the best platform for blogging
hi! happy day 2 of blog month :) today’s post is all about the best platform for blogging, which basically comes down to the age-old question:
squarespace or wordpress?
i want to start by saying neither answer is technically wrong - there are advantages and disadvantages to both. what is right for one person might not be right for you; and what is right for you can change over time, too. i’ve spent a lot of time talking with other bloggers and listening to what their problems, or pain points, are when it comes to starting and growing a blog, and here are the topics mentioned over and over again:
wanting an easy-to-use website that looks good, works well, and is optimized for desktop, mobile, and tablets
wanting things to look “fancy” (or just match the vision in your head) but not knowing how to code/ lacking the budget to hire someone
SEO - ranking high for searches, and using it to reach a wide audience
wanting to keep things low-cost but high quality
needing readily available help in case anything breaks or stops working
i think these are all really valid points, and here’s a few more worth mentioning:
the ability to respond to technological changes (like when everyone had to switch from HTTP to HTTPS) without hassle or delay
security - you don’t want anyone to hack or steal your site/ domain
the ability to change, pivot, or update your website as you and your content changes without having to rely on someone else
with all of that said, when it comes down to squarespace or wordpress, which should you go with?
squarespace is the most user-friendly blogging platform out there.
just want to start by saying i’m not being paid to say this :)
in fact.. when i was first starting out with my site, i was stuck on whether to choose wordpress or squarespace. almost everyone i knew used wordpress, but it seemed so unreasonably difficult. i had heard people complain about all of the ways that wordpress was terrible, but they felt like it was the only real option. i hadn’t heard too much about squarespace, so i did what anyone who has trouble making a decision would do:
i conference-called a website designer who worked on both platforms asked. she knew i didn’t want to hire a designer, so she gave me her best advice from the perspective of someone doing it DIY style. she told me that there are advantages to wordpress, but they only work if you know how to use them. if you aren’t an expert in coding and plugins and don’t have the time to learn, they aren’t going to serve you well because you are essentially going to be keeping up with the Jones’ forever. now that i’ve spent some time working with my own website, i would compare wordpress vs squarespace to solving a math problem the short or long way - both end up at the same place in the end, but the long form only works if you know what you’re doing and can do it confidently without making a mistake.
my web designer friend also let me in on a little secret:
she was switching all of her clients’ sites over to squarespace and thought it was the future of custom websites.
i’ve had my website on squarespace since the beginning and haven’t regretted it once.
i’m not trying to sell you anything, so i’m going to keep my reasons for why squarespace works for me and why i think it’s the best option for other bloggers as simple as possible :)
why squarespace is best for bloggers
you build completely customized websites off of pre-made templates, so there’s no coding. i’m sure you are wondering exactly how “custom” something can be if it’s built off a template, but trust me. the template is just the foundation of your site; there are endless ways to customize it to fit your vision and it’s really easy to do. i recommend using Brine because it has the most flexibility. you can always simplify a fancy template, but you can’t expand the simpler ones (like Ishimoto). pick your template off of flexibility, not which one looks most similar to what you want.
it’s secure. you don’t have to worry about hackers or anything crazy (i’ve heard terrible horror stories). security is everything.
it’s budget-friendly. there are different plans that will work for you no matter what phase of blogging you are in, so you aren’t paying for features that you don’t need yet. you can save more money overall if you pay up front. and no unexpected fees because you don’t need to buy plugins or pay for help. speaking of..
squarespace works to serve you. in so many ways. you have support that is prompt, helpful, and hands-on (i’ve chatted with them and they’re great). they also anticipate what you’re going to want in a site and update as often as needed to make it a reality - Pin buttons, opt-in pop-ups, social media integration, you name it. they upgrade on their end, rather than force you to solve it yourself.
lastly.. SEO! SEO plays a BIG role in getting your content out there and squarespace killsss it. they roll out updates and make it easy to ensure your site is as optimized as possible. you don’t have to install plugins; everything is right there ready to go for you. (they literally just sent out an update within the last month.)
when you’re a blogger, your main focus should be on your content, not solving tech issues every five seconds. you also want to have a website that you’re proud of - one that you know how to use, and how to change should you decide to do so without having to hire help or worrying that something is going to break (especially when you don’t realize the extent of it for a few months!).
but it’s also worth mentioning that
in this digital age, it’s important to be malleable.
you have to be able to adjust your technology at a moment’s notice, because you never know what will change and become more valued by your readers or search engines as time goes on.
and honestly.. at this point, websites just shouldn’t be that hard. building a website that you love and that is able to reach people around the world shouldn’t be some unattainable goal or expensive project.
i love squarespace and have yet to face the problems that people criticize:
my content shows up on Google when applicable keywords are searched for. (this happened before i even knew what SEO was. i did nothing to help its’ visibility on search engines; squarespace just takes care of it).
my site is secure and can be viewed on different browsers in different countries without issue. and it loads in a timely manner.
i can go in and redesign the entire thing tomorrow if i feel like it. and when i say tomorrow.. it will be done tomorrow, not three months from now.
lastly.. i think the biggest concern about squarespace is the lack of full customization, which is understandable, but here are my two arguments against that: (1) the few limitations are purposeful and intentional in that they help you from going overboard. sleek, modern, easy-to-use websites are better than websites that have so much going on that they either don’t load in a reasonable amount of time or they’re so visually unappealing that you get lost in the madness and just click off, which isn’t ideal. and (2) less choices = you make a choice. there are so many wordpress themes it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of what you actually want, especially if you are looking for a theme that will match your vision. with squarespace, you’re given the basics and then you run with it and make it as big as you want to. squarespace is extremely functional and everything serves a purpose, but you aren’t sacrificing style in the process.
so, are you ready?
click here to get started with squarespace.
(that’s not an affiliate link)
also! be sure to subscribe to my email list as i will be sending out a little guide in the next few days with tips for designing your own squarespace website.. because if i can do it, so can you :)
these photos were taken at Holy Matcha in San Diego, which is a cute little matcha coffee shop. i don’t drink matcha or coffee but my friends do so there we went.
my strawberry lemonade was eh, for lack of a better term, and apparently so was the matcha but you will have to go try for yourself :)
also i look like i have a snaggletooth that is about to fall out of my mouth in the photo below.. nothing wrong with that however it’s just my gum 🙈 i chew gum like it’s my full-time job and god-given talent. trident original is the best stuff around if you want to pop your gum every 3 1/2 seconds. facts.
(before anyone wants to argue that me chewing gum affected how the lemonade tasted.. i grabbed the gum after trying it. however i could probably chew gum through a 5-course dinner and your mom’s signature dessert and still be just fine.)