One thing you will get to know as an internet marketer is that there is no right or wrong way to do things; there’s merely the ideal way for you and it applies to just about anything, including website creation.
Image source: Squarespace
Let’s face it:
It’s not surprising that many newbies quickly opt for Squarespace to build their first website. Personally, I find Squarespace quite useful for quickly building new websites since it handles domain name registration and hosting so that you can focus all your attention on creating high-quality web pages.
Also, Squarespace’s learning curve is not as steep as WordPress, so it is understandable that newbies, especially the non-techy ones, would be so inclined to opt for it instead.
However, Squarespace does have its own limitations and once you find yourself stuck between trying to customize your web pages or adding the latest plugin to your ecommerce site, you may eventually be prompted to switch to WordPress.
WordPress is a fantastic web builder. In fact, it is perhaps the most flexible one in the market. If you can get past the jargon, you will find that WordPress is just as easy to use even for non-techy users.
Image source: WordPress
Moving from Squarespace to WordPress involves a long list of things to do. Depending on the size of the website, this type of migration can take from a few minutes to long hours of your time.
It sounds like a lot, I know. But it’s really not that difficult.
In this article, we will cover every step of the process and we will throw in some pro tips along the way.
Should you switch from Squarespace to WordPress and WooCommerce?
Well, it depends entirely on you.
If you do not possess any web development skills, then you may find succor using Squarespace as a first-timer.
But WordPress also caters to users with no web development skills. The only catch is that you will probably have to do some research to get up to speed with some of the other processes, including web hosting and domain management. But if you require an extensively customized website, then WordPress is undoubtedly your best bet.
WooCommerce is not a direct tool for building websites like Squarespace and WordPress, rather, it is a WordPress toolkit for designing great ecommerce stores.
Why choose WordPress over Squarespace?
We have already established that Squarespace is not a bad website builder. Some people do prefer it to WordPress and they have their reasons.
But, here are some reasons why you may want to move from Squarespace to WordPress.
One reason why many marketers are opting for Squarespace is that they have been told of its ease of use and flexibility. With WordPress, you get those too. In fact, WordPress is nothing if not flexible.
The website builder gives you complete control of all of its features. From customizing the look of your site to managing your SEO, you get a feel of how it feels to truly be able to dictate everything about your web pages.
The thing about developers is that no matter how hard they try, they can never actually think of everything on their own.
Before or when you have created your site, you probably have one or two ideas that you want to implement. If you are a Squarespace user, this may not be possible if your desired features do not come with it.
This means that you may very well not get your dream website, which can be a deal-breaker for a lot of people.
However, WordPress has a bunch of apps called plugins, which you can download and install on your WordPress to give you that extra functionality that you are looking for, so even though the developers missed a function that you want, you can simply get it from third-party plugin creators.
Image source: SiteGround
Nowadays there are plugins for almost anything. For example, Yoast SEO is one of the best tools for SEO. It makes it easy for users to control certain SEO elements such as meta descriptions and targeted keywords.
Image source: Yoast
There are also plugins for security and social media, amongst others.
Image source: Prodesign Themes
Depending on what the purpose of your website is, you will want to tailor your web pages to represent what it is you are selling. And while Squarespace does not do so badly in this, WordPress does better when it comes to creativity and freedom.
The page builder has an amazing collection of professionally designed themes. You only have to think about your desired theme and you will almost always find it somewhere within WordPress.
A lot of these themes are free and you can get them right from your WordPress dashboard, but if you want one with more advanced features, you may have to spend a couple of bucks to get themes that match.
This is one controversial topic when it comes to comparing two solutions like these because there will always be people that believe that either of them is less expensive, considering their features.
I’d normally skip this, but in this case, I’m pretty positive that WordPress costs less than Squarespace, considering everything.
For starters, WordPress as a website builder, is free to use. The only things you will need to pay for are your domain name, registration, and hosting fees.
Image source: Old City
Whether it’s a regular blog or an ecommerce site you want, you will likely find a plugin that will make it easier, and there’s a great chance that you will find what you are looking for. Even if you have to pay some money, it will still not be as expensive as it would in Squarespace.
Online stores are becoming increasingly popular every day and WordPress is one of the best places to stake your claim. This is still because of all the integrations that it allows.
