Webflow was founded not that long ago: in 2013. Since then, it has gained so much popularity and such a loyal fanbase that it’s now considered to be one of the big players in the field of design and among site builders.
Squarespace, on the other hand, has been with us for a while - it was created in a college dorm in 2003. Squarespace had humble beginnings, but in time, the team behind the platform has learned what customers really need. Thanks to their experience in the industry, they have developed a platform that’s become one of the most popular site builders out there. The advantage of this accumulated experience is especially visible in the eCommerce department and the approach Squarespace has towards its clientele.
That said, if you’re trying to decide which of these two platforms is the better option for you, you might benefit from a breakdown of their differences. So, let’s get straight to the point and see how they both fare in this Webflow vs. Squarespace comparison.
Who Is Webflow For?
Webflow is more of a web design and web development platform than a typical site builder. It can be used by both experienced professionals in the design industry that have coding knowledge and web designers who can’t or don’t want to code. However, it’s definitely more suitable for someone with design and/or web development knowledge, as that way, they can get the most out of the platform.
But, things don’t have to be ideal to work. If you don’t hold a designer or front-end developer position in a company, but you have some idea of how web design and web development work, Webflow could just as well work for you.
You could use Webflow even if you're a total newbie in the world of websites, you have nothing to do with design, and you just intend to launch a site, start a blog, or run an eCommerce store. But then, and this is huge, another quality is required: a passion for learning. If you do decide to embark on a learning journey with Webflow, you need to take time with it. It has a steep learning curve and you won’t get the hang of it overnight.
Overall, Webflow is great for freelancers, creative individuals, and small businesses. But it’s incredibly scalable, so medium-size and large businesses can use it too. Nothing speaks more in favor of it than the fact that it boasts clients like Facebook, CBS, Dell, Twitter, and NASA. Pretty cool, huh?
Who Is Squarespace For?
Interestingly, Squarespace first gained popularity among creatives, but nowadays, it caters to a much wider audience. It’s considered to be an all-comers platform. It’s for those with technical knowledge and those without technical knowledge; webmasters with experience and webmasters who lack experience; creatives and business people — practically anyone.
However, its most immediate target group are complete newcomers to the industry. The features Squarespace offers and the fact that it’s fairly simple to learn how to use it make it the perfect choice for newbies. It’s also popular among companies, mainly small to medium businesses of different types.
How Customizable Is Webflow?
Pretty much completely.
Webflow offers a host of cool features, like:
- built-in CMS
- eCommerce panel
- interactions panel
- 3D transforms
- amazing hosting service (10 data centers worldwide)
- a built-in CDN that allows for extremely fast page loads
- password protection
- SSL certificates
- automatically generated sitemaps
- immediate scaling
- client billing
- custom fonts
- global swatches
But, as amazing as it is, this is not what makes Webflow special. What counts the most is the customization possibilities, as it allows you to edit and add whatever you want to your website using its visual editing toolkit called Designer. Using the Designer, you can create a website absolutely from scratch. Or you can just pick one of the 30 free or 500+ paid niche-specific templates (the prices go from $19 up to $149) that are all mobile-friendly, and use it to build a visually stunning website.
If you pick one of the templates, you’ll be able to do in-line editing. With this possibility, adding and modifying elements is easy-breezy. You don’t need a backend system, like with WordPress. Everything you do, you do it directly on the pages.
Webflow also provides you with the necessary means to create a blog. There are even special blog templates that will help you speed up the whole setup procedure. Granted, it’s a much more complicated process compared to some of the alternatives available that are tailored to meet the needs of today’s bloggers, like DropInBlog (you can read about it here), but, you should know that there’s a native Webflow blogging option.
Where Webflow lags behind is in eCommerce functionalities. For example, there are no built-in email marketing tools. However, better eCommerce features seem to be in the works, as Webflow has announced many additions in this area coming in the near future; I can't wait to see what their next step is!
There’s a Webflow Integrations page with a lot of add-ons, and it’s pretty good. The apps are divided into numerous groups, like domains, eCommerce, assets, maps, and more. There are both free of charge and paid integrations.
How Customizable Is Squarespace?
Squarespace doesn’t offer the possibility of creating a website from scratch, but it’s known for its excellent templates, great typography, and nice aesthetics. Actually, it’s a template-based site builder.
There are a lot of templates and they’re all responsive and free to use as part of the existing plans. They’re easily switchable, so you can start with one, and if you change your mind in the future, you can go back to the templates library and choose another template without any problem.
As implied earlier, Squarespace templates look great but they're pretty much fixed. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Squarespace allows for customization, but it’s not as flexible as Webflow. If you’re happy with what you got out of the box, then you’ll love its templates. If you want something more, like options to add new elements and higher-level tweaking, Squarespace is not that convenient.
Squarespace offers a fairly good blogging tool. Some reviewers compare it to WordPress’ blogging capabilities. I would say it’s not as good as DropInBlog, but it still can do the trick.
