As I outlined in yesterday's post, I have made the move from my self-hosted (Go Daddy) Wordpress website to a Squarespace hosted website. For those of you who receive my posts via RSS, subscribe to www.lensaltiel/blog to receive new posts from the new site.
So why did I pick Squarespace as the the new home for my site? First a little history. When I first launched my site, I picked Wordpress because it was a free platform and was very customizable. After loading Wordpress and buying a theme, I found that customization was not as easy as it sounded. It took me a long time to get the site the way I wanted it to look and function because I had no idea how to code. I struggled to figure out how to do so and literally searched the theme's forums looking for other people's requests who were trying to do what I wanted. I literally copied code out of the forum messages, tried it on my site to see if it did what I wanted it to do. If it did, great. If it didn't, back to searching. After finally getting the site looking like I wanted, it was off to find Wordpress widgets to try and see if I could get some functionality that I wanted. The whole process was daunting and I swore that I didn't want to go through it again and so when I launched the site two years ago, I avoided making any additional changes to it.
When the old site contracted malware a couple of weeks ago, it was the impetus to make a site change that I had been avoiding to do. In picking a new platform, I wanted one that did not require me to use code and was tighter from a security standpoint (while I don't know how my old site contracted the malware, I am convinced that the use of a customizable platform like Wordpress was a factor). I had heard of Squarespace through their sponsorship of several podcasts that I listen to. It sounded like a platform that met my needs so I signed up for a trial and gave it a go. Obviously, I liked what I saw and migrated my Wordpress site there.
For those of you who are thinking of trying it out, here is what I really like about Squarespace. Most important to me, you really don't need to to know how to code. The new site has been built by using their Layout Engine, which is really powerful. Changes can be made by dragging blocks of information around a webpage. The Layout Engine also allows for just about anything to be placed on a webpage from images to galleries to video to audio. You can even use code if you are so inclined. How it all works together does take a little time to learn but once you grasp the concepts, it gets pretty easy. Because it is more of a self-contained solution, there are not as many "widgets" available as the Wordpress platform. In my case, it helped to have the site be less cluttered and have a cleaner look. The other cool feature is Squarespace's new mobile application that keeps my galleries and images in synch with my iPhone and iPad. Pretty slick app although they need to build in slideshows.
There is one puzzling aspect to the site which I hope they fix in an upcoming release. Being a photographer, I want to use my photos in blog posts, galleries and other site pages. Rather than upload the image once, you must upload it every place you want to use it. Seems like a storage hog for Squarespace and an inefficient process for users.
Anyway, that's a quick look at my revamped site. Having only used it for about three weeks, I am sure that I will learn other ways and functionality that will help me to enhance the site. If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.