Shopify vs. Squarespace | Two Site Builders Compared
Shopify vs. Squarespace | Two Site Builders Compared
If you’re planning on starting an online business or building a blog, then chances are that you’ve heard of both Squarespace and Shopify. From their massive online advertising efforts to the fact that both platforms have become sheer titans, it’s almost impossible to have not heard of either one.
Squarespace first launched in 2004, just two years before Shopify (which was released later in 2006). That being said, Shopify was the first platform to receive major popularity and widespread usage thanks to the e-commerce boom of the early-2000s. As blogging became more popular and having a more immersive site became trendy, Squarespace saw massive growth post-2010.
Overall, both platforms are excellent and widely used. That being said, there are a number of key differences between the two that might make one more appealing over the next. So, today, instead of giving you another VPN review, we’re going to give you a more technical piece comparing Shopify vs. Squarespace.
The Main Difference Between Shopify and Squarespace
Before we get into the nitty-gritty comparison of the two platforms, we figured that it’d be best to start off by explaining the major difference between the two. If you’re new to the scene and have yet to use either, then you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Well… they kind of look like the same thing to me…”
However, each has an entirely different purpose and focus than the other.
As the name suggests, Shopify is primarily designed to be an e-commerce platform. This means that it’s great for building online stores. They have their own in-house card processor that was built using Stripe’s award-winning software. Additionally, they offer compatibility for nearly 100 different payment methods.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is primarily designed to help create immersive, beautiful websites that create an amazing user experience. While Squarespace can be used for e-commerce, it’s much better suited to creating an online blog, a business website for a service/brand, or another online publication.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: What To Expect
While you can use Shopify to create blogs and you can use Squarespace to create an e-comm store, you won’t be quite as satisfied with the platforms if you try to force them into a category they weren’t specifically designed for.
So, as you read through the rest of the review, keep this key factor in mind. Ultimately, both are truly great platforms, but it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges.
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s jump into our review!
If you’re just starting your blog or online store for the first time, then there’s a good chance that the monthly pricing is a pretty big factor. Startups typically aren’t working with a bunch of money; and if you’re working on a limited budget, then you’ll want to pick something that won’t break the bank.
Shopify has three primary pricing plans, as follows:
- $29/month Basic Plan (Good for new e-comm stores).
- $79/month Standard Shopify Plan (Good for mid-size e-comm stores).
- $299/month Shopify Premium Plan (Best for large-sized e-comm stores).
Typically, the more you pay per month, the more e-commerce features you’ll get access to. For example, the Basic plan allows you to register 2 administrator accounts for help running your store, whereas the Premium plan allows you to have up to 15 staff accounts.
Shipping rates are also lower for the Shopify Standard and Shopify Premium plans as well, which is a major factor for larger e-commerce stores.
The good news is that you can always upgrade your plan! So, if you’re just starting out, we recommend going with the $29/month Basic plan and then upgrading your plan as needed in the future.
Now, let’s take a look at Squarespace…
Overall, Squarespace is a good bit CHEAPER than Shopify. So, if you’re working on a stricter budget or you’re not quite sure how you want to proceed, then Squarespace is a great place to start. They offer four main plans that webmasters can sign up for:
- $16/month Personal plan (great for personal blogs).
- $26/month Business plan (good for business landing pages and contact forms).
- $35/month Basic Commerce plan (good for small to mid-sized e-commerce stores).
- $54/month Advanced Commerce plan (good for large-sized e-commerce stores or subscription-based businesses).
The first two plans are best for start-up businesses or personal blogs. The latter two Commerce plans are best for those who actually want to create an e-commerce store. Here, you’ll start to take advantage of features similar to what Shopify has, such as:
- Reduced transaction fees.
- Monthly billing features for subscriptionsclients.
- On-site SEO and e-commerce analytics.
- On-site checkout.
- Marketing and merchandising tools.
- Social media integration.
- … and more!
