When I decided I wanted to re-do the blog back in January, I started thinking of designs almost immediately, that was and very much still is a huge part of my blog, it's something I think makes it unique and is the first real way for people to get a feel for you and your personality. I knew I wanted to move away from blogger, having used the platform for nearly 5 years it was just starting to become quite limited in what I could do. Blog post layouts weren't as creative and if I wanted a new design I had to go and buy one and go through the very long process of having it installed. Anyway, a few friends of mine have been using Squarespace for a few years and having had a play on the fire trial version a year ago I knew I liked the user interface, I like the professionalism behind the whole look of the site and I could build my own design from scratch so I decided to go for it. I've been using Squarespace for roughly 3 months now as my blog went live at the end of March, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on how I found the switch and if I'm still happy with the platform.
Ok so first things first I can't say enough good things about Squarespace's customer service, they have a 24/7 phone line, an online chat and an email service and I've never had to wait longer than a few hours for my answer. Couldn't be more hopeful and the team are always more than willing to help you figure out any technical issues, even if its not necessarily Squarespace related. This has been so amazing in transitioning the blog, I was so worried I'd lose the last 5 years worth of content but I was able to import it all in about 20 minutes! There was some reformatting to do to make sure the layouts were right but other than that it was a relatively painless process.
The design process was a little tricker to get to grips with but its nothing than spending time playing with it couldn't fix. Squarespace works that there's a range of different templates you can pick and each template comes with different unique features, for example the one I picked comes with the banner at the top that's unique to only a few templated. From there you can customise it as you'd like it and add in the features you want. Essentially this is the reason I chose to move to Squarespace, because you can fully customise your site and you can change it at any point and I often do sit and change up certain pages of the blog if I feel like it's getting stale. With YouTube being full of tutorials on creating beautiful site layouts I watched dozens of these as I built my site, which took just over two months. I much prefer my design now to when I was on blogger, I think it's more professional looking, its easy to adapt it depending on my content or the time of the year.
Something I have noticed that I'm not sure wether or not its down to having a new domain and the rebrand or Squarespace itself but my page views are on average down on what I was getting when I was on blogger, even though I'm having all my passive traffic from the intern diaries redirected to here. I have heard through the internet that Squarespace on average isn't as SEO friendly as other platforms and therefore doesn't drive as much organic traffic, I need to do some more research into this because long term it really could hinder the blogs growth but it's early days so we'll see.
I do pay a monthly fee to host through squarespace but that included my domain name, my monthly hosting, all the design features and the 24/7 support, I was hesitant about paying for it months but I figured I'd happily pay membership fees for any other hobby I had so why not. The blog is something I can see myself having for a very long time and it's worth getting the foundations of it right now.
Some other features that I like is that you can link all of your social media profiles and choose when you publish a post wether to post to all your platforms with one click, you can add custom HTML to really maximise on customisable design. There's tonnes of built in features like gallery walls, archives, twitter feeds ect that you can add with one click. The more I use the style editor the easier I find it to make things my own, all fonts, colours and sizes are fully changeable and from a bloggers point of view I don't really want my blog to look like everyone else's so its vital that I can change things around super quickly when the mood takes me. I like being able to build a blog post on the page instead of in a 'post editor' window like on blogger, I'm able to get a much better idea of what it's going to look like on the actual page instead of having to click preview one thousand times.
For the remainder of 2018 at least I plan on sticking with Squarespace because of the easy design capabilities but I am definitely going to need to look into how to improve SEO and do some reading on wether or not it's the platform holding me back or just because its a new brand. My advice to anyone looking to switch to Squarespace would be, use your 2 week free trial to get to know the design editor, read through the squarespace website as they tell you all about the different templates and how you can use each one, and then make sure you know what you want your site to look like because it truly is a blank canvas and if you don't know what you want that could be very overwhelming.
If you've got any questions on Squarespace please feel free to drop me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to answer any of your questions if I can.