On one side, Adobe Portfolio is a website builder with a CC bundle. Photographers can use it for design portfolio pages, while for others, it’s a great platform to set up more complex sites with high-resolution photographs and videos displayed.
On the other hand, Squarespace comes with a similar promise yet has extra features that make it a worthwhile choice. Though it’s less intuitive, users can still come up with responsive catchy designs for any direction (including eCommerce), launch a site, set up a domain, and do plenty of other stuff with the site builder.
This Adobe Portfolio vs. Squarespace comparable analysis aims to shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of both solutions, thus, providing you with a clear image of which platform better fits your project.
There aren’t many similarities between Adobe Portfolio and Squarespace. Both solutions offer SEO tools, though to different extents. They introduce ready-made templates that are great for creating virtual portfolios and personal sites. Although Squarespace is developer friendly and provides JSON and SFTP access, LESS.css, Query tags, custom code, and a bunch of native development tools, it is also beginner friendly. It allows users to create sites even without applying any coding. Just the same way, being oriented to novice users is the schtick of Adobe Portfolio.
Adobe Portfolio and Squarespace are powerful and worthy solutions for creating an online portfolio or beautiful personal site, yet they have more differences than similarities. First of all, the number and quality of suggested templates is drastic. Squarespace introduces around 40 free and over a hundred paid flexible and fully customizable templates, which all stand out with their elegant aesthetics. Meanwhile, Adobe Portfolio offers only a dozen free themes looking pretty but identical, with no room for extensive customization.
Furthermore, Squarespace’s client management and image protection tools are far better than those of Adobe Portfolio. Just the same way, there is a radical difference between the website functionalities of Adobe Portfolio and Squarespace. Since the latter is a popular CMS, it has amazing blogging, SEO, and eCommerce tools, whereas the blogging and SEO tools of Adobe Portfolio are too basic. As for the eCommerce functionalities of Adobe, those are missing at all. You can add an online store function to sell your creations and art with Squarespace freely.
The available developer features are the next essential dissimilarity between Adobe Portfolio and Squarespace. While Squarespace is great for beginners and developers thanks to providing full code control to change any aspect of a chosen theme, Adobe Portfolio is designed solely for beginners. It provides absolutely no developer features.
And finally, the pricing system of these two solutions is completely different. Adobe Portfolio doesn’t have its own price as it’s a service involved in Adobe Creative Cloud. To access Portfolio for free, the Cloud subscription costs only $9.99/mo with no hosting and domain included. As for Squarespace, here we deal with a traditional pricing system with several inclusive plans priced per feature included. The introductory price is $16/mo.
Which One Is Easier to Use?
With either Adobe Portfolio or Squarespace, getting started is easy and quick. Any user with no coding knowledge and experience in website building can create a website by choosing a ready template and customizing it. One doesn’t need to have prior knowledge of CSS and HTML to build a catchy and effective site through either platform.
However, Squarespace has another approach to website design by asking the user to state the purpose of the site to be built so that the system can ease the process and offer the most relevant themes. Furthermore, the solution features a WYSIWYG drag-and-drop editor and allows choosing blocks, resizing them, and moving them around to give the template your brand voice.
Adobe Portfolio offers a live preview feature and makes changes visible in real time. However, there’s no drag-and-drop editing for portfolio website personalization.
Design Options Comparison
When choosing a website builder, it’s essential to go for one that provides you with much control over how your site appears and operates.
Adobe Portfolio allows users to create dynamic galleries with sophisticated aesthetics. However, primarily developed as a portfolio builder, the design customization level of this solution will definitely appear insufficient for advancing the site. It will as well limit the user’s creative mind. The available customization options include adjusting the background, colors and fonts, layouts, navigation (sub-page titles, links, social icons, collection titles), footer, and page covers.
Adobe Portfolio suggests only a dozen themes to choose from. Although they are all mobile responsive and will fit any device or screen size (on account of having different elements resized), the sheer small number of themes is already a downside. It limits your choice and results in a uniform look across all sites built with Adobe Portfolio. This, and the limitation of design customization, won’t let a user have a site that stands out.
Meanwhile, Squarespace introduces over a hundred themes categorized into sections per type and topic. You can even find 29 diverse templates for a cover page only. All options have a content block system for more advanced site customization. Change the content blocks on any website theme, use template-switching features to apply various themes to a portfolio website, etc.
For advanced users, Squarespace suggested using a CSS editor to edit an existing template and upload their own images and font files (suggested fonts can be customized with Adobe Fonts with thousands of samples available, too, but you can never upload your own files with Adobe), as well as create buttons, customized banners, and plenty of other elements. Squarespace also allows using HTML coding to open even more design possibilities.
So, in terms of design options, Squarespace is leading.
Website Functionality Comparison
The level of website functionality differs drastically between Adobe Portfolio and Squarespace. Let’s go over the essential aspects:
- With Adobe Portfolio, users will have to find a host and buy a domain from a third-party service. The process of adding your DNS address, as well as adjusting other settings, is all manual. If you are not tech savvy, quite probably you will encounter some difficulties along the way. If you have projects on Behance, Adobe Portfolio allows connecting with the platform and importing them.
