Squarespace vs GoDaddy GoCentral: A Blogger’s Guide to the Best Website Builder
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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.
One of the most important things to consider when signing up for a blogging platform with third-party domains is the reach of their technical support. There are bound to be tremendous challenges for any blogger you could face when working on your site.
It is important to consider business hours and business days and the process of accessing their support team.
Let’s review the list of features of both GoDaddy and Squarespace’s technical support.
There are three main avenues to get help with your platform via GoDaddy. You can join the community forums, reach out to their team using a localized phone number, or visit the help center. With the community forums, you’ll be able to discuss your issue in detail with other users as well as GoDaddy administrators.
We recommend contacting the company via phone to speak directly with an associate for more serious and immediate issues.
Alternatively, browsing through their help center can be pretty beneficial for standard questions. In the help center, you’ll find essential information about administrative control, domain settings, DNS settings, and more.
Squarespace is structured similarly when it comes to reaching their customer support team. You’ll find a couple of avenues for contact depending on the issue you’re presented with.
For example, you can manage technical issues through your Squarespace login by contacting their support team. You’ll also find a help center structured around the most common questions users might have.
By visiting the customer support page, you can select from a dropdown list of inquiries, including:
- Dealing with subscription costs
- How to get relief from subscription costs
- Questions about active subscriptions
- Managing domain registration
One of the more unique and essential features of Squarespace’s support team is that they also work with security issues. It helps report suspicious activity or if you’re experiencing a security vulnerability yourself.
One of the primary reasons users prefer Squarespace customer support is how seriously they take security concerns.
With that said, there are submission criteria to consider when reporting vulnerabilities, and you’ll need to be a part of HackerOne. HackerOne is a security risk management company that Squarespace works with to ensure its protective measures are upheld.
Cancellation policies are significant to note with both GoDaddy and Squarespace. There are many instances where you might need to consider canceling your account and domain. For example, if you’re managing an account for a deceased user and need to cancel their billing.
Fortunately, both companies have comprehensive cancellations for domain owners, those with privacy concerns, and even a deceased person.
Let’s review the basics of how you can cancel your account with both GoDaddy and Squarespace.
Canceling your account with GoDaddy is simple through the account management panel. However, when it comes to refunds, the type of service you’re looking to get a rebate for will matter.
You’ll need to review their guidelines to determine whether your services are applicable to be refunded. A few examples include:
- IT Services: If IT services are already performed, they are non-refundable.
- Hosting Services: Unused hosting services can be refunded within 30 days of the transaction date.
- SEO Services: All SEO plans can be canceled within 48 hours of the transaction date for a full refund.
- Domain Registration (New): Can be refunded within five days or 120 hours.
- Domain Renewal (One-Year): Can be refunded within 45 days or 1080 hours.
- Domain Renewal (Multi-Year): Can be refunded within five days or 120 hours.
Similar to GoDaddy, Squarespace has an assortment of refund and cancellation policies by service. Once you cancel your product, you’ll receive a confirmation code with any further information.
According to the company, users can cancel their subscriptions at any time. For a domain refund, you’ll first have to look at your domains panel to see which you want to cancel. Once you’ve confirmed via your domains panel, you can then cancel within five days of registering.
If you don’t cancel, your domain will be set to auto-renew and is subject to new policies, including:
- Newly registered domains aren’t refundable after five days
- Users receive a confirmation email about payment 15 days before renewal
- Users can cancel their auto-renew policy on their panel before being charged
Another critical thing to consider with your panel is the type of domain you own. Some domains have exceptions, which is something to consider before domain forwarding. For example, .co.uk, .com.au, .de, and .uk domains don’t have a refund policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which Is Better GoDaddy or Squarespace?
Squarespace has a significant leg up when it comes to being a better alternative to GoDaddy. It appears to be the most versatile legacy platform, with plenty of popular guides to help you navigate. You’ll also find it has some of the most efficient code to help you effortlessly create a flawless and professional aesthetic.
With the help of onboarding specialists, you can learn more about the ins and outs of the platform. Not to mention the majority of their features are specifically designed for those with limited experience with code.
Another significant benefit of the platform is their support team, which assists with anything from a tax exemption certificate to closing your account. Using Squarespace as a business exempt from US taxes is another massive advantage over other platforms.
By contacting their technical team, you can submit a request to obtain an exemption from sales tax. Ensure you have all of the adequate documentation beforehand for your business and location.
2. Can You Use Squarespace With GoDaddy?
Users can connect their GoDaddy domain to their Squarespace website by following six easy steps, namely:
- Relinking your domain
- Logging in to your GoDaddy account
- Adding your first and second CNAME
- You’ll then need to manage your DNS settings and wait for the connection to go through.
3. Do Professionals Use Squarespace?
Professional companies and individuals use Squarespace for many reasons, which is why it’s so popular. You’ll find affluent celebrities such as Keanu Reeves, for example, who have used the services in the past.
4. Do I Own My Squarespace Domain?
As long as you continue to pay for your domain, users will own their domains through Squarespace. You can opt to pay for it manually or have the convenience of auto-renewals, ensuring it always stays in your name.
5. Does Squarespace Own My Content?
Fortunately, you will continue to own the content you upload to Squarespace through your website. However, when you upload content, you’re giving the company permission to use it as necessary. For example, Squarespace can use hosted content to improve their websites, promote their site, or protect their services.
With that said, there is the opportunity to request about exemption from this service. For example, if you’re uploading pictures and don’t want them used for promotional purposes, you can opt out.
6. Can I Transfer My Domain Name To Squarespace?
One of the benefits of Squarespace is that it’s easy to use in an assortment of ways, even when transferring domains. There are several steps you’ll have to go through, but the process is relatively simple.
Some of the steps include:
- Unlocking the domain
- Obtaining an authorization code
- Reviewing registration details
- Setting up new payment plans
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.
Has our guide inspired you to start a blog today? If so, you’ll find plenty of tips and advice in our How to Blog section — including how to come up with a name for your blog.