Hi there, web-dreamers and future internet tycoons. We've all been there – deciding on the right platform (or CMS = “Content Management System”) for our websites.
Before we dive into the thrilling showdown between Webflow and Squarespace, let's set the scene. Webflow is like the supercharged superhero of website builders, boasting unparalleled design freedom, advanced functionalities, and a robust ecosystem for your website's growth. Squarespace, on the other hand, is your friendly neighborhood web builder, known for its ease of use, beautiful templates, and solid set of functionalities for those looking to kickstart their online presence.
Here at Glido, we’ve had our fair share of experiences with both. A few years back, we were building our client websites on Squarespace. However, we quickly found ourselves outgrowing this CMS due to its limited functionalities. And that's when we switched to Webflow and have never looked back since – but more on that later! However, Squarespace is still an awesome option for many people… so fasten your seatbelts as we zoom into an in-depth comparison of these two popular platforms in 2023.
What's going to be the ride for your digital journey? Will it be Webflow, the freedom-loving artist's dream, or Squarespace, the user-friendly, intuitive choice? Let's go for a spin and find out!
Be warned… throughout this article we will use very loose and sporadic comparisons to cars and superheroes to get points across.
The Art of Design
Let’s start with the superficial but probably the most important for many of us when choosing a CMS… How good will my website look and how much design freedom will I have? Is it a Picasso or a paint-by-numbers?
Webflow's artistry is hard to beat. It's like being given a blank canvas and every paint color under the sun. From flexboxes to grids, you get the precision of CSS without dealing with actual code. You're the conductor, and every pixel dances to your beat.
Squarespace, in contrast, is more of a stencil set. You can create beautiful designs, but within the constraints of their templates. It’s intuitive and more comfortable for the non-designers among us. But if you're dreaming of going full Van Gogh on your website, you will feel a bit handcuffed.
User-Friendliness: The Learning Curve
“With great power comes great complications,” said Uncle Ben to Spider-Man (or something like that anyway) and it’s definitely the case with Webflow: it’s far more powerful but also more complicated than Squarespace.
Webflow, with all its features and flexibility, does come with a steeper learning curve. It's like learning to drive a stick shift – it takes some practice, but oh boy, the control! But, unless you’re a professional designer with proficiency in UX design (and using tools like Figma), or have experience as a developer, chances are you will need professional help from a Webflow agency like Glido to build your dream site in Webflow.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is more of your automatic transmission. It's user-friendly, with a drag-and-drop builder that's perfect for beginners, with beautiful templates to choose from and customize. It's a smooth ride but doesn't offer nearly as much control over the details as Webflow does.
The Animation Showdown: Bringing Your Website to Life
Now, let's enter the vibrant world of web animations, where your website can spring to life in the most mesmerizing ways.
Squarespace, traditionally known for its more conservative approach to animations, has really upped its game in this arena. The platform now provides an impressive range of animations and transitions that can bring a refreshing dynamism to your website. So, don't be surprised if you catch Squarespace pulling some Spiderman-like stunts!
However, when it comes to the universe of animations, Webflow remains the reigning Thor. The platform empowers you with limitless possibilities for creating advanced animations, including fully integrated 3D lottie animations. With this, you can create an immersive and interactive user experience that’s as powerful as a thunderstorm!
Don’t just take our word for it – check out Porn Week, a website we built using Webflow. Notice the eye-catching animations that make the site so engaging and unforgettable? That's the power of Webflow's advanced animation capabilities!
SEO: Ready for the Spotlight?
SEO might seem a bit boring but it's a critical aspect of every website's visibility.
Webflow, known for its SEO-friendly nature, allows for a great degree of customization. You can play around with meta titles, descriptions, and Open Graph settings on every page. Like Iron Man’s Jarvis, it’s intelligent, responsive, and highly capable, ensuring your site is ready for Google's discerning eyes.
Squarespace, while also boasting robust SEO features, is more akin to Spiderman's intuitive web-slinging. It simplifies SEO with automated tagging, clean URLs, and automatic redirects. A solid option, but it might not give you the comprehensive control that Webflow offers.
Security: The Digital Shield
Next up is security, the unsung hero of the web world.
Webflow's SSL certificates come standard across all websites, providing that secure https lock on your site. It also boasts automatic backups, ensuring your site’s data is as secure as a superhero's secret identity.
