A website is your online homebase so it’s important to use a platform that works for you if you’re going to be the one updating it. You wouldn’t purposefully buy clothes that are 5 sizes too big or too small. You wouldn’t purposefully buy a raised 3-story house if you had mobility issues. Make sure the thing that you are investing time and money in works for you. I started with WordPress.org because I had some tech skills, but I quickly grew tired of the maintenance.
This is Part 2 in the “Tools I Wish I’d Used” series. You can find Part 1 (G Suite) here.
My first website was cringe. It was set up on VistaPrint and had matching business cards. The internet never forgets. The crazy thing?
I’d been designing personal websites for myself and friends for years, and they always looked all right. I was fairly proficient with HTML and CSS. It’s like all of my common sense went out the window when it was for business purposes. And since I was used to custom coding, using a drag-and-drop builder was pretty foreign.
It wasn’t long before I left VistaPrint and moved to WordPress.org because everyone seemed to use it and OMG it was free and iPage had some killer deal for annual hosting. I liked WordPress because creating posts/pages there was more familiar to me - the composer functioned basically like a word processor, which is what I was used to. There were thousands of amazing themes, a lot of which were free to use. And then with plugins and widgets it seemed like the functionality was limitless.
But guess what kept happening?
I’d update the plugins and suddenly my entire website would go down. So I’d have to FTP into my site and manually turn the plugins off one at a time to see what was causing the problem. Sometimes updating the theme crashed the website. Any and all WP updates became a stressful ritual revolving around late nights and prayers to the technology gods and a lot of cursing. I can’t imagine what it’s like for people who don’t have basic knowledge about coding and FTP!
I tried to mitigate this by only using plugins that had good reviews and were updated recently, but this involved extra time for researching that I probably should have spent making money.
In addition, my website (both the backend and the site itself) were starting to load sooooooo slowly. Between all of the plugins, different themes, custom coding, and constantly installing/uninstalling things I was experiencing WordPress bloat. It was so bad that I blew up the entire site and started from scratch with a fresh (empty) installation of WordPress and as few plugins as possible.
Things were okay for awhile, but there were still issues with constant updates and plugin conflicts. I was super sick of all of the maintenance and I wasn’t able to keep up with new web coding, so I decided to hire a designer to redo my website. She convinced me to move to Squarespace.
Cue angels singing.
To be completely honest I did lose a little bit of ‘nice to have’ functionality but once I tried it out the drag-and-drop editing was wonderful to use. I had to do zero technical maintenance and if my site went down Squarespace fixed it. I often wish that I had tracked all of the time I spent doing maintenance on my WordPress website so that I could tell you exactly how much time I saved by moving to Squarespace.
Also, the Squarespace annual hosting fee was less than what I was paying iPage after the killer deal ended so I also saved some moolah. And it automatically included SSL in it’s plan, which saved me another $75/year!
Bonus: if you get the Squarespace Business Plan it automatically includes a G Suite account free for the first year.
Some other things I really love about Squarespace:
It’s super easy to install multiple templates and work on new designs without interrupting your live website
All images are automatically delivered via CDN to speed up your website
Integrates with Getty Images if you need some stock photos; Amazon if you are an affiliate seller; Mailchimp for your email marketing; Dropbox; Acuity Scheduling if you offer appointments; Zapier, and more
Built-in functionality for ecommerce allowing you to see physical & digital products or services
You can purchase/transfer domains right in Squarespace
Want to check it out? You get a free trial so carve out some time in a 2 week period and build your site to see what you think!