A Brand New Bee + Roo
Making the move from Wordpress.org to Squarespace has been on my mind for a while. With the upcoming blog-iversary I finally decided to bite the bullet and do it. Today, I want to share the reasons behind the move, give you a preview of the new Bee + Roo and tell you my thoughts on blogging on Squarespace.
Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this review. My blog is my own investment and I just want to share my own experiences with you.
First of all, let's look at why I decided to move. One of the main reasons for me was the UX design. I love a clean layout, distraction free working, and straightforwards navigation. It's why I enjoy working on a Mac so much and why I am moving back to iPhone. Squarespace offers a minimalistic, clean, and tidy look. Everything is designed in house, there are no plug ins to install, coding isn't necessary. Putting together pages and posts is now a matter of drag and drop.
For example, as I am writing this post I am working directly in my site. I can see my sidebar to the right, my logo at the top of the screen. The font is the same as it would be when you get to read this. All formatting will be displayed just the way I am seeing it right now. Considering I am very visual in how I learn and work this is great for me.
Another example is adding images, videos, Amazon links and more. Anything I want to add to a post or page simply gets dragged to the right position. Then you can simply increase or decrease the size of this element by pulling it.
My main concern was customisation. Wordpress of course meant I could customise absolutely everything if I had the right plug ins or coding knowledge. An answer to a solution could usually be found by googling or else the Wordpress forums would be able to help. Squarespace on the other hand - as it's all built in house - does not offer all these add ons. Instead, you choose any one of the available designs and then customise from there. There is an option to add CSS code but that's about it. However, I have not run into a single problem. I did have to look up a few things but found that I did not require Squarespace's 24/7 support and that instead their guides were perfectly sufficient to answer my questions.
My new set up
Instead of just going for Squarespace straight out of the box I turned to STATION SEVEN where I have previously purchased my Wordpress designs. At a fraction of what you pay for other Squarekits, these guys provide you with a bundle of instructions, videos, .psd files and ideas. However, as stated above Squarespace sits completely in house. So unlike my previous Wordpress themes this is not a child theme. Instead, my blog is just a highly customised version of an existing Squarespace theme. So, what you actually pay for is the STATION SEVEN expertise, extremely detailed customisation, and branding assets. To me that is absolutely worth it. You do not need to buy a Squarekit from STATION SEVEN to get the same exact blog layout I now have. But it would be a lot more work to get everything set up the same exact way. n
I love that my hosting, URL, and blogging are now all in one platform. I don't need to remember my Bluehost password just to ensure that my Wordpress.org domain is still live. I also don't need to click through to a different site for Analytics because the built in ones look pretty and tick all the boxes of information I could want (I still integrated with Google Analytics though).
Setting up my site to look like this took me a few hours and I don't feel it's quite finished yet. As a next step I want to go beyond the STATION SEVEN Squarekit and add my own personal touches (colours, fonts, images, etc.).
This is by no means a comprehensive techy guide to the differences between Wordpress.org and Squarespace. All I want to share is my own opinion. I found that I could customise a lot more than I would ever need to. And I love having everything from my hosting to my posts, my analytics to an e-commerce option all in one place.
Yes, the total annual cost is a bit higher than it was before. However, having everything in one place and having a visually pleasing platform to work with make all the difference. In fact, I think this will mean that I am more likely to write up that extra post. My drafts for example are already filling up with posts I am just having to add a few finishing touches too (stay tuned for lots of awesome content around here!).
Finally, even Adam agreed that he would be more likely to add content more often. He sat next to me as I was putting together the 'The Gear Room' page. Previously, the backend for this page was very scary. A lot of custom code was required to left align my gear and right align his. Today? It's just two boxes that I can simply drag around. EASY!
And now I would love to hear your feedback. What do you think of the new Bee + Roo? Any feedback? And if you are considering the move feel free to leave any questions below, I might be able to help!