There have never been so many options for starting a website or blog. Squarespace was one of the companies to take website builders to the “next level” – ie, beyond simple drag & drop templates. Squarespace really focused on getting design elements along with certain technical website elements right. They have been a go-to solution for a while, but have really built brand recognition with massive podcast & TV ad spend.
But what if you want an alternative to Squarespace? After all – there is no such thing as a “best website builder” – only the best for your project. And if anything has truly changed in the past decade – it is a choice. Website owners can not only forego a developer/designer – they can go right to the DIY setup that fits their needs, expertise, and focus.
In my career as a marketing consultant, I’ve been able to use and consult on a full range of website builders, software & platforms for both my in-house projects and client projects. While Squarespace is fine for some projects, I also thought it would be useful to have a list of Squarespace alternatives along with what they do well & who they focus on.
Here’s a brief summary along with an extended explanation below.
Summary of Best Squarespace Alternatives
|Wix||Drag & drop features w/ diverse integrated features||Learn More|
|WordPress.com||Simplified setup w/ managed, blog-focused platform||Learn More|
|Self-hosted WordPress||Ultimate control of your website & unlimited options||Learn More|
|Shopify||Full-featured hosted eCommerce platform||Learn More|
Read my full reviews of various website builders here.
Guide to Squarespace Alternatives
Here’s an extended guide to each, along with other Squarespace alternatives for specific use cases.
Wix is known as a drag-and-drop website builder. They have a flexible setup and simpler “onboarding” than Squarespace. With their integrated eCommerce features, they make a good alternative to Squarespace if you are looking for something simple & straightforward.
WordPress.com is the commercial provider of open-source & community-supported WordPress software. They provide a managed platform where they provide a limited version of WordPress software in exchange for taking care of all the technical considerations. You can make use of the versatility of WordPress without worrying about HTML/CSS, security, speed or hosting. WordPress.com takes many of the benefits of Squarespace (ie, managed hosting for one price, good design, etc) and combines it with the best of WordPress (ie, focus on publishing, simplicity, etc).
WordPress is free, community-supported software that “powers” your website. In the industry jargon, it is a “content management system” that allows you to log into your site’s backend to change the design, functionality, content – anything you can dream up. To run it, you have to purchase hosting and install it. Unlike a hosted platform like Squarespace or WordPress.com, it allows you unlimited options. You control your expenses (as little as $3/mo – as much as $1000s). There are even drag & drop builders that install “on top” of WordPress. It has a steeper learning curve than Squarespace but also provides more opportunities.
Shopify is a name-brand eCommerce platform. Unlike Squarespace – Shopify focuses exclusively on online storeowners. They offer drag and drop, along with templated designs in addition to features that fit all types of online stores.
I wrote a review of Shopify here.
There are, of course, tons of other alternatives including options that either have a specific use case, I haven’t used enough to fully judge or don’t quite have features/benefits that the alternatives listed above already cover.
That said, I’ve had managers compiling a list for internal evaluation. Here’s the list that I usually provide.
- Weebly – a name-brand website builder. It has drag & drop design with many integrated features. I compared Weebly to Squarespace here.
- GoDaddy GoCentral Website Builder – a pre-packaged website product from GoDaddy. Not nearly as flexible as Squarespace, but very straightforward. I reviewed GoDaddy’s website builder here.
- SiteBuilder – a very straightforward product that is similar but much more limited/simplified. I reviewed SiteBuilder here.
- BoldGrid – software offered by some hosting companies that installs with WordPress so that you get all the benefits of self-hosted WordPress in addition to drag & drop design and simplified setup.
- Ghost – software that is similar to WordPress, but focuses exclusively on publishers.