If you’ve been searching for a place to host your photographs and are trying to decide between Zenfolio and Squarespace, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we dive deep into the features of each system to give you a clearer picture of which one is better and why.
At first glance, it seems that the two platforms are similar since they’re both website builders. However, each has a unique set of features aimed at a specific set of users.
Squarespace is a popular all-in-one website builder with a range of stunning photographic designs. Zenfolio is a site builder focused exclusively on helping you build gorgeous photography websites and galleries using customizable templates.
I’ve spent over ten hours researching the two systems to help you determine which is the best website builder. Here’s my breakdown of each platform’s features and functionality, including ease of use, design and customization, eCommerce features, blogging capabilities, pricing, support, and more.
1. Ease of Use
Both site builders have easy-to-use features that are ideal for photographers with no coding knowledge or technical background.
But, which one is easier to use? Let’s take a look.
Squarespace greatly simplifies the process of building a website. You can choose from its many pre-built templates and use the drag-and-drop widgets to customize the appearance and add functionality to your website.
The platform comes with on-screen tutorials to guide you through the website setup and search engine optimization processes. This means that total beginners can create a fully functional website without the need to enlist the help of a web development professional.
Another standout feature of the software is the selection of high-quality photography portfolios that are designed to help you showcase your images in the best way possible. The simple interface lets you customize any template to match your brand.
You’ll find plenty of customization options for layouts, images, videos, colors, fonts, buttons, and virtually any other website creation element you can think of. There’s also a built-in CMS (content management system) that’s simple to navigate and makes it easy for you to update and manage website content.
Summary of Squarespace’s Ease of Use Features:
- On-screen tutorial guides for easy website setup
- Drag-and-drop functionality for simplicity and convenience
- Beautiful pre-built templates for all industries
- Pre-configured widgets for added functionality
- Built-in hosting for blogs and eCommerce stores
Zenfolio provides a user-friendly environment to help you build a beautiful photography website in minutes. There are dozens of photography-focused templates you can use so you don’t have to build your site from scratch.
The interface is easy to use, and in addition to all the essential photography website features, you’ll also find plenty of proven widget designs and page elements that you can add to your pages with one click to help you save time.
These will help you highlight your images and videos and include things like image galleries, video galleries, image backgrounds, and more.
You can quickly customize these elements using the simple editor which comes with thousands of different design possibilities. No coding knowledge is required – everything is point-and-click, which makes Zenfolio ideal for novice users.
Summary of Zenfolio’s Ease of Use Features:
- Beginner-friendly user interface
- Simple point-and-click editor ideal for beginners
- Pre-configured photography website templates
- Stunning image and video galleries
- One-click widgets and design options to save time
When it comes to simplicity and ease, Zenfolio has an edge over Squarespace. The platform is about as easy as it gets to build a photography website. On Squarespace, you get more advanced features and technical tools that beginners may find a bit overwhelming.
2. Design and Customization
Both Zenfolio and Squarespace can help you build a beautiful website and store for your photography business. But, does Zenfolio’s concentration on photographic websites make it better than Squarespace? Let’s find out.
The Squarespace website builder offers a wide range of customization options for your website. Unlike Zenfolio which excels in customizing color pallets, Squarespace lets you dive deep to customize every aspect of your site for pixel-perfect results.
Most of the templates on the platform are of minimalistic design, but you can put aside the pre-built photography website templates to build your own custom design from scratch.
The visual editor makes it easy to customize fonts, colors, layouts, and more, and the breadth of available choices allows you to unleash your creativity.
Summary of Squarespace’s Design and Customization Features:
- Easy-to-use visual editor
- Wide range of customization features
- Modern, minimalist photography website templates are available
- Mobile-friendly site designs
The image above shows one of the many inspired templates you can use in building your Zenfolio website.
You’ll find a wide range of templates that are ideal for all types of photography websites. The beautiful photography templates are grouped into different categories, including portraits, products, wildlife, weddings, family outings, food festivals, fashion events, and much more.
With the simple DIY Zenfolio website builders, you’ll be able to create stunning visual hubs for your photos and videos regardless of your technical skill level. Simply swap out the placeholder images, videos, and text for your own, and your site is ready to go.
The platform also comes with mobile-friendly and shareable client galleries that allow you to share and sell your photos or videos easily.
Summary of Zenfolio’s Design and Customization Features:
- Easy-to-use DIY photography site builder
- Pre-built layouts with adjustable themes
- Partner print lab handles all image production and shipping
- Interactive online galleries designed to impress clients
- Built-in editor offers thousands of design possibilities for in-depth customization
Zenfolio is perfect for building a photography website, but it has a limited feature set with regard to everything else. Squarespace, on the other hand, has more robust tools for design and customization, which makes it ideal whether you’re building your website, blog, or online store.
