Website Platform Comparisons

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Easy to Manage Content

A website is more effective when the content is updated regularly. An easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) makes a huge difference for the person making updates and should match the level of tech-knowledge of the admin user. Having a site that's easy to manage makes all the difference between eventually having a bulky outdated site or a thriving, integrated tool for your organization.

Winner - Squarespace
Squarespace is almost fun to use and easy to evolve.

Runner Up - Concrete 5

When to go custom - A custom content manager is only recommended when there are custom data types that aren't available in a pre-existing system.

Impressive Themes / Starting Points

Pre-designed themes are good starting points that can be developed further to be more custom to the client's needs. Using a good theme or template as the foundation can save a client hundreds and even thousands of dollars worth of UX & UI design.

Winner - Squarespace
Squarespace has clean, modern templates that are designed by high-level professionals.

Runner Up - WordPress

When to go custom - The only reason to start from scratch would be if you wanted a certain kind of User Experience that fits your unique content more specifically.

Searchable / SEO Friendly

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an interesting science with algorithms created (by search engines like Google, Bing, etc) to help people find pertinent content during a search. They are influenced by location, outside links to your site, quality of content on a site, changing content on a site, and interactivity with content on your site amongst other things. Any platform can be optimized for search engines but the main thing that will help your SEO is good and updated content.

Winner - WordPress (maybe)
It is only rumored that WordPress (owned by Google) comes up higher in Google searches but we have not noticed nor been able to confirm this ourselves.

When to go custom - If your business relies solely on internet traffic, and you have pretty deep pockets to spend on ongoing SEO, then custom is usually best in the long-run.

Commerce Ready

Being able to easily sell products online can create an additional avenue of income for your business and also gain credibility with your audience. Some CMS systems are built for commerce (i.e. Shopify), some offer a simple integrated commerce solution (i.e. Squarespace), while others require third party solutions to provide commerce capability (i.e. WordPress). Even for a custom site, a business might be better suited using a pre-built solution (like Stripe for a shopping cart, checkout, etc). When all else fails, there's always PayPal (ugh).

NOTE: Something like Shopify, Big Cartel, Volusions, or Magento are better suited for bigger online retailers or those with Point-of-purchase needs.

Winner - Squarespace (maybe)
Squarespace only wins for a CMS that has commerce integrated within the system. It is usually not the best solution for a high-volume online retailer. 

When to go custom - Its usually not recommended to build a custom commerce solution until/unless the loss on transaction fees over-rules the cost and headaches of building/maintaining something custom.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is the scalability of one website to conform to the diverse size and orientation of browsers on multiple devices (i.e. computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Nowadays your website should be responsive no matter what platform or solution you are using or the site will look very dated and potentially obsolete. We make all of our sites responsive regardless of the platform.

Winner - Squarespace (maybe)
Squarespace is only a winner here because responsive design is already built-in to all of their templates so there are no additional costs to make pages responsive.

Media Rich

Having rich media (large photos, integrated video, immersive content, information graphics) plays a big role in the perception of your brand. Creating good and easily "digestible" content is key to having a successful website where users engage and revisit.

Winner - Squarespace (maybe)
Squarespace makes it easy to add rich media to a web page using media blocks within their page builder. However, rich media can be incorporated into any platform.

Runners Up - Concrete5 & WordPress both have fairly good media libraries that you can upload and reference throughout your content.


At first glance, popularity might not really matter, but in some cases it might. WordPress is very popular and there are a lot of people who can help you maintain or further develop your website.

Because of its popularity (and open source code) WordPress also has a lot of third-party plugins that can enhance the functionality of your site (although there are pitfalls to this too if the plug-ins aren't maintained things can break). Squarespace is growing in popularity and Concrete5 (also open source) is popular in the Northwest.

Winner - WordPress
WordPress is vastly popular because it seems free to start and many people like the idea of endless plugins and open source code.

Runner Up - Squarespace


Making custom functionality, like plugins or widgets or other interactivity modules, is not endlessly available on all platforms. Concrete5 is build using PHP and is designed for building and maintaining websites, whereas WordPress was design to build blogs. WordPress is also built using PHP but you end up having to code custom plug-ins, use a 3rd party plug-in or make a complete hack to get custom (or semi-custom) functionality. With Squarespace you are limited to their many Block types or HTML code base so custom functionality is more limited.

Winner - Concrete5
Concrete5 was built to be a CMS that runs websites.

Runner Up - WordPress

When to go custom

Database Integration


Winner - Concrete5

Runner Up - WordPress

User Accounts

Winner - WordPress

Runner Up - Concrete5

Low Cost

Winner - Squarespace

Runner Up - WordPress

When to go custom


Heavy Commerce Needs