So you want a website, but you don’t have money for a developer and definitely have no time to learn how to code properly. The solution might seem simple as you’ll probably end up considering between the two more popular options. Choosing one is however a tad more complicated than you might think and the reason why we’re weighing up between the two more user-friendly website builders: Wix and Squarespace.
To add fire to what could turn into a heated debate Alecia and I took sides on the matter in order to provide our take on which option is a smarter choice. We’ll be touching on the more practical side of things to help you better understand how you are affected by the basic features of each builder.
Straight-off-the-bat-sidenote: We don’t talk about Weebly. Why? Weebly was started to help college students quickly set up a portfolio - which is probably why your collegiate cousin keeps raising their premature opinion on the matter.
Let’s get into the ring!
In Alecia’s corner: SQUARESPACE
In the marketing videos for Squarespace you’ll find a smooth looking Keanu Reeves riding a very attractive motorcycle through the desert firing bold shots of humor. This campaign summarises Squarespace in the best way possible - sleek, creative and most importantly coherent. This is exactly what a website should be. Simple, yet sophisticated.
I’m referencing the Keanu-esque ad as it shows you that unlike the Wix ads, who uses multiple personalities to be super-relatable, Squarespace has confidence that their Keanu has everything they need in order to best sell their product. They don’t need to mention how you can import your Instagram feed fifty times over, they only need Keanu.
This is the beauty of coherence. You display both your confidence and your capability to make a decision and stick by it. That “being relatable” has become the equivalent of fast-to-die trends and irresponsible design.
In one of their adverts the hilarious James Veitch states that Wix has “loads of absurdly broad templates to choose from” which in itself poses the problem. Squarespace in contrast limit their template options, but they promise quality. Will Ferrel, under the guise of Cord Hosenback, provides another comical character to promote Wix and mentions how “images keep their high quality”. This is great for images, but only yesterday did they introduce the capability to utilise retina displays. This is a slow response to the origination of Retina displays back in 2012.
Last, but certainly not least we have to talk about your website on mobile screens. Responsive design is where it’s at when considering mobile friendly content. Wix forces the developer to strongly reconsider every element after making crucial decisions that looked fine on the standard desktop site. That’s right - your web page won’t automatically display accurately on mobile if you use Wix. All your carefully curated content is shifted out of place, videos don’t always load and menu buttons stand the chance to be disabled as they’re moved off the functional position.
Squarespace allows for responsive design however in that their mobile site automatically resizes and intuitively repositions every image, button or text block depending on your screen size. This not only saves you time, but packs a mean punch in the face of Wix’s incompatibility regarding intuitive and responsive design.
So if you’re looking for designer websites that will blow away your clients then don’t settle for less. Select style and sleek simplicity with Squarespace.
In Johan’s corner: WIX
If you’re fussy and you know it then maybe hold off clapping your hands just yet. Let’s evaluate the ease of use for businesses who are considering the best bang for their buck.
Budgets should allow for some experimentation, but so should products and services. Wix allows for you to edit and setup your website (for free) and to go live without a personalised domain. Moreover you are offered a free 2 week trial during which to try out their premium plan with your already designed website. In a nutshell you’ll have unlimited time during which to create your site and once you’re done you’ll be able to launch your site to see whether it functions as hoped for without any pesky ads.
Squarespace, in contrast, requires you to sign up for a 2 week free trial period in which you have to start your design from scratch. If you don’t select to continue on a paid plan following your 2 weeks however, then you’ll have to start from square one if you want to make any changes to your design. Speaking of plans, the cost of Squarespace is easily double that of Wix depending on specials and price increases on specific packages.
Wix also provides a multitude of free apps to use on your site from professional e-commerce pay portals to functional Q&A form builders along with a variety of interactive calendars to name a few. Some of the most successful and widely known business models understand that free use of integral components speaks to the requirements and abilities of the majority of companies. Wix follows suit and enables our creativity through this aforementioned free use methodology.
Not a computer wizz and mature enough to remember that “computer wizz” used to be a buzzword? No problem! Wix’s ease of use is at the top of its game as you’re not required to be a savant to set up a decent looking site. If you can drag and drop, then you’re ahead of the game. Best of all being that you can customise every single element individually from having various title designs to customised gallery layouts! No such luck on Squarespace I’m afraid, you can’t customise per element.
Squarespace may promise that their templates are stylish and won’t require much customisation, but all I’m hearing is: “Achtung! Restrictions ahead!” I have to mention that I’m not at all against companies aiming for consistency. I only want the simplicity of being able to customise simplistic elements (like text) individually where and when I want. Any restriction on creativity, whether in the name of coherence or not, is a restriction I can’t support.
Wix is also known for regular updates. SEO configuration used to be the stuff of nightmares, but more recently Wix had fixed this issue by upgrading their platform’s SEO feature which now surpasses that of Squarespace. We can expect this very same treatment when considering responsive design for intuitive mobile sites that accurately reflect your desktop website. In the meantime, if you’re not fussy and don’t mind spending an extra day organising and adding creativity to a mobile site, then Wix is a safe bet.
Good things come to those who wait, for everyone else there’s Mastercard. If paying for every single feature and addition to your site is your thing (not including the many changes you might need in the future), then maybe Wix shouldn't be on your list. If you’re not blind to the value of free use, then welcome to your new web builder.
“So which one should I choose?”
We kept this post nice and easy for the simple reason that there are many complex arguments to be had regarding web builders - arguments which too many business owners won’t care to understand (and they shouldn’t always have to). JA utilises web builders according to the requirements of each of our clients. Various web builders cater for different needs and play to their respective strengths. If your website is outdated and you’re out of time, then be sure to contact us so that we can make sure that you’re paired up with the right platform for your company.