The Truth About Why I Switched to SquareSpace
I have been blogging for almost 3 years now and I have used several website builder and done a lot of research. I consider myself a DIY blogger I handle every aspect of my blog and business myself mainly because I'm cheap (i.e. I don't use graphic designers, social media managers, or writers). With all the researched I have compiled I felt it important to share my experience. I hope this is super helpful for anyone considering blogging or switching to a new platform. I wanted to address some of the Wordpress myths that I have learned over the last year.
Like I said before I'm cheap so one of the initial reason I decided to switch from Wordpress to Squarespace was cost. Squarespace is less expensive and personally I feel they offer more bang for your money. I didn't have any issues with WordPress but at this point in time it does not fit my budget (especially since I quit my 9-5..read more). I hope my post will help dispel some of the blog platform myths. WordPress and Squarespace are both optimized to make for a great experience for bloggers, because you don't have to be extremely tech savvy especially if you utilized their forums and instructions.
MY BLOGGING BACKSTORY WITH Blogger (blogspot)
When I first began blogging I used Bloggers, because it was easy to use and free. In hindsight what I will say is I wish I would have invested more time into utilizing Blogger. I personally believe there is a lot of functionality with Blogger that makes it a viable platform. Especially since Blogger is powered by Google the analytics are a great advantage for bloggers. Blogger is a great option for new bloggers. Blogger is free and still offers the ability to utilize custom domain name. In the past, I used a free DNS host to redirect my blogspot site to my custom domain. Also, you can install custom templates on Blogger here's an example of a template I love. The Velvet Template is for Blogger only, but it's only $6 and the seller offers to install it at no additional cost. Total cost for a custom domain name, whois privacy, and this theme would be $23. If I most say so myself, I am impressed!
Cost $300 vs 144
In 2015 I spent a little over $400 on Wordpress purchasing 2 custom templates, third party hosting, and the business Wordpress plan. Please learn from my lesson and don't do this, first of all Wordpress is self hosted so you don't need a third party host. Truthfully, I had no business purchasing hosting for my blog especially with the traffic I was receiving. Also, many people don't realize that the business plan with WordPress includes access to custom templates. WordPress as a platform no longer supports third-party templates, therefore the only way to bypass this is to purchase hosting from a third party. The good thing is the introductory hosting fees are typically inexpensive.
Just remember when with both sites these rates are billed yearly so do your research wisely. There are a lot of supplemental sites out there that you can use in conjuction with your blog if you decide down the road you would like to sell products or services, podcast, and so forth. Don't allow the pressure to choose a plan or site force you into making a hasting decision to purchase capabilities that you are not yet ready for.
When researching the benefits of choosing Wordpress you will likely find tons of articles and blog post about plugins. Plugins are like coded widgets you can add to your Wordpress site, in simple terms its typically an upgraded feature that is not otherwise available. Many plugin are not available if you have a free Wordpress plan. In my experience BlueHost customers have access to all plugins directly from the WordPress dashboard. If you plan to use WordPress make sure you read this post about which plugins are included with each plan.
So now its time to talk about the common things that bloggers have on their WordPress site and how you can move these to Squarespace easily. Now by no means am I trying to sell you on signing up for Squarespace I'm just simply trying to make sure you have all the information you need if you're getting ready to do the switch or if you're considering doing it and wondering what steps you have to take in order to make the switch.
The beloved opt ins. I'm sorry but opt-ins don't transfer from Wordpress to Squarespace. I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now but its not as bad as it sounds. I recommend saving the verbiage from your Wordpress opt-in to a word document to make the process easier. Creating opt-ins on Squarespace is super simple and can be created on any page or blog post. Opt in data can be exported to various sources such as Google drive, Mailchimp, etc. I did not use Leadpages or convert kits on Wordpress instead I used Icegram a free plugin. If you like using Hello Bars, Squarespace offers a similar function called announcement bars.
One of the major reasons why I loved Squarespace is their templates are beautiful, modern, and classic, Best of all they are free with the purchase of your website. SquareSpace templates are very visually appealing this is important for driving traffic and creating return users. SquareSpace makes for a easy website setup process because it is novice user friendly. It took me 2 days to set up my SquareSpace website and about 3 weeks to set up my Wordpress website. WordPress reigns supreme because you can create a custom website or blog experience despite using a website builder. But Wordpress can be very piece meal, which can be aggravating if your a novice at designing a website.
Click to tweet
Click to tweet don't transfer over either. In SquareSpace you can create Click to Tweet links or change them to quotes. If you would like to keep the Click to Tweet functionality I found a blog post that explains in how to create click to tweet for SquareSpace.
blog post and comment
Contrary to popular belief moving your website from WordPress to SquareSpace is simple and easy. Simply export you content from Wordpress and Import it into SquareSpace. Here's a detailed post regarding how each step should be executed.
photos and attachments
Although it was fairly easy to transfer my files from WordPress to SquareSpace. An important point that I learned once I deleted my WordPress site is that my documents (i.e. printable) and photos were no longer available, although my blog post were still displaying correctly on SquareSpace. My images and printable files were completely unavailable. I'm not sure what the cause of this is, but just make sure you have all your documents and photos saved on a drive or your computer.
from WordPress & third-party hosting to squarespace
Remember that hiccup with the photos and documents I think it maybe related to the hosting. If I understand correctly your blog contents are stored with the third party host, therefore when your hosting ends the contents of your site are no longer available. Another techy thing I noticed was that SquareSpace points your blog post directly back to your WordPress contents. (See photos below)
Word to the Wise: Download the contents of your site before ending your subscription. If your not in the habit, start downloading your site weekly.
custom domain name
The process of redirecting your domain name is very simple as long as your domain carrier offers full functionality. I previously used IxWebHosting they are fairly inexpensive but now I realize why, they don't offer the functionality you need to point your website to a website builder. If your just starting out with your blog then you most definetely should buy your domain from GoDaddy they have all the functionality you need no matter what webiste builder you choose to go with.
Before you switch to SquareSpace make sure to check that your domain name provider is compatible and if they are not compatible then get your domain name transferred to another provider who is compatible with Squarespace (this process takes about 2 weeks). The great thing is you can transfer your domain to a new provider at no cost. Once you have a compatible domain name provider all you have to do is login and Squarespace will do it for you, here's the step by step guide which includes the list of compatible providers.
If you are considering switching to Squarespace keep in mind they offer a 14-day free trial. So create an account and go through the entire process of selecting a template and importing your content. Test drive your site on Squarespace to determine if its a good fit for you. If you are a truly thrifty DIYer and willing to invest your time to get the biggest bang for your buck check out Creative Market for Blogger Themes and get started with Blogger. If you want to go big and create a one of a kind website check out WordPress. The choice is always your!
By no means am I a tech genius but I pretty good at using Google. I'm so happy to share my WordPress to SquareSpace switch lessons with you all. Update as of 7/16/17 I'm planning on switching back to Blogger, I told ya'll I'm serious about saving money. I share more soon about the process of switching and the work around I'm using to keep my current functionality.