Squarespace to Wordpress: 5 Things I Learned From Switching
If you’re a frequent visitor of FIVE 12, you’ve noticed quite a change. To note: I moved from Squarespace to Wordpress for no other reason then doing the math being able to save money. Also, I had a vision for my blog (design wise) that I kept trying to tweak on Squarespace that wasn’t working out. When I heard about Divi theme and saw how it worked, I was sold.
Moving from one platform to another isn’t easy. It’s not filled with sunshine and unicorns. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it’s a smooth transition and you’ll be up and running in no time.
It took time, aggravation, Google, and a couple of developer friends to help me tweak it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it but again it wasn’t easy.
1. Design and development are two different things.
To the developers out there: keep doing what you do- we need you. Needless to say, I’m over it, and I don’t see myself changing the site anytime soon (for at least 17 years).
Takeaway: Hire a developer for your tech issues. It will save you time and aggravation and worth the investment. I knew enough CSS and HTML to design on Squarespace, but that doesn't make me a developer. Bonus: The aggravation is why some avoid Wordpress altogether.
2. Finding a good host is crucial.
I'm so thankful for my developer friends because I had no clue about hosting and what to look for. With high recommendation, I went with *SiteGround. They made it easy to set up Wordpress on my developing domain (dev.five12studio.com) and helped me switch to the final when I was ready to launch.
As someone who's not a techie, I used their support and I'm grateful they answered my questions without hesitation or a "duh."
Takeaway: Do your research on hosts and look for easy install of self-hosted Wordpress. The less you have to do technical wise the better.
3. Plugins are necessary.
One of the criticisms I had with Wordpress was all the plugins needed because of security issues. However, Squarespace has its own plugins (link Square Pins for you Squarespace users). I use plugins that accompany the apps I have, but avoid using them for design and development aid.
Takeaway: Don’t over-do your plugins! If you're downloading 20 plugins, seek outside help from a Wordpress professional. Besides, you don't want to run down your site or open yourself up to hackers. Make sure they’re a trusted source who updates frequently.
4. Google is your best friend.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Google is there and free with any answers I needed. Any questions about Divi theme led me to their blog which is an incredible source for the non-developers.
Takeaway: Google the simple things, pay someone to do the heavy hitting things. PHP and I are not and will not be friends. That's OK. I want her to be friends with the people who really care about her because I don't.
5. It will take time.
I don’t know who said you can switch your blog over in 2 days and launch, but that’s a no in my book. Take the time clean up your posts, edit, delete old images, layout your pages the way you want to. Do some pre-QAing. Have beta testers go through your site and give you honest feedback. Check mobile (Divi is a responsive so whatever you do for the main screen will automatically be responsive to mobile!).
Takeaway: Create a development alias so you can build your new site but still have visitors go to your current one.
While revamping FIVE12 STUDIO, I used dev.five12studio.com and had it point to my host. This allowed the site to continue to run on Squarespace until I was ready to switch. Because this was months in the making, I still had traffic to my site.
This was a learning process through and through. I love the design and the flow of everything. But I'm not going to tell you, "MAKE THE SWITCH!" or "DON'T DO IT!"
Your decision depends on your needs, end goals, budget, maintenance on your end. Through the process, I understood why people love Squarespace so much.
On the other end, I see why people root and rave about Wordpress.
Focus on developing your brand and delivering your message to grow your audience.
Author's note: I am an affiliate of SiteGround. That means I get a compensation for clicks and/or sign-ups. I partner with companies I have personally used and all opinions are my own.