Changes…Not Again!

Changes next exitMy family history consists of many changes. With parentage defining our personal history, my parents and my DNA have more or less labelled me in many respects, especially change.

When my dad arrived home from work on Fridays, he teased my mom that it was a good thing he wasn’t a drunk. His reasoning was based on the number of times Mom rearranged the living room furniture, he might have thought he was in the wrong house!

Likewise, Dad couldn’t resist physical moves to newer or different housing. I don’t dare count the number of moves we made until finally Mom said, “Enough!”

I share this bit of family history with you because I’ve done it again. I’ve not only changed the look of my website, I’ve moved it. Yes, I’ve moved from Squarespace back to WordPress, but for good reasons.

Sometimes we have to spend a little time in a new place to get all the details on top of the playing table. Then we realize the deal wasn’t as great as we first thought.

There were and are features at WordPress that I decided I just didn’t want to give up. And Squarespace lacked certain conveniences I’d grown spoiled to having available. So, I’ve made the move back “home.”

Now, there’s one little thing I couldn’t move back with me. That was the list of people who followed the blog using something other than signing up for my newsletter. There are three ways to follow a WordPress.com blog:

  • First, if you are a WordPress.com user, you can use the “Follow Button” as seen near the top of the sidebar to your right. It only takes one click and my blog posts will show up in your WordPress Reader.
  • Or just below that button I’ve placed a “Follow Via Email” block where you simply provide your email address and my posts appear in your inbox.
  • Perhaps you love social media and prefer to follow using one or more of the media channels. Look for the “Let’s Connect” block and choose your channel of choice.

For the next six weeks or so, I’ll continue to circulate the posts via my newsletter account. But at that time, I intend to take a sabbatical from the newsletter and sharing my posts using the newsletter software. I’ll give fair warning before taking this action.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and I hope you continue to do so.

 

Why I Chose Squarespace Over WordPress

Decisions are never easy, and decision making is not one of my favorite things. Likely most of us would rather avoid making choices or decisions.

After thoughtful consideration, a review of finances and costs, and use of time, I spent about three weeks hands-on determining whether to stay with WordPress or move to Squarespace.

In the end, Squarespace won out for a variety of reasons. The following is based on my experience using WordPress, both free and self-hosted versions. I believe each of these platforms is structured to the unique needs of the individual or business owner making the choice between the two.

COST

WordPress.com is free. Its self-hosted version, WordPress.org, is not. You have hosting fees, domain protections and registration, not all themes are free, and not all plugins are free. When you add all that up, Squarespace came out ahead.

It won’t cost me much more to work with Squarespace than it did with WordPress. Plus I don’t have to hire a web master or a host to keep me up and running. Squarespace takes care of that within my annual fee.

When you build a site with Squarespace, Squarespace is your web host. We provide a place on the Internet to display your content, in addition to tools for creating and managing that content. Every Squarespace site is stored on our servers, similar to how physical stores rent space in a shopping mall.


— Squarespace.com

SUPPORT

My biggest complaint with WordPress related most often to support. There were online forums where you could post your problem, and then hope for days someone would respond.

If you’re not into coding or don’t have funds to hire someone to maintain your site, Squarespace is your best option. Whenever I have needed support, the response time is usually within the work day, if not sooner. Not only are they responsive, the staff is knowledgeable, courteous, and extremely helpful.

SECURITY

Security probably should have been placed in the top spot. You may remember my post relating to my experience with hackers a few months ago. Someone else’s fun hacking into my site created not only stress for me but a financial outlay I’d rather not have had to make.

With Squarespace, security is uppermost in the minds of its owners and technical staff. With your site, you have, at no charge to you, two SSL-related layers of protection. Squarespace also provides you free backup of your site content. However, this doesn’t mean we as owners of our sites shouldn’t take extra precautions to keep those files backed up as well.

TIME

Unless you’re willing and able to pay a web designer, WordPress can cost you hours each month checking for updates to plugins and themes, watching for and resolving alerts for hacking and/or viruses, and sometimes just downtime. Downtime is generally based on the host you are using.

Since moving to Squarespace, I find that I have regained some of the hours spent with WordPress allowing me to write more and to have time to do other things I enjoy. And it’s costing me nothing financially.

EASE OF USE IN BLOGGING

Preparing and editing a blog post is as simple as drag-and-drop. Having used the Elementor plugin in WordPress, I can say I find this much easier to use to create my posts and pages. If I have an idea or question about something I’d like to incorporate that isn’t readily available or clear to me, a quick email or chat with support will help me get it done. (Support is available 24/7). 

