Congrats! You decided to start a mommy blog, and you’ve chosen your blog name (if you haven’t, go here to check out our article about how to choose your mommy blog name) and now you want to start designing your blog to get yourself out there.
But even before that, you need to decide where you are going to host your blog.
If you’ve read any number of “how to start a blog” tutorial posts, you’ll find almost all bloggers recommend a self-hosted wordpress.org site. The wordpress.org platform is a free publishing platform. When choosing a wordpress.org blog, you need a domain name and a host.
With a Wordpress site, you pay for blog hosting on your own, and then you use a theme to customize your website (either free or paid). Being self-hosted means you own your website and have complete control over your blog. I admit, this does appear to be more preferable than having your blog hosted on someone else’s platform.
However, after trying my hand at a wordpress.org site, I ended up looking for alternatives.
Keep reading for my thoughts on why Squarespace is a great alternative to Wordpress to start your mommy blog.
Squarespace vs. WordPress
I started my first blog (a long, long time ago—in 2008) on blogger.com. I created my second blog on wix.com. Both of those blogs fizzled out after a few months. Last year, I was determined to start a successful home business, and I decided to try my hand at blogging again.
I did the research and the information online at the time made it clear that I should start a wordpress.org website.
I paid for the hosting through hostgator.com (it was around $4/month) and went through pages and pages of Wordpress blog themes on the Envato Marketplace before landing on Avada theme ($60).
Note: Envato Marketplace is a huge marketplace with tons of website themes, as well as audio, video, and photos for your website and blog posts. I’m not sure how I heard about this marketplace, but there’s a ton of good stuff for online entrepreneurs for sale here.
I chose the “Avada” theme because I liked it’s clean, contemporary and modern look. And I was swayed by their claims of “#1 Selling Theme of All Time”, “coding knowledge not required” and it’s 480K sales, and 21K 5-star rating (the sales and ratings were lower at that time, but it was significant enough to convince me to buy it).
I went to work. I was ready to get my site up and running.
I scoured the internet for tutorials and advice for beginners. All of the information I saw online made setting up a Wordpress blog seem so easy. I’m not a tech wiz, but I’m pretty decent at figuring things out on my own. (I set up my own e-mail funnels and started my own podcast, after all). I dug in, but still, I just couldn’t figure it out. I was having a lot of trouble customizing the Avada theme to my liking.
I spent hours trying to figure it out by watching tutorials online. I’d watch, stop the video, and try to replicate what I just saw—but I just couldn’t get the pages to look the way I wanted it to.
I don’t remember how much time I spent clicking around (I’m a pretty patient person so I think it was at least a week with at least a few hours invested per day), but I finally reached the limits of my frustration and started looking for alternatives to Wordpress. My alternatives were: I could hire a web designer; I could purchase another theme that didn’t require as much tinkering with; I could lower my aesthetic standards and just go with what I could get done at the time; or I could find another platform that was easier to use that could offer similar customization options and functionality.
25 Amazing Squarespace Features
(Note: I don’t get any referral fees or affiliate commissions from Squarespace—I just think it’s a great platform to build your mommy blog!)
After doing more research online, I decided to go with Squarespace. I wanted a more feature-rich website than wix.com, yet I wanted something much easier to work with than Wordpress.
Squarespace is loaded with features, right out of the box.
Here are some notable features (25 to be exact!) of a Squarespace blog that make it a no-brainer choice over Wordpress for non-techy bloggers (there are many more but I picked these out because they’ve been the most useful to me):
All pages are completely responsive and look great on desktop, phone, and tablet.
Here’s my website on mobile (it’s a bit hard to see with the white on white background):
And here is a screenshot of the Home Page on desktop:
2. In Squarespace, you’ll work with Content Blocks: these are really neat. Simply click the area you want to insert your content into and select a content “block”.
Choose whatever type of content you want to insert into your blog post or website page. If you need to insert a picture, you’d click on “image”. For a video, click “video”. To create spaces on your page, or to insert a line to separate items, click “spacer” and “line”. And to insert a button, for example to “Read the Blog Post”, or “Learn More”, just click “button”.
