5 Reasons Why I Switched Back to Squarespace
Here's the story: I’ve dabbled in Wordpress for my own website design and I’ve dabbled in Squarespace. I design websites every single day for clients on both platforms and love them for different reasons. And now I’m here to give you the lowdown on my own experience and why I've chosen to jump ship and redesign my site in Squarespace.
When I started my business back in 2014, I was no pro at web design. I finished my Graphic Design certificate at a local college, but was in the midst of just starting to teach myself how to design a fully-functional, website.
So that meant that I needed to build my site on something simple to use: Squarespace came waltzing into my life at the most perfect time.
I built out the first iteration of my site on a clean Squarespace template. It wasn’t bad, you guys! It was simple, modern, and user-friendly. It was definitely sufficient.
As time went on though, and I learned a bunch of new skills in designing websites, I decided I wanted to take on a challenge. I knew I was going to eventually build client websites on Wordpress, so I thought, why not let my learning experiences be tested with my own website first.
So… I built myself a beautiful Wordpress website and made the leap over from Squarespace. While Squarespace swept me off my feet initially, I felt like was ready for something a little more mature (sorry Squarespace - don’t worry. Spoiler alert: I come back!).
My Wordpress site has been wonderful to me. It truly has. But as 2017 approached, I was feeling so set in my business and building multiple websites at once for different clients.
And that’s when things started to feel… well... complicated.
I was managing about 8 website builds at my busiest time (this isn’t something I do now… I’ve learned my lesson) and I was realizing something. The last thing I wanted to do after building more and more complex websites in both Wordpress and Squarespace for my clients was update and maintain my own.
Don’t get me wrong. The flexibility and control that you have when you use Wordpress is not exactly matched with Squarespace. When a client comes to me and wants a completely custom experience, well, there may not be a Squarespace template for that.
But like I said, things started to feel complicated.
So I made the tough decision. I decided I was going to redesign my website in Squarespace. Again.
I knew it’d be a ton of work to move things back over (though you CAN actually import your WP website content to SS), I also knew in the long-run, it’d be less headache for me while I focused on my client projects.
Here are 5 of the reasons I made the switch:
1) Squarespace is a little easier to manage:
The drag and drop functionality lets my brain rest, even for a moment, as I make changes to my site. I can see things happening in a live environment and things are just a little less complicated on this platform.
Content blocks make it easy to drop onto the page, and there’s little thought needed to know what it’ll all look like when it’s done.
2) Streamlining my platforms:
SS is a one stop shop. Ahhhhhh, simplicity. I reached a point in my business this year where all I wanted to do was simplify, simplify, simplify.
After trying to do everything at once and paying for a million different monthly platform/app subscriptions, I did a digital cleanse.
Streamlining. Feels. Good.
SS lets you manage your domain, hosting and templates all on one platform for ONE fee. Bliss.
3) Less maintenance required:
With WP, you need to stay on top of your plugin updates, theme updates and Wordpress updates if you want to maintain your site security and functionality. That means checking in about once a month or so and manually clicking the update buttons on each plugin, theme or Wordpress update required. It’s really not time consuming at all, but I mean, it is one more thing I need to worry about.
4) No more plugins needed:
Plugins are marvellous, don’t get me wrong. There is literally one for everything! It’s like the “there’s an app for that!” saying, but for your Wordpress website.
Plugins make managing your site A LOT easier, especially for less tech-savvy clients. However, it also leaves the door of your website open for malfunctioning, security risks and maintenance. WP is open source, which means anyone and everyone can code for a plugin and make it public. You just don’t have a lot of control over the back-end of these plugins and how they’re functioning or working with the rest of your website.
5) Clean designs + clean code:
Squarespace is a one stop shop, as I mentioned. That means they have an entire team of designers and developers working together to put out beautiful templates for your website. This builds a lot of credibility in the cleanliness of the design and code working together. There’s less clutter, less room for malfunctioning and better code for some trusted SEO.
I want to make something clear here. I’m most certainly NOT bashing Wordpress in this post. I LOVE Wordpress and I use it every single day for client projects. Sometimes it’s the very best option for a business.
But for my own website needs and maintenance, I have decided once and for all (I think? I hope...) that Squarespace is going to be the best choice for me in the long run.
Wordpress vs. Squarespace: The Pros + Cons
Just to recap, I want to share a summary of some pros and cons of each of the platforms:
Pros of Wordpress:
Completely custom design control: Want a totally unique website experience? We can get a developer to help us with that!
Unlimited integrations and plugins: Super easy to manage more complex integrations and customization with user-friendly plugins.
Full control: You control it all. From SEO, page layouts, and maintenance, you have the steering wheel here.
Tons of online support: Since almost 25% of the interwebs is using Wordpress, that means more than likely someone has had, and asked, the same questions you have. Support for WP is everywhere!
Cons of Wordpress:
Not as user friendly for clients: The learning curve here is a little steeper than SS. The back-end (dashboard) isn’t so bad when you get the hang of it, but as a designer, I never really know what kind of shenanigans I’m getting into with a pre-designed client site until I’ve done a full tour.
Hidden costs (themes, hosting, plugins): You will need to pay a separate platform to host your Wordpress website. And on top of that, you’ll probably want a theme to use (since the free ones aren’t always flexible, or easy to change). Plus, if you want any premium plugins, there’s a fee for those too!
Maintenance: Wordpress requires consistent maintenance to ensure your site is secure and fully functioning.
Pros of Squarespace:
Clean templates and clean code: The Squarespace team works together to create super clean (in design and code) templates that work very well with their hosting abilities. No need to worry much about load time here, folks!
One stop shop: One bill, once a month (or once a year). No need for a separate hosting platform, premium themes or plugins.
No maintenance: Squarespace takes care of this without your worry or thought!
Drag and drop system (instant changes): Super easy to use and see all changes you make as you go.
Tons of online support: They have great online support in the form of forums, live chats, and tech support.
Cons of Squarespace:
Limited flexibility in customizations (unless in developer mode): You’re somewhat limited to design and control of the back-end of your website based on their limited number of templates, unless you dive into developer mode (another story for a different time).
Unable to save content blocks for easy replication: say you designed an opt-in for your newsletter and you want to replicate it across different pages. Squarespace doesn't make this easy. You have to recreate the wheel each time with new content blocks.
Well, there you have it. My tell-all story for coming back to Squarespace for my redesign. Wordpress, you were good to me, but I just know Squarespace will be a little easier for me to live with moving forward.
Thanks for the memories!
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