It’s never been easier to start a blog.
With the help of online website builders you can have a website up in hours without the need to learn coding or pay for web hosting. These web-based tools also mean that you’re not limited by your technology, so whether you’re a Windows or Mac user you can create a stunning website from home.
In this guide we compare Squarespace and GoDaddy’s GoCentral, two popular website builders, to see how they shape up.
Once you’ve created a website with a builder like GoCentral or Squarespace it isn’t always easy to move it to another platform, so it’s a great idea to research them first to decide on the right one.
Like most website builders, GoCentral and Squarespace are both available on a subscription basis.
Although there’s no free version available, you can get a free trial of GoCentral for 30 days and Squarespace for 14 days — with no requirement to enter your credit card details.
At the time of publication, GoCentral plans start at $5.99 per month for their Personal plan, rising to $19.99 per month for their Online Store plan with fully-fledged ecommerce functionality. These plans don’t include a free custom domain name, but you can buy one at a low cost from Bluehost.
Squarespace offers two blogging plans — Personal at $16 per month and Business at $26 per month which, like the GoCentral plan, is built with ecommerce in mind. They also offer two plans specific to ecommerce, priced at $30 per month and $46 per month. All annual plans include a free domain.
GoCentral plans are billed on an annual basis, which can mean a bigger upfront cost than you expect. You can choose to pay for your Squarespace plan either monthly or annually, with a discount if you pay annually in advance.
To keep this comparison fair, we’ll compare GoDaddy’s Business Plus plan with Squarespace’s Personal plan. Both plans offer similar features including built-in SEO customization options, SSL, and social media integration.
If you paid annually, your upfront investment would be $178.88 with GoCentral or $192 with Squarespace. To reduce your initial costs, you could opt for a more basic plan with GoCentral, or pay for your Squarespace plan monthly instead.
The beauty of online website builders is that they allow you to create professional-looking websites with ease, and both GoCentral and Squarespace offer a number of templates to allow you to do just that.
GoCentral offers the largest selection of templates to choose from, with hundreds available. These are split into categories based on industry, so that you can find a template with the functionality to meet your needs.
GoCentral is focused on small businesses, with templates and a design style to match. Once you’ve chosen a template you can make various changes and customizations with the easy drag-and-drop editor.
While Squarespace doesn’t offer quite as many templates, the styles they do offer are modern, fresh, and designed with a clean aesthetic in mind. It’s a website builder that’s popular with creatives and bloggers, with a look and feel that appeals to people who need a portfolio, blog, or online store.
Like GoCentral, Squarespace allows you to customize the look and feel of your website within its framework. If you are technically skilled, you can also add your own CSS styling and customize further with their Developer Tools.
Both website builders recognize the importance of being user friendly on mobile devices, with templates that have a mobile version (GoCentral) or are fully mobile responsive (Squarespace).
For bloggers, one of the most important considerations when choosing a website builder is how easy it is to start and grow a blog.
GoCentral has recently launched a new blog feature within their plans, so you can add a blog to your website at no extra cost. While this is functional, it’s not our favorite blogging system and is better suited to business owners who may want a blog as an addition to their service’s website or online store.
Squarespace offers a much better blogging experience. The blog interface makes it easy to write posts, set categories and tags, and design your blog posts in a way that shows off your content at its best. Combined with the minimalistic templates, this can result in a professional-looking blog that feels like it’s at the heart of your website — instead of something that’s been added on as an extra.
Both blogging systems allow you to create and publish posts, manage images, and access integrated stock photos for easy publishing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you want to attract readers to your blog through search engines, effective search engine optimization (SEO) is a must-have.
While online website builders like GoCentral and Squarespace lack the customization and support that you’d find in a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO, they do offer some SEO functionality.
GoCentral provides SEO support on all its plans from Business upwards, including the ability to automatically add keywords and tags based on your content. You can also access tools and reports designed to help you rank on search engines.
Squarespace also has built-in SEO, including the ability to set search descriptions, customize URLs, and add alt text to images. While there’s no SEO reporting tool, you can access all your analytics — including search traffic — from your dashboard.
Now that web browsers warn users if a website they visit is unsecured, an SSL certificate for your blog has never been more important. We are all much more conscious of data security these days, so moving your blog from “HTTP” to “HTTPS” should be a priority.
Squarespace makes it easy to activate their SSL, whether you’ve purchased a domain through them or through another source like Bluehost. This is included free within all their plans, so you can provide your readers with greater confidence that their data is secure.
GoCentral also offers SSL, but this isn’t available in their Personal plan. Like their search engine optimization tools, you’ll need to upgrade to their Business plan to make use of this.
As a blogger most of your attention will be focused on your content, but there might come a time where you have plans to launch a product, service, or online store. If that’s the case, a strong ecommerce service can make the transition easier.
GoCentral offers a plan that’s designed with ecommerce in mind. Their “Online Store” plan includes a fully featured online store with checkout, payment integrations, discounts and promotions, inventory management, and product reviews. Reviews can offer powerful social proof, so it’s a welcome addition to any online store.