But where Squarespace really shines is in the eCommerce department. This is probably its strongest side. It provides you with impressive email marketing tools. It offers so many cool and extremely useful eCommerce features, like:
- automated email with discounts for new members
- possibility to import products from other eCommerce platforms
- possibility to sell subscriptions
- automatic shipping costs calculations
- zoom-in and quick-view of your products
- abandoned cart recovery
- discounts and coupons
- website metrics
- customer accounts
- professional email from Google
- advanced analytics
- promotional pop-ups
- gift cards
- the option to accept donations
There aren’t many extensions available, and those there are, are all related to eCommerce.
Is Webflow Easy to Use?
Overall... nope! It has a complex interface, gazillions of built-in options, and enormous customization potential, so it takes time, dedication, and knowledge to master it.
Is Squarespace Easy to Use?
Hmmm, well it depends. Generally, it’s considered to be more user-friendly. As one reviewer notes, it has a cleaner and less-intimidating interface compared to Webflow. There’s not much, if any, technical jargon, which makes it extremely appealing for newcomers. Also, the onboarding process is fairly simple: Squarespace asks a few questions and gives you a hand based on your answers.
However, it gets difficult if you want to do advanced changes, and not just because of the coding part. The fact that you can’t change things right there on the spot makes the process a bit confusing and can ruin the whole experience.
How Much Does Webflow Cost?
There are 2 main types of pricing plans: Account plans and Site plans. With Account plans, you can’t publish a website on your own custom domain. Instead, you are only allowed to use Webflow’s free subdomain: webflow.io. But with a subscription to one of the packages from Site plans, you do get a domain as well.
The first category is further split up into 2 subcategories: Site plans (again) and Ecommerce plans. There are 4 Site plans: Basic, CMS, Business, and Enterprise. They’re good for blogging, launching a personal site, or building a business website. Basic is for a site with no CMS, CMS is for bloggers and content-driven sites, and Business is for bloggers or a marketing site with a lot of traffic. The subcategory of Ecommerce plans includes 3 pricing plans: Standard, Plus, and Advanced. Standard is good for new businesses, Plus is for eCommerce stores with more visitors and sales, and Advanced is for a successful and already well-established business with a lot of traffic and sales.
The Account plans category has a similar structure. It’s separated into 2 subcategories: Individual plans and Team plans. There are 3 Individual plans: Starter, Lite, and Pro. They’re good for showcasing personal skills and products. Team and Enterprise fall under Team plans. They are all about teamwork and collaboration.
Starter is a free plan. Basic is the cheapest plan, $12/monthly (annual fee) or $15/monthly (monthly fee). The most expensive is the Advanced plan. It costs $212/monthly (annual fee), or $235/monthly (monthly fee).
Webflow’s clients can accept payments via credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay from 200+ countries. It allows customers to open a store in 119 countries.
How Much Does Squarespace Cost?
Squarespace doesn’t have a free plan, but it offers a 14-day free trial and it doesn’t require your credit card for this.
There are 4 paid plans. With an annual subscription, you get a 13%-30% discount.
Personal costs $16/month. The annual subscription is $12/month. It’s best for a very small business website. Business costs $26/month while the annual fee is $18/month. It’s the most popular plan and it’s perfectly suitable for small businesses. Basic Commerce is the third plan. The price is $30/month and the annual fee of $26/month. This package is great for both small and medium-sized eCommerce stores. Advanced Commerce is the fourth and the last pricing plan. The monthly subscription is $46, while the annual fee is $40/month. Advanced Commerce is the real deal for larger businesses.
Squarespace uses its own native payment gateway called Square and 2 more payment processors: Stripe and PayPal.
You can contact the customer support staff directly via email. Email support is available during business days from 6 am to 6 pm PT. Normally, the response time is about 24-48 business hours.
Webflow doesn’t provide help in case something goes south after you’ve added custom code. In addition to this, it doesn’t answer questions related to 3rd party integrations, malware-related problems, or code exported from Webflow.
Squarespace has a Help page with all the necessary information on how to run your site/eCommerce store smoothly.
There's 24/7 support via different channels: email, a chatbot (called Support Assistant), Twitter, forums, videos, and guides. There’s also a live chat available during business days from 4 am to 8 pm EDT. There’s no phone support.
Interestingly, Squarespace doesn’t give you a hand when it comes to advanced customization. Namely, if you write your own code and you mess up something, you’ll have to hire a developer to clean up the mess.
So, who won in this Webflow vs. Squarespace competition? Well, you won. :)
First, because you learned some new things about these awesome web platforms. Second, because you now know, or at least you are well on your way of knowing, which one’s better for you. And third, every platform has its strengths and weaknesses and, for you personally, one particular strength of a web platform may completely overshadow all the 10 strengths of another platform. On the other side of the spectrum, only a single disadvantage may be a real deal-breaker.
That’s why it’s difficult to speak about objectivity in this Webflow vs. Squarespace scenario. Because it’s all about the customer, and it’s all relatively subjective... but in a good way.
Having said that, overall, I do think that there’s room for a final verdict and it’s the following: Webflow has the upper hand when it comes to design, aesthetics, and thorough customization, while Squarespace has the edge in the eCommerce, ease of use, and simplicity departments. So, which do you need more?