If you couldn't tell, Elah Tree has recently gone through some updates. ;) These updates came with a new platform. For a long time I thought about different platforms; Blogger, Wordpress, Squarespace and I wondered which would be best for me. My journey began on blogger and it was my home for seven years.
In my case, blogger was the perfect platform to begin my journey. When I dive into projects I often do so by the seat of my pants. In doing so I need the opportunity to learn, experiment, and discover. I don't often start out with a road map, though I should, and I'm trying to be better at doing so. ;)
There always seems to be a lot of talk about platforms and one being better then the other. Haters gonna hate, iamright? I've read posts stating that if you want to be taken seriously you shouldn't use Blogger, which I disagree with. I've read posts stating that Wordpress is the only option ever to create a good website, and I disagree with that also. And just recently I read a posts on the subject of platforms that I totally agreed with. In short, "stop comparing platforms and start creating content."
If you have found yourself wondering about platforms I hope I can shed a little light on Squarespace and share what I've learned over this transition. Today is all about the pros and cons of Squarespace, not whether it's better then one platform or another. I hope this list will help you in choosing the best platform for your needs.
THE PROS OF SQUARESPACE
All IN ONE
Squarespace provides you; hosting, a platform, and a domain all in one, for an amazing price. In my case, I already had my domain, but I love that I didn't have to find a platform and a hosting provider. I've been down that road before and it's not really a big deal to have both, but I love that Squarespace simplifies the process for you.
NO DEVELOPER NEEDED
The biggest draw of Squarespace for me was that I could build my website without having to hire a designer or a developer. Not that either of those things are bad, but at this time I didn't want to have to pay for either. I knew that if I chose Wordpress I would need a developer to code my site. I also knew that If I wanted any changes down the line that I would need someone on retainer to add or adjust code for me. In my previous job we used Wordpress for our site and anytime I needed to change wording on our site or add photos I had to go to our web department to have them make the changes. I didn't' want to put myself in that kind of position right now.
As mentioned above, you don't need a developer to create your site which means you can build it yourself. I love this about Squarespace, it's incredibly DIY friendly. You can start with a template, and then create and customize it to your needs. Of course, you can hire a designer/developer to create you site on Squarespace because Squarespace provides you with a developer platform. But for the DIY enthusiast and for those who like the opportunity to make changes to their site on a whim (like me, haha) you can DIY to your hearts content. DIYing your site is made easy with content blocks. Content blocks provide you an easy way to add the fundamentals to your site. Need to add a contact form? Easy, just click. Need to add a gallery of images? Easy, just click. Want to add an announcement bar? Easy, just click.
BUILT IN SEO
Alright friends, let's talk SEO... and how I don't know that much about SEO, ha! But for those of us who aren't the best at SEO, Squarespace makes it easy. Squarespace provides a marketing panel and within that marketing panel you can set up your SEO, including your search engine description, which pops up when people search for your site in google. And if you want to learn more about Squarespace SEO check out this post.
EVERYTHING IS EASY, EXPONENTIALLY EASY
I have never used a platform that has been so easy. When I installed my domain, it felt like two clicks. When I installed google analytics, it felt like two clicks. Every time I went to add something new or figure something out it was so easy. I've never used a platform that gave me such a sense of ease.
I kind of feel like I'm bffs with Squarespace on Twitter. Anytime I had questions I was able to reach out on Twitter and they are always awesome at answering questions. Their Squarespace help platform is also phenomenal. Anytime I googled a Squarespace question, it came up within their help platform and provided me with step by step instructions on what I was trying to accomplish. Their step by step instructions are on point.
One of the things I was most concerned about was importing my old blog content. It made me nervous to import 7 years of content, not knowing how the post format would be maintained. Fortunately, Squarespace has an amazing help platform and I found a step by step guide to import my content and it all imported without a hitch.
THE CONS OF SQUARESPACE
NO BULK POST EDITING
This was the very first thing I found that was frustrating. If you are familiar with blogger, you'll know that you can view all of your posts in a list format and you can also select numerous posts and add labels, e.i. bulk post editing.
As mentioned above, Squarespace does a phenomenal job of importing your old content and maintaining the formatting, which I was highly impressed with. However, if you wish to add new categories or tags, you have to individually open each post and select the categories and tags you would like to add. Once you open the post you then lose the formatting that was once originally maintained.
If you are new to blogging and you choose Squarespace as your first platform, then this may not effect you. It may actually force you to create a better, more clear road map. However, if you are like me and you choose to import over 6 years of content, then you'll have to decide how to manage this change. I knew I could do two things; start fresh and not import any old content, or import my old content and take the time to add categories. I chose the second option for one main reason. I had spent the past 6 or 7 months creating photography content and it was very import that it came with me. Before my launch I went back through those 7 months and added categories. Although, my posts from 2013 and 2014 still have no categories. I decided that I could tackle a few posts at a time to add categories to older posts.
NO IN-POST HTML EDITING
When I first started blogging I had no idea what HTML and CSS was. However, like most things in blogging you find yourself learning new things. While using blogger I became accustomed to learning CSS and understanding the HTML of each of my posts. Within Squarespace you are unable to view and manipulate the HTML of each post. You may be wondering why this is important. For me, it actually only effected one thing. Often times bloggers will use a specific code to hide photos that are created specially for Pinterest in their posts.
<div style="display: none;">
The code above allows you to add different photos hidden within your posts that will pop up when you select the "pin it" button. These may be photos that include text or a collage of photos. Because Squarespace does not include the HTML editing you are unable to include these hidden images.
I would like to add that even though you can't manipulate the HTML in each post you can still include embedded code. I also want to point out that Squarespace enables you to add so much more to a blog post that you could never do in blogger I can understand why HTML wouldn't be available.
*If there are any Squarespace users out there who have figured out the trick with hidden images I would love to know your secret. ;)
I've only been using Squarespace for about 3 weeks now, but I'm definitely a huge Squarespace fan. There a way more pros to Squarespace then what I mentioned, I just haven't familiarized myself with all it's different aspects. But hopefully, I'll have more to share once I'm well-versed in everything that Squarespace has to offer!
Have you been thinking about switching platforms? Which platform do you think you'll choose? Are you thinking of switching to Squarespace? If so, let me know. I would love to help you in your journey. xoxo! Samantha