In this WordPress vs Squarespace case study, we analyzed twenty websites for different metrics and now we share it with you.
We decided to do this because there are many debates about which tool is better for no-code web development. But our goal was to see how well they perform.
Because if you want to have a successful website, it must be well-optimized for Google. And exactly that was our goal.
WordPress & Squarespace Differences
WordPress is a Content Management System, also known as CMS. It’s a fully-featured tool that allows you to create any type of website you want. Also, 40% of all websites are built with WordPress.
WordPress works with themes and plugins. Themes are needed to design and build websites. Add navigation, different sections, blog posts, design and display them. There are free and premium themes or templates.
Plugins are little applications that add functionality to a website. There are plugins for forms, cache, security, popups, search, etc. Like themes, there are free and premium plugins.
Also Read: WordPress vs Wix
Also, you need to buy a hosting where you install WordPress and also a domain to connect it to your website. WordPress itself is a free app.
On the other hand, Squarespace is a platform that allows you to create websites with templates. You register on their platform, choose one of their plans, choose a template, and that’s it. You have a website. Much easier for beginners.
Squarespace doesn’t have plugins and it doesn’t need separate hosting. The website is hosted on their platform. You can buy a domain and connect it to your website.
With WordPress, you have more customization options and freedom and it’s better for different and complex websites. Squarespace is great for blogs, agencies, or portfolios.
But it doesn’t mean that WordPress is better than Squarespace or vice versa. It depends on personal preferences. And our goal for this case study was different.
We wanted to see the performance differences between WordPress and Squarespace websites for different metrics.
About This Case Study
As you know that Google is the best search engine and the most organic traffic comes from there. Also, Google ranks websites for different reasons like SEO, performance, etc.
We wanted this WordPress vs Squarespace case study to be simple. So, we analyzed twenty websites with Google’s tool called Lighthouse.
Lighthouse checks websites performance for:
- Performance – Speed and load time.
- Accessibility – How accessible the website is.
- Best Practices – How well built a website is.
- SEO – Search engine optimization performance.
Also, we checked for three more metrics for each website that are also very important.
- First Contentful Paint (FCP) – The time at which the first text or image is painted.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – The time at which the largest text or image is painted.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures the movement of visible elements within the viewport.
Google calculates score from 0 to 100, where 0 to 49 is bad, 50 to 89 needs improvement, and 90 to 100 is a great score.
Also Read: How To Design Websites
We picked ten WordPress and ten Squarespace websites. And websites are different types – blogs, portfolios, and online stores.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that this test was done for only mobile versions of websites.
Now let’s see the results and which tool performed better.
WordPress Vs Squarespace Results
First of all, let’s see how these websites performed in speed, accessibility, SEO, and best practices. Which tool was better.
And then we show you how well optimized all the websites were for FCP, LCP, and CLS that are very important for website popularity and ranking.
The first result is in the performance category is a speed of a website. How fast the pages, images, or scripts load. If there are some bad scripts that block the page from loading, it’s bad.
And this is the category where both tools struggled. However, WordPress performed a little better. In general, this is the toughest category for any website.
The lowest score was 1 and it was a Squarespace website. The best score was WordPress website with a score of 100. None of Squarespace’s websites had a score above 52.
The worst performing websites were online stores and the best were blogs. But in general, both tools had problems however, WordPress was better.
The average score for WordPress websites was 62.2 and for Squarespace, it was 25.9 and it’s not good.
The next category in WordPress vs Squarespace battle is accessibility. Websites performed much better in this category.
There were only two websites that had a score below 50 and both were WordPress websites – one portfolio and one eCommerce.
The best score was 100 for Squarespace and in total eight websites had scores above 89 which is the best score.
In this category, Squarespace won over WordPress. The lowest score that Squarespace showed was 76. The average score for WordPress was 75.2 and 87.1 for Squarespace.
Best Practices Results
In this category, there was a tie and both tools performed very well. Best practices are all about safety and user experience so it’s important for any website.
Websites had no major issues here. No website with a score below 50. The lowest was 60, a Squarespace blog which is awkward because in general blogs perform the best.
In general, seven websites had scored above 89 and most of them had a score above 75.
WordPress average score was 78.7 and Squarespace average score was 83.9. So, we can say that it’s a tie because there is almost no difference.
We all know what SEO is all about and how important it is for ranking in SERP. And the good thing is that every website had the best performance in this category.
From these twenty websites, twelve of them accumulated a score above 89 and that’s great. This means that they are very well optimized.
But others performed well too. Only three websites had a score below 85. It seems that website owners think about SEO.
Three WordPress websites had a score of 100 and the highest score for the Squarespace website was 98.
The average SEO score for WordPress websites was 87 and for Squarespace websites, it was 90.5.
LCP, FCP, And CLS
But this WordPress vs Squarespace test wouldn’t be complete without these metrics. Because for Google, LCP, FCP, and CLS is very important and can be a major ranking factor.
So, we tested all websites for these metrics and the results were very, very interesting. Actually, WordPress won in this battle.
First Contentful Paint: Only five WordPress websites had a score above recommended score which is 1.8. But Squarespace had not that good score. Not one website had a score below 1.8.
Largest Contentful Paint: The recommended score is 2.5 and only three WordPress websites had a good score. But Squarespace was worse. Six websites had a score above 10 which is very bad.
Cumulative Layout Shift: The best score for CLS is 0.1 or below and no major problems here. Only two websites had a score above it, one for each tool. It seems these websites are pretty well built.
Although WordPress won in this battle, it had some issues in FCP and LCP. CLS performance was great for both tools. The average for WordPress was 0.31 and 0.32 for Squarespace.
WordPress Vs Squarespace Winner
Now it’s time to name the winner of this battle. As we expected, there is no winner because none of the tools won in all categories and this is a good thing.
This means that both tools are great for creating websites, are easy to use, and both tools are well-optimized. Which one you choose depends on your personal preferences.
Winner of WordPress vs Squarespace battle in each category:
- Performance – WordPress
- Accessibility – Squarespace
- Best Practices – Squarespace
- SEO – Tie
- FCP – WordPress
- LCP – WordPress
- CLS – WordPress
Yes, if we look this way, WordPress comes as a winner but the difference was not that big. The only major difference was in performance that is very important but in other categories, there was a very small difference.
However, in FCP and LCP WordPress showed better performance. It seems WordPress is better optimized than Squarespace in that category.
Full Results Of WordPress Vs Squarespace
On average, there is not a big difference. In some categories, WordPress is more optimized and in others, Squarespace is better.
This WordPress vs Squarespace showed again that both tools are great for creating websites. Both performed almost the same in the Google test. Both have their strong and weak sides.
Of course, there are many ways to tweak WordPress or Squarespace and make them more optimized. But if you want to create a website, you can try both tools and decide which one is the right tool for you.