If you are a dropshipper, WordPress has features that let you quickly import products from suppliers to your store. You can also incorporate any payment solutions like PayPal or Stripe so that you can receive payments immediately.
What to do before moving from Squarespace to WordPress
Think about it like you are moving from an old apartment to a new one. You will need to put some things in order to ensure that everything goes on well. You’ll need a new house, your old furniture, and some paint, among other things.
In the case of migrating from Squarespace to WordPress, here is what you’ll need:
If you are new to WordPress, this may sound very foreign to you. This is because Squarespace usually handles hosting for you so you’d think that it doesn’t exist, but it does.
Don’t worry, self-hosting is actually not a bad thing. On the contrary, it gives you access to many privileges that you will not be privy to if you are on Squarespace. You get complete access over your website and its content.
To host your WordPress website, you need to purchase space from a service provider. There are many service providers in the market nowadays and the biggest mistake you can make is to think that they are all the same; they are not.
Image source: Jhost
You have to be careful before you pick a provider because choosing the wrong one can affect your website in a negative way. Where you host your website determines how secure it will be, how fast it will load, and so on.
Depending on your expected traffic, you can get a good deal from Siteground for less than $4 per month.
Image source: SiteGround
There are also a couple of other web hosts that can give you a good place to pitch your tent, but it all depends on your budget. There’s Bluehost, iPage, etc. Just make sure you do your homework before you commit to anything.
You will want to take note of a couple of things when you’re searching for a host.
The first thing is the location of the server of the host. Your proximity to where the server is physically based will have some effect on the loading speed of your website and you know what they say about speed –
Speed does matter.
Some hosts have a lot of servers in different locations, which means that at the very least you will be close enough to one of them.
Another factor here is customer support. Depending on your level of experience using WordPress, this is a very important factor.
Assuming you are a newbie to the world of WordPress, chances are that you will get stuck along the way and unless you have a WordPress expert on your payroll, you will need to reach out for help.
Good customer service can make your WordPress process a breeze, and a bad one can make it a nightmare, so be sure to scour the internet for reviews before you jump into anything.
Some hosting companies even help you beyond the hosting stage, and since some have deeper affiliations with WordPress, they can pretty much handle any WordPress related issue.
Start thinking about backup from the very beginning.
As much as you have chosen the ‘best’ WordPress host, there’s only so much that you can control. If you do not place your website on backup and it crashes going forward, you will be sorry for it.
Of course, it is important that your host has an airtight backup system of their own, but you also need to backup your content by yourself.
In that case, a plugin like Updraft will come in handy.
Image source: Updraft
Also check out for additional features, including SSL certificates, free domain names, email services, etc.
It will do you a lot of good if your host offers one-click installation and automatically updates your site elements.
Build your website on a subdomain
Image source: YouTube
This one is only important if you want to build your website, without making the changes visible, before you finish migrating from Squarespace to WordPress.
In this case, you will have to talk to your website host to provide you with a subdomain. There you will be able to test out themes, customize them, and make other kinds of edits without affecting any real-time changes to your website.
Once you have finished building on your subdomain, and you are ready to effect the changes on your main site, you will then reach out to your host again to make a clone of all that you have done to help you move.
It’s now time to install WordPress so that your website can become live.
Image source: SiteGround
Both of these methods do not take more than a few minutes, but the one-click installation process is usually simpler and faster as it takes only a few seconds.
Image source: Ivan Blago
Your host will provide a guide for whichever process you can use, so I’m sure you won’t get stuck.
List out your Squarespace URLs
If you have been on Squarespace for a while, you will likely already have some posts that rank well on search engines and you will not want any disrupted links as you move.
You cannot use the links exactly how they are on Squarespace as they do not have the same URL structure as WordPress, so you set up redirects for all of these links going forward. This is where the heavy lifting starts.
You will have to go through every single post on your site these URLs. You can make a spreadsheet and divide each post into sections, so maybe put the title of the post first, then the URLs below.
Image source: Medium
After you have moved all of your content to WordPress, you can then set up redirects while you work on your posts.
Migrating from Squarespace to WordPress
It’s now time for the main business.
You can migrate from Squarespace to WordPress in two ways: either manually or through a somewhat automated process.
