Update: I’ve noticed several clicks from Google to this and one other posting here related to Squarespace. While this blog is running on WordPress.com now I have since signed up with Squarespace for another site that I will be running for an iPhone software endeavor I am starting. So while my personal site here is still on WordPress I still like Squarespace enough that I wanted to use it for a new site and did sign up for that.
Three days ago I wrote a post about trying Squarespace as a blogging platform. Three days later that trial is done. I had planned on giving Squarespace a trial of a month or two. Fantastic service from the quick look I had but I ended up moving my blog to wordpress.com from my self-hosted environment on Hostmonster. The intent was to try both services because I wanted something hosted on a platform where I don’t have to worry about site performance issues. On Hostmonster my WordPress set up was experiencing a lot of CPU throttling which seemed ridiculous given the amount of traffic I receive on any given day. Looking at what they define as slow-running queries against MySQL I was also baffled because nothing was very slow. My desire to debug those kinds of issues is smaller than zero so it was time to look at one of the hosted solutions where the only thing I needed to care about was writing blog postings.
For such a small traffic blog I do have some pages that are routinely very popular via Google searches. When I imported my posts to Squarespace it created a bunch of custom URLs to maintain those WP-generated permalinks which is great. But for trial purposes anything created after that initial import wouldn’t have the same link structure. On Squarespace everything ends with “.html”. If I had done a significant amount of writing over the next month or two on Squarespace I would have been in trouble as far as Google search results go because I wouldn’t have been able to map those URLs to something in the wordpress.com permalink structure so that my results on Google were valid. Since my intent was to try both services, losing my potential Google ranking on those pages when I started a wordpress.com trial wasn’t an attractive option to me. There were two other items that weren’t obvious issues for me: the social aspect that comes with using the wordpress.com platform or integration with Twitter for new posts.
A blog on wordpress.com has the ability to become part of the full social structure of the set of blogs hosted there. I’m writing because I want to, but the point of making it public is to have other people read what I’m putting out there. I’d hope that for many of the types of posts I write somebody might get some value from them. With a wordpress.com account there is already a large social network built up. That simply isn’t an option on Squarespace. That’s not an overall problem with the Squarespace platform but it’s a feature I want that they don’t offer. If I’m going to be paying $10 or more a month for a service I want to make sure it serves my needs as closely as possible.
The other thing that Squarespace doesn’t seem to offer is a way to post new entries to Twitter. On my WordPress self-hosted install I used the WP-to-Twitter plugin. I don’t have the plugin option on wordpress.com but they do have the ability to link up a Twitter account, Facebook account, etc. to accomplish the same thing. Again, this is something I really want and Squarespace doesn’t offer it and again if I’m going to pay $10 a month for a service…
All that being said Squarespace is really cool. The website editing system is fantastic. The iOS apps are far better than what WordPress is offering. At the end of the day though the cost for a custom domain with wordpress.com is $1 per month. The beautiful thing though is that there are fantastic options out there if I change my mind. Options are a good thing