In this episode, I’ll answer a listener’s question as part of our Ask the Yogipreneur segment.
Hello and welcome to Episode 11 of Yogipreneur Radio. I’m your host, Racheal Cook. For today’s episode, I have another great question from Jennifer about tackling the techy side of your yoga business.
If you’ve been overwhelmed with all the options to create your presence online, you’ll want to listen in. Here’s this week’s question from Jennifer:
“Hi Racheal! My name’s Jennifer. I’m working on launching my yoga business and I’m convinced I need a professional website, but I don’t have a big budget for a designer.
I’ve heard that I could use WordPress or SquareSpace, but I’m just overwhelmed and not sure what’s the best way to go between hosting, blogging, and everything else. I need help simplifying this.
How much should I even plan to spend on my first website, and what resources and services do you recommend?”
Thanks, Jennifer for such a great question. I completely understand how you feel and I know that so many yogis feel completely overwhelmed by tackling the techy side of their business.
I’m going to do my best to uncomplicate it as much as possible; break down all the elements of your website so you have a clearer idea of what you need to know before you make the decision as to what kind of platform makes the most sense for you and your business, and what to expect as far as how much it’s going to cost, and how much time it could take for you to do it yourself or hire it out.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever before to design a beautiful, professional looking website on your own, without shelling out thousands of dollars to an expensive designer.
As recently as about five years ago, if you wanted a professional looking website, that’s the price tag you’d be looking at. It wasn’t until WordPress and Squarespace and all of these amazing new innovations and technology have really become popular that we’ve been able to go back, as individuals, to learn how to manage our sites ourselves. That’s the power in learning this on your own versus trying to pass it off to someone.
I have to say that I really believe one of the best skills you can learn as an entrepreneur is how to manage your site yourself. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself spending $50-100 an hour to designers and developers making the smallest little tweaks.
This is a skill-set that will definitely pay off over and over and over again once you learn. The two platforms that I recommend all the time would really be WordPress or Squarespace. We’ll talk about the differences between the two of those.
The reason that I am passionate about these two platforms — and I think they suit just about any entrepreneur’s needs — is when you are putting yourself out there as a business, you don’t want to look like you just went for the cheapest option. You don’t want to look like you have the free website by whatever the website builder is on the bottom corner.
I see those sites all the time…and it’s okay when I see them from the guy who comes by and cuts my grass. I see his “Made by Weebly” on the bottom footer and it doesn’t bother me too much because I only pay him $25 every other week to cut my grass. But,
If I’m hiring somebody to come in and teach me private yoga and I’m spending hundreds of dollars with them every single month, suddenly I expect a higher level with their website.
I expect that they’ve taken more time and have put more care into designing this site. The truth is, people do judge a book by its cover and if the bottom of your website is stamped by “Get your free website here,” chances are people are going to think you don’t take your business seriously.
WordPress and Squarespace are my absolute favorites. We’re going to walk through both sides of them so you know what to expect and can decide which platform makes the most sense for you.
Let’s talk about the major components of WordPress and Squarespace.
At the heart, both platforms are content management systems. Content management system basically means: this is the software that runs the backend of your website.
It’s where you store all of the information, all of the text, all of the pictures, pretty much everything that actually displays when people go to your website. The main difference is, WordPress is an open source software, and Squarespace is a proprietary software.
The plus side of being open source for WordPress is that there are so many people working on it, developing it, developing new things for it…they have so much flexibility. Literally, if you want to get really creative and customize your site, WordPress is the way to go because there is so much flexibility–that you simply get elsewhere–because it’s an open source software.
The cool thing that they have are called plug-ins.
It’s just like an app on your phone. If you’ve ever heard somebody say, “There’s probably an app for that,” same thing goes true for WordPress. There’s probably a plug-in for just about anything you want to do on your website.
If you want to have a click to tweet in the middle of your blogposts, there’s a plug-in for that. If you want to host a quiz on your website, there’s a plug-in for that. If you want to have a popup, there’s a plug-in for that.
There’s plug-ins for just about anything and it gives you so much flexibility and freedom and creative control over your website.
On the other side, for Squarespace, you don’t have that much flexibility. You don’t have that much freedom. You’re pretty much restricted to whatever the Squarespace team has come up with. They do keep the platform really lean and really streamlined. It’s not for businesses who want to be really creative or have a lot of customized features.
The other thing that you need to think about when you’re looking at WordPress versus Squarespace is how easy it is to use. Especially if you’re going to be the one who’s continuing to manage it and continuing to work with it. Now, I strongly believe that whichever way you go, you can learn either platform.
I’ve been teaching WordPress for years now through my Techy Training to Attract Your Tribe Program and I’ve seen so many people come back to me saying, “I didn’t know if I could manage WordPress, but in a weekend I was able to put my website together.” I know you can learn it and I really believe that if you take some time up front to learn how to manage your website, you’ll be so much better off for the long run.
But, I do have to say WordPress has a little bit of a steeper learning curve simply because there’s a lot more going on. It’s so robust, there’s a lot that you have to learn. You have to understand how it all works together. You’re going to probably spend a few hours figuring it all out or working with somebody to learn how to use it.