THE MOVE

Moving from WordPress to Squarespace was next to seamless. A simple export process on the WordPress end to an import process at the Squarespace end, and everything except a bit of cleanup was done.

A word on the comment set up. I have not incorporated Disqus comments here for one reason and one reason only. When using Disqus on Squarespace, for some reason still unclear, I was unable to capture all the comments left for me on previous posts. Many of these were treasured comments for a variety of reasons. I realize that the necessity to login here and/or create another “account” may be bothersome for you. However, please note that you can leave a comment as a guest without creating an “account.” If this becomes an insurmountable problem for many of you, I will reconsider my decision to not incorporate Disqus and determine a way to save those comments from the past, if I can.


I hope something here has been helpful to you, or at least explanatory in nature as it relates to my move. Please bring any inconveniences or errors you encounter to my attention. It is true two sets of eyes are better than one.

WordPress Free vs. Self-hosted Site | A Comparison and Review

As most of you are aware, I recently moved my blog from a free WordPress.com site to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. I have never reconsidered my decision to move from Blogger to WordPress a few years back, and so far I see no need to reconsider this most recent move either.

WordPress decision, free or self-hosted?
WordPress decision, free or self-hosted?

Many of you asked me to share how I reached my decision and about the benefits of one versus the other. I spent several days, maybe two weeks or more, researching and vetting the issues.

Today I’m sharing with you what I learned in the process and why I moved.

The most logical place to begin vetting blog moving issues was with WordPress support. On WordPress.com I found a helpful article setting out a chart listing the differences between the two platforms. This proved helpful to me in understanding not only the differences but how much I wanted to invest in time and money.

Here WordPress sums it all up pretty well:

WordPress is a publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to publish online, and proudly powers millions of websites. It comes in two flavors: the fully hosted WordPress.com, and the self-hosted version available at WordPress.org.

A second article in my search is a post found at WP Beginner in the form of an infographic. The infographic summed up the WordPress article beautifully and in fewer words plus added a column for available upgrades for WordPress.com and each cost.

Despite the information found in these articles, the question I wanted answered was “Why should I pick one over the other?” I found this answer at Kimberley Grabas’s blog,  Your Writer Platform. Kimberley writes:

One of the biggest disadvantages of free-hosted sites is that you don’t really own your site; the provider does.  You could spend years building up your site, creating a great resource and substantial platform, but never fully own or control it.  With that much investment at the whim of the provider, “free” no longer seems like good value.

And there was my answer. The concept of ownership is important to me. To work hard day in and day out writing and posting on a blog, maintaining a site such as so many do, only to have someone else with the ability to exercise final control over it made no logical sense to me.

So, I decided to make the move to WordPress.org.

Next step was hiring a host. Thinking I knew what I was doing (never fall victim to this!), I contacted the host who maintains our small business site and has for several years. What I didn’t do was question fully the host’s knowledge and ability to work with the WordPress.org platform. Result = mess! Parts didn’t work, “we don’t do that” responses, and more confirmed my poor business sense.

Off to Bluehost, a WordPress.org, and an organization deserving of compliments on their support staff who are very responsive. However, remember the site mentioned earlier, WP Beginner? At the time I made my move, WP Beginner was offering free installation and transfer of files if I linked from its site to Bluehost to make my Bluehost purchase, and then emailed a copy of my receipt as proof of purchase. WP Beginner’s staff was priceless!

Not to lead you astray, there is some work to do on your part once your host has completed its work. Things like deciding which, if any, plugins you’d like to add to your site. For example, some widgets that come with WordPress.com are not standard with WordPress.org. But don’t distress! The number and availability of plugins is unbelievable, including colors, fonts, use of Java script, Disqus comment format, Yoast SEO, Tweet This, Akismet, Jetpack, and more. Installation of any of these is a snap.

There was only one bump in the road that has yet resolve itself. To migrate my list of followers from the WordPress.com site to WordPress.org, I was told to use Jetpack’s services. And it worked beautifully when it came to migrating followers who signed up to receive posts via email. Followers who had signed up on Facebook, Twitter, or other means would not migrate. Those followers must sign up to follow again, here on this site. This was the only thing I found a bit unpleasant in the process but I’m continuing to attempt to get the word out to my followers.

Now you know what I know. Like many decisions in life, this is one no one else can make for you. You have to decide!

Via Google Images
Via Google Images