The layout to your blog is your first impression to the rest of the online world. Finding the reasoning behind someone's layout and why they've picked that particular platform to blog from is something that never fails to fascinate me. For 3 and a 1/2 years I used Blogger, a trusted platform by so many, it's free and pretty simple to use so it's easy to see why so many people stand by it. But, for me earlier in the year, I felt like I'd just completely outgrown it and felt visually stifled. So I decided to undertake a big move over to SquareSpace and I have no idea just how much it would change the way I felt about my blog and the entire process that comes along with owning your own internet space.
Jen and I chose to run our online magazine A Little Opulent on Squarespace in early 2014 so I'd been aware of the platform for a long time but just never felt the urge to move over. After multiple redesigns on Blogger, which I loved, something still wasn't flowing for me and I felt in a real funk with things. One of my biggest issues that I had was when trying to work with multiple images in a post that it simply wouldn't format them and adding indentations wherever it liked. Not to mention how horribly it compresses your images (seriously Blogger, please get that sorted).
The biggest selling point to move over to Squarespace was that I could have so much creative freedom not only in my posts but with my entire layout. I wanted to create a super visual place for my blog as taking photographs for From Roses is one of my favourite things to do, so I wanted to make the most out of my images. There are some financial aspects to take on board if you're thinking to move over to SS, it costs me around £14 a month to have my blog on this platform. An expense that is totally worth it in my opinion but I know this isn't something that everybody is on board with.
What I love about SquareSpace is that you can create a really beautiful looking site without a huge amount of design experience. For 3 days solid, I worked tirelessly getting my design to work exactly how I wanted and make it user-friendly. I wanted a visually led website, but not something that cluttered and over complicated. SS uses a system that is pretty much like building blocks which I find incredibly simple to use. There are more complicated areas that might need some CSS knowledge but that is made easy with the likes of the SS forums and Google. In terms of what your site looks like on your mobile or tablet, you can toggle the view at the top to make sure everything flows and still continues to be user-friendly.
MOVING OVER FROM BLOGGER
Getting my posts moved over from Blogger was a lengthy transfer. Then there is the task of reformatting them once they were all across which is something that I would recommend doing on a rainy day with Netflix on in the background, I used two guides for moving my blog over:
The two together made the move pretty seamless. I was worried that remapping my URL from my old blog would be quite difficult, but it turned out to be pretty simple. Many have had issues with Bloglovin when moving platforms but I was incredibly lucky and I didn't lose any of my posts and everything fed through as normal the next day.
BLOGGING FROM SQUARESPACE
To say I'd grown tired of the Blogger interface would be an understatement. It was a complete pain when trying to do anything more adventurous than one image and then just a few paragraphs. Putting together posts on SS has become something I get so excited to do, that it's made me fall in love with the whole process all over again. They do take me a lot longer, but that is time well spent for me and I hope that my readers find my posts a lot more pleasing now. As you can built posts together in the same way you design your blog you're instantly given a lot more visual freedom that doesn't require hours faffing around with image size and indentations.
The behind the scenes of SS is something I find awesome for organising your posts. You have the choice to see all your posts or drafts, posts to review or posts that you've scheduled. I find this great for those of us who work days ahead with our content.
ON A MORE PERSONAL NOTE
Aside from all the technical reasons for my move, there are a lot of personal ones too. I wanted my blog to feel more than just a simple page, as I felt like I had more to give than just that. I wanted to create a little community and a place where my readers could visit and feel like it was more than just blog posts. The move over was exhausting and I poured everything I had into it, but I feel like it's completely paid off in personal satisfaction alone. It's made me completely fall in love with blogging and my blog again and has given me the push I needed to go the extra mile with the content that I'm creating. I'm always playing around with my layout and tinkering with the features that SS offers and finding new ways to present my posts.
If you're contemplating making the move over, then I would totally recommend doing so. There is a ton of information about SS around to get to know the platform a little more, as it's a little daunting at first, to use something that you're not familiar with.