So, who’s better when it comes to pricing? Overall, we’d have to say that Squarespace is a good bit more affordable when it comes to overall pricing. However, Shopify’s Basic $29/month plan is comparable to Squarespace’s $35/month Basic Commerce plan, so it really depends on what you’re going for.
If you’re looking to build a blog or a brand site, go with Squarespace. If you’re looking to build a small to mid-sized e-commerce site, we’d suggest going with Shopify.
Overall Website Speed
Your site’s overall loading speed is important, as it often determines how high you’ll rank within Google SERPs results. The faster your site is, the lower your bounce rate will be (how quickly new visitors leave after clicking on your link), and the higher your site will rank in your given niche.
Overall, we’d say that Shopify is a bit better when it comes to loading times. This is due to the fact that the website platform itself isn’t quite as complex and doesn’t allow for as many custom styling options, which speeds up load time. Also, Shopify has built-in features to handle redirects and broken links, which means that your Shopify site will have fewer link-related loading errors.
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer their own in-house hosting, which means that you won’t have to go through a third-party host like HostGator or Bluehost. While you’ll definitely pay a bit more for this than if you were to buy a domain from GoDaddy and a $5/month hosting plan, it makes everything a lot simpler and easier than having to build everything from scratch.
Ability To Purchase Domains
Both sites allow you to purchase domains in-house as well. The advantage of this is that you won’t have to do any of the complex backend work (such as changing nameservers and DNS addresses) that you’d have to do if you purchased your domain from third-party domain and hosting sites.
Depending on how competitive your domain is, you could pay anywhere between $15 and $500 for it. On average, though, a domain from both providers typically costs around $30. Domains renew annually, and may incrementally increase, depending on your site’s performance and ranking.
In terms of e-commerce capabilities, Shopify quite literally blows Squarespace out of the water. Shopify offers integration for over 100 different payment processors and even has their own Stripe-based payment processor that allows for speedier, seamless transactions at low rates.
Shopify also offers features for things, such as:
- Discount codes.
- Reduced shipping rates and built-in labeling.
- Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems for brick-and-mortar locations.
- Ability to sell in over 133 different currencies (allowing for global sales).
- Support for international domains.
- …and a whole lot more!
While you can set up a basic e-commerce store with Squarespace, don’t expect to see all of this advanced functionality.
Squarespace is great for sites that are selling a few items or subscriptions per day; but if you plan to massively scale and sell hundreds or thousands of units per day, you need Shopify.
Custom Web Design
If you want to create a beautiful website, then we have to recommend Squarespace. Its built-in website editor allows you to customize almost every single aspect of the page, insert custom CSS, and even customize pre-existing themes. The free themes offered by Squarespace are far more aesthetically pleasing than the free themes offered by Shopify (Shopify’s paid themes are also insanely over-priced).
That being said, this feature comes at a small cost… Namely, your computer’s processing power. Squarespace’s website editor is very impressive, but it also requires a fair amount of computing power. If you’re using a slow internet connection or have an older computer, it may be a bit laggy.
In terms of overall security, both Squarespace and Shopify offer built-in SSL certification. This allows you to create a secure site and is necessary if you plan on accepting payments or personal details (such as email addresses) on your site. Basically, it prevents hackers from hacking into your website traffic and stealing your clients’ cards and personal data.
While we still recommend that online shoppers use a VPN to remain completely secure, it’s likely going to be a good bit of time before the masses catch on. This means that, as a webmaster, you need to ensure that your site’s visitors are as secure as possible.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: What’s Better?
Overall, we can’t exclusively say that one platform is better than the other. However, we can tell you that Shopify is better for e-commerce, while Squarespace is better for building a brand or personal blog.
If you’re just looking for a simple, cheap site, then Squarespace has some more affordable options for beginners! However, if you want to scale a massive e-commerce store, then Shopify’s more expensive plans are well worth the investment.
Thanks for reading, and we hope this review was able to help you refine your decision! If you’re interested in learning more about website security and safe browsing, then check out our review of the top-5 best VPNs for US-based users here!