Squarespace vs. Shopify – What’s Best for Me?

It’s your business card, your POS and your billboard ad all rolled into one. You need a website for just about every business in this day and age. Let’s narrow in on the best platform to build with for your business.

Squarespace: Look at this stuff

Shopify: Buy this stuff

Both Squarespace and Shopify are promising the same things: They’ll help you build a beautiful website quickly- no web development experience necessary. Too good to be true? No, actually; they’re both awesome platforms to build your website on.

You can make either of these options work, but each has some quirks and strengths that make it the obvious choice, depending on what you want to do.

Are you building an art gallery? Or are you building a shopping mall?

Squarespace

Squarespace is hands-down the best drag-and-drop web building option out there for putting together the most ascetically pleasing website possible. Both their free and paid themes make it incredibly easy to make it look like you dropped 6 figures on building your website.

Showcasing your brand, blog, and the overall vibe is easier with Squarespace than any other platform we’ve come across. Period.

Typefaces are easy to edit. Arranging photos, spacers, text, and videos are incredibly easy and intuitive. You can change just about every aspect of the website to fit your needs, and building “custom” pages using their drag and drop method is stupidly simple.

Squarespace uses a “walled garden” approach to website building. There isn’t much integration with outside tools, and you don’t get full access to your site’s code. This can be limiting, but it keeps things working smoothly.

Think Mac vs PC: Hardware in Macs is only built by Apple, whereas PCs are built by a number of companies. It’s pretty darn impossible to install awesome 3rd party hardware on a Mac, but it probably crashes less often than your PC.

If you plan on utilizing content marketing to get your brand out there, Squarespace arms you with the best blogging tools and templates out there. If you’re looking for the best way to showcase your photos, videos or blog… it’s a bit of a no brainer. Squarespace is the right choice.

Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce behemoth. If you want to sell online, you should take a serious look at Shopify. This platform is quickly becoming the industry standard for e-commerce business. Doesn’t matter if your business is big or small.

Don’t like how your website looks? Well, that’s too bad. You’re not really going to change much. But guess what? You probably shouldn’t.

There are hundreds of stunning Shopify themes to choose from, they’re just not always as easy to customize as Squarespace themes.

They have dumped crazy capital into making it as easy as possible for just about anyone to make the highest converting websites possible. Shopify isn’t in the game to create the digital equivalent of MoMA. They’re in the game of building stores that sell products.

It can be pretty frustrating to transition from building websites with Squarespace to Shopify. You lose about half of your customization power and creative freedom. What you lose with customization, you make up for with app integrations and e-commerce fluidity.

Conclusion

So, what do we recommend to our clients? Usually Shopify… but you can always try both! Both Shopify and Squarespace offer free trials.

It’s pretty difficult to pinpoint your exact needs. Going through the process of starting to set up a website isn’t as hard as it sounds, and it’ll quickly reveal what you actually need from your website development platform. Put a few hours into each website until a clear winner emerges.

Most of our clients end up taking the Shopify route, but that’s because they are planning on launching a high-performance e-commerce store.

Some of our clients sell high-end luxury items that do better in a “showroom” type environment. Their traffic is mostly driven by content marketing and highly strategic branding.

Yes, you can definitely build a beautiful Shopify store. Yes, you can definitely sell products on a Squarespace store. It just might require a bit more effort depending on what you’re trying to do!

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