One of the biggest behind the scenes changes we made when undergoing our big website redesign to what is now andantepianoworks.com v3.0 was switching platforms from Squarespace to WordPress.
I regularly tell clients that at a certain point, a particular piano may stop meeting their needs as their playing progresses and changes, and that is a good time to re-assess whether or not they should stick with what they have or move on to a different instrument. It’s the same thing for a website. At a glance, WordPress and Squarespace seem very similar, but when I first started considering the idea of the website overhaul, a number of pros and cons of staying vs. switching began to emerge. I had a lot of conversations with Sarah of the amazing design studio Sarah Moon + Co and eventually decided to make the big switch.
After the huge task of migrating our website to an amazing WordPress host, SMCO got to work on the new design, merging the core branding elements from our previous website iterations, like our color scheme and logo, with a new dynamic, striking look. We’ve officially been live for less than two weeks, and I can honestly say that the switch from Squarespace to WordPress was 110% the right decision.
As the wise Tim Riggins once said, “No Regrets.” Here’s why:
1. First and foremost, the new WordPress website is AWESOME.
Beautiful. Cool. Fluid. Fast. Responsive. Powerful and customizable enough to handle our local Portland, Oregon piano teacher database, a feature I really wanted to include as a community resource, in a way that would not have been possible with Squarespace.
2. It’s not even been two weeks since we launched and our SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has dramatically improved.
Despite using the same tools that are supposed to maximize our search rankings with Squarespace, we struggled with visibility in search rankings, but that is no longer an issue with WordPress.
I can’t tell you how frustrating it was that many times, people said they tried to find a Yamaha Disklavier specialist online, but my Squarespace website never showed up in searches for them. This is despite the fact that it is and always has been heavily emphasized as a service we offer in the Portland area. I got lucky that those clients ended up being referred to me through other means, but it was quite annoying to hear that despite all of our attempts to market the service on our website, we still just weren’t being found. And who knows who else tried to find a Disklavier specialist and couldn’t find me on google and never ended up finding me at all?
It’s not so much that I want to be number one, though that would be super cool as well. It’s that I want people who are searching for the niche services I offer to easily be able to find me. That wasn’t happening on Squarespace, but already is on WordPress.
3. Blogging is SO SO SO much easier on WordPress.
I want my website to be more than just a static informational pamphlet. I love to share cool things about my work, my clients (with their permission, of course), and the piano world in general. But I hardly ever blogged before despite having a lot of fleshed out ideas and partially written posts hanging out in my google docs because I find the Squarespace blogging platform to be endlessly frustrating and confusing. It took so long to edit and format everything. And it was so hard just to figure out how to schedule a post. I’m sorry, but I shouldn’t have to look that up every time I want to do it because it just isn’t obvious.
Your mileage may vary on this one, but for me, there’s a logic to the WordPress blog platform that for whatever reason, Squarespace lacks. All the buttons I need are either prominent or easy to find on WordPress, and it is a breeze to add, delete, move around, and resize everything. I love that I can regularly share all the nerdy piano related things again because a blog post that used to take me three hours (I have a kid and am a one-woman show for my business and Monday Night Football is on, who’s got that kind of time?) now takes me no more than an hour.
4. WordPress saves me a lot of time because it allows for integration with the amazing app IFTTT (If This, Then That.)
I have a lot of social media accounts for my business and IFTTT is an incredibly convenient service that automates the sharing of social media posts across a bunch of different platforms, including my WordPress blog. Squarespace did allow for some sharing from Squarespace, but what about that cool photo I took and posted on Instagram that I also want to share on my blog? With IFTTT, it is automated and thus sends a blog posts directly to my drafts where I can quickly edit or expand on them. Or if I am feeling especially lazy, I can have it post to my blog directly without having to do anything. On Squarespace, I would have had to log in, create a new blog post, and figure out how to embed the post which should be easy but for some reason never was, the whole shebang. Again, who’s got time for all that?
5. WordPress is a platform that aligns much more with my values.
I like that WordPress is open source, doesn’t support hate under the guise of free speech, supports diversity and inclusivity, and isn’t a closed system with weird control issues about user content. If my website is attacked by hackers (unlikely since our hosting is known for being stable and secure) or I accidentally hit a wrong button that messes with the website framework, hey, I can download a backup of my website and restore it, easy peasy. Squarespace doesn’t allow this.
The freedom to have control over my own website and give my money to a non-icky website host for a non-profit platform that supports a lot of ideals that I believe in were big factors in my decision to switch. I may not have a lot of money but I try to be intentional with what I do have in the hopes that it may make a difference, however small that difference may be.
You may be wondering why am I talking about website platforms so extensively on a piano service website.
It’s because I believe a website matters a lot in this business, or any kind of service business, really. And not just a website, but an attractive, functional website that potential clients can easily find and enjoy perusing while they decide whether or not you are the right person to take care of their piano or (fill in the blank here with whatever service you offer).
We’ll see if my needs for a website end up changing again in the future. But right now, WordPress is 100% what I want out of a website by helping potential clients find me, and by being a platform that is easy to use and maintain.