I made the move from WordPress to SquareSpace and haven’t looked back.
When I first started to look for a web hosting service, I did not know much about what I was getting myself into. I was very green and had no idea how websites were even built. I searched around Google and found that most everyone I came across were using WordPress.
Terms to be familiar with:
Your domain is your web address: www.yourbusinessname.com. WordPress is a content management system which acts as the back end to your website. Both of these can be obtained through sites like GoDaddy or BlueHost.
SquareSpace is a SAAS (software as a service) where the content management system is composed of a hosting service, website builder, and blogging platform. You can purchase your domain through them or one of the providers.
A theme is a precoded format for your website layout that you can purchase. This takes most of the hard work out of designing your own site, but some have better features than others, so be picky when choosing the right one for you.
Signing up for WordPress was easy. I first went to BlueHost to register my domain and installed WordPress through my BlueHost account.
Next, I purchased the Canvas Theme WooThemes. I selected Canvas because I thought it would be easier to have more options when designing my web site. After about 6 months of frustration, I realized there was way too much customization and coding knowledge required to get where I wanted my page to be.
I then found Total Theme by ThemeForest. Each theme is usually around $80-100 and buying yet another theme was not ideal since my site had not even launched at that point. But I was desperate and elated I found Total. I had been complaining to my hubby “Why don’t they make this easier?!”. Sure enough “they” do - I just didn’t know it at that point.
Total theme offers a front end editor that has a drag and drop feature. This is nice because you no longer have to switch back and forth between the back end (where you make edits) and the front end (your actual web page) to see the changes you are making. Most of the front end editing features are for formatting of fonts, colors, and layout. You still need to access the back end to write posts and for all of the ‘heavy lifting’ like installing plug-ins.
Finally, I launched my site at the beginning of April 2015. I liked my site’s layout and content well enough at that point to launch and needed to start generating traffic.
I was still spending too much time in the back end with plug-ins and setting changes. I had to rely on my hubby for trouble shooting and overall was spending too much time on my site’s design. I wanted to focus more on my blogs and overall business.
Then came along SquareSpace. I had been up and running for about a month, which does not seem like a long time, but the time I have to work on my site is extremely limited right now and every minute counts. The less I had to spend working on the design and overall functionality of my site was all the more time I could spend writing these wonderfully written blogs to you.
SquareSpace is perfect for someone like me
I want a simple and clean, yet fully functional site with my own domain and not something like www.yourbusinessname.someoneelsesbusinessname.com. An example of the latter would be www.yourbusinessname.wiz.com. When you sign up for site like Wiz, you are generating traffic for them, not you.
With SquareSpace, you have all the bells and whistles of WordPress like SEO optimization, ecommerce options that are simple to use, customizable layouts, free themes to choose from, and so on. The nice part is you don’t have to worry about plug-ins. You even have features similar to the HelloBar built right in. The price is very competitive to WordPress and other hosting sites with options to upgrade depending on the level of service you require for your business.
So what’s the catch?
The only downsides that I’ve been able to find are the current limitations to having user log-ins and subscription based accounts. Users have been requesting these features to be added and we hope SquareSpace is listening. What does this mean? If you have a portion of your site where you need people to have a user ID and password to view the content which is normal for a subscription based account, you’ll have to use a third party:
Currently, you cannot have subscription based accounts with reoccurring payments through a SquareSpace account. But where there is a will there is a way. In this case, a workaround. SquareSpace has a great tutorial on how to integrate your site with MoonClerk. MoonClerk is integrated with Stripe to accept payments. TinyPass and MediaPass are other options.
One more awesome thing about SquareSpace. Their customer service rocks. If you can’t find what you need through their wonderfully detailed help tutorials and the Q&A section has failed you, you can submit a ticket or contact them through their live chat and they get right back to you. They were so prompt in answering some issues I was having with my site, that I started to have email-response-time shame; they were that tentative to my issue.