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Against many important metrics – including ease of use and website features – Wix is a better web builder than Squarespace. In fact, according to our latest testing, Wix is the best all-round builder for small businesses, thanks to its high overall ranking and extensive list of website tools.
However, we think Squarespace is the better choice for creative SMEs that want to build stunning pages to really show off their brand. This is thanks to its high-performing design functions, as well as outstanding help and support tools.
Both Wix and Squarespace are two of the most popular website builders on the market. They currently host millions of online domains and can be classed as powerhouses for getting businesses up and running online.
We recently carried out extensive research to examine the top website builders on the market based on six key criteria. These are value for money, ease of use, design flexibility, help and support tools, and website features.
Our results show that Wix achieved 96% for all of these categories, outscoring Squarespace by just 1% to become the best all-around option for SMEs. However, it doesn’t beat the latter in every category – which means the best option for your business depends on your unique priorities.
Do you want a flexible builder you can personalise, or are you happy with a more structured template approach? Are you a beginner who needs a lot of support tools, or do you want advanced capabilities? Startups.co.uk will answer these questions and more as we use our expert knowledge to explore which is the better builder for SMEs.
Want to save time? We’ve come up with a snapshot view of our top picks for small business website builders. It’s completely free and based on our own expert research.
To put it simply, Wix is for users that want a versatile, sophisticated website builder, whereas Squarespace’s professionally-designed templates are more structured, but also better looking.
Wix’s app market and no-code interface allows for easier customisation, whereas Squarespace users are more limited with what they can personalise.
The main differences between Wix and Squarespace are:
The Wix editing interface
We’re big fans of Wix. Started in 2006, this industry giant comes out on top in half of the performance categories we’ve looked at in our research, and is never far behind in others. Beginner friendly – thanks to an intuitive drag and drop editor – and with few limitations, it’s our top website builder for SMEs.
One of the biggest benefits this platform has over Squarespace is that its endless list of features means there’s very little you can’t achieve. It also receives full marks from us for niche areas like internationalisation and has lots of handy additional functions. Plus, few can complain about its pricing structure. There are many plans to pick and choose from, which is excellent for SMEs looking to scale.
Costing £11 per month for its lowest-priced business tier (Wix Unlimited), Wix is also competitively priced, and costs less than rival Squarespace. The only area where it noticeably trails the latter is in help and support tools – which could be an issue for new customers that aren’t as adept at using website builders.
We’d recommend Wix over Squarespace for digital firms that need a website capable of carrying out lots of business functions – ecommerce stores, for example, or directory and contact pages.
Did you know?
Wix.com has over 120 million users – 4.2 million of whom are premium.
Squarespace editing interface
Squarespace is a high-performing, all-in-one website builder that will give you beautifully designed websites compatible with both mobile and desktop browsers.
Its focus is on creating clean, modern pages that are easy to navigate and consistent across an entire site – which makes it excellent for brand building and engagement. Particularly the latter, as the platform boasts tonnes of marketing integrations and built-in tools including capture forms and email newsletters.
It hasn’t got quite the same ease of use score as Wix, as Squarespace sometimes requires a thorough knowledge of website coding and HTML to carry out more advanced customisation.
However, another pull factor for Squarespace is that it recently updated its builder to unveil revamped features and a much-improved user experience – which means there are exciting things yet to come from this builder.
Priced at £17 per month for its lowest-costing business plan, Squarespace is more expensive than Wix. However, we think it’s the unreserved champion if you want a website that performs well and looks even better. For example, product-based businesses wanting to showcase strong branding.
Want to know more? Read our full review of Squarespace for SMEs to get all the information on what it could bring to your small business in 2022.
In terms of value for money, both platforms bring competitive pricing plans to the table. Wix is the more affordable platform compared to Squarespace, as its lowest business tier costs £5 less than Squarespace’s.
That said, Squarespace is slightly cheaper than Wix if we look at the average cost of all its plans. The former has an average cost of £14.5 per month, compared to Wix’s £15 per month. However, this is because Wix has more payment tiers than Squarespace, so it’s the better platform for scalability, but will cost you more if you choose to upgrade.
Huge improvements in Squarespace’s feature offering – including new, streamlined options for styling your site and smarter blogging tools – mean we’ve bumped up its value score by a massive 28%, as you’ll be getting a lot more bang for your buck.
The overall quality of Wix’s feature offering and its much larger app market – bagging it an amazing 4.9 out of 5 in our testing – means it just pips Squarespace over the line to come out on top for value for money.
Winner: It’s a close call, but Wix’s feature list just swings it
£4 per month
£7.50 per month
£11 per month
£21 per month
£15 per month
£20 per month
£27 per month
Secure online payments
Plans and recurring payments
Abandoned cart recovery
Sell on social channels
1,000 product reviews
Dropship unlimited products
3,000 product reviews
Freemium versions naturally come with restrictions, as no software brand is going to give away its best tools for nothing. Wix Free has the added limitation of having to host Wix advertisements and banners on your site, so it’s not something we’d recommend for a professional-looking business page. However, as a way to get better acquainted with the platform, it’s a great way to get a free trial with no time limit.
