Squarespace and WordPress are currently the two most popular services for law firms looking to build or redesign their website. But does either have the edge over the other?
The comparison is a bit difficult to make. Squarespace is a straightforward website building service, while WordPress is an open-source platform for all types of web content, meaning they fall in slightly different categories. Still, these are the two primary services people choose between for their web design projects, which makes it essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
While Squarespace can seem like an attractive choice for firms, lawyers who need flexibility and scalability should choose WordPress.
In the interest of full disclosure, it’s worth pointing out that Karin builds WordPress websites. That said, we definitely agree that WordPress is almost always the better option for law firm websites. —Ed.
Ease of Use
Squarespace’s most recent version is significantly easier to use than the previous editions. It has a clean, uncomplicated interface. Users do not need to know how to code. This is Squarespace’s primary advantage: everything you need to design a custom website and publish new posts and pages is all in one place, with no real technical expertise necessary.
WordPress has a slightly larger learning curve, as it is more of an overall CMS (content management system) than a simple site-building tool. If you already have some experience in building websites, WordPress is an excellent option.
In general, Squarespace is easier to use at first for beginners, but it has some significant caps on its capabilities. WordPress seems slightly more difficult at first, but does not have anywhere near the same limits in place, and still has plenty of beginner-friendly theme and plugin options. In the long run, WordPress is the better option for ease of use for any law firms that want anything beyond the most basic website available.
Squarespace has plenty of features, including built-in apps and widgets. It has most of the tools any law firm needs to build a website, such as blogging functionality, ability to import and export content, connectivity with social media, and the ability to have multiple users with different levels of access.
WordPress is also extremely flexible and has more plugins and widgets, as well as SEO packs and commenting systems.
WordPress is much more scalable, which is more important for more complex websites or websites with higher demands for unique features. This makes WordPress the better option for law firms looking for a variety of high-quality features for their websites.
Squarespace has around 60 templates for websites and 9 for online stores, each of which automatically includes a mobile version.
WordPress has many free and paid themes—estimated at more than 10,000 right now. Some of these designs are responsive; some are not. It can take some time to learn how to customize these themes, and sometimes that customization requires a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and PHP.
But if you are working with a developer, your options are nearly unlimited with WordPress. It allows for complete control and customization (provided you have the knowledge to edit CSS and PHP), so your website is entirely editable, where with Squarespace you are constrained to their templates.
For design options, there is no comparison. WordPress has a much greater variety, and while the quality can vary, it is quite easy to find a sizable amount of high-quality themes for free or for a relatively low price.
Squarespace has plenty of support options, including live chat, email support, and support through its Community Forum.
WordPress does not have an email or phone number for support, but there are countless video tutorials, forums and additional online resources dedicated to helping WordPress users with their websites. The open source nature of the site has built up a lot of communities that are centered on tinkering with WordPress’s functionality and features, meaning you have plenty of potential helpers to guide you through your digital innovation.
If you are unhappy with either platform, it’s essential to be able to move your site to a different platform with relative ease and without losing data or traffic. WordPress excels at this function, having built-in tools that allow you to export easily, and then import, your data into a different WordPress install or another platform.
Squarespace is also limited here, only allowing you to export certain features into an XML file, which may not be compatible with your new platform. You will not be able to export your text, audio, video blocks, or album pages, so you could potentially lose a lot of content if you decide to move your site from Squarespace.
Squarespace starts around $10/month for very limited features. You are required to use Squarespace as your host, which can be problematic when it comes to integrating other services such as payment gateways, email opt-in systems, or client management software.
WordPress is open source and free. You will need to purchase hosting and would be good to get a WordPress-managed hosting account. That cost varies, but this will allow you to be in control of where your site is hosted so you can arrange for a plan that supports all the features your firm needs.
Ultimately, most law firms are better served by using WordPress, which offers more freedom, is more extensible and portable, has significantly more design options, and more features.