3. Easy peasy image resizing. No need to resize images in another third-party application to upload. Using Squarespace’s automatic image scaling feature, simply use Spacer Blocks. Most of the time, the image you initially upload will appear HUGE. Then, select spacer blocks and drag and drop them around your image to shrink it down.
4. Video Blocks – Upload videos from YouTube, Vimeo and Animoto while maintaining your website style using Video Blocks. You can overlay your own cover image instead of using the one that YouTube selects for you. The image overlay improves load speed by waiting to embed video players until you hit play.
5. Audio Blocks – Squarespace’s Audio Blocks support podcasting so that you can embed audio on your site. Although I use my podcast host’s web player, this sounds like a nifty, built-in solution for podcasters.
6. Archive Blocks – With Archive Blocks, you can group and display up to 1,000 content items by year, month, author, category or tag to create an index page. I use this feature on my site to display a “faux” sidebar. See it on the right side on this page and in the example below:
7. Amazon Blocks – Embed any item from Amazon.com into your site. Enter a custom Amazon Associate ID so you can earn cash for referring buyers to items. If you have plans to use affiliate marketing to monetize your blog, this makes it super easy!
8. Product Blocks – Place your e-commerce products into blog entries, pages, and sidebars. I don’t have any e-commerce products for sale on my blog, but I recently read a “how to start a blog” article that stated you can’t make money on a site other than a Wordpress site. That is totally incorrect—you can monetize a Squarespace site pretty easily by using these product blocks.
9. Code Blocks – If you need to inject custom code to your site, it’s doable and pretty simple. You’ll need to inject code to install ads from networks such as MediaVine and AdThrive. I injected the code for the web podcast player from my podcast host on my site. Super easy—when you select the code block, a free form block appears and you simply cut and paste in the code!
10. Form and Newsletter Blocks – The Form Block supports over 15 different data types, such as addresses, currency, emails, and text fields, making it easy to capture data from your site visitors. I use the newsletter block and customize the fields to collect e-mail addresses on my site:
11. Announcement Bar – Use the Announcement Bar to highlight a major promotion or a significant piece of news on the homepage of your website. There are companies that offer this feature as a third party service—but you’d have to pay! This one is built in to your Squarespace plan and is free! Check out how I used this feature to announce the launch of my podcast:
12. Deleted Collection Recovery – Recover deleted collections, accidental or otherwise, from the Recycle Bin with the click of a button. I’ve had to use this function more than once. I have no idea how I deleted some of my blog’s pages, but I found them in the trash bin…what a relief!
13. Duplicate Pages – Easily duplicate a text page for testing purposes, or to speed up your website building process. Super useful feature if you like the layout of a current blog page. You can duplicate it and voila—you have the template for your new page!
14. Page-specific Password – Lock individual collections behind a password to create private areas on your site. I used this to create a password protected resource library (as a lead magnet) on my prior website.
15. Build Your Mailing List – I know you plan on building your e-mail list from the very start, right? Save form submissions to Google Docs, MailChimp, and/or email. Google Docs will be updated in real-time as submissions are entered. I use MailChimp for sign-ups for both of my Squarespace sites and it integrates easily and seamlessly.
16. Built in SEO (search engine optimization): Squarespace has been publishing sites on the web for more than a decade, and includes all known best practices for SEO without the need for additional plugins. (Thank goodness! I got tired of reading about all of the “plug-ins” I’d need for my Wordpress site).
17. Clean URLs – All primary pages on your Squarespace site contain clean URLs that are easily indexed and read. You don’t need any fancy plug-in to clean up your URL’s. Cleaning up your URLs are important so that it’s easier to direct your audience to a specific post on your mommy blog! It’s super simple to do. Click on your “Settings” for your blog post, and customize the URL:
As in the above example, the URL for one of my podcast episodes is: www.momremix.com/podcast/episode1. See how nice that looks and how much easier it is for your customers to remember?