On the other hand, Squarespace offers web hosting plans and custom domain names. This is an all-inclusive platform. It also allows importing complete sites from such platforms as Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress (review), along with product pages from BigCartel, Shopify, Etsy, and upload.csv files.
- Being dedicated to virtual portfolio creation, with Adobe Portfolio, users don’t have to export images to upload them individually. Instead, they can pick a Lightroom album through Adobe Portfolio Interface. Whatever you have got in Lightroom will automatically be displayed on your site. Furthermore, all Lightroom edits are synced to Adobe Portfolio pages, thus relieving you from applying multiple image re-edits on the site.
- Another important website functionality, regardless of the site type or target audience, is SEO. While with Adobe, you get only some basic SEO tools such as editing titles and descriptions, and favicons to have your site ranked higher in search results, Squarespace offers way more advanced features. It is powerful enough to significantly boost your ranking in search results with such tools as automatic image tags, clean HTML markup, automatic redirects, meta tags, description fields, keyword analytics, etc.
- Squarespace is a lot more versatile if you aim to monetize your website. You see, Adobe Portfolio users can showcase their work and sell through Adobe Stock after they have signed up as Stock contributors. When you mark particularly which pieces displayed on your site are on sale, a Buy button will come up in the gallery.
Meanwhile, Squarespace has a wide array of eCommerce tools that can turn your website into a full-fledged online shop. For instance, it offers store templates and an inventory system, supports PayPal and other payment gateways integration, allows the creation of product descriptions, etc.
- To extend your site’s functionality with add-ons and widgets, you must be a Squarespace user. This versatile platform comes with a pretty large array of in-built features, yet its Extensions store is also worth checking. You will find around two dozen carefully chosen plugins or third-party apps for website management, growth, and optimization. All available tools are split into four categories: Finance, Shipping & Fulfillment, Inventory & Products, and Sales & Marketing. Some noteworthy options are ShipStation, Printful, Quickbooks, TaxJar, etc.
As for Adobe Portfolio, unfortunately, there are no widgets or add-ons since the solution is itself a part of a huge Adobe Creative Cloud bundle along with other tools like Photoshop. Only integrations with Behance, Photoshop, Stock, and Lightbox are possible.
Adobe Portfolio is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud bundle and isn’t available separately for subscription. Accordingly, to use the platform for building a professional-looking virtual portfolio, you must get a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, priced starting at $9.99 per month. Note that this price doesn’t cover your site’s domain and hosting, which must be bought separately from a third-party service.
To expand the possibilities and access all brand solutions such as InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and 20 others, the monthly price for the Creative Cloud will rise to $54.99. Surely, other plans dedicated to students/teachers, businesses, and schools/universities are also available.
Meanwhile, Squarespace starts at $16 per month for an annual subscription. The starting Personal plan includes access to all its mobile-optimized elegant templates, a free custom domain for the first year, a bunch of SEO tools, unlimited bandwidth, 30 minutes of video storage on the site, access to extensions, all basic site metrics like tracking site visits, traffic sources, popular content, visitor geography, etc., audience management through collecting unlimited email subscribers, segmenting the audience, etc., and two contributors per site.
However, Squarespace also has three other plans – Business, Commerce Basic, and Commerce Advanced for those users who aim at creating a flourishing online business.
So, whether Adobe Portfolio or Squarespace is cheaper to use can’t be said for sure. On one side, you are only charged $9.99 per month but have to add a domain and hosting yourself, while on the other hand, you just pay $16 and have the domain and hosting included. Free trial periods of seven days for Adobe users and 14 days for Squarespace users are available.
At the end of Adobe Portfolio vs. Squarespace analysis, we can’t help but state that both are great tools. And yet, we can clearly see that Squarespace is the better option for online course creators.
Adobe Portfolio can be a viable option if the user is a creative who is looking for a simple site-building platform to demonstrate their work. It’s extremely simple and quick to work with this solution. The pricing is lower than Squarespace, either. And if you already use Adobe CC and Photoshop tools, it’s definitely more sensible to turn to the Portfolio tool of the same Adobe system.
Nevertheless, users in search of more power and flexibility in designing the website of their dreams (whether it’s simply a portfolio or a big eCommerce website) had better stick to Squarespace. The latter provides users with an easy-to-use editor, a broad collection of fully customizable templates, advanced SEO tools, integrated domain and hosting (domain for the first year is free), and even a bunch of eCommerce features. All these features and the reasonable $16/mo price make Squarespace an amazing deal.
So, you should use Adobe Portfolio if you need a cheap and simple portfolio-sharing site or you are already an Adobe user and want to sell your art within the Adobe community.
Opt for Squarespace if you need to create a personalized portfolio and deliver your unique brand or if you are looking to provide service and sell your art globally.