Also, it allows you to rearrange the design components on your page to create a totally new website layout, whereas Zenfolio does not.
3. eCommerce Capabilities
When choosing a website builder, you want one with extensive eCommerce features so you can sell your products and services online. Let’s see how these two site builders stack up.
Squarespace has a wide range of eCommerce templates that come with integrated features such as product pages, item management, payment gateways, and much more.
You can add up to 100 products to your store and change the descriptions of each item. Add product photos and edit them right on the platform. This makes it easier for you to showcase your goods in the best light possible without having to use third-party apps like Photoshop or Canva.
Use promo codes, discounts, and coupons to entice more sales. Choose the relevant currency for your particular customers. You can even add special forms to help you collect information about your customers before the checkout.
Summary of Squarespace’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Sell physical products, digital content, services, and subscriptions
- Full-featured online storefront templates and layouts
- Faster speed for an enhanced online shopping experience
- Fully scalable eCommerce store platform
- Sell both online and in-person
Zenfolio has integrated eCommerce tools to sell digital downloads, prints, gifts, and more directly from your website. You can set up and integrate your own custom web store or transform your existing gallery into a digital store in just a few clicks.
Zenfolio also has automated workflows (e.g. automated booking, payments, marketing, etc.) that serve as a sort of virtual studio assistant by handling all administrative processes behind the scenes. This is a handy feature that frees you up to spend more time where you really want to be: behind the lens.
Your clients will be well taken care of on your Zenfolio website, whether they’re ordering prints, booking a shoot, or getting automated confirmation emails for their purchases.
There’s also a range of built-in marketing tools that you can use to run year-round marketing campaigns to stay in touch with your clients.
Summary of Zenfolio’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Beautiful store templates for all store types
- Reach more customers and increase sales with built-in marketing tools
- Popular payment methods like Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal and credit cards
- Fulfillment is made easy with Zenfolio’s print partners
- Pre-made photography gift templates for every occasion
For photographers, Zenfolio is the clear winner. It has everything you need to sell your photos online, including a custom store builder, built-in marketing tools, integrated payment methods, and even smart pricing features to help you set competitive prices based on factors such as your local market, photo shoot type, print-lab fees, etc.
4. Blogging Tools
As a creator, you understand the importance of regularly publishing fresh content to attract organic visitors from search engines. Fortunately, most site builders these days are designed to make blogging as easy as possible. Let’s see if that’s the case with these two website-building solutions.
Squarespace makes it super easy to create and manage your blog. You can add a blog page to your website in one click. Customize the design and layout using Squarespace’s drag-and-drop editor and you can start adding posts to your blog.
You’ll find all the blogging tools you require within easy reach on your dashboard, including image editing tools for beautiful and optimized blog visuals.
Add multiple contributors to your blog, sync and share content on social media, and use the Squarespace Blog App to manage and update your blog on the go.
Summary of Squarespace’s Blogging Tools:
- Simple yet powerful blogging and CMS feature
- Secure cloud hosting for your blog
- Integrated blog SEO features for online visibility
- Convenient social media sharing feature
- Built-in image editing tool
Zenfolio is well known as a dedicated website builder for photographers. It does come with blogging functionality, but it’s quite limited compared to Squarespace.
Photographers can use the integrated blog feature to quickly upload and share their latest photo shoots with their blog audience. You can add a few images to a teaser section to entice visitors to click through and see the rest of your post.
Video hosting is included which means you can create a video blog without having to worry about paying an additional fee for a third-party video hosting solution.
Summary of Zenfolio’s Blogging Tools:
- Integrated blog feature designed for showcasing images
- Video hosting included for a streamlined experience
- Customizable blog post themes
- Widgets for photos, videos, slideshows, and custom-embedded content
- Teaser feature to boost reader engagement
Both platforms offer integrated blogging features that make it easy to create, schedule, and update your blog posts. However, Squarespace has more robust tools to support your blogging efforts, which makes it ideal for anyone who intends to publish a lot of blog content.
5. Search Engine Optimization Tools
Zenfolio vs Squarespace: Which is better for SEO optimization?
Squarespace has built-in SEO features for enhanced website visibility. There’s an AI-powered SEO Wizard that guides you through simple steps you can take to improve your website’s search ranking. This makes it easy for beginners who aren’t familiar with current SEO best practices.
You’ll be able to easily optimize product/page titles, add important keywords, manage image alt text, and perform other tactics to improve the search result rankings for your website.
