As a photographer looking to build your website, which should you choose – WordPress or Squarespace?
WordPress is easily the most popular CMS on the planet, accounting for 64.9% of all CMS websites, and 43.1% of all sites on the internet – a staggering 810 million in total.
But it’s not the only CMS, and with a 2.6% market share, Squarespace is the third most popular choice, powering a more modest, but not insignificant 2.96 million websites.
But as a photographer, which one should you choose, and which will suit your photography website needs best?
That’s what we’ll take a look at today. In this post, we’ll do an in-depth comparison of WordPress and Squarespace for photographers. That way, you can choose the platform that meets your expectations and create a truly beautiful and functional website.
Let’s put your business in the frame!
What Makes a Great Photography Website?
There are a few key areas you should pay attention to when developing a photography website. Squarespace and WordPress are similar, but there are still some key differences to be aware of.
In this section, we’ll let you see how WordPress and Squarespace stack up within each of these areas.
Ease of Use
Having a content management system you understand is a huge plus.
This is because you’ll be able to make changes to your website, upload new content, or improve it – without any need to rely on developers.
Squarespace has a website builder with a highly intuitive interface.
You can create and edit pages with a simple drag-and-drop editor. It’s like putting together a puzzle where the pieces fit together smoothly.
Also, you’ll get to choose from plenty of pre-made templates for photographers.
This is great, since it enables you to create photography websites using Squarespace faster, get inspiration from experienced photographers on Squarespace, and eliminates the need to start from scratch.
We’ve been able to get the hang of Squarespace in as little as a few minutes.
WordPress offers more options than Squarespace, so this does mean that it is more complex.
It might take more time to learn how to use it – especially if you’re not a technical person, although you’ll definitely get accustomed to it in an afternoon. However, the longer learning curve definitely has its benefits.
WordPress offers far more pre-made templates for photographers than Squarespace. You also get much more customization – you can customize literally anything.
This lets you create a website that meets your needs, but might take a bit longer to set up.
Design And Templates
As a photographer, you’re probably a very creative person.
That’s why it’s vital to choose the content management system that lets you customize a website the way you want. Let’s now explore the main differences between WordPress and Squarespace with respect to the design and customization options.
Squarespace has a great collection of beautifully crafted templates for Squarespace photographers.
These templates are not only visually attractive, but also offer a great user experience for your visitors – which plays a crucial role in keeping visitors on your site.
Also, to make the UX even better, Squarespace has made all of their templates mobile-friendly.
This ensures Squarespace photography websites will be accessible and appealing to visitors, no matter what device they use.
Unfortunately, the customization options aren’t as dazzling…
While Squarespace templates offer a solid foundation, customization options are very limited compared to WordPress. It may be less suitable for those who want full control over every aspect of their website.
WordPress has one of the largest libraries of themes – the options are virtually endless.
This gives you huge flexibility in choosing a design and template that really suits your vision for your photography website.
With WordPress, you have the freedom to fully customize your website.
You can change fonts, colors, layouts, and even make structural adjustments using themes and page builders.
However, while the customization with WordPress is powerful, it requires a bit of learning, especially for less technical people.
Fortunately, there are also user-friendly themes that can help you streamline this process.
Features And Functionality
Having the right features and tools at your disposal is vital.
It will let you further customize your website, automate repetitive tasks, and give you the ability to showcase your portfolio and engage with the audience.
Squarespace offers plenty of integrated features that are handy for photographers.
For instance, you can take advantage of an image gallery, Squarespace blogging capabilities, and even basic e-commerce functionality (if you want to be selling photos on Squarespace).
For photographers, there are plenty of Squarespace gallery plugins.
These plugins make it easy to embed photos on your site, organize albums, and use different layouts.
This is useful for showcasing your Squarespace photography portfolio to the world.
If you don’t like using plugins (since they can slow down your site), you can also take advantage of the Squarespace Photo Gallery feature.
This lets you display a set of images in a single, cohesive layout – just like with the plugin. (You just get fewer design and layout options.)
Also, using all of these features is very easy and straightforward, so you can easily organize content without the need for complex configurations. The only downside is that Squarespace is limited as far as third-party integrations are concerned.
The major strength of WordPress is its vast ecosystem of plugins.
You can choose from over 59,000 plugins to extend the functionality of your website – you can literally achieve anything you want.
For photographers, this means accessing plugins for:
- Gallery displays
- Image optimization
- Search engine optimization
For instance, you can use our own plugin, picu, which is one of the most popular plugins for photographers.
