Most cost effective and flexible web builders for Startups

Start-ups like any other businesses need an online presence. Most of them want outstanding web design and the freedom to freshen up their contents as they go, something called Content Management System (CMS).

Because of its thorough CMS interface, WordPress was the favoured option for a long time mainly because it has a huge community for usability support for new plugins and tools. However, users have now a broader umbrella of platforms to choose from and the decision is not that obvious anymore. If you are a novice you might want to do some homework before you embark into one of them.

For the purpose of this article, I will be comparing WordPress and Squarespace which both offer CMS and hopefully you will be clear about which one is best for your requirements. Wether you need to revamp your actual website or a fresh new build, these two interfaces can get you going in no time.

The Dashboard

  • Squarespace is a drag and drop interface, elegant, easy and intuitive to use. You will be able to operate the dashboard in few hours even if you are not tech savvy.
  • Squarespace provides everything you need to start a great website, add pages, photos, format blog posts.
  • WordPress interface is good too but not as elegant, and certainly not as intuitive. A lot of people say that WordPress is easy but I strongly challenge that. I personally had to sit down with a book and learn it! It took me a good week to get really comfortable with it.
  • In theary, WordPress gives you the ability to install and custom everything in your website. However, if you want 100% custom site, it implies that you tap into the codes to modify your CSS or functions.php which is no beginners stuff!

Design and Templates

  • When you sign up to Squarespace, you get to choose between 4 main categories of templates including (Portfolios, Blogs, Photography and Business) I counted a total of 26 sample sites which is plenty enough. The templates are prepared with powerful options and elegant designs and you can add functionality you need and customize the look in few clicks. Moreover, since February 2013, Squarspace supports E-commerce website for those launching a store, an option that was desperately needed.
  • Squarespace templates were lovingly crafted by professional designers, every visual details were thought through including typography and spacing.
  • With WordPress, you have thousands of templates to choose from (I am not exaggerating). The free templates are published by members of the WordPress community who aren’t all designers and most templates are scary ugly. Be prepare to spend a few hours skimming through lots of atrocities until you find one that speak to you (if you do). In the end you will probably pay for a premium template which are much better looking, however you will have to spend a fair amount of time going through them also.

Browsing on the Go

  • Chances are your audience will check your website on smart phones and tablets. What you need nowadays is a mobile responsive theme. With that kind of template your visitors can view your webpages from any device. The design will automatically fit their screens dynamically changing the layout according to the screen size.
  • All Squarespace templates are responsive, and they all look amazing. With WordPress you will need to purchase a mobile responsive theme, and there aren’t a lot of them at the moment. Although, WordPress gets constantly improved and should catch up rapidly.

Pricing

  • Squarespace offers 3 different plans that runs cheaper if bought yearly. If you are just starting, the standard plan is more than enough, but I you are planning big for your business or need more that three websites you’d better go with the unlimited option. Mainly because the unlimited plan offers unlimited pages, galleries and blogs.
  • When you sign up with Squarespace, the great advantage is that domain name, hosting service and templates are all included in the plan price. You can manage everything under the same account.
  • The price of running a WordPress website will be very similar to Squarespace at the exception that most elements like hosting, templates and domain name must be purchased separately from different providers and installed into WordPress. This alone can give you a headache especially if your a tech novice. The multiple steps involved in the set up and complexity of web jargon can cause great frustration which isn’t ideal when you start a new project.

Plug-ins and Functionality

  • Squarespace is not as flexible as WordPress as mentioned before. You cannot get into the backstage door and tweak the codes to get into the templates functionalities. You will also get way less options in terms of plugins than WordPress but for some of you it might be a blessing in disguise.
  • With WordPress, you can change the codes and get your website to behave any way you like if you have the technical ability to do so. The platform also offer tons of plug-ins that will boost your website functionalities but again, it is time consuming choosing, installing and testing them.

Monitoring traffic

  • Squarespace offers a Traffic dashboard (simple and elegant) very easy to use and understand. You can also add your Google Analytics code to have detailed information if you prefer.
  • With WordPress you can add all the traffic statistics codes you want (i.e. Google Analytics and more). Just add the code on the template or add a plugin to manage all of your codes.

Choose Square space if

You want a striking design and an easy user interface. Everything you probably need is there, you won’t have to test tons of plugins and themes. Moreover, you’ll be able to integrate everything in one platform, including payments, statistics and notes. What I retain from Squarespace is efficiency. Instead of losing hours/days on testing themes, plugins, statistics and more, all you efforts are focus on content and that’s how it should be.


Choose WordPress if

You want a powerful robust platform that allows you to modify everything you want. WordPress is free, it’s constantly being improved, and it has a huge community for usability support, new plugins and tools.
Expect to mess up with code sometimes, install and test tons of plugins and themes and in the end your website will be 100% unique. However, but it will cost you more either in cash or time. The learning curve might be pretty steep, taking weeks and even months depending on how tech savvy you are. Also, expect to pay and manage all of your services separately which implies more homework and web literacy from your side.