Wix Connect Domain
Yearly: £4 per month
Monthly: £6 per month
Costing just £4 per month when billed annually, this plan is the cheapest of Wix’s paid-for tiers. It does give your business its own domain but again, you’ll be stuck with Wix ads.
Yearly: £7.50 per month
Monthly: £10.50 per month
Wix Combo offers 10 GB of storage and 2 GB of bandwidth (enough for around 300 visitors a day).
This plan is a solid solution if you’re just looking to gain experience in early-stage website building, but we wouldn’t advise that you think of this plan as a long-term solution. Use it to claim your internet retail space while you plan ahead for your future dream website.
Yearly: £11 per month
Monthly: £14 per month
Most commonly used by entrepreneurs and small businesses, Wix Unlimited is both competitively priced and permits you huge flexibility for designing your online brand.
Three of the biggest benefits from Wix Unlimited are unlimited bandwidth, the site booster app (for search engine optimisation so you’ll rank higher in web searches) and the visitor analytics app, which you can use to measure who is visiting your site.
All of these tools will enable you to improve your site’s performance, which is why we think Unlimited is the best choice for growing small businesses. Plus, keen-eyed customers can take advantage of regular deals and discounts advertised on the Wix website.
You’ll also get:
Yearly: £21 per month
Monthly: £26 per month
At £21 per month, Wix VIP is the most complex Wix plan. It comes with lots of added tools that will only be necessary for specific businesses.
You’ll be given:
Wix VIP is really only for SMEs who’ll be hosting large amounts of data or videos, such as training providers.
Our dedicated Wix pricing page can tell you more about the benefits you’ll be buying with this platform.
Although we’re looking at Wix the website builder in this review, the platform is also an excellent ecommerce option for those looking to set up an online store or host ads. Visit Wix to find out more about what it can help you sell online.
£12 per month
£17 per month
£23 per month
£35 per month
Yearly: £12 per month
Monthly: £16 per month
The clue is in the name for this plan – Squarespace Personal is for single users and low-maintenance brand websites. Unsuitable for small businesses, this plan is really only usable by freelancers or sole traders.
For example, if you’re looking to showcase a portfolio of work, this tier gives you all the perks of basic web hosting, such as a free custom domain, as well as stripped-down metrics and analytics tools to measure visitors.
Yearly: £17 per month
Monthly: £24 per month
Squarespace Business is, predictably, the best value deal among the Squarespace plans for SMEs. In addition to the standard website builder traits available in most website builder plans (such as unlimited bandwidth and storage, built-in mobile responsive design, and 24/7 customer care access), the Business plan also includes several features important to growing your business.
Another perk is premium visitor analytics, which allows you to see which areas of your site have strong visitor numbers and engagement, and which areas need improvement.
Other features include:
Is there a free plan?
Squarespace does not have a free plan. There is, however, a 14-day free trial available for those that want to test out the platform before subscribing.
For a comprehensive overview of the platform and its pros, cons and discounts, read our full review of Squarespace pricing.
As well as being our second highest rated website builder, Squarespace is also an outstanding small business ecommerce option for those looking to sell online. Visit the Squarespace website to find out more.
Number of features
Wix has a longer list of outstanding builder tools that make it easy to edit all areas of your website. Plus, it’s all customisable without code. The platform also has a much bigger app market compared to Squarespace, offering around 250 add-ons and extensions that mean no function is off limits for users.
In contrast, this is where Squarespace most underperforms. While Wix gives you tools for everything from reporting and analytics to chatbots and customer reviews, Squarespace limits its users to just some social media plugins.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Having the right tools isn’t the issue with Squarespace when it comes to SEO. As with Wix, you’ll be able to access all the key elements like keyword support, custom URLs and meta descriptions. However, there’s little support available for applying these features, which means it is not the most beginner-friendly software for marketing and growing your business.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Wix, which has tonnes of helpful SEO tips and tricks in its knowledge centre. The search function is very effective, and returns plenty of in-depth articles about how to make your content rank. Wix also has more third-party marketing apps than Squarespace, including MailChimp, Constant Contact, Smooth and Privy. The latter offers just MailChimp.
If you’re looking for blogging tools, Wix and Squarespace both perform well in this space – but it’s Wix that pulls ahead by offering additional functionalities over Squarespace, such as blog analytics and an archive role.
Wix marketing backend
Wix and Squarespace are as close to virtual security guards as you can get. All domains across both platforms come with free SSL certificates when connected to your site. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted connection.
You’re also given password protection and a members’ area – two elements which can go a long way in preventing a cyber attack on you or your customers.
Did you know?
