I took the plunge and haven't looked back.
I created my first Wordpress self-hosted website in December 2009 at the recommendation of one of my seminary professors. She made the argument that a personal website would make myself more marketable to find a job. A couple of my close friends had created websites - mostly for blogging - so I decided to leap off the cliff, too, and see where it could take my job hunt. Plus, it's kind of fun saying that I have my own personal website. Thus, I found my own hosting service, set it up myself, and uploaded a free template to design it. Remarkably, my website did help me land my first job, and I've been using my website as a means of writing and exercising my creative, theological, and ministerial muscle ever since.
But I must confess: I literally have logged thousands of hours using Wordpress, studying it, and developing mastery of it - only to still feel frustrated and unsatisfied at the limited options for guys like me who don't know code. Everything from exploring themes, finagling templates, updating software, installing plug-ins, you name it!
Wordpress, as much as I still value it and believe in its core foundation of open source software, it is a difficult and limiting platform to use without a working knowledge and/or formal training of code.
Few Wordpress developers have managed to create a fully accessible, beautifully designed theme for folks like my who don't know code. Moreover, if something breaks on your site, such as a piece of code, then you could be searching for hours for the right solution, or worse yet, be left stranded with a broken down site on the side of the internet super highway!
About 4 months ago, sometime toward the end of this past summer, a friend introduced me to Squarespace. He had heard about it through a friend, and insisted that I check it out.
I was skeptical. I'm a Wordpress guy, I thought. I like having control over each of the components of my site: hosting, design, capability, etc. But it was those things that got me off-track from producing rich, valuable content. I mean, who hasn't had an FTP issue? The last thing a blogger wants to deal with is trouble uploading content to her or his site!
I checked it out, and within moments, I was hooked. Squarespace offers a wide range of design choices and usages for a blogger like me to create a beautiful, professional, and modern design for my site.
I switched that day. I didn't think twice, and I haven't looked back. And since that day 4 months ago, I have observed 7 reasons why you - especially if you don't know code, but desire a well-designed site - should choose Squarespace as your site provider:
1. Beautiful, elegant, and modern designs: In all of my searching, I have not found a similar kind of design in a premium Wordpress theme, even amidst the expensive, elite designs. Each Squarespace template balances well the tension between content and design, incorporating heavy image use with well placed content. Every template includes the latest trends of web design that you would see on a professionally designed site.
2. All-in-One service: Squarespace provides all-in-one capability, including hosting service, 20 themes from which to choose, and a domain name (but you may also re-direct your current domain, as I did). The service is a bit expensive, but it is cheaper than the combined totals of self-hosting and purchasing a premium Wordpress theme. There are 3 services available for you to choose per your intended usage.
3. 20 Template Library: Upon purchasing a plan, you have access to 20 themes, ranging from personal blogs to restaurant set-ups. Some themes may not apply to your intended use, but they are fully customizable to your liking, if you did choose to use it. Moreover, each template comes with its own specific instruction manual for how to use every one of the bells whistles attached to the template. And the content that you create is easily transferrable to another template.
5. Easy Drag and Drop Design: Every template is fully customizable within the bounds of its use. Squarespace provides other websites that you use your chosen template as an illustration of the template's possibilities.
5. Squarespace Integrates with All Major Social Media Outlets: Assign them to posts, sidebars, Navbars, Headers, and Footers. Squarespace will also send your posts to your social media outlets on your behalf at the click of a button. Unless you find the right plug-in(s) that coordinate perfectly with your theme, this can be a difficult challenge for Wordpress.
6. 24/7 Available Support: As part of your monthly fee, Squarespace provides online tech support when trouble arises, which always does! I have relied on tech support about a half dozen times to get me out of a jam, and every time, someone has always come through for me. Additionally, Squarespace boasts a thriving online community of other users who provide additional insight into complex tech issues that the support staff may not be allowed to share (such as code implementation), as well as creative suggestions for your template. I have used and contributed to the online forum community dozens of times for assistance and creative support.
7. Fully Integrated with e-Commerce: While I have not yet used e-commerce for my own personal site, I intend to do so soon. I have beta-tested the integrated platform, and have been pleasantly surprised at its versatility, access, and ease - compared to other third-party themes and plug-ins for Wordpress. It is a welcomed tool for anyone with something to sell.
Let me acknowledge that I am not getting paid for endorsing Squarespace. I'm simply a satisfied customer who feels grateful everyday for switching to Squarespace from Wordpress.
I miss Wordpress for its wide-ranging flexibility and versatility, but it's also exactly those qualities that have caused me so much frustration and time-loss. I'm done with those frustrations, and I'm ready to focus SOLELY on content.
For a guy who doesn't know code, Squarespace has allowed me to enjoy blogging and platform-building on a beautiful, fully-customizeable, and professionally-designed website.
QUESTION: Do you use Squarespace, and if so, tell us about your experience.