
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform for WordPress. It handles inventory management, shipping, payment gateways, subscriptions, physical and digital products, and lots more. It can be expanded with free and premium add-ons.
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is designed specifically for selling digital products. It’s been translated into over 20 languages and includes lots of payment gateways. It can be expanded with hundreds of add-ons- many created by third-party developers.
Squarespace provides marketing tools to grow your audience. Tools include share buttons, pin buttons, and a linked Facebook page.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
WordPress has no shortage of social sharing plugins providing from simple to advanced features.
Monarch connects to over 35 networks. It has five locations including floating, above or below the content, on images and videos, as a popup, and as a fly-in. You can also display social buttons using a shortcode. It includes lots of triggers and styles, and you can customize it. Statistics are provided with the built-in dashboard. Import and export the data.
Jetpack has lots of tools to help your marketing efforts including social sharing, reblog, related posts, and a Like button. Share on your favorite social networks automatically.
Contact forms are an important element in most websites and they’re built in to the Squarespace platform. Create 19 different field-types including checkboxes, radio buttons, date, time, number, currency, hidden, etc. Drag and drop the fields to create the design you want. It’s a simple form-maker with no logic, but it does make it easy to create contact forms.
WordPress Contact Form Plugins
WordPress has lots of options for forms. Even themes such as Divi have form modules built in.
Ninja Forms is a great plugin for beginners that can create any type of form you need. It can be expanded through add-ons. It’s drag and drop system is intuitive.
Squarespace lets you add maps as a content block and set your own pin. Choose from grayscale, satellite, light, dark, and blue designs.
WordPress Google Maps Plugins
There are lots of good options for using Google Maps with WordPress. Themes like Divi include map modules.
WP Google Maps
WP Google Maps is the most popular and probably the easiest to use of the Google Maps plugins. Create as many markers as you want and place your maps within your content using a shortcode. It includes 9 themes and you can create your own.
Analytics is built into the Squarespace platform and it’s intuitive to use. See reports of your statistics including visitors and their behavior, page views, popular pages, conversions, etc.
WordPress Analytics Plugins
Here’s another area where there are lots of options.
Jetpack provides statistics per day, week, month, and year. See the top posts and pages, referrers, clicks, search terms, and subscriptions.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights brings Google Analytics to your WordPress dashboard. It displays real time stats on the page level and even allows you to track commerce, ads, events, link performance, and lots more. It’s easy for beginners to set up and use.
Squarespace has SEO features built into the platform. There isn’t a lot of setup required. Add your site’s description and choose a few formatting options.
WordPress SEO Plugins
WordPress has many good options for SEO. The Core itself is built on SEO and many themes include SEO features. This is further enhanced by several popular plugins.
All in One SEO Pack
All in One SEO Pack is easy for beginners because there’s no setup required. It also provides features for advanced users and API developers. It supports Google Analytics, Google AMP, custom post types, WooCommerce, and more. It includes Nonce Security and automatically optimizes your titles.
Yoast SEO analyzes your content for readability, gives you tips to improve your writing and SEO keyword usage, lets you choose the focus keyword, allows you to set the images that Facebook and Twitter will use, and lots more. It builds an XML sitemap, optimizes RSS, and creates breadcrumbs. It does require adding your own keyword, so it is an extra step, but it’s easy to do.
Since they own the servers, Squarespace handles your security for you.
WordPress Security Plugins
WordPress users have lots of great choices. Some are easier to use than others.
iThemes Security is a free plugin that’s easy to setup and use. It provides over 30 ways to secure your website and also has advanced features for experienced users.
Squarespace performs backups of your content that can be restored from a remote location if the server crashes. This includes any files you’ve uploaded to your website. You can also create your own backups.
WordPress has lots of backup plugins to choose from with automation features and remote storage.
UpdraftPlus is a simple yet powerful backup plugin that lets you backup and restore to remote storage systems such as Google Drive, DropBox, etc., and more. You can automate your backups so you never have to think about them.
Logo Design Tool
One interesting feature of Squarespace is its powerful logo design tool. Enter your company name, tagline, select an icon, and see the logo on a business card, computer screen, and tee shirt. You have complete control over colors, styles, etc.
WordPress Logo Plugin
This is one area where WordPress is more limited. There is one good plugin that seems like a good choice though.
Logaster Logo Generator
Logaster Logo Generator is a free plugin for WordPress that creates logos with your company name, tagline, and industry. Once you choose the industry you can search that industry for keywords to find icons. You can then edit to your heart’s content and see your logo on a mockup business card.
Out of the box Squarespace is an easier system to use than WordPress. WordPress has a lot more options but that can also make it more overwhelming to use. With a few good plugins and the right theme, WordPress can be beginner-friendly and appeal to those that don’t want to handle the techy stuff.
We want to hear from you. What would you add to make Squarespace easier for the masses?
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