Hi there and welcome to where I will be sharing new work & projects. I'm really excited to finally start using the SquareSpace format when publishing my photography in a blog format.
When I first started using SquareSpace last winter, I was hesitant to let go of the Wordpress blog I had been using for many years. I had invested in a ProPhoto plugin, (and several paid updates to it over the years), to customize the interface. I liked using it and didn't want to change my system. I can only handle so much digital change at once, and I imagine I'm not alone in feeling that way.
Now that I've been using SquareSpace for almost a year, there are a few reasons why it is time to let go of Wordpress for blogging. Some I will share because they might help someone understand the process of adapting a little better. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to which tool to use, but maybe hearing the opinion from a novice will help you a bit if you are considering SquareSpace for blogging.
Blog Redirect No Longer Necessary
The first reason is that I didn't like that I had to do a redirect to get viewers to my blog. Shortly after I published my SquareSpace site, I realized that by using SquareSpace instead of Showit, I would no longer be able to use AndreaDozier.com/blog with a Wordpress blog. To be honest, this frustrated me and it was my first negative reaction to SquareSpace. I had to hire someone (BlogCrafted and he is great) to redirect my domains. I wasn't sure how I felt about using the sub domain, blog.AndreaDozier.com as the new home to an old blog. Many links are now broken and Pinterest pins don't link correctly. I'm sure there is a way to fix that, but at some point getting my website setup perfectly wears me out!
One Dashboard Login with Access to the Site and Blog
The next big advantage for me, is that SquareSpace has a beautiful dashboard that gives me a lot of control in one place. At first I was a little intimidated by it, but quickly started navigating myself around to figure out how to easily publish a site.
To be able to access all parts of my site from one login is really important to me. Even though it shouldn't be a big deal to use another dashboard for blogging, it really does affect my likelihood to go to that site. It's probably not true for everyone, but for me it is. Another reason this is key to me, is because I have also built another site in SquareSpace, called Tether and Fly. I can access both sites from the same login, and the dashboards are linked. This is a great way for me to stay engaged with both sites.
No Worries About Spam or Hackers
After successfully and unintentionally scoring various spam comments on my Wordpress blog, I vaguely remember enabling Akismet to help catch spam comments. That did help a great deal. Although in retrospect, so many things involving Wordpress were done "the hard way." Googling endless pages about how to fix or prevent a problem. There was a time when my site was hacked and I had to get that taken care of. If you haven't noticed, I'm not here to prove how technical I can get. I just want to publish pictures and write a little bit without having to do a lot of research on how to protect my blog.
Updates Won't Break My Site
At least twice in my memory, I clicked on the "new version of Wordpress is available" link at the top of my dashboard (see photo to the right). While the new site was downloading, something didn't go right and my blog vanished. You can imagine I was hesitant to click on those words in the future, but updating your site is what protects you from bugs and other technical problems. SquareSpace takes care of the updates and the upkeep rests on their shoulders. I like that.
The Analytics Are Built-In
This is going to be my moment of shame to admit this. I had trouble getting Google Analytics setup with my former Showit site. I remember sending a few emails and trying to straighten it out, but nothing I was trying worked. For four years, I never knew how many visitors I had on AndreaDozier.com. I realize that isn't a problem with Wordpress (which is what this post is about), but you can imagine it is a relief for me to not deal with trying to troubleshoot analytics on my sites anymore. My Wordpress blog was able to link to Google and also Statcounter- so I did get to see statistics from those sites. That is, when I took the initiative to login and look. Logging into other dashboards to get information means another step that is not needed with SquareSpace. I can view analytics, in satisfying detail, through my all inclusive SquareSpace dashboard.
It Looks Fabulous on Mobile Devices
Clearly there are many different ways that information will be presented to our audiences. I am really happy with being able to design a site in SquareSpace that has the ability to use responsive designs to look consistent no matter what the screen size. Wordpress doesn't make this impossible, but I feel like this is something SquareSpace has mastered.
Picture Posting is Streamlined
I feel that SquareSpace's gallery designs for blogging are better than Wordpress. I have wrestled with the slow and often laborious process of uploading a lot of images at once on my Wordpress site. With SquareSpace I love that I can preview different gallery styles, without feeling like I have to commit to just one. At any time, I can change the style and simply update it. It's nice to not have to commit to uploading images a certain way, SquareSpace makes it easy to change your mind to make the process of posting how you want as convenient as possible. It's nice to have the option to see if I would rather have the images displayed in another format. In Wordpress, I would occasionally deal with an odd break in the spacing for images. It would frustrate me until I just let it go. So far I don't deal with any glitches like that in SquareSpace.
Another great feature is that I don't have to size images to an exact dimension. There were ways to work around this in Wordpress, but SquareSpace allows the user to drop photos where you want them to be & even resize them in the blog panel you are editing by dragging the corner of the box. Since the design is responsive to different screen sizes and devices, I feel like I can blog more of a "magazine style" that I like instead of just images stacked on each other. There is a versatility in the image presentation that I appreciate very much.
As I was preparing this list, so many things were overlooked because SquareSpace makes them easy. When I linked my Social Media accounts, like Instagram and Pinterest to SquareSpace, they gave me some handy icons to use. Wordpress has widgets for this, but they take some time to get to know and I found it confusing until I got the hang of it. When I decided it was time to start using SquareSpace for blogging, I was nervous it would take a week or so of Googling to switch over. Not so. All I had to do was choose a "New Blog Page" in the "Content Manager" panel and erase the current redirected link from "Blog.AndreaDozier.com" and switch it to "AndreaDozier.com/blog" to create a home for this new blog. That part alone helped me realize I was making the right choice for me.
SquareSpace Feels Like Home
I like it more.
This is where I will not scientifically prove that SquareSpace is better, but I can just say that I like it more. I like the simple interface, the modern style, and the brilliantly simple design that is consistent with every step of their users' experience. It feels like the kind of site I want to use on a daily basis. This is coming from someone who first started designing websites in Dreamweaver and Adobe Flash. My first photography site (2009) was built key frame by key frame and it was the most obnoxious undertaking I was silly enough to try. I am relieved to work with a platform like SquareSpace!
I posted this without updating to SquareSpace 7, and did shortly after. I love the new interface! It is even more in line with the beautiful display we see in our templates. It took just a few seconds to swap out the old screenshots and replace the new. This is exactly why I love SquareSpace! It is designed to be dynamic- content can evolve here.
If I think of any other reasons I will definitely note them here, but I would also love to hear your thoughts! I don't dislike Wordpress, because I did use it for a long time.
I'm not compensated in any way to share my opinions, but every once in a while it's nice to give a little feedback to other people about my experience with a product, service, or application. Hope you found it helpful, and if so, please let me know!