You’ll remember that I recently wrote about signs that you may have outgrown your Squarespace website. We got quite a few questions about this topic—lots of good ones related to ongoing costs, logistics and the ever-popular issues related to search engine optimization.
So what do you need to know if you’ve decided that it is indeed time to make the leap to WordPress from Squarespace? The following is a very top level breakdown of what you need to know about making the big move!
#1 There are WordPress “page builder” plugins that make WordPress feel more “Squarespace-y,” which eases the transition.
We love Elementor for our WordPress clients, as the user experience feels fairly Squarespace-like. Yes, you still have to work with a front- and backend of the site, which can be a bit awkward if you’re not used to it, but we’ve seen people have a lot of success with it. Heck, our own Kath, Squarespace Trainer Extraordinaire, got up to speed quickly with Elementor!
Check out the animation to the right to see how drag and drop it is.
#2 You’ll need to deal with hosting if you move from Squarespace to WordPress.
This is actually something that can be annoying for new WordPress website owners who are used to Squarespace. Because Squarespace provides your CMS (content management system) and your website hosting, it’s just not something you think about often (unless it’s down, of course). With WordPress, this is unavoidable. You have to find a website host. We love Flywheel because it’s managed hosting with fabulous customer service—they update your WordPress installation and you can even add on plugin updates and other cool add-ons. You will pay a premium for a host like this (equivalent to Squarespace pricing). However, there are other options that are a bit cheaper, though less awesome. Siteground is one that’s popular with my designer friends.
#3 It’s a manual job, so decide if you want to simply migrate your website design from Squarespace or if you want to redesign in WordPress.
If you love your design, then the answer is simple, just simply migrate and emulate your Squarespace design in WordPress while perhaps adding a few special touches like image hotspots, accordions, or content toggles. If your site is older and you feel like it could use some more pizazz (technical term), then it may be time to look at a redesign.
#4 It’s crucial to do an SEO study as part of moving from Squarespace to WordPress.
WordPress allows you to create a more complex content structure on your website and that’s a good thing, but we also want to take care so as not to harm your search engine rankings. (Though we typically see dips whenever we move CMSes but that’s temporary.) You should know what content is performing well, what can be improved and uncover any opportunities as part of this process. It’s just simply smart.
When we migrate clients from one platform to another, we always include an SEO study to reveal any critical issues we need to take special care with. For example, in a recent redesign, we discovered that a client was ranking as a Google Answer (position zero) for a very competitive search. This heavily influenced the structure of the redesign. Without the redesign audit, we never would have known this was an issue.
#5 You will be able to dig deeply into search engine optimization in WordPress in a way that’s more challenging in Squarespace.
I’ll be the first to scream from the rooftops that you can most certainly rank in position one or even zero in Squarespace—I have quite a lot of content that does do that well. With that said, there are some elements that can be frustrating, particularly Schema, which may be important to some users. You can also do a lot more with regard to headings hierarchies and there are great plugins like Yoast (my old favorite) and SEOPress (my new love) that guide you through optimizing your pages and posts.
#6 There’s only one “blog” in WordPress so if you’re using multiple Squarespace blogs, you’ll need to plan for that.
For example, on my website I use the blog functionality for both my articles and also my case studies. Two different blogs handle that. In WordPress you’ll need to use categories to isolate sections or simply move some of those posts to pages. This can be a big decision in terms of your ongoing workflow, so it’s important to inventory your site and know what’s “under the hood” so to speak. Typically we use the category solution, but there have been times when the pages approach was better.
#7 You will need to clean up and finesse your blog posts.
Oh boy, this is the most crazy-making aspect of this kind of migration in my mind. Yes, you can do an automated import but it will likely be a mess. Your images may not be correct, posts will be formatted weirdly, and it’ll just be sloppy. The best option is manual cleanup. Make it a project while you catch up on your Netflix. Sorry!
Still have questions about migration to Squarespace from WordPress? Drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer!
Do you love your website but are feeling constrained by Squarespace?
As Squarespace experts who also have over a decade’s experience in WordPress, we developed a special package that includes awesome search optimization and a platform migration, plus training and extra goodies. Follow the link below to learn more.