Are you in need of a new company website, but unsure which platform is right for you? Here’s a quick guide to help you identify the appropriate foundation for your site.
It goes without saying that a well-designed website is key to provide a positive experience to your customers, many of whom will get their first impression of your brand via your digital presence. It is important to list out your requirements before you start working on a new site, so that you aren’t stuck halfway with a platform that is unable to provide the functionality that you require.
Broadly speaking, there are three main ways to build a company website:
Custom design and build: Unless your website requires some very specific functionality, this is not recommended for a company website as it will be time consuming and expensive.
WordPress: WordPress is one of the most well-known open source content management systems. While you should use a designer to help you build the site, it is possible to make changes in the future on your own via the WordPress interface without any design or coding knowledge required.
Drag and drop website builder: Squarespace is a great option in this category. Similar to WordPress, it offers a content management system that makes it very easy to login and make content changes and updates.
Below is an overview of how WordPress and Squarespace fare in terms of some key criteria.
Squarespace offers a set of around 100 design templates to choose between, which can then be tailored to suit your branding. Their templates are clean, modern and polished; but limited in number. Elements are added using a simple drag and drop interface, and can be customised to a certain extent.
WordPress offers the ability to build a completely custom website layout. Alternatively, you can also choose between thousands of free and paid themes, which can be further customised to suit your requirements, to a much greater extent than Squarespace.
Both Squarespace and WordPress allow custom CSS, which enables your designer to customise the website design beyond the templates provided; so long as they have coding knowledge.
Both WordPress and Squarespace can ensure you have a fully responsive website that looks great on all screen sizes and devices.
Functionality and customisation
Squarespace offers plenty of standard elements and integrations that most users would need via a library of features. This includes e-commerce options, MailChimp, Google Analytics, social media feeds and more; which are all from a reliable source - Squarespace itself. However, it isn’t possible to implement anything outside of this library. This is why it’s important to consider what features your website needs before you begin, in case Squarespace does not offer something that you consider crucial for your site.
WordPress offers greater options for functionality as it is an open source software, so it is possible to add on plugins built by various developers to enable specific applications that you may need. This requires a superior level of knowledge from your designer, but almost anything is possible! There are over 50,000 free plugins currently available, as well as tons of premium options. However, it is important to test and use only trusted plugins to avoid issues, since these plugins are being created by virtually anybody. You can also work with a developer to build a custom plugin or functionality if needed.
Ease of use
Squarespace’s interface is very easy to navigate - making changes to images, text, etc is intuitive and can be done by anyone via the drag and drop feature.
WordPress can also be managed and updated by a person without design or code experience, but it does require a certain degree of familiarity with the interface. The website designer should provide some simple training at the time of handover to explain how to do frequently required updates or tasks.
Squarespace offers a monthly subscription with a few options to choose from depending on your requirements (such as the e-commerce add on). This cost includes your choice of design template, and you can get a domain and hosting from them as well.
WordPress is free, though you may need to pay for themes or plugins to add on to your website. You will also need to purchase a domain and hosting from elsewhere.
Squarespace’s subscription includes free support via chat or email.
WordPress does not offer support, though there are plenty of online discussion boards and forums with experts who are willing to help out if you face any issues.
Squarespace does not require you to carry out any site maintenance on your site, as it all happens automatically.
WordPress requires you to update plugins every now and then - so you need to regularly login and check if the developers have released anything new. Outdated versions can cause security and functionality issues.
Ultimately both Squarespace and WordPress are valuable tools to build a company website, and which one you go with depends entirely on your needs. If you need an easy, fuss-free, great looking site, then Squarespace is the way to go. If you need something more customisable and advanced, then WordPress is a better choice.
At Studio Giraffe, we build both WordPress and Squarespace websites. Have any questions? Get in touch now.