From the sound of it, you guessed right that manually means that you will have to do everything yourself and this can be time consuming, so I recommend that you only use this method if you have a few posts.
The semi-automated method will definitely make things simpler, but the manual method means that you see everything as it happens.
The manual method is a lot slower and requires that you copy your posts and pages from Squarespace and paste them into their WordPress equivalents.
To avoid formatting issues, be sure to paste your content using the WordPress editor, otherwise, you will have to go through the painful process of reformatting them one by one.
You will also have to re-upload the images on your WordPress media because once you have canceled your Squarespace account, all the previous links will be lost and the images will no longer appear on the posts.
Image source: WordPress
The automated migration makes use of the export function on Squarespace and it is a lot faster than the manual method.
However, there may be some instances where the export function will not send out everything correctly. In this case, you will have to copy and paste the content manually, but it is still better to export only a few contents manually than the entire website.
Exporting from Squarespace
To export from Squarespace, go to the ‘Settings’ menu and select ‘import/export’ from the advanced settings.
Once you have selected the export option, Squarespace will show you a pop-up that will allow you to either export to WordPress or download a CSV file of your product.
Click on the WordPress icon to export to WordPress.
Image source: WP Beginner
Once you have successfully done this, you will see a download link to save the file on your computer, which you will upload to WordPress going forward.
Importing to WordPress
To import your content to WordPress, first log in to your dashboard. Then select ‘Tools’ from the sidebar menu and choose ‘import’.
Then click the ‘install now’ button at the bottom of the page. Once this is done, WordPress will import your pages, posts, etc. from an export file, then you can select the ‘Run importer’ option afterward.
On the next screen, choose your file to upload the XML file you got from Squarespace, upload the file, and hit the ‘import’ button.
WordPress will ask you to assign an author for the content you are uploading. You can simply select the main admin of the WordPress account as the import author and revisit it later to assign authors to specific posts and pages.
Click on ‘download and import file attachments’ under the import attachment menu and once your file has been successfully installed, you will receive a success message telling you that it has.
Image source: Gavick
Now you can take a look at your pages to see what they look like and make necessary adjustments accordingly.
Remember, some files will fail to import, like your images, so you will have to put them up yourself.
Importing images from Squarespace to WordPress
Since most of your images will not import using the previous method, you can import them manually, or better still, use a plugin to make it faster.
There are a couple of plugins that you can use to do this, but I personally prefer the Auto Upload Images plugin.
Download and activate this plugin to your dashboard and configure it.
Image source: WordPress
To configure, select the plugin under your settings toolbar and the next screen will allow you to set certain attributes like image size, image name, alt names, etc.
You will find this method very useful if you have a lot of images on your site.
Migrating your post
At this stage, you have already done most of the heavy lifting, but there are a couple of other things that you must do to ensure that your new site is looking the best that it can be.
Chose a new theme
Your Squarespace theme will not work with WordPress, so you will have to come up with a new one. Luckily for you, WordPress has more than a few of these that you can easily choose from and tweak to your taste.
One thing you will notice though is that WordPress is not as easy as Squarespace’s drag and drop feature, but it is still easy.
With WordPress, you can edit your page to the last element, so even if you are aiming to get the same look that you had on your previous site, you can still get it.
There are a couple of page builders that can make your page building experience blissful, but one that I am very familiar with is the Elementor page builder.
Image source: WordPress
If you are familiar with the Squarespace drag and drop feature, then you will appreciate Elementor as it is very similar to it.
You will have an option to choose from pre-built premium or free themes.
Before now, we talked about how the structures of links on Squarespace are not similar to the ones on WordPress, so if you want to make sure that you do not lose your link juice from Squarespace, you must set up link redirects.
To do this, you can use a free redirection plugin for WordPress. In this case, you will have to set up these links as 302 redirects, which means that they will be permanent redirect links.
Go to the redirection plugin, then select ‘Tools’, and add in your redirects.
Image source: WPKUBE
Now, you have learned how to fully migrate from Squarespace to WordPress. You have also learned how to redirect your Squarespace URLs to keep your link juice.
Remember to go through all the elements on your WordPress site after the migration to see that everything is in order.
The whole process might take a lot of time, but in the end, it will be worth it.