18. Create Your Logo on Squarespace- There’s an easy-to-use design tool that you can use to instantly create a logo for your business. There’s over 30,000 icons to choose from. Squarespace Logo is free for customers and $10 (USD) plus tax for a logo for non-customers. You can’t get a better deal than free. The logo builder is easy to use and the end product is great! You’d pay more to outsource this task, even on Fiverr or Upwork. For one of my prior side hustles, I spent $99 on elance (now Upwork) for the creation of a logo. Never again! Here are two logos I designed (for free) on the Squarespace logo designer:
19. Content Ownership – You own all of the content you put on the Squarespace platform. If you need to, export your data with one-click data portability.
20. Ad-Free – While you can run your own ads or make money with your site if you’d like, Squarespace doesn’t sell or run ads (unless you want to). Your site is yours. Again, contrary to what is being published on the internet, you can monetize a Squarespace blog—to include (but not limited to) installing ads, by selling your own products or services, or with affiliate marketing.
21. Purchasing Domains – In addition to configuring third party domains, customers can purchase domains directly from Squarespace. Each domain comes with a beautiful parking page and free WHOIS privacy. If you purchase your domain from a provider like godaddy.com, you’ll have to pay extra for WHOIS privacy.
(What is WHOIS privacy and why is it important? Whois is an Internet record that lists information about domains. The information in a Whois record include your personal contact information. Whereas many domain registrars offer services called "domain privacy” for a fee, Squarespace includes this automatically for all Squarespace Domains.)
22. Free Domain Included – All annual Squarespace accounts include a free custom domain for the first year (offer is valid for initial domain registration only). The free domain is only for the first year, but one year free is a nice bonus if you were going to sign up anyway!
23. Seamless Domain Registration – Domains registered through Squarespace are automatically set up to work with your Squarespace website, which means you never have to touch DNS records. Why bother with all that technical stuff, when it can be done for you seamlessly, for a few more dollars? Although I could shop domains elsewhere and possibly save a few dollars, I chose to use the Squarespace domain registration as a “one stop shop”.
24. Custom Emails – Easily set up G Suite with your domain to enable personalized email addresses. I set up my G Suite (the google e-mail) while setting up my blog. For example, my e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org. For this capability, it costs $5/month. The cost is well worth it for a professional and easy to remember e-mail address.
25. Connect Third-Party Managed Domains – Squarespace allows you to easily connect your website to a domain you purchased from a third-party provider (such as Namecheap or GoDaddy). If you already purchased your domain somewhere else, no worries—you can still connect it to your Squarespace site. With my first website, I purchased my domain name from GoDaddy, so I had to go through this process. I don’t recall it being difficult, but I do remember being nervous that I wasn’t doing it correctly. If this worries you too, see #23 and purchase your domain when you sign up for Squarespace all at the same time.
Why I Chose Squarespace over Wordpress
After messing with Wordpress and not making any progress toward a website design I was comfortable with, I had to decide whether I wanted to invest even more time into learning Wordpress. I had already spent the money on the website hosting and the Wordpress Avada theme, and I really didn’t want to spend any more money. But time is money! I just wanted to launch my website, and Wordpress was seriously slowing me down.
I decided I wanted to take action and get my blog out into the world. So, I opted to go with Squarespace. Since Squarespace offered all the customization and functionality that I needed for my blog, it just made sense. The frustration of working with Wordpress just wasn’t worth it to me. I chose the “Rally” theme for it’s clean and modern design.
So, a week after I signed up with Squarespace, I launched my blog! And when I pivoted and decided to start another blog (the one you’re reading now), I went to my Squarespace dashboard and purchased my domain name and started this blog (on the “Impact” Theme) and off I went!
I’m not knocking Wordpress. Most of the professional bloggers recommend going with Wordpress right out of the gate, and for good reason. You own your own site and you have the ability to customize it using a wide range of plug-ins. If I figured out Wordpress fairly quickly, I probably wouldn’t be writing this article! The reason I went with Squarespace is that it was just easier for me to design a professional looking website without the headache.
So, if you’re like me and you’re having trouble customizing Wordpress, I recommend going with Squarespace for all the reasons above….but mainly so that you can launch your business into the world without delay!
I hope you found this article helpful. If you decided to go with a Squarespace blog, get in touch—I’d love to know that this was helpful to you!
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