Blog / Squarespace vs. Wix Websites in China

Squarespace vs. Wix Websites in China

How do Squarespace and Wix sites compare in terms of speed and performance in China? If you're asking this question - you're not the only one! 

Here we'll compare a number of websites in terms of their performance metrics including full page load time, time to interactive, incompatible resources and visual-based experience.

Note: Neither Wix or Squarespace sites work well for China off the shelf. However, Chinafy works with both kinds of sites to optimise for speed, compatibility and user experience in China. This article is to purely access how these sites perform without any China-specific optimisations, from China.

Both Wix and Squarespace have a number of incredible templates for visitors to choose from. We'll take a look through the three key types of templates that both website builders offer including -

Business & Portfolio sites, where the primary objective is informational and brand awareness The call to action here is often to contact the company via a form or a phone call.

E-commerce, where the primary goal and clear call to action is to make a purchase. 

Portfolio, where the objective is to showcase a rich visual body of work. Similar to a business site - where the visitor may not transact - the call to action is to contact that the Portfolio owner directly.


Learn more about Wix and Squarespace in China

Squarespace & Wix Business Templates in China

In order to have an effectively performing business site, it is critical that the company leave a strong first impression and is easy to navigate.

When translated to performance metrics and website components, this means ensuring that the website's cover image and text components load quickly and fully.


SQUARESPACE BUSINESS SITE EXAMPLE

Freemans Restaurant

Template: Pacific Family

Key components: Menu, photos, contact and or booking form. 

Freemans Restaurant - Squarespace Example



The Freemans site took an average of 38.1 seconds to load in China versus 1.8 seconds in California. 


Looking into the resource waterfall, we can see that the Freemans restaurant uses this Resy's reservation widget for restaurants - which as an active widget, contributes to the overall page load time.

Even discounting this 'trailing' resource, we can see that the other items on the site take between 20-30 seconds to load from Squarespace's media domains (e.g. assets.squarespace.com, static.squarespace.com).

In terms of code compatibility in China, this Squarespace site has issues common to most other sites in terms of blocked resources that contribute to a further delay in page load if not incomplete pages.

From this China Code Test snapshot - which takes a sample of a site's various pages to scan for incompatible resources - we can see that this site uses Google Fonts, Instagram, and a slow Squarespace asset library. While these issues affect nearly all the pages found, fortunately they are all relatively easy to resolve using the Chinafy platform's automated rules.


Code Test results for Freemans Restaurants

View Freemans Restaurant's China Visual Speed Test here


WIX BUSINESS SITE EXAMPLE

RabaAnna's Bakery

Key components: Menu, photos, contact and or order form. 

Raba Anna's Bakery - Wix Site Example

The RabaAnna's site's order page (below) took an average of 21.5 seconds to load in China versus 4.8 seconds in California.


Order Page for Raba Anna's Bakery

While unlikely that a visitor in China will order a cake via this Order form, one Google API that could affect visitors in China for any business site is the use of Google reCaptcha (which is a blocked in China like a number of other Google APIs).

The use of this resource among others, could affect how well a visitor is able to interact and achieve the final call-to-action of getting in touch with the website owner.


China Code Test Sample





View RabaAnna's China Visual Speed Test here


Squarespace & Wix E-commerce in China


An estimate of three quarters of online shopping is performed through mobile devices in China vs less than half in the US. 

The two important criteria for a high-performance e-commerce site in China is 

Mobile-friendly and super fast, if not mobile-first 

Has China-friendly transaction options

Three quarters of online shopping will be performed through mobile devices in China, compared to less than half in the US. 

Mobile visitors tend to have less reliable and slower connections. As a result, there is mobile shoppers have a lower tolerance for slow websites when it comes to shopping.

In China, where 90% of payments in China are through mobile payment platforms and at least 577.4 million Chinese consumers use mobile payment systems - the negative effects of a slow checkout experience is multiplied.

90% of payments in China are facilitated via mobile payment platforms and at least 577.4 million Chinese consumers use mobile payment systems. - eMarketer

First, some key feature differences between Squarespace & Wix Ecommerce Templates

Squarespace E-commerce Features (that Wix doesn't have):

Ability to sell services. Wix requires that services are sold via their Bookings app.