Like Squarespace, Zenfolio has an intuitive SEO setup process to guide users in optimizing their new site. You’ll be prompted to fill out some details on a short SEO form, after which the platform will make recommendations for you to follow.
You can optimize your homepage title and description, and if you want your new website to show up in local search results, you can choose the relevant location.
Zenfolio will also provide you with tips about which keywords and meta tags you should use, and how to tweak other SEO settings for better search engine rankings.
Squarespace has more advanced SEO functionality. Not only do you get a setup wizard to guide you, but you’re also provided with an extensive checklist for enhanced search engine optimization.
6. Community and Support
Squarespace has a well-stocked Help Center where you can browse through dozens of articles and how-to guides to find answers to your questions.
In addition to these resources, there’s also a community forum where you can connect with other Squarespace users to share your experience and exchange tips and advice on your website-building journey.
If you need to contact support, you can do so via email and automated chat at any time of day or night.
Zenfolio offers 24/7 award-winning support through phone, email, and live chat. The support team is composed of professional photographers who will provide you with knowledgeable answers to your questions.
There’s also a vast community of friendly users that you can connect and grow with.
In addition to these support channels, you also get on-demand training that’s focused on helping you build a successful photography business.
Zenfolio’s support team is more responsive compared to Squarespace, which means you’re assured of getting answers in a timely fashion.
Squarespace offers a free trial, after which you can choose from four premium plans, which are as follows:
Free Trial: $0/Month: You can sign up for a free trial to test out the platform’s core features. No credit card is required, and you’ll be able to publish a website on a subdomain.
- Personal Plan: $16/Month: If you opt for the annual website plan, you get a free custom domain for the year, SSL security, unlimited bandwidth, and built-in SEO features for enhanced website visibility.
- Business Plan: $23/Month: The “Business” plan includes everything in the “Personal” plan, as well as unlimited contributors, premium integrations, professional email from Google, and promotional banners and pop-ups.
- Basic Commerce: $27/Month: This plan includes everything in the “Business” plan + 0% transaction fees, although it’s important to note that your payment processor may still apply its own transaction fees.
- Advanced Commerce: $49/Month: The Advanced Commerce plan has everything in the “Basic eCommerce” plan. You also get abandoned cart recovery features, the ability to sell subscriptions, and advanced discounts and shipping.
Zenfolio has a plan for every stage of your photography career. It’s designed to be a one-stop resource with everything you need to start, grow, and scale your business.
Here’s what each Zenfolio plan offers:
- Free Trial: $0/Month: You can sign up for a free trial on Zenfolio. No credit card is required, and you get access to all the core features of the photography site builder. At the end of the free trial, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the premium plans, and you get a huge 50% discount if you opt for the annual plan.
- Portfolio Plan: $3.50/Month: This is the basic plan which comes with 15GB of photo storage, HD video hosting, and shareable client galleries. You can add 1 custom watermark and you get access to photo-sharing and client-proofing features.
- Portfolio Plus: $9.50/Month: This plan has all the features in the Portfolio plan, as well as 150 GB photo storage, expanded lab access, and the ability to sell your products and services directly from your website.
- Pro Suite: $16.50/Month: In addition to all the Portfolio Plus features, this plan also comes with 3 custom watermarks, and automated client campaigns, which are Zenfolio-designed and managed campaigns to help boost your product sales.
Zenfolio is one of the most affordable website builders for photographers. Starting from just $3.50/month for the Portfolio plan (billed annually), the photography site builder is ideal for individuals and small businesses that are just starting out.
Having said that, it’s important to note that Squarespace offers value-added features that are worth every penny for anyone who wants to build a full-featured website.
I hope this Squarespace – Zenfolio website builder comparison has helped you decide which platform to use for building your photography website.
If you’re still not sure which one to choose, here are my recommendations.
Choose Squarespace if: You are a creator who loves design and wants your website to look as good as the content you are showing off online. You’ll find dozens of high-quality templates that you can easily customize to set your business apart. Squarespace also comes with built-in features for selling products, services, downloads, subscriptions, and more. You can even sell offline thanks to Square integration.
Alternatively, check out how Squarespace compares to other site builders:
- Squarespace vs. WordPress
- Squarespace vs. GoDaddy
- Squarespace vs. Weebly
- Squarespace vs. Bluehost
- Squarespace vs. Bandzoogle
Choose Zenfolio if: You are a photographer who wants to showcase and sell your photos with ease. Zenfolio is a site builder built by photographers for photographers, which means its main focus is on your clients. The Zenfolio website builder is easy to maintain and comes with advanced technologies to help enhance your clients’ experience, such as automated workflows that make it easy for your clients to book sessions, pay for products, and receive services instantly on your site.