The Single Reason Why You Should Choose One Over The Other
“It's not the tools that you have faith in, tools are just tools. They work, or they don't work.” ~Steve Jobs
I’ve seen this question over and over: Squarespace vs Wordpress: which one is best?
The question could be better asked this way: which platform brings you the most joy? Let me explain.
Starting an online business is tough. There’s so much to learn, so many decisions to make. Even choosing a platform can take a business owner days—if not weeks—to decide on. Why do we make it all so complicated? Are we procrastinating out of fear?
I’ve had the same dilemma. For years, in fact.
A few years ago when I first dreamed about becoming a travel blogger.
I did my research and found that the most successful bloggers recommended Wordpress. My favourite fashion/travel bloggers used Wordpress.
So I followed their lead: "Wordpress it is!" Yet it made me unhappy.
What happened next was a downward spiral of platform mania.
I switched to Blogger, then switched back to Wordpress. Tried Ghost, then Wordpress. Then there was Tumblr, then Medium, then back to Wordpress.
It was like an addiction that I kept relapsing into. I knew Wordpress wasn't helping me run my business so I wanted out.
One day, with all my resolve, I decided to go cold turkey. After this, I meditated and took a break from all things social media and the Internet.
I decluttered KonMari style.
According to Marie Kondo, to be happy in life, surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Get rid of those that don't spark joy.
During one of my decluttering sessions, I realised one thing.
Shouldn't this be true with our choice of tools for our business?
Back to the topic at hand: should you go with Wordpress vs Squarespace? First, I'm resisting to turn this into the usual biased comparison article.
I’m sure you’ve seen them: when you read a paragraph or land on their site. At that instant, you know which direction the article is going to lean towards.
If you’re caught unawares, this could lead you to confirmation bias.
Which may or may not work in your favour depending on whether you’re using logic vs intuition.
So here are a few things you might want to first ask yourself before making a choice:
- Are you planning to start a blog?
- Do you want something simple or flexible?
- Do you like tinkering with technology?
- Do you tinker with technology as some sort of procrastination?
- Do you really plan on writing regularly on your blog?
Are you planning to start a blog?
I ask this because there’s one thing that Wordpress is king of: blogs.
And will remain dominating as a blogging platform.
If not? Then please stay away.
Sure, you’ll see websites that you’d never think was built on Wordpress but I smell a Wordpress site when I see one. There’s something that’s not very fluid with how it works, how it scrolls.
Even the best sites feel like an all-purpose knife that’s been crafted by the most skilled blacksmiths into a samurai.
Or like Cinderella and her beautiful coach. You still know that underneath the surface magic, it’s still a pumpkin.
But someone who has at least trained or tried to do the same will know what really happened. And we’re talking at least half (IMO) of online entrepreneurs.
Squarespace, however? It’s built like a samurai from the start.
Sometimes a trainee craftsman might butcher it a bit, like I have in the beginning (as I like to learn things by pushing its boundaries).
But you’ll still know it used to be a samurai.
Which brings us to our next point.
Do you want something simple or fully customisable?
Wordpress is an open-source platform, meaning anyone can look inside and tinker with it any way they want.
For a lot of people, that’s a good thing.
Here’s why that was dangerous for me: open source meant endless possibilities, unlimited plugins, unending security holes.
After a while, I realised that these were the exact things that made me leave my career in IT.
I wanted a life where I didn’t have to stay up at night thinking about the vulnerabilities. Wordpress kept me up at night.
For most Wordpress fans, this level of control is great. Not so much for me.
As a business owner, I knew I had better decisions to make than figure out when to install those updates. Or whether plugins would break when I do. Or what the risks are if I don’t.
At that point, I let go of the control I thought I wanted. The control everybody told me was great.
So I chose a platform that did all the updates for me. I didn’t want to do any of that myself.
I wanted to focus on creating. And keeping my life simple.
With technology? It can go either way.
Which brings us to our next question.
Do you like tinkering with technology?
If it’s a yes, then Wordpress is your platform.
Yet, it’s not that simple. At least not in my case.
I love technology, which was what led me to IT in the first place.
But like that addiction I told you about?
I loved geeking out so much that I ended up tinkering more than blogging. Which was the main reason I had a Wordpress site.
And this is why I ask the next question...
Do you tinker with technology as some sort of procrastination?
I know I did. I went down that rabbit hole of finding the perfect plugins.
And figuring out how to move the sidebar to the left because they say that helps conversions.
I wanted to integrate them all so that when I wrote a post, they all get published to all my social media accounts in an instant.
That is, when I actually got around to creating posts.
Which brings us to our final question...
Do you plan on writing consistently on your blog?
At this point, I realised that I loved tinkering and designing my blog rather than actually...err...blogging. On my travel/lifestyle blog.
Shortly after, I got an opportunity to co-found an app on Startup Weekend, and got attention on my designs. One of my first business websites got featured on Strikingly. Shortly after that, I landed my first web design client.
And, well, blogging took a back seat and I realised I chose the wrong platform.
Recently, I've started to blog again. Though I made it a point not to relapse into Wordpress. I persisted until I found a platform I loved. Or at least liked better.
What all these questions boiled down to for me is this: which platform gives me joy?
I was never happy with Wordpress which was why I had this off-again, on-again relationship with it.
Something about it felt too much like Windows over Mac.
I remember that moment I made the switch.
I was in Singapore at the annual IT show, with an intention to buy a PC.
There were so many great options: Toshiba, Fujitsu, Asus.
Overwhelmed with all the choices, I decided to go home and research.
On my way out, I walked past the Apple booth. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before—it was huge.
I guess at the time, I didn’t see it as an option as everyone told me to get a PC.
It felt premium, like it was way out of my league.
Which was ridiculous because when I got closer, the prices were cheaper than the PC I was looking to get.
There were only two options: Macbook or a Macbook Pro? Then two colours. Sold.
The day I switched to Macs, and I never looked back.
That feeling I had then was nothing short of joy.
“The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self.”
Almost a decade later, I’m writing this post on my Mac, on Google Docs. Despite all these recommendations to use Evernote, Scrivener or Ulysses.
Sure, sometimes I wish there were features here and there, but at the end of the day, all I want to do is just write. Yet I know that options and features distract and confuse me.
That’s why these days, I go with simple tools that let me do this one thing: write this piece. To reach those of you who have gone through the same dilemma as I have.
Tools that, while basic and simple, both bring me joy. And that’s the single best reason why I chose them.
It’s the single reason why I’m able to contribute to the world today.
So when you’re choosing a platform, whether it’s Wordpress or Squarespace, I suggest to take them both for a test drive.
There’s no one platform for everyone, but there’s one platform for each of us.
Like finding “the one”, your soulmate.
Choose the one that brings you joy.
If it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll know.
Maybe, like me, you’ll also get to know a little more about yourself, too.
Wondering which platforms I eventually live happily ever after with?
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