The one where I report back on my Squarespace experience, six months later.
Hello and welcome to episode 57 of the Lightbulb podcast. Today we're talking Squarespace.
This episode is a follow up to episode 34. If you've not listened to episode 34, then I really recommend you do so. It's called "Moving from Squarespace to Wordpress to Squarespace".
In episode 34, I explained that I'd been hacked multiple times within the space of a week when I was using Wordpress. Just to be clear, that's Wordpress.org, the self-hosted version of Wordpress.
Honestly, when I recorded that episode six months ago, I was really genuinely stressed. I really felt very upset about my website being hacked, and it genuinely made me a bit panicked.
The first hack was bad enough, but then it happened four more times I seem to remember. By the end of that week, I was ready to move on to something entirely different.
That's when I decided to go back to Squarespace.
Six months later, what's the verdict?
I'm pleased to say I am still in love with Squarespace. I am a massive fan. In fact, I'd go as far to say I love it more now than I did six months ago. I'm going to explain why that is in a moment.
I just want to reiterate a point I made in episode 34 before I crack on with telling you all the reasons why I love Squarespace.
That is many new bloggers are told by experienced bloggers that Wordpress.org really is the best option for them. In fact, the only option really if you want to be a serious blogger.
This is wrong. This is entirely wrong.
Everytime I see this advice given, and the person asking for the advice is clearly not a technical person, I feel very frustrated. That's why I think it's important to get the message across.
Wordpress is a great platform. I'm a techy person, but I still struggled with this hacking situation.
I want to reiterate the point that Wordpress isn't your only option and that Squarespace is a totally viable choice.
I don't think there's anything wrong with brand new bloggers getting started on a free service like Blogger or Wordpress.com.
But when you feel ready to take things up a level, yes you've got the option of Wordpress.org, but if you're not sufficiently confident on the technical side of things, or you want to use a completely different platform, then I would say go Squarespace.
Okay, back to reasons why I love Squarespace.
Firstly, it is way more flexible than I ever realised. I know this because I've managed to build an entire membership site on it.
Squarespace has a password-protected page facility, but it's not quite sophisticated enough to accommodate a membership site, so I have used Sentry Login in order to secure the site. I'm really happy with the functionality of The Lightbulb Academy.
I'm going to be launching on the 1st of September, so I'm looking forward to getting some feedback on the site to see if there's anything I need to improve. That's the first reason why I adore Squarespace is you can do virtually anything with it.
Just to make sure that I'm not totally one sided with my appraisal of Squarespace, there is something missing from it. That is a forum feature.
Now you can use Muut to create a forum on your Squarespace site, but you won't have single sign-on. That means your forum users will need to have a separate Muut account. It's separate to their Squarespace account, so that's not particularly smooth.
I'm really hoping this is something Squarespace improves in the future.
The icing on the cake would be if Squarespace had the capability to do the job that Sentry Login is doing for my membership site. I do believe this is on the cards from what I can see in Squarespace's answers forum.
All of that being said, the password protection feature that they do have within Squarespace is definitely good enough for creating a protecting resources area on your site.
This is something I've done as a lead magnet.
When people sign up to my VIP email list, which you can do so at martineellis.com/VIP, they get sent the password for the resources area. That works perfectly well.
I use the Pacific template for my website, and it's definitely one of the best ones. It enables you to have nice long sales pages with different sections.
If you are looking at moving to Squarespace, this is a great template to get started with. Don't be put off by the fact that the sample website is a burger bar, or a restaurant, or something like that. It is a really good template.
It's also possible to create beautiful landing pages in Squarespace.
I use their cover page function for this. The cover page function is great because it gets rid of your horizontal navigation at the top of your site, and really is all about the words, the images, and a call to action.
I use ConvertKit for my email marketing and I have had to hack around a little bit in order to recreate the lead box style registration field.
If you click on a button on a cover page, what I really want to happen is a box to pop up, and then you put your name and email address in that.
That is not as easy as I'd like it to be in Squarespace. However, I've got a great hack for making that work, and I will link to it in the show notes. It's somebody else's tutorial, it's not my own, but I refer back to it every single time.
You have the option to inject code into areas on your website with Squarespace.
I've done this most recently because I added a Conversion Gorilla bar to my website advertising The Lightbulb Academy. It's so easy to do this.
Yet another thing I love about Squarespace is the block setup. If you've not used it before, it's worth doing a free trial just to see how the blog setup works.
By this, I mean if you were creating, for example, a blog post, you could have an image block, then underneath that, you have a text block, and you might have a video block.
The whole thing is built on a block basis, and it's so easy to use. You can drag and drop things where you want.
They have a spacer function, so if you want to maybe make a picture look narrower than it's supposed to be you can pop a spacer either side.
It's quite hard to explain all of this audio style. This is the time when I think a video podcast would be much easier, but if you like the idea of Squarespace, please do consider giving it a try.
I am absolutely well and truly in love with it. I don't see myself going back to Wordpress anytime soon.
I think the icing on the cake for me is that I found I got more comments on my blog posts and podcast episodes with Squarespace than I did with Wordpress.
I'd always been slightly worried about the SEO element of Squarespace, but it seems that that's all working perfectly fine, so I'm super happy with it.
Okay, that's all for me today.
All that remains to be said is please, please, please hop over to the thelightbulbacademy.com if you are interested in what I'm doing with my membership site.
If you are somebody who has a creative hobby that you want to turn into a business, or you're a blogger and you're really ready to monetize your blog, The Lightbulb Academy is for you.
I'm launching on the 1st of September, 2017. On the sales page at thelightbulbacademy.com you can just pop your name and email address in there and I will send you a note when we're open for business.
Thank you so much for tuning in. I hope you'll join me next week.