Hey guys! As a new blogger it can be a little bit daunting to know which blogging platform to choose. There are a few out there now – Blogger, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace… which is best? In reality, two stand out from the crowd.
Today I’m really pleased to be bringing you a special guest post from the lady behind the technology of NBBS, the one who answers your questions when things go wrong, the one who stops me pulling my hair out when I can’t work out how something functions!
I introduce Tricia Stephens-Adams, who is going to be sharing her expertise on which platform she recommends for bloggers and why.
One of the most daunting tasks for new bloggers is creating a professional and functional website. In the not so distant past, this required hiring a web designer or dedicating several months to learning how to code in HTML. Not exactly everyone’s cup of tea.
When WordPress came on the scene in 2003, it was revolutionary. It still required a lot of work, but since it was open source, users began developing and sharing thousands of themes and plugins that made it much more user-friendly.
About the same time in 2003, the SaaS (Software as a Service) website builder Squarespace was founded. It had a much slower start, but in recent years, it has become a preferred website builder of many startup bloggers.
Its graphic interface is incredibly easy to learn, and you can have your site up and running quickly. On top of that, if you plan to sell products from your blog, it makes e-commerce straightforward and uncomplicated.
While this can be a huge advantage when starting your blog, there are some limitations which may become an obstacle as your blog grows.
So, is it better to begin with WordPress from the beginning? Or, is it wise to start with Squarespace? Attempting to keep my personal biases aside, I will compare the advantages and disadvantages of each as they relate to four issues which have proven to be critical to my clients.
ease of use
When it comes to ease of use, Squarespace is the clear winner. As mentioned above, it’s very visual and easy to use, and there is a slight learning curve. However, everything you need is included in one package.
On the other hand, WordPress doesn’t allow you to just put the keys in the ignition and go. It does have a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG content editor, but every step of site construction requires a bit of learning. Nonetheless, once you learn to drive with WordPress, there’s no limit to where you can journey.
feature and design possibilities
There’s no question that WordPress is the clear winner here as well. There are dozens of themes and features available for Squarespace, and they are all included. Likewise, there are a few third party plug-ins available, but they all come with a price tag.
For WordPress, there are nearly limitless themes and features available. Similarly, there are thousands of plug-ins (aka tools that can add functionality to your site) , and many of them are free. Yet, this can be somewhat of a disadvantage. There are so many options and possibilities with WordPress that fear of making the wrong choice can easily paralyze a newbie. Also, if you’re not careful, your site can become somewhat bloated if you implement too many plug-ins and performance can suffer.
When it comes to available support, WordPress wins by default.
The folks behind Squarespace boast that they will answer any e-mail questions within one hour. Awesome. They also offer live chat, have a forum, and provide several informative videos. Because of Squarespace’s limited options, it’s pretty easy to find an answer to your question.
That being said, WordPress is all about community. It is an open source platform, and there are thousands of videos and hundreds of forums available online to guide you on your site. Again, because there is so much content available, it is easy to get bogged down with all the choices. But you will definitely find your answers somewhere.
This one is so dependent upon your needs that it has to be a draw.
WordPress is free, and Squarespace is not. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean WordPress ends up being your most economical choice. With WordPress, you have to pay for your domain name and hosting separately. Plus, you may have to spend some money on themes and plug-ins. E-commerce on WordPress might also require some upfront cost, and it might make sense to hire a website designer to get you up and running.
Squarespace offers options that range between $12 a month and $26. The good news is that this includes the expenses for your domain name and hosting. The cost for your shopping cart is included in the higher priced option, but you are limited to using Squarespace’s payment Gateway. There are no other options, and you cannot tie it to PayPal. So, take this into consideration.
wrapping It all up
So which should you choose? It truthfully comes down to a personal decision based on your current and future blog needs.
If you want to get a website up and running quickly, then choose Squarespace. For new bloggers, it probably offers everything you need. Still, it might end up causing you a few headaches later on down the road. However, depending on your goal for your blog, you might find you can stick with Squarespace and never need to switch to another platform.
There is one other thing you need to consider with Squarespace. Since it is a private business, they can shut you down without any notice or explanation. Likewise, they can change their tools and functionality or raise their prices at any time. You are at their mercy.
If you’re in it for the long haul, it might be a good decision to take the time needed to learn WordPress. Yes, it does have a steeper learning curve, but it can easily be adjusted as your blog grows. Again, there is virtually no limitation to what you can do.
Ultimately, this choice requires you put on your thinking cap and ponder the future of your blog. Don’t let this be a “Tortoise and Hare” decision. Squarespace and WordPress are both great solutions, and the intended destination of your blog (or future biz) just may provide the deciding factor of your choice.
So there you have it! Sound advice from the lady herself. If you need some help building your WordPress site, why not give Trish a shout? She built the whole NBBS site, members area and all and has done a fine job 🙂