Squarespace also offers a plan specifically for online stores, which includes similar features such as an integrated checkout, inventory, coupons, and label printing. Their plans offer some additional features that we love, like integrated accounting with Xero, and real time carrier shipping (on the Advanced plan).
If you don’t already have an email list, it’s time to start one. Email can be a powerful marketing tool for bloggers, so if your email marketing solution integrates with your website, that’s a bonus.
GoCentral offers email marketing within its Business plan and higher, which provides you with the tools to capture emails and run marketing campaigns. Unfortunately GoCentral doesn’t currently offer any integration with popular email marketing tools like MailChimp or Convertkit, and doesn’t offer the same level of flexibility and customization either.
Squarespace has recently introduced Email Campaigns, their integrated email marketing solution. This allows you to create marketing campaigns from within your website and access direct analytics, which is helpful if you want to keep everything contained in one place. They also offer a MailChimp integration, as well as the ability to use Convertkit and other email marketing tools easily through custom code blocks.
Blogging goes far beyond your written content — there are now mini ecosystems on social media, especially Instagram. With this in mind, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you on social media and share your content.
GoCentral offers social media integration in its Business Plus and Online Store plans. With these plans you can add links to your social media, including Twitter feeds, within minutes. For lower tier plans, you could manually create links to your social media pages using HTML and CSS code — but it’s a less professional-looking approach.
Squarespace makes it easy for you to embed links to your social media profiles, and this is included in all plans. There’s a section within the dashboard for you to add your links and these will automatically display in your header and within designated blocks. You can also enable icons at the bottom of your blog posts which prompt readers to share your content on social media.
One of the limitations with subscription-based website builders is the lack of customization options and functionality. A way around this is to make use of integrations, which allow you to connect services together to create a streamlined process or experience for your readers or customers.
Squarespace and GoCentral both offer a number of integrations, so you can build a website and blog that meet your needs.
The most popular integrations for GoCentral include:
- Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, and Office 365 for calendar syncing
- Google Analytics for website analytics
- Square, PayPal, and Stripe for payment processing
- SurveyMonkey for surveys and quizzes
- Etsy for online retail
- Eventbrite for event management
Some of these integrations are only available in the Business Plus and Online Store plans.
Some of our favorite Squarespace integrations include:
- G Suite for email addresses
- Google Analytics for website analytics
- MailChimp for email marketing
- Apple Pay, PayPal, and Stripe for payment processing
- FedEx, UPS, and USPS for integrated shipping calculation
- Acuity and OpenTable for online bookings
- Zapier to connect your forms to over 1,000 services
You can also use elements known as “blocks” to quickly integrate features like a gallery of your Instagram photos or a YouTube video.
Online website builders can make starting a website or blog more simple, as they can be used by anyone without the need for technical skills. This means that user experience is crucial.
Both GoCentral and Squarespace offer a dashboard and admin system that’s intuitive, easy to use, and well explained. It’s easy to create and edit pages, blogs, and images, and then customize your website with both.
Although GoCentral is equally simple to use, we appreciate the design-led touches from Squarespace — the minimal styling means that it’s easier to focus on your content and not get distracted.
Another key aspect of user experience is how easy it is to solve a problem. If you run into difficulty, you can access support quickly and easily with both website builders.
GoCentral is part of GoDaddy, which offers 24/7/365 support including email and phone support, with live chat available Monday through Friday.
Squarespace also offers email support 24/7, as well as live chat between 4:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. EST. Both website builders also have a comprehensive knowledge base.
Throughout this guide we’ve compared these two popular website builders against each other on elements which are essential for bloggers like design, blogging functionality, and email marketing.
The clear leader is Squarespace.
Its modern aesthetic, feature-rich plans, and excellent blog and content options make it the best option for bloggers — especially if you’re in a creative niche or want to display a portfolio or online store alongside your blog.
GoDaddy’s GoCentral website builder is better suited to more traditional service-based or product-based businesses, so it wouldn’t be our go-to for bloggers who want to create a successful, thriving blog.
Alternative Platforms for Bloggers
Squarespace is a popular platform for bloggers, especially travel bloggers, fashion bloggers, and bloggers who also run a business — but it’s not for everyone. If you want more flexibility and customization options, our content management system of choice is WordPress.
WordPress is an industry-leading blogging platform that offers you total control and flexibility over the design and functionality of your website. Through third-party plugins (similar to integrations) and themes, you can customize your blog in minutes.
To help you compare these two platforms, take a look at our guide on Squarespace vs. WordPress.
If you want to stick with a website builder but don’t think Squarespace or GoCentral is right for you, other popular options include Wix and Weebly. You could also try WordPress’s free option, WordPress.com. Alternative ecommerce solutions include Shopify and Etsy.
Design a Blog Today
We hope you’ve found this comparison guide on Squarespace vs GoDaddy helpful. Website builders can be a great way to start a blog, as they allow you to create a website quickly and easily.