Here is a quick note I wrote to a friend to follow-up on the Facebook discussion about the best platform for her to start sharing her writing online.
1. Who owns your content?
2. Can you reclaim it if you decide to leave the platform?
WordPress is ideal for blogging, that’s what it was designed for.
Squarespace is designed for “flat files” which are faster to load (important for Google ranking). Blog functions are available on Squarespace, but I believe its first function is fast, good-looking, easy-to-build static websites. If I were to start a new website today, I would use Squarespace if I did not need an Email service from the host.
Although Squarespace does not offer you a free plan, they do have a 14-day risk-free trial for you to thoroughly test out their website builder before you make your decision. … So the ongoing cost for Squarespace ranges from $144 per year (Personal plan) to $480 per year (Advanced plan).
WordPress is powerful, cumbersome, widely-used, and for that reason, the target of a gajillion hack attempts per day (I have a counter on one of my WordPress websites). My personal blog is on WordPress (self-hosted with hosting company A), and my business website is on WordPress (self-hosted on hosting company B). I built a business website for one of my advertising clients on WordPress.com, which is NOT self-hosted, and he pays them small annual fees.
Matt Mullenweg, co-founding developer of WordPress, launched a company called Automattic which provides “restricted” free blog hosting service at WordPress.com, and you can pay/upgrade to unlock features such as CSS modification etc. However, to get the full power of WordPress.org on WP.com service, you have to spend over $3250 per month for hosting.
It is not your imagination that this can get complicated. Two things:
1. WordPress.com is “free” blogging platform where Automattic takes care of all the updating, security, etc. This might be a good choice.
a. It is not really free for someone like you. You have to pay a small amount to keep ads off the site, and a small fee to have your domain name directed to the cloud-based site.
b. Be sure to own your domain name separately, under your own name, on your own account, that you can direct wherever you want. If you want to change platforms, you will have the ability to do so. I register my domains at Domains.Google.com
c. Using WordPress.com removes the website security issues. On the other hand, all your content is created in the cloud. You will have to make sure all your content is backed up to a place where you can find what you are looking for should something (unlikely) happen to your cloud-based website.
2. Self-hosted WordPress.org (which is that I do) is not recommended because it is cumbersome, slow and old fashioned, but gives me more control over the appearance and ownership of the material. Plus, I can create Email accounts like email@example.com
I do not know the Squarespace answers to the ownership quandary. Those websites are created in the cloud, and I think you would need a way to keep an archive copy of your writing. I don’t know what they offer in this regard.
I hope this helps. Please let me know what you decide to do.