There are so many options when it comes to starting a blog. Should you go with WordPress or something else?
Since I just redesigned my own blog it seemed like a good time to cover this. I debated for a long time about switching my site over to Squarespace but in the end I chose to stick with WordPress. I’ll cover those reasons below. I did a lot of research looking for comparisons on the two platforms so maybe you will find this helpful.
I stuck with my self hosted WordPress site and switched to a brand new theme instead! I was using a photography theme which worked out fine but is meant for photography sites, not this craft space.
This time around, I switched to the popular Genesis framework and I’m so glad I did!
WordPress vs. Squarespace
So the question might come up on how to decide on a theme!?
Or how to decide on self hosting or an all in one option like Squarespace!?
I’m a long time WordPress user and have been happy with it. My site is hosted through Dreamhost.
Lately I have been hearing a lot of buzz around Squarespace. I’ve seen plenty of pretty Squarespace sites to be intrigued. It looked like a really good option. Since I was due for a major over haul I decided to check it out.
Sign up for the free trial
I signed up for the free trial and started designing.
In the end it just did not have all the bells and whistles of WordPress and was not as user friendly as I was imagining it to be.
There is no coding so that’s a plus but the interface took some time for me to figure out. It wasn’t very intuitive, or at least not as much as I hoped it would be.
Which one should you choose?
If you are just starting a blog or website and have limited website experience, Squarespace may be a good option.
If you are already on WordPress, you may notice the limitations of Squarespace. If you are in the business of using your blog to make an income I think WordPress is the way to go.
I noticed a huge jump in my SEO when I switched to a self hosted wordpress site (from blogger) years and years ago and worried about Squarespace’s limitations in that area. From my research, SEO seems strong on Squarespace so that shouldn’t be a factor in deciding.
I’ll outline some of the pros and cons of the two options I feel are best for the creative business… Squarespace vs. WordPress.
Squarespace Pros and Cons
- Pretty templates
- Very clean modern templates
- All in one site – They host for you
- No coding necessary
- More expensive
- Not as user friendly as I expected
- Customizing beyond the templates seems more difficult
- Since it’s not open source there are fewer add on or plugin options
- If you have multiple websites, you pay for each separately so double (triple, quadruple) the costs.
WordPress Pros and Cons
- Very widespread so lots of themes, plugins, etc..
- Can host multiple websites with the same hosting company saving $$$
- Very Robust
- Endless theme options
- Steep learning curve
- Setting up is not as easy
- Endless theme options…lol. (seriously, it’s can be hard to decide!)
- You have to pick a host site from the endless options
WordPress + Genesis + Foodie Pro child theme
So back to my new site!
As I said before I was using a photography theme and making it work. I thought it was very user friendly and easy to customize. And then I switched to Genesis and it is EVEN EASIER to customize! I went with the Genesis framework + a child theme right out of the gate. They are bundled together and super easy to install if you are familiar with WordPress.
I expected it to take several days to transition my site over but the theme is so good that I had it done in an afternoon! Still a few tweaks to make here and there but seriously, couldn’t believe how easy it was!
I chose Genesis because it kept coming up in my searches while researching a new theme. If you are trying to decide on a theme, check out the bottom of the websites you love. See what others are using and do some research on that theme.
Not all themes are created equal
I think the biggest struggle with WordPress for most people is customizing it. It is CONFUSING without a good theme. A good theme will give you a very user friendly interface that does not involve coding. I can’t stress the importance of a good theme enough if you are tackling this on your own. Cheap and free themes are just not worth it because they don’t provide the user friendly interfaces.
Here’s a look at the Genesis interface to give you an idea.
In the end WordPress is my choice
I’m glad I decided to stick with WordPress and invest in a new theme. I wasn’t impressed enough with Squarespace to justify switching two websites over. I can host both of my websites with Dreamhost and it doesn’t cost extra but Squarespace required me to purchase twice. So for me, the cost alone was motivating enough to stick with WordPress.
If you are looking for a really good user friendly theme, I highly recommend Genesis + one of their child themes.
If you have experience with either Squarespace or WordPress I would love to hear your thoughts on the two! If you are still using a free site, what’s holding you back from making the switch?