Squarespace vs WordPress vs Wix – Podcaster’s Guide to Website Development
Every podcaster needs to have a website. This isn’t simply a good marketing tactic – for some podcasters, their show’s website will be the place where they upload and distribute their podcast to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and other podcast directories. A podcast website serves as an important place to for all of your podcast assets, from your show notes to contact information and ways for listeners to contribute to your show. Today, I’m looking at three different website providers that you should consider from when building your site: Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix.
If you’ve listened to a podcast in the past few years, there’s a very good chance you’ve heard about Squarespace. The company is one of the largest website providers in the world, and markets itself as an easy way to make custom-looking websites for your business or project without the need for coding knowledge.
Squarespace’s platform revolves around the use of “Blocks,” which are different kinds of content like images, audio, video, and code that you can drop into your site’s interface with just two clicks. Knowing which Block to use is key to get the most out of Squarespace, and they have a wealth of information in their help section on different kinds of Blocks.
Let’s look at some of Squarespace’s features that are relevant for podcasters. If you go with Squarespace, you’ll primarily be using its Blog section to create new podcast episodes, or to upload audio from your primary podcast host for visitors to listen to it.
If you aren’t using a host for your podcast’s audio files like Anchor, SoundCloud, or Libsyn, you can host your audio right on Squarespace, using blog posts in your Blog section. This streamlines your podcast setup, combining two hosts that are usually separate – your podcast media host and your website host. To do this, though, you’ll need to create a new Blog section and enable its Podcasting features to connect it to iTunes. See Squarespace’s help section on podcast setup for more information.
If you are publishing your podcast elsewhere, like on SoundCloud, Squarespace makes linking to this content very easy with its SoundCloud Block. If you publish on a site like Anchor or any other host and simply want to repost your audio to your podcast’s site, it’s easy to get embed code for those audio players and include it in a blog post using the Embed Block.
Squarespace also allows for creators with Business or Commerce plans to accept donations from listeners through the Donation Block. Podcast hosts can also set up a listener survey right on their site with the Form Block, allowing for customization with a variety of question types and the ability to send all results to a spreadsheet for analysis.
When it comes to the look of your site, Squarespace’s big sell is that it offers dozens of artist-designed templates that are responsive to desktop and mobile devices. Once you choose a template, you can view a preview of it before customizing it with your own content. Many of the company’s templates are geared towards visual artists and writers, however, and there isn’t a single theme directly marketed for podcasters.
From here, you can click on relevant parts of the site preview and it will direct you to the relevant design setting.
Squarespace has a well-built Knowledge Base section that covers many different issues that might arise as you make your website. If you would like help editing site templates and setting up your site, Squarespace also has an official list of Squarespace developers who you can hire on an hourly or project basis to complete your site setup. They can do everything for your site, like customize your chosen template with new code, provide photography and other art assets, or help with set up your online merch store.
When it comes to social media, podcasters should always publicize new episodes on social media. Most Squarespace templates have places for social media icons on your homepage, but you can also use Social Links Blocks to provide links to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other accounts anywhere on your site. You can also add Twitter Blocks for a running list of your podcast’s tweets, and set up blog posts to automatically send new blog posts on Twitter and Facebook.
Squarespace offers simple pricing for creators: a $16 plan for personal websites (reduced to $12/month if paid annually), which will be sufficient for most podcasts. Podcasts that have large audiences and might want to see merchandise through their website should look at their $18+ Business plan options.
When you’ve selected a template, you can further customize the template’s preset design for your own site by heading to the “Design” section on the left toolbar and choosing “Site Styles”.
Take a look at some of these podcast sites hosted on Squarespace:
With that said, here are my final thoughts on Squarespace:
- The “Block” system makes adding and moving site content easy
- Easy integration of social media profiles, online merch stores, etc
- The $12/mo Personal plan is middle-of-the-road cost wise and sufficient for most pocasters
- No podcaster-specific site templates
- Editing template styles can take a bit of time for new users
Level of Technical Difficulty (1 = simple, 5 = coding or tech savvy required): 3 out of 5
To start your Squarespace website, go to Squarespace.com to try out their site builder.
