Squarespace vs Wix vs Weebly: Which is best for building your branded website?
Small business owners and startups often use DIY web building tools like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly to create their first website. This is because websites are crucial to most businesses and nearly every business needs one.
Unfortunately, a huge mistake many business owners make is launching a website that doesn’t reflect their brand. No matter how good your website looks, if it doesn’t feel like it represents your brand, it’s not a successful website for your business.
When you are trying to compare Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly, you’ll likely look at their sample sites and templates. What you’ll discover is that most of those examples look amazing, but don’t feel on-brand for your business.
Plan to heavily customize the templates and default settings in any of these tools, so find out which are easy to use and allow you to adjust the design settings to your exact specifications and needs.
Our criteria: Match your brand
For this review, we are focusing on which web-building tool is best for building your brand image. For a website to be effective at representing your brand, it should reflect the right brand traits and be cohesive with your visual identity.
To clarify, you should not start with a website template and then build your brand around that. That’s backward. Instead, you should have a clear vision for your brand and then build a website that reinforces that brand.
- To customize the look and feel of the site to match your brand standards, it should be easy to choose the right colors and fonts to match your identity.
- To express your key messages and showcase your products or service, it should be easy to adjust the content blocks.
If you don’t know what words and visuals should be included in your website, a tool like Branding Compass is a great place to start.
Let’s see how the big three web-building sites, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly compare.
Price: Starts at $12/month
Templates and design flexibility: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑
Templates and design flexibility
Squarespace asks you to choose a template as one of the first steps when you are designing your site. You can read about how to choose and then customize (override) the template settings in our detailed blog post. Once you understand that these templates are just a starting point, you’ll appreciate how easily you can edit the layout, colors, fonts, words, content, and everything you need to design your site.
Squarespace uses Font Packs to help you choose and use just a couple of fonts throughout your website. While Squarespace says that font options include 600 Google fonts and 1,000 Adobe Fonts, to keep menus short, they limit what appears to recently used fonts and their most popular options. Use the search bar if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
You can also upload and use other fonts, but it takes some knowledge of CSS and web fonts to make it happen. This may be beyond the skills or comfort zone of many business owners.
Color is one of the most recognizable pieces of your brand identity and your brand colors should be a prominent part of your web design. Squarespace pushes you to use their pre-made palettes of three primary colors and five main colors in total: Lightest/White, Light, Accent/Bright, Dark, and Black/Darkest.
Before you begin, make sure you know the exact colors of your visual identity and then type in the correct hex number. Follow their lead on mapping your darker colors to the dark or darkest part of the palette, your bright or bold colors in the middle and then light or white at the other end of the spectrum. Limiting your colors like this is an easy way to make your site look cohesive and professional.
Price: Starts at $14/month
Templates and design flexibility: ⭑⭑☆☆☆☆
Templates and design flexibility
Wix can be confusing. You start out having to choose between using their templates and Editor or choosing their ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). Their Editor allows you to control everything but is complicated and overwhelming. The ADI is much more user-friendly but tends to lead you to create a website that’s not personalized for your brand. Read our blog about the best ways to customize your Wix site.
The Wix ADI shows less than 50 font options. So there’s a great chance that your brand font is not available.
Wix says that it has 810 Google and other open-source fonts available if you use the Editor. Additionally, you can upload additional fonts (if you use their Editor), but they will not be usable if you have a blog. Having so few font options can really limit your ability to customize your design.
With their ADI tool, Wix assigns one color as the main color for your site. Then, you have the option of using pre-built color palettes of 4, 5, or 6 colors. You’re going to want to ‘edit your palette colors’ to use the hex formulas for your exact brand colors.
Wix allows for six colors in the palette and they are designated as main, secondary, third, fourth, light, and dark. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of trial and error to figure out which colors will map to what part of your web design.
While you may be tempted to align your ‘main’ color to your logo, this may be too much color, depending on the style of your logo.
Price: Free plans available, but pay at least $12/month to remove the ads
Templates and design flexibility: ⭑⭑⭑⭑☆
Templates and design flexibility
Weebly was recently purchased by Square, the credit card processing company. So, they’ve become very focused on e-commerce sites. If you’re not selling products, some of the set-up questions can feel confusing, but you can ignore them.
At first glance, it can feel like you don’t have a lot of options for customizing your Weebly site because you’re presented with only a few font options and a few colors. But don’t worry, once you get started, you can customize nearly everything, it’s pretty easy. Read our blog to learn about the details.
Prebuilt into Weebly are about 24 free fonts. You’ll need to be on a paid plan and then upload fonts if you want more options. The process of acquiring fonts and then uploading them into Weebly might be too much for many small business owners.
Weebly allows you to easily select a hex formula for the ‘main’ color and ‘accent’ color in your web design. But other areas are harder to customize. Having just two colors in your palette can feel a bit limited. For example, it’s harder to get areas like your background color to really be customized in the design.
Our Conclusion: Squarespace is the best website for building your brand
Overall, we like Squarespace best because you can customize almost everything, fairly easily. But be prepared to override all of the default settings to get the look you really want.
Weebly is our second choice, but the limited, only-two-colors palette can make the finished design feel a little less polished and customized than Squarespace. Overall, Wix is too confusing and too much effort for the result.
All of these DIY web builders are trying to make it easy for you to build a website. They rely on templates, font packs, predefined color palettes, and content blocks to help guide you.
Don’t stop with the pre-built options. Go in and start customizing everything: the colors, the fonts, the images, the copy to match and enhance your brand identity.
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