My experience with Squarespace and why I pay the price instead of using a free blogging platform like Blogger

In September of 2013, I started my business by selling my pictures at the Griffith central market. One thing I wanted to do with my business was start a website. One problem I had was I knew nothing about starting a website. I didn’t know where to start.  After the first central market season ended I got my online ball rolling by opening an Etsy store. Unfortunately I didn’t get much sold on my Etsy store and I couldn’t do nearly as much with it as I could my own website. About a year after starting my business, my older sister met someone that did websites. She asked her if she would make a website for me. She said she would. She then started on it and what she started  looked good. Unfortunately she became too busy to work on my website because of fighting with the school to get the help that her autistic son needed, which I can understand that after what my mom went through to get the help I needed in school. After waiting for a while, I gave her the money for what she had done and moved on.


My experience with Blue Domain

Later on a friend of mine who also has a photography business told me that she was using blue domain to do her website and that she was happy with it, so I tried that. Her business is called white harvest photography if you want to check it out. I looked at blue domains templates at they had some nice ones. One thing that was nice about the templates is they were geared toward photographers. The way that starting a website worked with them is you would place your template order and then they would sent you what you needed to get started. I placed my order and should have received what I needed the next day, but I didn’t. a few days went by and I still didn’t receive what I needed to get started, so I emailed them and asked them what was going on and they didn’t respond. Finally after 2 weeks, they responded and sent me what I needed. At that point I was very irritated with then and even my family agreed that I should not do business with them, so I told them that I wanted my money back. Getting my money back was a big hassle, but thanks to Paypals protection I was able to get it back. While they had such a hard time sending me what I needed to get started and giving me my money back, they had no problem taking my money. I looked at their reviews and saw that they had almost all bad reviews complaining about similar problems to mine.


My experience with Squarespace

After that I did a Google search for the top website builders. After comparing several website builders and getting my family’s opinions on them, I decided to go with Squarespace, which I am still using to this day. The first thing I liked about Squarespace is unlike blue domain, I didn’t have to wait for them to send me what I needed to get started. What I needed was right there on their website. Also I didn’t have to pay right away. They let you do a 1 month free trial to see how you like it before you pay. Blue domain didn’t do that. One concern that some people have with starting a website is not knowing computer code. On Squarespace it is easy to build a website without knowing code. As far as their customer service goes, I haven’t needed to contact them very much since if I have a question about something, chances are I can figured it out using they many guides that they have written out. There has been a few times that the guides didn’t cut it and I needed to contact them. All of the times I have contacted them, they have responded very quickly and have been very helpful. I have also been able to have everything on my website that I wanted to have. I you are looking to start a website, I would say that Squarespace is a great way to go. If you look at their pricing, you might wonder why I pay that price when i could save that money by using a free blogging platform like blogger. There are some good reasons for that.


You look more professional


One disadvantage to using a free blogging platform is you don’t get a custom domain. For example if i did my blogging on blogger, the name of my blogger would be blogger.com/autisticeyeart instead autisticeyeart.com. That looks way less professional. One thing that all very successful websites have is a custom domain.


You can get a custom email address


If you have a blog, you should have an email list that you send emails to every time you put up a new blog post. The email address that you use to send these emails has a big effect on your open rate. If you put in the money to have a website with a custom domain, you can pay a little bit more to have a custom email address on your domain, for example james@autisticeyeart.com. Not only will a custom email address make you look more professional and increase your open rate, but it will also lower that chances of your emails going into people's spam folders. One more thing that you can do to lower that chances of your emails going into people's spam folders is to only have people on your email list that have given you their permission to have them there. Never buy or scrape emails.


Getting backlinks is easier


When it comes to blogging, backlinks are very important. Unfortunately getting people to link out to you is hard even with a custom domain. When i contact websites asking for a backlink, 9 times out of 10 I get ignored and that is normal when it comes to backlinks. If i used a free blogging platform, getting those backlinks would be even harder. Just think about it, when you see backlinks on websites, most of the time they are links to custom domains rather than blogs on free blogging platforms.


Seo is easier


When it comes to blogging, seo are very important. Seo is a lot harden on a free blogging platform. First backlinks play a big in search engine rankings and like i already said, getting backlinks is harder on a free blogging platform. Search engines look down on free blogging platforms because it is common black hat seo method for people to create a blog on free blogging platforms to link out to there main blog. If you are thinking about doing that, dont do it, because it can cause search engines to penalize you. That can really hurt your website.


Building domain authority is easier


A big reason that link building and seo is important is because it builds domain authority. The higher your domain authority, the easier it is to rank in search engines


You own your blog


When you use a free blogging platform, that platform owns your blog. You have to follow their rules which you agree to when you sign up. If you dont you blog can be deleted. A great advantage to putting in the money to have a website with a custom domain is that you actually own your content and are not restricted to another company's rules.


It is easier to monetize.


Free blogging platforms are very restrictive when it comes to selling products and services. The reason that i started my website in the first place was to sell my artwork. Another great advantage to putting in the money to have a website with a custom domain is that i can sell my artwork without the fear of my blog getting deleted.


You have a lot more customization options.


On a free blogging platform you are very limited on customization options. Another great advantage to putting in the money to have a website with a custom domain is that the customization options are endless. My website definitely wouldn’t look as good if it was on a free blogging platform.


Conclusion


In September of 2013, I started my business by selling my pictures at the Griffith central market. One thing I wanted to do with my business was start a website. After researching how to do it, i started my website with a website builder called squarespace. My experince with them have been great ever since. There also great advantages to putting in the money to have a website with a custom domain from customization options to seo.


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© James Leslie - Autistic Eye Art-The world through at autistic eye.
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