My blog has taken on many forms both in terms of naming, look, and host. It originally began on Blogger – and still exists somewhere – was pushed to the side, and then eventually made its way to Squarespace and now WordPress.
Squarespace is actually a really great hosting site and there is no bad blood between us. But by the time 2016 rolled around, I was ready for a new look and feel. So why did my insessent need to change things result in a host change? Lets weigh the pros + cons to find out!
Squarespace Pros + Cons
One of the best features of Squarespace is it’s all-in-one nature. You get your hosting, domain name, and design in a single platform. They have a drag and drop system which makes editing pages very customizable and easy to work with. And the fact that you don’t have to outsource designs can save you a lot of money.
While writing this I had to look up the plans and discovered that they now only offer two plans: Personal and Business for $12 and $18, respectively. Which is really not outrageous, especially if you factor in that an annual payment gets you a free domain.
But although the system is really easy to use, it comes with a lot of limitations. When I started thinking about how I could change the look and feel of my site, I started to realize just how much white space took up my pages. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some white space, but it started to feel too stark. And using a system that already has templates means those are the only templates you can use. I found that it was difficult to make small, individual changes to whatever template I chose. It started to feel like my site looked like every other Squarespace site. They all have the same overly white area feel that made me feel like I was missing out on so much usable space that a WordPress template would give me.
WordPress Pros + Cons
My favorite part of WordPress is all the power I have to make the site mine. I choose what plugins I want to add; what theme I want to purchase; and how I want to organize everything. It’s exciting to make all the decisions behind the scenes that affect how my blog will look and work on the surface.
Switching to WordPress was also a project and boy do I love projects. There was a lot of planning, a lot of tinkering, and a lot of resizing of images, but it was a lot of fun to play with all of the pieces that make a website.
My only con is how overwhelming it can all feel. There was a definite learning curve but that comes with learning any new system and with a lot to choose from it can seem a bit frightening. What if you choose the wrong plugin? What if you want to switch themes halfway through? Because WordPress is so widely used, there are hundreds of articles and blogs written to help you navigate the system! You’re really never alone when it comes to figuring out WordPress.
There are days when I think I should have stayed with Squarespace. Uploading a portfolio is a lot easier on Squarespace because you don’t have to worry about loading speeds and their gallery functions are a lot more flexible. In the end, however, I am happy with my choice because it allowed me to stretch my skills; learn new things; and really get hands on with figuring out how I wanted my blog to look.
- Choose a reliable host: This one seems kind of obvious, but if you don’t know what hosts are out there you made end up choosing and regretting. I did a bunch of research and had settled on BlueHost. Before I signed up, I noticed Kaelene was having issues with BlueHost and had started recommending SiteGround. A few tweets later and I was sold. Simply Christine is hosted on SiteGround and I couldn’t be happier. They were incredibly helpful when I had trouble unlocking and moving my domain name.
- Do your research: Doing your research doesn’t just apply to hosting. I read so many articles about WordPress, hosting, creating assets for your blog, and themes that I thought my mind was going to explode. It really doesn’t hurt to be over-prepared for for a move!
- Ask for help: Doing a website move and redesign all by yourself can be extremely daunting and stressful! If you find yourself lost in uncharted waters, don’t be afraid to reach out. Whether that’s to your domain’s help line, someone on Twitter, or forums, don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know. There is a plethora of bloggers out there – including myself – who would be more than happy to help you out!
- Choose a good design: Making the move isn’t worth it unless you’ve got a great design to to show off all your hard work. I would highly suggest Etsy if you don’t know where to start. My personal favorite shops are Light Morango and Oh Wild. The best designs are going to be the ones that are extremely customizable, easy to use, and (obviously) very aesthetically pleasing. I always lean toward ones with soft greys that are very minimal in design.