The good news there is there’s so much support available online.
Literally, you can Google any question you have about WordPress and find YouTube videos and blog posts and forums answering the exact question that you have. Don’t stress out that there’s not any support with WordPress because it’s an open source software.
I’ve found over and over again, just by using Google, I can probably find the answer to my question, and if I can’t, I always have a short list of people that I can call to check in on what’s going on in my site.
Because Squarespace is actually a business, they have a support team. They have a dedicated support team. You can reach out to them, you can email them, you have somebody on the other end that can answer your questions, and they can take a look at your site and figure out what’s going on for you. That’s definitely a feature that you’re paying for when you sign up for a platform like Squarespace.
The other thing I want to mention between the two options here is all of the design elements available to you.
When you’re looking at WordPress versus Squarespace, again, it comes down to how much creative control you want to have over your site, how much customization and flexibility you want to have, versus how easy you need it to be.
With Squarespace, they have dozens of gorgeous responsive designs. I haven’t seen a Squarespace website that wasn’t beautifully designed. But, it’s only a few dozen, so you’re kind of limited there. You don’t have ultimate creative control and you’re limited to the parameters of those beautiful design templates that they have in place. You can’t really modify those or customize them too much.
On the other hand, because WordPress is an open source software, there are hundreds of thousands of design options available to you. These are called “themes” in WordPress and, to be quite honest, you do not want a free theme.
You’re going to most likely pay for a premium theme. The biggest reason that you will want to pay for a premium theme is you want to have a theme that does what you want it to do, that doesn’t slow down your site, that’s not filled with junky code and that helps you have that polished, professional look and feel.
There’s hundreds of thousands of themes out there, but there’s only one that I recommend right now, consistently, and that would be Divi by ElegantThemes.com. It’s the theme that we’re using on TheYogipreneur.com; we use it on TechyTraining.com; we use it on all of our websites and absolutely love it.
The reason that I’m so loving Divi by Elegant Themes is it’s one of the first WordPress themes that integrates this more drag and drop website builder, which was for a long time the major selling point of the free website builders like Wix or Weebly, and even Squarespace is a little bit more drag and drop.
You can see where all of the sections of your website are, and you can move them around to where you wan them to be. Now, because of Divi by Elegant Themes, you have that functionality and you have all of the power of WordPress to really make your website as customized as you want it to be.
Those are a few of the considerations you want to think about when you’re looking at WordPress versus Squarespace.
With WordPress, you’re getting so much flexibility and freedom. You have ultimate creative control, you can customize it, you can have all of the functionality you want, you can really do just about anything you can imagine for your website.
But, with Squarespace, you’re giving up some of that creativity and control in order to make it a little bit easier and more intuitive to do yourself. It is a tossup. It’s a give and take.
The final piece that I want to talk about when you’re looking at WordPress versus Squarespace is how much it’s going to cost. With WordPress, if you’re a business using WordPress, you don’t want to go to WordPress.com.
That’s their free blogging platform, but it is not meant for business websites. In fact, they do not want you to customize it too much. There’s a lot less functionality. They just want you to have a free blog there. It’s not meant for business. In fact, last time I checked, you’re not even able to include a PayPal link on a WordPress.com blog.
You want to download the full CMS for WordPress at WordPress.org. That CMS is free. WordPress is free at WordPress.org. You download the software, but what do you do with it? You have to install it on your webhost. Your webhost is like a landlord.
You’re going to rent space from them on their servers to install your software and run your website. We recommend either Bluehost or WPEngine. Bluehost would be the more simple and less expensive option. I believe it’s about $5 or so a month to host your website there. WPEngine would be a little bit more expensive.
I believe their prices start at about $30 a month. But, the reason that they’re a little bit more expensive is there is so much support and security and maintenance all built in. I love WPEngine. All of our websites are hosted on WPEngine because, to me, it’s like having a tech team that’s constantly maintaining my websites, making sure everything’s always updated, making sure everything’s secure so I don’t have to worry about hackers.
On the other side, Squarespace includes the hosting. Your hosting is actually going to be right on Squarespace’s servers. Which makes it a little bit simpler. There’s one less place you have to go to and one less thing you have to pay for. It’s built into your fee.
The other piece you have to go ahead and purchase — either online to use with your WordPress site or through Squarespace — will be your domain address. Your domain is your URL. It’s www.yourbusiness.com. Usually, it’s going to cost you about $10 to 20 a year depending on the URL that you’re looking for.
We use Namecheap all the time and then, between Namecheap and WPEngine and WordPress, those are the core components that make up all of our websites. If you’re on Squarespace, then they build that in as well.
The big question: What is it going to cost you to have a beautifully designed, professional website up and running through either WordPress or Squarespace?
I would have to say that by the time you crunch the numbers, they’re probably going to come out to be about the same.
In my experience, you can have a beautifully designed, professional looking website up with WordPress, including your domain name and your hosting package, for about $100-200 a year. Squarespace will run you about the same and they’re including that domain name and that hosting in their price. It’s really up to you.
Do you want to have full functionality and customization and a little bit of a learning curve or do you want something that’s not as robust, but a little bit more intuitive for you to learn?