In business since 2003, WordPress powers millions of websites around the world. The company has a robust platform, helped by thousands of “plugins” and site themes that creators can choose from to plug-and-play and create their own WordPress experience.
To start, creators need to consider if they want to create a WordPress Blog, a WordPress Website, or a WordPress Website with a Blog component. See this short video from WordPress if you’re unsure which to choose.
If you’re like most podcasters and will be uploading your episodes to your podcast’s website, I recommend having a Blog-enabled WordPress, especially if you want to publish episodes via WordPress. Having a WordPress Blog puts your episodes front and center for visitors to listen to them.
With WordPress being such a widespread website platform, you can hire someone if you get stuck with themes, plugins, or using the dashboard. Sites like codeable.io provide expert WordPress developers you can hire for almost any WordPress question or task you might have.
In terms of features, WordPress has an excellent text editor for creating blog posts and simplifies embedding audio and running listener surveys through the use of plugins like the Smart Podcast Player and WPForms. There are literally thousands of plugins that can make WordPress do whatever you’d like it to do for your podcast. On the other hand, the number of plugins available makes setting up your WordPress a bit daunting at times, and plugins have different user experiences, given that they’re made by third parties.
With Pages, WordPress makes it easy to create pages about your podcast like an About Us page, a Contact page, or a donations page.
Where WordPress really shines for podcasting, though, is when it’s combined with the PowerPress plugin. Made by the podcast hosting company BluBrry, this plugin gives podcasters a full dashboard with which to connect their podcast to iTunes, publish new episodes directly on WordPress, and make your podcast look great. (You do not need to have a BluBrry account to use PowerPress, but having full integration is one reason to consider BluBrry as your podcast’s media host.)
I personally recommend using the PowerPress plugin with any WordPress podcast site (particularly as I helped develop a portion of the plugin known as “taxonomy podcasting” – a type of categorization for multiple podcasts – through my work with Afterbuzz TV). Podcasters with bigger audiences or those experiencing big jumps in listenership should also consider adding Blubrry’s Podcast Mirror service in conjunction with PowerPress to strengthen their RSS feed.
When it comes to themes, WordPress has thousands of them to choose from, both free and paid. With so many options, you can filter them to find the exact look and use you’re looking for.
Once you’ve created a WordPress account, you can choose a theme and begin customizing it in the “Appearance” menu.
Podcasters should also decide if they want to use WordPress.com (hosting managed by WordPress), or WordPress.org (a free WordPress-based platform that requires you to host the website yourself with a server or through another third-party host). WordPress.com is simpler to setup, but WordPress.org provides more control over your site’s content.
If you choose to go with the self-hosted WordPress.org option, I recommend buying the “Enfold” WordPress theme, which is responsive and has many design options for all kinds of creative projects.
WordPress.com has a straightforward pricing structure, with a free option that includes a WordPress-branded domain name, a blog, and basic theme options. They also have a $4 and $8/month option (both billed annually) that I recommend podcasters choose from.
Take a look at these podcast websites on WordPress:
In summary, here are my thoughts on WordPress:
- PowerPress plugin makes podcasting with WordPress a breeze.
- A huge number of plugins and template options makes the platform work how you want it to.
- Very affordable plan options.
- WordPress.org can provide full control over site content and uptime.
- Figuring out which plugins to add can take time and setup may be confusing for some users.
- Less intuitive editor interface compared to Squarespace.
Level of Technical Difficulty (1 = simple, 5 = coding or tech savvy required): 3.5 out of 5 (WordPress.com), 4 out of 5 (WordPress.org)
You can head over to WordPress.com to start building a WordPress site.