Squarespace also provides SSL certificates and secure customer checkout for e-commerce sites. Reliable and secure, but when it comes to additional features like automatic backups, it's a tad less fortified.
Performance Under the Hood
Let's see how these platforms perform in the speed lane.
Webflow, the Elon Musk of web design platforms, prides itself on its code cleanliness and loading speed. It's like a Tesla – high performing and technologically ahead. In 2023, it's only gotten better. Google's PageSpeed Insights shows Webflow consistently achieving a score of 90-95 out of 100. A speed demon, indeed!
On the other hand, Squarespace, the Volvo of web builders, is sturdy and reliable. But let's be real – it's not the fastest on the track. With a consistent Google PageSpeed score around the 70s, it's not too shabby but it might leave you eating Webflow's dust.
API Integrations and Advanced Functions
If your website needs to flex its muscles with API integrations and advanced functions, Webflow is like Doctor Strange, manipulating the web's reality with ease. With its vast capabilities, it supports custom code and API integrations, allowing you to extend your website's functionality beyond its native features.
Squarespace, while offering basic API integrations, is more like Hawkeye, delivering straightforward and reliable performance. It may not offer the same level of magical manipulation as Webflow, but it does an admirable job within its capabilities.
Unleashing Creativity: 3D Objects and Advanced Animations
Now, let's dive into the realm of creativity with 3D objects and advanced animations.
Webflow, like the Scarlet Witch, bends the web to its will with its advanced animation and interactions. It brings your website to life with parallax scrolling, hover effects, and even 3D transformations. A true playground for the creatively ambitious!
Squarespace, on the other hand, provides a more restrained set of options, sticking to a more classical approach. It may not let you rewrite reality, but it does offer some appealing and accessible design features.
And how do they stack up in the e-commerce arena?
First thing to note: neither Webflow or Squarespace are specialized eCommerce platforms. If your website’s primary goal is to sell lots of things, you are probably best to look at a platform like Shopify (although, having said that, Shopify comes at a higher cost and Squarespace or Webflow can be a great place to start to test a store idea before moving on to Shopify as your needs grow).
Webflow's e-commerce engine is flexible and dynamic, allowing you to customize every aspect of the shopping experience. The 2023 update introduced even better tools for managing your online business. Inventory management, product customization, and advanced tax settings have made Webflow a true e-commerce contender. Because Webflow allows for total design freedom, another great option worth considering is a hybrid Webflow and Shopify build: all the key designed pages in Webflow but the shopping cart functions handled by Shopify. Although we don’t build on Shopify at Glido, we can help with this approach by working alongside a Shopify agency, too.
Squarespace, though, is like your dependable local store. It’s got a well-established and straightforward e-commerce functionality. Its suite of tools are beginner-friendly, making it easy to set up an online store and start selling. But customization? That's a different story.
The Price Tag
Finally, let's talk money. What's this going to cost?
Webflow's standard pricing ranges from $14 per month for a basic plan to a comprehensive $39 per month plan for businesses, with e-commerce plans between $29 to $212 per month. But to unlock Webflow’s full potential, you're likely going to need some assistance. Enter Webflow Experts and Enterprise partners, like us at Glido. Depending on the complexity of your website and page count, this could cost anywhere from $20 - 60k. But, like assembling the Avengers, it’s an investment that delivers powerful results.
Squarespace is more of a DIY option, with plans from $16 to $49 per month. It's like having your own super-suit - it might not have all the bells and whistles, but it gets the job done and is a great choice for those on a budget or with simpler needs, as long as you’re happy to stick to templates and very limited customization.
The Final Verdict
So, who comes out on top in this 2023 showdown? Well, it depends on your mission.
Squarespace, with its user-friendly design, adequate features, and affordable pricing, is perfect for DIYers or those just starting out in their digital journey.
However, if you're a business ready to scale and seeking unparalleled design freedom to reflect your brand, advanced functionalities that can help automate your processes, and comprehensive control over every aspect of your website, Webflow emerges as the clear champion. And with the right agency partner like Glido, an official Webflow Enterprise partner, your journey will be supercharged to new heights.
So, ready to power up your digital presence? Join us at Glido, and let's make your website fly higher than ever before! Webflow or Squarespace - which will be your website's superhero?