Our online photo proofing plugin, picu, will save you time and money, massively simplifying and securing the process of client photo selection.
As you know, the selection process with your clients can be a drain on your resources…
Fortunately, we’ve made sure that picu takes the hassle out of this stage by providing you with all the tools you need.
Say goodbye to overcomplicated communication with clients and instead shoot, upload, and get approved. No more back-and-forth emails, no more errors from manual selections.
If this sounds like a great fit, get started with picu today.
Whether you want to integrate advanced e-commerce capabilities, create interactive galleries, or add specific features, there’s always a plugin for it. However, you should be cautious of using too many plugins on your website…
While the availability of plugins is a powerful asset, managing them can be time-consuming, lead to security risks, and also slow down your website.
That’s why it’s critical to choose reputable plugins and keep them updated.
Performance and Speed
Having a website that is functional but also fast is crucial.
In fact, it takes as little as a one-second delay to cause a 7% loss in conversions.
Fortunately, both Squarespace and WordPress offer decent performance. We’ll now explore this in more detail for both of these platforms.
Squarespace hosts websites on its own servers, which are optimized for performance.
When looking at the best Squarespace photography sites, we see great performance and loading times. Unfortunately, this convenience comes at the expense of customization. Squarespace offers very limited control over server configurations.
(This may be a consideration for those who require specific server setups.)
But at least you get consistent and reliable loading times – and a smooth UX for visitors.
Your WordPress site’s performance is influenced entirely by your choice of hosting provider and configuration. Unlike with Squarespace, you’ll have to look for a third-party company that offers a hosting solution for your WordPress website.
However, this may be an advantage, since you’re not limited by any pre-specified providers.
Plus, with WordPress, there’s the potential to implement various optimization techniques that may be offered by certain hosts, such as caching, content delivery networks, and performance-focused plugins. This lets you fine-tune your website’s speed based on your requirements.
With proper setup and optimization, your WordPress site can achieve fast loading times. This is vital for a seamless user experience, especially for photography websites that rely heavily on visual content.
Pricing and Cost Considerations
You shouldn’t need to rob a bank to be able to afford having a website!
While Squarespace and WordPress are similar in many aspects, pricing and cost considerations aren’t one of them. Let’s now take a closer look at pricing for both of these content management systems.
Squarespace operates on a subscription-based pricing model.
This means that they offer different plans with distinct features and capabilities. These plans include hosting, domain registration, and access to their website-building tools.
Their basic plan starts at $15 a month.
With Squarespace, hosting and domain registration are included in the subscription fee.
This means you don’t have to worry about additional expenses for these essential elements, as you might with WordPress.
WordPress is a FREE content management system.
However, unlike with Squarespace, you’ll have to pay for your domain and hosting provider – which can be found for as little as a couple of dollars a month.
This does not include the fees for premium themes and plugins.
Depending on your needs, the expenses for a WordPress website can vary. For instance, premium themes, plugins, and high-quality hosting may involve additional costs. This can easily make a WordPress website more expensive than a Squarespace one.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that if you commit to a paid SaaS solution, such as Squarespace, you have no control over the pricing. They could easily change their prices at any time, and you’d have no option but to pay up. This very thing has happened before – quite recently, in fact.
With a solution such as WordPress, you have almost complete control over how much you pay. If your web hosting company puts their prices up, you can easily just move your website to a different hosting provider at any time.
Conclusion – What’s Your Favorite CMS Platform?
Squarespace and WordPress are great content management systems for photographers. There is no clear winner between the two – it all depends on your preferences. We’ve compared the best Squarespace photography websites and the alternatives from WordPress to provide you with the most accurate information and facts.
To learn more about photography websites, check out these resources:
- How to Fix the Two Most Common WordPress Image Upload Issues
- Image SEO for Photographers
- What Is Photo Proofing And How Does It Help Your Clients?
Are you a photographer who is drawn to WordPress?
picu, our WordPress plugin for photographers, saves you time – making it easy to get photos approved. Say goodbye to waiting for clients, doing extra unpaid work, or delays caused by clients. Just shoot, upload, and get photos approved by the client with a single click.
No more emails back and forth, no more errors from manual selections. Focus more on what you love – and make more money doing it!
Try the free version of picu today and upgrade for more when you’re ready:
- Brand and customize. Add your own logo, adjust colors, and even use Google or Typekit Fonts to make picu your own!
- Mark and comment. Let clients send you directions for post-processing or collect more information from your client.
- Selection options. Some jobs require an exact number of images. Other times, a broader range might suffice. picu Pro has you covered and allows you to set selection goals for your collections.