Why Squarespace is the perfect platform for writers (and other creatives)
If you’re a writer or creative like I am, and not someone who wants to spend all their time messing with code and themes and plugins, Squarespace is the platform for you. Here’s why.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might have read posts (edited to add: these posts no longer exist) where I briefly discussed our move from WordPress to Squarespace. After originally building our website in WordPress in October last year, I rebuilt our website in December because I felt like I was constantly updating something or tweaking the website because I was never happy with it. I had gone with WordPress because I’d used it in the past and all my research said that it was the best platform to go with. However, in hindsight, it wasn’t the right platform for me—I struggled to build the website and then struggled to maintain it. And I hated it.
And now we’re using Squarespace and my life is better. I don’t ever get frustrated with the website any more (previously, I was getting frustrated at least once a day with things that didn’t look right or weren’t working properly) and I’m so, so much happier with how it looks.
And the best thing? Our Squarespace website took me about a quarter of the time to set up and now costs me so much less time every day, so I can spend my time writing instead of obsessing over the website.
WordPress and all the other platforms out there might be the better choice for some, but Squarespace is my one true website love, and I believe that other writers and creatives might feel the same way.
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You don’t have to update it constantly—you can build it then leave it
Every single time I logged onto our old WordPress website, I’d find updates waiting for me. Usually they were plugin updates, but there were also theme updates and WordPress updates. It drove me crazy, and it also made me worry that every time I updated a plugin, something was going to break or our site was going to crash.
Squarespace has taken away that worry. No updates. None. I built the site, and now I update it occasionally when we change our services, and I come in every few days to add blog posts, but that’s it. I can’t tell you what a relief that is. It fills my heart with joy.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t spend nearly as much time on the website because I don’t have to keep updating things and then checking them. I can use that time on things that are so much more productive and important.
It looks good without much work from you
If you’re a writer or creative, chances are you’re not also a highly skilled website developer or designer, and for that reason, you’re going to need a platform that can help you build a beautiful website.
As I said above, our Squarespace website took me about a quarter of the time to build as our old WordPress website. That huge time difference was mainly because I didn’t have to fiddle with the CSS or plugins to get the website looking exactly how I wanted it to look. One of the main reasons I went with WordPress originally was that I thought I wouldn’t be able to make Squarespace look how I wanted, but (to my surprise) I found it easier to make Squarespace bend to my will than I did WordPress.
The drag-and-drop builder makes it super easy for you to insert your content and see what it will look like when it’s published, and the style editor means that your website will look consistent, too.
More and more resources are available to help you
One of the best things about WordPress is the staggering amount of information available to help you with any problem you have along the way. However, with Squarespace quickly gaining popularity and becoming the choice of many well-known internet personalities, much more is being written.
Plus, you’re not going to need as much help with Squarespace—I promise you that. When I was building our WordPress website, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out I’d googled 50 000 questions or problems. With Squarespace, I’d put that number at about ten. It’s way easier to use.
Some good resources:
- Megan Minns’s beginner Squarespace course is fantastic for anyone just starting out (her blog is also an amazing resource for more information about Squarespace)
- the Paper & Oats blog, but specifically this post about workarounds
- the Elle & Co blog, but specifically this post about customising your Squarespace website
- the Squarespace help resource.
The blog platform makes it easy to schedule posts in advance
I love Squarespace’s blog platform, and one of my favourite features is its ability to easily schedule posts. This makes it easy for me to add posts a week or so in advance and then release them throughout the week. The posts show up in the queue as scheduled posts. You can also choose which social media platforms to automatically share the post to when it’s published.
Styling and editing posts and pages is easy because you can edit within the page instead of within a backend
I briefly touched on this point above when I talked about the drag-and-drop builder. One of the things I found most frustrating about WordPress was that you had to edit the posts and pages in the backend, and you couldn’t see what it was going to look like when you were done. I found that even supposed WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) builders weren’t really WYSIWYG. Squarespace doesn’t have a backend—you just edit the post or page within a frame, so you can see exactly what it’s going to look like—you don’t need to mess around with previews.
The statistics are easy to understand
The statistics were yet another thing that I didn’t enjoy about WordPress, because I never felt that I really understood them well enough. Squarespace has a built-in statistics section that tells you your website’s:
- traffic overview
- mobile usage
- RSS subscribers
- popular content
- search engine queries
- site search queries
- activity log.
All of these are presented hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly, and they’re also presented as a graph and as a list of numbers. Insanely easy to read and interpret.
My favourite sections are ‘referrers’ and ‘popular content’. ‘Referrers’ tells you where your traffic is coming from, and you can often click back to see the exact web page they came from. ‘Popular content’ (as the name suggests) lets you know what your most popular content is, how many people have viewed it, and what percentage of your total page views that content makes up.
Bonus statistics tip: In your activity log, you can find out what path a particular user took through your site by tracking their IP address (just make sure you’re not tracking your own activity!). That might be useful in figuring out what posts to advertise in conjunction with other posts, or where someone goes after they first land on your home page. I can see exactly what post convinced someone to subscribe to our mailing list through the library by finding out that they went from the blog post to the library access page (where you sign up) and then through to the library.
So, those are my reasons for loving Squarespace, and why I believe that it’s the best website platform for other writers and creatives. What platform are you using? Are you happy with it? Let us know in the comments.
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