While not as ubiquitous in podcast advertising as Squarespace, Wix powers just as many websites for creators and businesses. Built around the idea that website building should be incredibly easy for people of all skill levels, Wix offers three different types of website experiences based on how comfortable you are with technology:
- Wix ADI (for those who want a pre-made website)
- Wix Editor (for those who want to customize a template)
- Wix Code (for those who want to build a site by coding)
For podcasters, I recommend choosing the Wix Editor option, as it will allow you to pick the theme that best suits your show while still making site setup a breeze.
Wix features a dashboard that, like Squarespace and WordPress, offers many different options for adding content to your website.
Wix shares a workflow philosophy with WordPress, in that many of Wix’s strengths come from its Wix App Market, which has over 250 apps that you can use with your site.
For podcasters, the most important app to get is the Wix Podcast Player.
With the Podcast Player, you can post new episodes and feature them with a minimalist player right on your homepage. The player provides visitors to your site with a list of all recent episodes, and offers convenient options for connecting your site with Apple Podcasts and other podcast directories.
If you go with Wix, most of your time will be spent in this Podcast Player section, but Wix offers other features that can build out your site.
You can set up a PayPal Donate button for listeners to contribute to your show, or use one of many survey apps in the App Market to set up a listener survey. You can set up a Contact form from your editor by clicking “Add+” from the left side of the Editor dashboard and choosing “Contact”.
As you build your Wix site, it’s worth digging through the App Market to see what Social apps you can add to your site to connect your show’s social media accounts, and generally make your site a hub for listeners to find and listen to your content, while also getting a sense of your show’s brand.
Wix has dozens of themes to choose from, which you can filter based on the type of content you’re going to post. Once you pick a template, you can customize it by clicking on “Edit” once you’re hovering over the template’s image.
You can hire an expert Wix developer to improve the look of your website’s design. The company’s “Wix Arena” features hundreds of Wix-approved experts for hire. You can browse their profiles and choose the designer you like the most, or create a request that’s sent out to designers who will then send you proposals.
With Wix, you can start off with a free option, which offers most of Wix’s features but includes a Wix-branded domain name and puts ads on your site.
There are also robust paid options, with a $11/month plan and a $14/month Unlimited plan (all plans are paid annually). I recommend the $14/month Unlimited plan, due to its higher storage limit for things like images that podcasters may put on their site, as well as higher bandwidth limits for spikes in listenership your show may experience.
Here are some examples of Wix sites for podcasts:
In summary, here’s what I think of Wix:
- Flexibility with Wix ADI/Editor/Code makes setup as easy as you want it to be.
- Templates categorized by profession allow for easier choices for podcasters (but Wix doesn’t have a podcaster-specific template)
- Podcast Player app is a beautiful player that integrates well into Wix sites.
- The ideal plan for podcasters has a slightly higher cost than most other platforms.
- Not as many template options as other services.
- Wix’s dashboard isn’t as comprehensive as WordPress or as intuitive as Squarespace
Level of Technical Difficulty (1 = simple, 5 = coding or tech savvy required): 2 out of 5 (Wix ADI), 3.5 out of 5 (Wix Editor), 5 out of 5 (Wix Code)
You can go to Wix.com to start building a Wix site.
All in all, podcasters can’t go wrong with any of these three, but if you’re still undecided, here’s what I suggest:
Go with Squarespace if you want a simple, clean interface for making your website, with intuitive controls and a great set of templates to choose from, at a fair price. Squarespace also gives you plenty of different content options, social media integrations, and Knowledge Base support.
Go with WordPress.com if you like its dozens of custom-made template options or like the ease of posting new episodes through blog posts. WordPress also offers integration with the unparalleled PowerPress plugin, which is great if you already use Blubrry. Plus, WordPress has the least expensive plans of the three. If you want to self-host with another service but use a great platform, go with the free WordPress.org software and use the paid, ever-customizable Enfold theme.
Go with Wix if you want an easy, no-nonsense podcast website setup using a beautiful pre-made template through its Wix ADI or Wix Editor options. Add a few of Wix’s simple, sleek apps like Podcast Player and Forms from its App Market for more site functionality. And when it comes to price, Wix is about at the same as Squarespace, depending on the plan you choose.