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport’s 2021 report put the average cost of a cyber attack at £8,460 – enough to wipe out most SMEs. If your business is based online, you should make sure your website builder provides strong security tools.
Squarespace has 110 templates to choose from – that’s far less than Wix’s 800, but the former is all about quality over quantity.
While Wix’s layouts are themed across a much wider range of industries, Squarespace’s trendier designs boast a more generous amount of image edit options and just genuinely look better. That’s not to say that Wix’s templates aren’t attractive; each one also comes with dummy text and images fully formed, which means even the most artistically-challenged amongst us can produce a nice-looking and branded page.
Squarespace photography templates
But there are some significant issues with Wix’s builder that can complicate the editing process. For example, you can’t switch out your Wix templates once your site is live. That’s why our testers gave Squarespace a higher score for user experience.
It’s also not possible to switch templates in Squarespace, but this isn’t necessarily a downside for its customers. That’s because, following a recent update, you don’t need to change your Squarespace template in order to achieve a different look. Instead, you’ll have access to every design feature in the builder’s back end, without having to start over.
Brand, UX and design
Our research score for branding and user experience gives the title to Squarespace.
It’s true that Wix makes it easier to find templates and images than Squarespace does, thanks to its smarter search function. However, pages on Squarespace are more attractive and better-designed. Customisable elements like typography and colours can be edited site-wide, which ensures consistent branding. Plus, the platform is updated more regularly than Wix, so there’s no danger of its font and image styles appearing outdated.
Wix and Squarespace achieve identical scores for their mobile editors. These two builders not only adapt the desktop version of your site to a mobile or tablet screen, but any changes you make will also be automatically configured to the desktop site, saving you lots of time and money which might have previously been spent on reconfiguration.
In terms of support services, Squarespace wins as the more generous platform. It offers help and support tools at all of its pricing tiers, whereas you’ll need to purchase the Wix Unlimited plan before you can access 24/7 phone and live chat support.
Whether you’re looking at Wix or Squarespace, both platforms boast help centres which are nicely laid out. The pages are organised into sectioned bullet points to separate issues under different topics, and host images to guide you through whatever difficulties you may have encountered.
Wix’s community forum has thousands of members but is thin on help categories. This means it can be harder to find archived queries if you’re experiencing a common problem. Our research also spotted that it can take a while for member queries to receive a response – a particularly big problem for entirely-online SMEs if you suddenly find yourself with an issue that’s taken out your entire business.
On the other hand, the Squarespace community forum is laid out logically and covers all topics. The builder scored full marks with a 5 out of 5 for help and support, compared to Wix’s 4.3 out of 5.
Here’s the different support tools you’ll get with each platform:
Few small business owners haven’t heard of Wix and Squarespace. They are two of the biggest players on the website builder market and, unsurprisingly, scored similarly well in our testing for brand recognition.
We asked our testers whether they would be likely to recommend Wix or Squarespace to a friend or fellow entrepreneur. 84% of Wix users said yes, versus 72% of Squarespace users.
But the real marker came from our question on user experience. Wix scored an astonishing 100% in this category based on its simple interface and easy-to-integrate apps. In comparison, Squarespace scored a lower but still-impressive 75%.
Did you know?
According to Amazon Web Services, 88% of online consumers say they are less likely to return to a site after a previous bad experience.
We carried out ease of use testing on each platform, looking at areas like language, typography and colour, and editor tools. With both platforms you’re able to rectify errors, and have access to restore and autosave options.
Both results were fairly average – but Wix came out on top thanks to its use of visual cues to guide users through the setup process.
We found that Wix scored an overall 76% in this area, compared to Squarespace’s score of 68%. Still, this is an improvement of 14.6% for the latter from our previous round of testing, and we’re optimistic that plenty of other exciting updates are soon to come to boost Squarespace’s score up even higher.
Not to mention that given the high score Squarespace receives for help and support, customers can always find assistance as they get to grips with this platform.
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As you can see from the table above, Squarespace and Wix sit in the middle of the cost spectrum amongst the top website builders we surveyed. Compared to Zyro, the lowest-priced option in the list, Squarespace’s lowest-priced plan costs an additional £5.10, and Wix’s an additional £2.02.
You won’t be missing any necessities with Wix. It’s the best option for digital SMEs that want a flexible website builder they can constantly play with and update. This builder provides more design flexibility, greater ease of use, and an endless display of apps which you can use to personalise the software into performing as many functions as you wish. As an added bonus, we think it’s also better value for money than Squarespace, as its plans are all a bit cheaper.
Squarespace is best-suited to SMEs in creative industries – or product-based businesses – that are specifically looking for the best builder for branding and aesthetic. Its pages just look better than Wix’s, with a more modern and varied array of templates available to choose from. They’re not as easy to customise, and will cost you a little extra, which is why we’d also recommend this platform for customers with good website builder know-how or previous experience with coding.
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Helena “Len” Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.
Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.
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