While there are a few options for finding a home for your business out there on the internet, my two favourites, and the ones I personally use when developing websites for clients, are WordPress and Squarespace. They each have their own pros and cons, but if you are looking to get started online, I would not look further than these two. In this post, I’m going to break down a few of my favourite points for each (and what you’ll be looking at price-wise).
(This post contains affiliate links. I only endorse products that I fully trust and would never recommend anything that I wouldn’t use myself.)
Let’s start with Squarespace, a one-stop-shop for the most part. Squarespace is ideal for any small to medium business/entrepreneur (or even just a for-fun blogger) all the way to the bigger, more commercial websites – there isn’t much that Squarespace can’t do. What I love about Squarespace is that it is not only very beginner-friendly, but they have everything you need for a website under one roof. They have their own domains, hosting and templates ready to go, so one account will give you access to all of it. Their template designs are clean and modern while still being flexible and easy to customise. Squarespace allows you to install multiple templates onto a single website or to easily change between templates, which makes updating your website to stay current and fresh super simple. Squarespace is easily suited to ANY kind of business and they also have a very easy to implement commerce section, so you are able to sell your products directly from your website. Squarespace is my top recommendation for most clients looking for a new website as it is super versatile and the client will easily be able to manage any tweaks and future updates.
User-friendly and intuitive
No intensive maintenance required
Subscription includes Hosting and SSL costs
Includes ready-made templates and blocks
Automatic mobile responsiveness
Access to Typekit fonts
G Suite subscription free for the first year
No Plugins necessary
24/7 Customer Support
Knowledge of CSS* needed to make it look truly customised (often requiring a designer/developer)
What will it cost you?
Subscription for a Business Site (Recommended): $216/year (±R3500/year) or $26/month if paying monthly.
Domain: Free for the first year after which $20/year (R±350)
SSL Certificate: Included
Extras: Free G Suite subscription for the first year (after which $6/month)
Total: $216 for the first year, $242 after that.
There are a few options out there for custom themes to add that something extra to your Squarespace website, I love Squaremuse and Squarestylist. Their design kits are catered to creatives and their templates are truly beautiful. These kits use custom CSS and do include tutorials on how to set them up, but if you aren’t familiar or too comfortable with all the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes work, you might want to consider hiring someone (like me!) to implement it all for you. These will cost you between $249 – $349 once-off for a design kit.
For first time Squarespace users:
When I first started out with my own website, I only really knew about WordPress. I’ve been using WordPress as my online platform for seven years now, and while it has a steep learning curve, it does have it’s merits. I would normally recommend WordPress as a base for creatives that have image-heavy websites and want more control over customisation. With WordPress, your website is only as good as the theme that you are using (and your hosting provider), so it is your responsibility to bring the good stuff to the party. Honestly, the only reason I’ve stuck with WordPress for as long as I have is because of Flothemes. They are geniuses when it comes to premium, well-functioning, well-supported themes. The major selling point for Flothemes was their introduction of Flexblocks, they make the options for customisation endless. While WordPress is a lot more ‘hassle’ and hands-on work, it does help that you can create anything you can possibly imagine (especially with Flothemes). The biggest downfall for me is the need to install plugins for almost everything you want to achieve on your website (some of which are not free). Need an online store? Plugin. Need Anti-Spam protection? Plugin. Need Caching and Backups? Plugin. Want to include your Instagram? Plugin. Having a lot of plugins can sometimes slow down your site and unnecessarily fill up potentially limited storage space on your domain. They often also conflict with each other and need to be updated very regularly to ensure your website is running optimally. If you’re a photographer (for example) and are going to be blogging or posting new content consistently, then WordPress is a good choice because you’re going to be accessing the back-end regularly anyway so you can make sure everything stays current. Another downside is that WordPress is only a part of your website package, unlike Squarespace it doesn’t include hosting or SSL certificates so you will have to find trusted 3rd-parties to manage those.
A lot more customisable depending on your theme choice
Good options for SEO
Cheaper in the long run
Good for blogging
More maintenance required
Not very beginner-friendly
Needs multiple plugins to be useful
Takes longer to set up
You need to purchase a good theme
You need to ensure good hosting
What will it cost you?
(free options available but must be manually renewed every 90 days)
Comodo: R220/year (check if your host includes an SSL certificate with the hosting package like Siteground does)
Total Cost for a .com site:
Siteground ±R2400/year (including domain and SSL certificate)
Afrihost ±R2600/year (including domain and SSL certificate)
-Flothemes ($279 for Flexthemes once-off or $250/year for Mono)
-Themes on Creative Market (Price Ranges between $60-$150 once-off, although I can’t vouch for their quality and the level of support you’ll receive from the individual sellers)
When trying to decide what will be the best fit for you, it helps to envision what your goals for your website are. If you are struggling with this, reach out to me and I will help guide you in the right direction depending on your needs. Another thing to keep in mind is that the costs that I’ve mentioned do not include design/developing costs, so if you’re looking for someone to create and flesh out your website for you (like me!), you will need to add R5000 – R10 000 to your budget to get this done. If you need any other information or want me to work out a custom website design package for you, get in touch!