Our Clients and prospective Clients constantly ask about web platforms, the differences, the why etc. So let’s. Break. It. Down. There are so many website platforms out there now. So let’s look at Wix and Squarespace – the two often compared to each other most. So let’s get into it. Ok ok we’ll also talk about Shopify someeeee because you can’t talk about e-commerce platforms without them but like this isn’t about them. It’s about Squarespace. And Wix.
Squarespace, Wix and Shopify are website building tools for people who want a website without the need to code. They are all very user friendly but have their own unique points of differentiation.
Squarespace: Easy to use all in one platform – this means you can blog, sell, all from one tool.
Wix: Drag and drop website builder that’s also easy to use that supports e-commerce.
Shopify: Built as an e-commerce platform for online stores.
All three platforms are easy to use intuitive web design platforms. Wix is good for the average user as the platform is all drag and drop whereas Squarespace drag and drop builder allows for added levels of customization through their platform as well as with the ability to add custom CSS. Shopify, an e-commerce only platform, is less intuitive than the other two with the need to purchase themes but this is outweighed by its incomparable e-commerce abilities for companies with a large inventory.
Let’s get into themes.
Wix offers the largest number of templates/themes (we’ll use the word interchangeably) but that’s because once you select one you are confined explicitly to its parameters. & you aren’t able to change the theme at a later date. Whereas Squarespace with only 100ish templates, each is FULLY customizable and you can create something else completely than the theme if you’d like. You can also switch your theme to another whenever you’d like. In 7.0 the only commitment is the menu appearance. In 7.1 though, themes are effectively rendered obsolete as you’re able to drag & drop it all anywhere, everywhere & change the menu layout. But 7.1 is still in beta. Squarespace templates tend to be more refined and professional vs some of the themes Wix offers. Shopify has 70 themes – some free, some paid – and while these are fully customizable it is only possible to customize beyond the theme through the use of HTML & CSS code.
Some key differences..
Squarespace doesn’t set any limits on file storage whereas Wix does. Squarespace also offers more font options (~1,600 options) in their font library than Wix (100 options).
Mobile optimization: Honestly, this does it for us. Squarespace automatically creates the site for mobile and does it flawlessly. We can’t say the same for Wix though due to their use of absolute positioning vs Squarespace’s fully responsive design. This means with Wix elements are positioned by absolute pixel vs based on the user’s screen size. This means less work for you in Squarespace since it automatically adjusts vs Wix which requires you to create two sites – 1 for desktop and 1 for mobile. DOUBLE the work. The second piece here is SEO, Google favors fully responsive sites in search rankings.
As mentioned previously, both of these platforms use drag and drop editors that are easy to navigate for the average user. For me, I prefer Squarespace’s editor. While Wix allows FULLY custom placement of content due to their use of relative positioning, it creates issues in the mobile experience and increases the margin of error for design. While also requiring you build two sites – 1 for desktop and 1 for mobile.
Squarespace is a clear win for us as it’s easier to navigate for content creation.
Blogging is essential to numerous businesses these days as it greatly increases SEO. Both Squarespace and Wix have blogging platforms however Squarespace is the clear standout for me here. As they allow you to apply both tags and categories to your content where Wix only allows categories.
We’ve got to give it to Wix somewhere and this is it. They autosave your work periodically and allow for content restores from previous versions where Squarespace does not offer this feature.
Ok ok, online stores.
Squarespace’s Basic & Advanced Commerce plans do not charge any transaction fees. Similarly, Wix doesn’t charge a transaction fee on any of their plans.
Your payment processing options vary across the platforms with more options coming in with Wix. Wix has their own payment processor that charges the standard 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Squarespace integrates with Stripe or Paypal and includes Apple Pay automatically. Stripe and Paypal both charge the standard 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Now let’s talk about the e-comm functionality..
Wix and Squarespace are VERY similar – they both offer all the functionality necessary for an online store (sales channels, product options, variants, abandoned carts, multi-currency, etc.). Shopify however, is the powerhouse of online stores. It allows your website to grow with your business by being able to scale and add additional functionality as you need it. Shopify has some advanced tools to offer as far as e-commerce goes:
Selling unlimited products
Full blogging platform
Integrations with Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.
Free SSL certificate (even for non-commerce pages)
Flexible shipping rates
100 payment gateways
Abandoned checkout recovery
Social media integration
Integration with Dropshippers or Fulfillment Centers
Discount codes and coupons; Gift cards
Search engine optimization
Google Analytics tracking and advanced Reporting tools
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, unless you’re selling 50+ products, we prefer Squarespace. And only after 50 products or advanced e-comm capabilities do we prefer Shopify. Unfortunately, while comparable to Squarespace, Wix doesn’t rank on our list due to its lack of customization options and as web designers that’s just not something we’re ready to let go of yet. But it’s a personal choice so whats your platform of choice?