Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress: Relative Traffic Growth

Levels of Website Traffic

Wappalyzer, which catalogs the technology stack of websites globally, provides some interesting statistics for Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress — specifically, the growth in adoption compared to aggregate traffic growth.

Why is website traffic important? The right type of traffic along with the right conversion actions can mean either more sales leads or more customers — depending on the type of business.

Here is the relative market share of the top three content management systems (CMS).

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace Market Share
Source: Wappalyzer

WordPress is still the clear leader, but Squarespace and Wix have had an uptick in adoption.

The following are usage trends from July 2020 to April 2022 for each of WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.

WordPress Usage Trend

You can see from the following chart that the WordPress traffic trend is correlated with the usage trend.

WordPress Usage Trend
Source: Wappalyzer

Wix Usage Trend

While Wix has shown strong growth in adoption, the overall traffic to Wix sites has remained flat, according to Wappalyzer data.

Wix Usage Trend
Source: Wappalyzer

Squarespace Usage Trend

Squarespace also has a flat traffic trend, despite the increase in platform adoption.

Squarespace Usage Trend
Source: Wappalyzer

Explaining the Differences

Why is the traffic growth for both Wix and Squarespace lagging well behind the growth in the number of websites, relative to WordPress?

Here is speculation as to possible reasons.

The Average Company Size of Respective CMS Users

Wix and Squarespace are all-in-one solutions. Their customers don’t need to think at all about hosting companies. Third-party software, such as themes and add-ins, plays a small role. This is important because third-party apps can introduce ongoing maintenance needs.

Because of their low maintenance needs, these two CMSs may have been getting adopted by smaller companies compared to WordPress. Smaller companies, in turn, can mean websites with fewer pages.

With their excellent design tools these platforms are sometimes chosen for creating brochure websites — and not for sites with concerted SEO efforts.

WordPress requires more technical administration than either Squarespace or Wix. Users have to choose a hosting site such as WPEngine, Kinsta, or Siteground which is separate from the WordPress platform itself.

Many WordPress users install at least 10 of the over 59,000 available plugins. Manual intervention is sometimes needed for plugin updates and PHP updates.

Due to the need for ongoing maintenance, the average company size of a WordPress customer may be larger than the average size of a Squarespace or Wix customer. Bigger companies mean a lot more website pages and the ability to contract with or hire SEO experts. These add up to more website traffic.

SEO Plugins For WordPress

Many WordPress customers install SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO or Rank Math.

Both of these plugins add a lot of SEO value to WordPress. For example, the plugins let authors know in real-time how well their content is doing for SEO and readability.

In fact, Yoast will downright nag you if you’re missing important on-page and off-page elements from a page or post.

Yoast Nagging

Both SEO plugins automatically add structured data to posts and pages.

Google PageSpeed

Both Wix and Squarespace sites tend to have PageSpeed scores in the “poor” zone – between 0 and 49 out of 100.

Because these are all-in-on platforms, there’s little an individual customer can do to make their PageSpeed significantly different from that of other customers.

WordPress customers have a lot more individual control over PageSpeed. Each WordPress customer can turn its own speed dials. Dials include:

  • The Web hosting plan
  • The type of CDN
  • Installation and configuration of optimization plugins
  • The weight of the theme used
  • Use or non-use of a page builder

A new WordPress site built using the WordPress block editor can achieve PageSpeed in the 90 – 100 “good” zone.

Faster PageSpeed may mean higher rankings and therefore more website traffic.

This is not all to say that you can’t meet your website traffic goals with Squarespace or Wix. In fact, Wix has come a long way in terms of SEO in the last two years.

However, neither of these two platforms has Yoast to nag you about things like adding a meta description to your pages & posts or adding internal links.

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