How to Know If a Website is Built on Squarespace or WordPress

These days, whenever you visit a new website, the first thing you’ll notice is how different it looks from the rest. Chances are, whether you’re on desktop or mobile, you’ll have to swipe or tap to get the navigation bar to appear,
and even then, it might not be in the expected location. That’s thanks to a lack of attention to detail on the part of the website’s developers.

While frustrating for users, those little UI hiccups aren’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, the goal of a website is to pull people in and keep them interested, so you can show them content that’s tailored to their interests.

But when you’re trying to decide whether or not to enter a relationship with a given website, that kind of sub-optimization can get in the way of your experience. What’s important is that you understand how a site is constructed, so you can have confidence in the information you find there.

Thankfully, there’s a way to find out how a site’s built without having to commit to a web relationship with that entity. Thanks to tools like Squarespace’s Inspectors and WordPress’s All-in-One Web Inspector.

The Difference in UI Between WordPress and Squarespace

If you take a closer look at WordPress’s website, you’ll notice that the way it functions is largely the same as that of a blog. Content is displayed at the top in a series of posts, and below that you’ll see a navigation bar, followed by a footer with some contact info.

As for Squarespace, on the other hand, every aspect of the website design is built around engaging content. From the header all the way down, you’ll see images of people, animals, places, and things. There’s also a lot of white space throughout, making it less of a chore to browse the website. As a user, you won’t feel like you’re drowning in content.

The thing is, even though there are some fundamental differences between the way these two platforms operate, at a given moment, you might be on a WordPress site or a Squarespace site, and it’s not always easy to tell the difference. In most cases, though, you’ll know precisely which one you’re on, thanks to branding and web functionality that varies from platform to platform. Still, even with that information, it might be hard to navigate the site properly. That’s why it’s best to take a look at the code itself.

Where Do I Look to See the Differences?

While we’re used to seeing websites compared side-by-side in a web browser, it’s important to look at the code itself to see how a site functions. This way, you can tell what kind of attention to detail went into the design and build of a site, as well as how much effort the developers put into making sure everything works the way it’s supposed to.

For example, take a look at these codes. The first one is from a WordPress site, and the second one is from a Squarespace site. While the overall design and feel between the two sites is practically the same, you’ll notice that the way they operate is somewhat different. In the first code snippet, you’ll see that a WordPress site is powered by the default blogging platform, with a sidebar on the right, and a footer at the bottom.

As for the Squarespace version, you’ll see that it’s completely different. The site is powered by a single video channel, the header is made up of static images, and there’s no sidebar. Instead of a footer, you’ll see a line of text at the bottom of the page. Even more tellingly, the code for the Squarespace site looks like it was written by someone who, for the most part, had no idea what they were doing. There are numerous spelling errors, and even worse, a lack of any logical flow between lines of code. Take a look and see for yourself.

What this means is that the site’s developers took the quick and easy route to build a functional site, without putting any real thought into it. In the case of the squared site, there are a number of security issues, along with a great deal of sloppy code that could leave the site open to hackers. Still, for a quick and easy fix, it’s probably safest to say that the Squarespace site was built with haste, but with no real thought put into it.

Is it Possible to Tell If a Site is Worth Visiting or Dealing With?

There’s no question that the convenience of building a blog platform like WordPress or SquareSpace is appealing. Even if you’ve never built a website before, the process of setting one up is relatively straightforward. Once you do, however, you’re going to discover that there are a lot of problems with this approach. For one thing, if you’re going to build a blog platform, it’s best to go with a content-first approach. That means making sure that you’ve got plenty of good content to begin with, otherwise, it’s difficult to create a compelling narrative around webpages that don’t live up to your expectations. Even then, the biggest problem with WordPress and SquareSpace is that, as we just mentioned, they’re not built with much care or attention to detail. As a result, it’s not always easy to tell whether or not you’ll end up enjoying your time on a specific site, or even if you’ll be able to get all the information you need out of it.

Those are some pretty scary problems to consider. After all, we live in a world where hackers can potentially get access to your personal information, and even worse, where sloppy coding can make your site open to being hacked. For the average user, that’s a lot to digest. Fortunately, there’s another solution that’s as easy to use as WordPress and SquareSpace, but much more reliable and secure. It’s called Compsocot, and it’s worth taking a look at.

The Compsocot Way

As the name would suggest, Compsocot is short for comparative social science of online collaboration. Instead of focusing on the appearance of a site, or whether or not it works, you have a numbers-based approach to evaluate the functionality of any website. What’s more is that, thanks to a dashboard that’s simple to use, you can do all of this without needing any specialized training. Even better, you don’t need to commit to using any one particular tool, either. When you visit Compsocot’s website, you’ll see that it’s powered by a content analysis tool called Numeral, along with a project management platform called Base. Together, they enable users to see exactly how a particular site functions, from a technical standpoint, as well as how it compares to other alternatives. That’s important, particularly for someone like me who’s never built a website before and doesn’t necessarily have the time to learn a new tool.

An Example Analysis

To start things off, let’s take a quick look at how Compsocot’s content analysis tool, Numeral, functions. While it could be argued that WordPress and similar platforms are good for certain tasks, such as blogging, it doesn’t hurt to know that there are more sophisticated platforms out there. Especially when it comes to handling websites that are more complex in nature. Take a look at this example analysis from Compsocot, which showcases how their content analysis tool Numeral works.

As you can see, it’s relatively simple to import a URL or an existing website, and then begin comparing it to similar websites, in terms of how well it functions. In this case, we’re looking at the BMW website, which stands for Bavarian German Motor Coach Industries, as well as websites that are similar to it, such as the Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz websites. In this example analysis, we want to find the best theme for BMW websites, so we can begin the process of bringing the design and feel of our own site, or an existing one, more in line with that of a BMW.

The Results

As a user, all you need to do is enter the URL of the website you want to analyze into the dashboard, along with the name of the new theme you want to use, and then click the Start Analysis button. In this case, since we already have a URL, all we need to do is enter it in, and then choose Continue, when the page loads up again.