There’s a few final questions you’re going to want to ask yourself as you’re continuing to decide between WordPress and Squarespace.The first question to ask yourself is:
- Who is going to make the updates?
- Who’s going to be maintaining and managing and updating the site once it’s live?
If you plan to be continuing that, if you know you don’t want to have to outsource this, then choose the option that you can commit to learning how to use. I would have to say, if you decide that you want to use WordPress and you don’t feel like you’re particularly tech savvy, you may want to invest some time into either doing a lot of research online on how to manage your WordPress site yourself or purchasing a training program that will walk you through everything that you need to know.
If you’re going to continue using Squarespace, you have a lot of support at your disposal there. Either way, there’s some options to help you continue making those updates and manage your site on your own.
The next question I would ask is:
What is the future of this site and your business?
The reason that I ask this is it’s very hard to migrate form something like Squarespace to WordPress.
This is where a lot of people get stuck. They say, “I want the easier option because that’s where I’m at right now. I don’t want to invest a lot of time and energy and money to learn WordPress.” They go with something like Squarespace, but there’s no easy button to transfer your website from Squarespace to WordPress.
You really will have to start all over again.
You want to build as you mean to go on.
If you think you’ll need any advanced functionality or features, I would say, in the next two or three years, you’ll be better off to build in WordPress, to learn WordPress to get more comfortable with it than to two or three years down the road have to do a much more expensive migration and probably have somebody help you move all of the elements of your site over.
It’s not really compatible, so it’s not like you can just switch it from one platform to the other and they will magically work themselves out. It would be like if you were trying to upload your iPhone software into an Android. They’re not going to compute, they’re not going to work together.
If you think you need to add ecommerce or a more robust ecommerce where you want to have multiple payment options like PayPal and Stripe, you want to have auto fulfill available, you might want to have drop shipping available, you might want to check out WordPress. Squarespace has some of that functionality, but it’s not very robust and you’re going to pay a lot more when you start adding more types of products to your shop.
Do you think you might want to have a members’ area on your website? If you’ve ever taken any of my programs, you know that we host all of our stuff in another platform called Simplero. But there’s a lot of people who want to be able to host their platforms right on the backend of their WordPress website.
If you ever think that you might want to have a password protected members’ area, there’s a lot more available for WordPress, a lot of options like Zippy courses or Wish List Member that allow you to turn your website into a membership site. That functionality is really not available inside of Squarespace.
- Do you want to have functionality like having calendar available so people can book appointments with you?
- Do you want to be able to integrate with something like Mind Body Online or some other sort of class management software?
If you really want to be able to integrate with anything else, if there’s any other tools or technology that you’re using — whether it’s a calendar software or something like Mind Body Online or Busy Bee or PayPal — those don’t really work so well with Squarespace.
You do want to make a list of any of the other tools you’re using to run your business.
If they don’t work with Squarespace, don’t stress out. They probably work with WordPress because WordPress, again, has so much functionality available to it. You want to make sure you’re thinking about this.
- What’s going to happen to your site in two to three years?
- Do you see yourself adding additional functionality?
- Will you outgrow Squarespace?
If you will outgrow Squarespace, then you might want to consider starting with WordPress, learning it now while you’re getting started, instead of trying to learn it when your business is really moving and rolling. Remember, this is just the beginning about learning how to create a website for your business.
You’ll also need to write all of the copy.
You’ll have to write all the content for your website. You’ll have to come up with all of the branding — the color palate and the logos and the photography — and you’ll also have to map out the architecture of your sites.
The CX, how everything works together. But, thanks to amazing tools like WordPress and Divi by Elegant Themes, it’s easier than ever before to DIY while looking 100% pro. Thanks for listening everyone. I hope this helps you take that next step towards building your presence online.
If you’re looking for training and support in building your WordPress website, check out my program Techy Training to Attract Your Tribe; Your Sweet Site at TechyTraining.com. If you can set aside a few hours a week, in less than a month, you’ll learn how to describe who you are and the work you do in a way that’s not only authentic, but attracts perfect for you clients like bees to honey.
You’ll learn how to design your brand 100% in alignment with you.
From your color palate to fonts to gorgeous images, we’ll even share our secrets to beautiful photographs without having to get in front of the camera. You’ll learn how you can confidently create and manage your own WordPress website, even if you’re a complete beginner.
Just for Yogipreneur Radio listeners, when you use the code YogiRadio, you can get $100 off Your Sweet Site.
Learn more at TechyTraining.com.
If you have a question for Ask the Yogipreneur on Yogipreneur Radio, make sure you head over to theyogipreneur.com/ask and share it with me.
I want to thank fitJaime for her iTunes review that says, “Racheal knows yogis, she knows business, she knows how to blend them together and help make sense of it all.” Thank you so much, Jaime.
I appreciate every single review. Your comments and reviews are helping me to reach and serve more yogi-hearted entrepreneurs and I’m so grateful to you for helping elevate our community.
As always, thank you for listening. I’ll talk to you soon on Yogipreneur Radio.
Episode 11 Show Notes::
Divi by ElegantThemes.com
What To Do Next?