Live Carrier Cost calculator for FedEx & UPS

Abandon Cart Recovery

Wix Features E-commerce features (that Squarespace doesn't have)

Ability to sell offline (cash or payment upon delivery)

Payment gateways other than Stripe & PayPal


SQUARESPACE ECOMMERCE EXAMPLE 

Fiele Fragrances

Key components: Shop, Checkout Page, Transaction Options

Fiele Fragrances - A Squarespace Ecommerce site


About Squarespace E-commerce Templates

Squarespace's e-commerce templates includes a checkout page, powering transactions through their platform.

Depending on your Squarespace plan, your checkout can exist either entirely on your domain (On Commerce basic or advanced plan) or on Squarespace's default secure.squarespace.com checkout page.


Squarespace E-commerce "Shop" Page Performance

As was the case with other Squarespace templates, the biggest challenge that Squarespace sites face is speed in China with sites delivering anywhere between 12s to 44+ seconds.

Fiele Fragrances' shop page (below) took an average of 34.5 seconds to load in China versus 2.2 seconds in California.

View Fiele Fragrances' China Visual Speed Test results here


WIX ECOMMERCE EXAMPLE

Stolen Goods

Key components: Shop, Checkout Page, Transaction Options

Stolen Goods - Made on Wix


View Stolen Goods' China Visual Speed Test results here


Wix E-commerce "Shop" Page Performance

Stolen Goods' shop page (below) took an average of 29.4 seconds to load in China versus 2.4 seconds in California.


The Squarespace vs Wix Checkout Experience in China

Not only is speed key to driving conversions, but the availability of China-friendly transaction options.

Unfortunately, Squarespace does not support WeChat or Alipay - the two primary payment processing preferred by Chinese consumers.  

Wix on the other hand does allow users to manually request approving an Alipay option for their site. 


Squarespace & Wix Portfolio Templates in China

SQUARESPACE PORTFOLIO EXAMPLE

Squarespace Portfolio Example: Set Creative

Set Creative

Key components: Visually strong videos & images, blog content

Set Creative - A Squarespace Site


Squarespace assets are delivered from a few specific domains including static.squarespace.com and assets.squarespace.com.

These assets are then hosted and delivered from servers in the US and served to users globally via Fastly's CDN. While optimised for site delivery outside of China, the infrastructure is simply not designed for onshore delivery.

As you can see above, a number of resources on the page are not delivering at all in China. Because the Squarespace domains delivering images are not blocked (and neither is the content of the site), the most likely reason behind poor delivery is that the files are simply taking too long to load. 

We can verify this by looking into Key Performance Metrics by content type in the Visual Speed Test. Images that should take a total of 3.6s seconds to load, can take up to almost a minute if not more. 


Compound the effect of images that take forever to load with blocked resources on the page (e.g. the Vimeo hosted cover video) - and the portfolio site is completely unable to achieve the objective of showing any body of work without China-specific technical optimisations.



WIX PORTFOLIO EXAMPLE

Wenxin Wendy Ju

Key components: Visually strong videos & images, blog content


Wenxin Wendy Ju - A Wix Portfolio Site

Wix assets are delivered from a number of domains including static.parastorage.com, frog.wix.com, among others - as we elaborate in our dedicated article on Wix sites in China

These domains, like those from Squarespace, are similarly not optimased for onshore delivery in China.

Wix assets are stored on servers are based in the US delivered using CDN provider Amazon Cloudfront. While great for global delivery of content, certain optimisations to infrastructure are absolutely necessary for any Wix or Squarespace user looking to to deliver a visually-heavy site, faster.


Interestingly enough, images from Wix's domains deliver faster than those from Squarespace. However, the biggest hold up is the delivery of Javascript. 



View Wenxin Wendy Ju's China Visual Speed Test here


Final Thoughts

While the page load times are faster overall for Wix sites in China compared to Squarespace sites "off the shelf", it appears that Wix sites takes longer than Squarespace sites to give any initial feedback to website visitors in general.

For example, like the 'simple' orders page for RabaAnna's Bakery Wix site takes about 10 seconds to show anything to the website visitor, and the form doesn't load until 13-14 seconds in.

Both Squarespace and Wix sites have blocked and slow third-party resources (e.g. Instagram embed!) that slow down the site and in some occasions, renders the page broken.

As a result, they both could benefit from removing these blocked resources and upgrading the infrastructure for their slower resources (e.g. assets, media etc.) seeing as these resources will affect the page load process for all other resources.

Ready to optimise your Wix or Squarespace site? Contact us at info@chinafy.com to learn more.





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