10 Reasons Why I Chose Squarespace
In November 2016, I decided that I was going to start a blog. It wasn't a spur of the moment type of decision. It had been an idea floating around in my head for months. I was on a new health journey and loving every minute of it. You can read more about my journey here. Essentially, I was going to free classes, shopping at Farmer's Markets, making budget-friendly recipes, meeting new health-conscious friends and taking care of my health with a holistic approach. A few months into my health kick, some friends and colleagues noticed the positive changes I'd made and they wanted in. I found myself sharing lots of valuable information and inviting them to classes and events. I soon realized that outside of my circle there were probably other New Yorkers looking to achieve optimum health without breaking the bank.
Blogging seemed like the best way to freely share information and resources. I never owned a blog before so I did tons of research and eventually narrowed my options down to WordPress and Squarespace. I think both are great, but Squarespace offers a $14 day FREE trial and I fell in love with the platform. Here's why Squarespace won my heart.
Squarespace has over 80 templates and every single one of them is aesthetically pleasing. They're simple, clean and have a very professional feel. Each of the templates are easy to customize, which means you don't need a background in coding. I actually learned simple coding through my MySpace days so I feel completely comfortable watching YouTube tutorials and adding unique features. Just like in real life, your blog goes through changes - your ideas expand, you upgrade your brand and sometimes you just want a new look. Squarespace gets that and they make it super easy for you to change templates as often as you want, whenever you want. I've been on Squarespace for 7 months and have already used 3 templates. I'm currently using Tudor.
Squarespace isn't free. If you want a free service, head over to Blogger. If you understand that your blog is an investment and you're looking for a platform that is beautifully designed, go with Squarespace. There are two plans that Squarespace currently offers: Personal and Business. Both plans have 2 payment options, annually or monthly. The Personal plan costs $144 annually or $16 monthly. The Business plan costs $216 annually or $26 monthly. I knew immediately that I would get the Business plan because it comes with G Suite and unlimited pages, storage etc. I'm always in search of a good deal and I ended up finding a discount that knocked $21 off of the plan!
P.S. Since I purchased the Business plan back in January 2017, it now includes $100 Google AdWords credits and promotional pop-up. Now, you can promote your newsletter freebies!
3. Schedule Posts
I love that I can schedule all of my posts because it keeps me consistent and on track with my goal to post weekly. If one day, my creative juices are flowing and I bang out 5 amazing posts, I'd obviously want to space out all that juicy content. Squarespace makes that easy to do. No need to overwhelm my readers by sharing everything at once. This feature also comes in handy if you're going on vacation or out of town and don't have time to sit down and blog. All you gotta do is schedule your post to publish on a specific date and voila.
Scheduling posts also means that I can back date old posts to cover any absence. I recently took a 3 week hiatus and no one know has to know (unless of course they're reading this) because my dates say otherwise. This isn't a tactic that I recommend you do often; however, it can help out when you lack inspiration, life happens or have writer's block.
4. PlugIns Who?
With Squarespace, you don't have to add any special plugins to connect your social media accounts. You can easily link all of your images to Pinterest, add your Instagram feed, and basically integrate any other social sites that you use like Facebook. This feature helps to give your site a more personalized feel and also makes it really easy for people to find you elsewhere and to share your content. On WordPress, you'll need widgets or plugins for this.
5. 24/7 Support
I've never used this feature since my blog functions properly, but it's nice to know that I'm in good hands if anything does ever go wrong. Lots of other bloggers have shared their experiences with customer service and they always seem to get quick feedback and great results.
6. G Suite
The Squarespace Business plan comes with one FREE year of G Suite. It costs $50 after the year and I think it's totally worth it. With G Suite, I have access to Google calendar, Gmail, Docs, Drive, Google Analytics and much more. I'm constantly using G Suite to schedule business related tasks and to store all of my data. I love having a gmail account connected to my blog because when I begin partnering with brands and organizations, I can communicate professionally. Google Drive holds ... of storage and that's where all of my photos, blog posts (archive and upcoming), business plan, newsletter material etc is stored. I can easily retrieve data even from my phone. If Squarespace ever disappeared, I'd be good because I'd still have access to everything I ever shared and that's the sort of security that I don't mind paying for.
7. Summary Blocks.
At the end of each of my blog posts including this one, you'll notice that I have a Related Posts section (see image below). I created this using a Carousel Summary Block. Back in January, I had no idea how to use this feature. I watched a tutorial and learned that jt was jist a few simple clicks. Summary blocks are awesome because use can use them to highlight other posts that you reader might find really interesting. By making it easier for your readers to find similar posts, they'll stay on your site longer and discover more of your content.
8. Built-in Analytics
Both the Personal and Business plan come with tools to track your growth and reach. Something WordPress doesn't offer. With Squarespace Analytics, you have in-depth information about where your traffic is coming from, what's your most popular content and how many people are searching for your blog. What I love about Squarespace Anayltics is that I can study my blog's activity for the day, week, month or year to date. I was hesitant to use this feature in the beginning because I didn't want to see how low my stats were. I was too embarrassed to see it in black and white that no one was visiting my blog. Thank goodness I've moved beyond that. Now, I'm okay if my views aren't skyrocketing because I know that it takes time.
One thing to note with Squarespace Analytics is that there's no way to exclude your devices from the data unless you're logged in. Your phone, tablet and computer's IP Addresss will all be factored into the data and tracked as a visit or page view unless you log into your account.
For the most accurate data, sign up for Google Analytics and add your Google Analytics code to Squarespace. Then, create a filter in Google Analytics that will exclude all of your devices. This might sound complicated, but you can easily find an online tutorial or check out Squarespace's support page.
I am a millenial at heart, which means I'm an expert at asking Google all sorts of questions. Even more, I love watching YouTube videos to pick up a new skill. Actually, I learned how to braid my own hair and crochet from YouTube. I mention this because during my hunt for the perfect blogging platform, I came across lots of online tutorials on Squarespace and they all made sense. Nothing seemed to complicated and this gave me the confidence that I needed to make the leap. I also make use of Sqaurespace's online support space where I just type in my question and get a list of possible articles that might help. They have videos, webinars and articles with easy to follow steps.
10. INVITE A CONTRIBUTOR
Squarespace is designed for administrators or site owners to invite contributors. I love this feature because once my blog grows, I can give others access to collaborate with me on projects. They contribute content and I give them permission to see and use certain features. If you already have a team of writers, then you'll definitely want to take advantage of this. Sharing some of the writing responsibility can free up your time to work on other aspects of your blogging business.
I know that this was a long post so if you've made it this far, you're a keeper. Of course, there are other features of Squarespace that I enjoy, but I think I made a pretty thorough case. I hope that this post gave you the insight you're looking for and that it helps to finalize your decision. My current plan expires in January 2018 and for now, I'd like to continue my online journey with Sqaurespace
Comment below and let me know which blogging platform you're considering!
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