Squarespace or Wordpress? No Regrets

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Do you want complex design functionality but don’t want to spend time coding or, do you enjoy coding and want complete design freedom? ie. Squarespace v. Wordpress.

Back in the day…

Once upon a time, in 2005, I used Blogger and from there, I moved to Typepad and found it very restrictive and a bit outdated.  Later, I moved my blog to wordpress.com (self hosted).  Whilst migrating from Typepad, I regretfully had to let go of a few years worth of posts due to incompatibility issues but I was desperate to use a platform that could give me the freedom I was needing including extra bandwidth, tech and design choices etc. 

The Wordpress Story

I ended up using Wordpress for a few years and initially felt totally out of my depth.  I remember seeing the back-end dashboard for the first time and nearly cried.  I had wanted freedom but this was too much, almost.  It was jarring to say the least but I persevered and bit by bit I began to cobble my site together.  

Plugins

I soon came across the almighty, plugins and felt like a kid in a candy shop - there was everything there and more. Pretty soon I was happily installing plugins all over the place.  I had plugins for colour, fonts, my newsletter, SEO, comments, spam, content calendar and so many more.  

At the same time though, I was spending a tremendous amount of effort learning to man-handle the platform just to get it to present my website in a way that looked good and represented who I was as a business owner.

Problems mushroomed quite early on and pretty soon I was sometimes spending half of my work week figuring out various issues!  That’s a nightmare (goes without saying) for any small business owner.

I used to dread updates because inevitably something would end up not working or, it would conflict with another plugin and then I would have to research the problem or visit various forums to try to address the issue. 


The Positives

I did become fairly knowledgeable about css, html although that hadn’t been my goal - I was a creative!  Things began to unravel quickly when I decided I wanted to teach online after having taught several local workshops - I was really excited to offer online art classes.  I tried various options within Wordpress and just gave up in the end.  I had lost a lot of money, time and my sanity!

Squarespace, I love you

It was time to change things around and how glad I was when I discovered Squarespace.  Don’t get me wrong, Wordpress was limitless and is ideal if you require total creative freedom and you can code, or you’re happy for someone else to manage your site with the cost and logistics involved but I wasn’t that person.  

I felt I had no choice and left Wordpress behind just over two years ago for Squarespace, read the transition.  Right away, I had a good feeling about it and once I had migrated my content safely (with some hitches), I happily made the transition permanently.

The Squarespace Love Affair, Continues

I haven’t looked back since migrating to Squarespace and I did manage in the end to host my very own online art classes - all eight of them, thanks to Kerstin Martin’s expertise.  

Comparisons

There is a learning curve for Squaresapce but a much bigger learning curve with Wordpress.  Saying that, if you can hire a website developer to do the coding/design work for you, you hopefully won’t have to navigate the technical issues that I had to contend with.  There is no getting away from it, Wordpress is amazing and very powerful.  In the right hands, there is complete design and technical freedom. 

In closing, I’m really happy with Squarespace and haven’t had any regrets or reasons to move back to Wordpress at all. I love their drag and drop feature, the stunning template designs and reliability.  I love that I don’t have to worry about anything crashing, conflicting or feel ashamed of sending someone to my site and being a creative, I love how darn pretty you can make a site!


In Brief Comparison - Squarespace vs. Wordpress

Wordpress

CMS Content Management System

Limitless functionality

Coding needing or need to hire someone with those skills

Open source platform

Not all plugins are well built and you can be exposed to security hazards

Developers don’t have to give you any assistance

Wordpress has a massive forum and it can be difficult to get the help you need

You need to pay for some plugins

Costs are unpredictable with most likely, a higher financial commitment overall

Squarespace

Drag and Drop Website Builder

Complex design functionality is taken care of for you

No coding skills needed

Great for creatives who love beautiful design

Not an open source platform - only built by Squarespace developers, so no conflicts

Excellent customer care 

Updates are managed for you and are heavily tested before being launched

Costs are predictable and transparent

Fully hosted - no need to worry about extra costs

Unlimited bandwidth and storage


I’m offering introductory offers for Squarespace Website Design - please click below and we can chat over your exciting project together!

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Why It's A Fabulous Idea To Host Your eCourse On Squarespace

Why Create an Ecourse?

First of all, if you’re not sure what an ecourse is, it’s ANY online learning course that teaches a skill or, shares knowledge.

The worldwide e-learning market is growing steadily and is projected to be worth $325 Billion in 2025. By hosting an ecourse or online class on Squarespace, you too can be a part of this amazing growth.

More Reasons To Join The Learning Revolution:

People are increasingly wanting to learn a new skill over acquiring possessions.

Online learning appeals to all demographics. It’s significantly cheaper than traditional teaching and so is very cost effective for the student.

Your student only needs a fast internet connection within the comfort and convenience of their home, plus a willingness to learn something new.

Once your ecourse goes ‘live’, you can sell it worldwide - even whilst asleep!!!

If you have a desire to share your innate gifts, ideas, talents or knowledge with the world but either don’t have the time or tech savvy, consider using my Design Service skills and let me help you set up and launch a class of your very own hosted via Squarespace.

You might be wondering what sort of ecourses/online classes might be suitable to launch and the answer is almost anything.

Here are some topic ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Art - this is the obvious one to start with because this is where my experience lies. I’ve now created eight online classes and more will be added as time allows. This area is massive and can include so many genres including mixed media art, art for children, beginner’s art and then from a business perspective, such as how to market your art, approach galleries and enter exhibitions etc.

  2. Art Therapy

  3. Holistic Therapies - aromatherapy, yoga, mindfulness

  4. Health & Wellbeing - self care, healthy eating

  5. Writing - storytelling, tips for writing a book, creativity writing, business writing tips

  6. Craft - candle making, embroidery, felting, sewing

  7. Personal Development - certification for life coaching, reiki, nlp, hypnosis etc.

  8. Productivity - time management, organisation, goal setting

  9. Finances - budgeting, stocks advice

  10. Career Development - changing careers

As you can see above, the sky’s the limit! Just think about what skills or knowledge that you possess, that could be translated into an online learning experience..

Why Host an eCourse on Squarespace?

There are many platforms that can host your online class but hosting your ecourse via your own website, keeps you in total control of your customers/students, your content and the style and appearance of your classroom. I’ve created eight successful online classes (so far) that I host via this website and couldn’t be happier!

I’ve also used Teachable and back when I was using Wordpress (please, don’t remind me), I used plugins that I could never quite get working properly - that’s why I’m so glad I switched to Squarespace.

The Benefits of Hosting Via Squarespace:

User-friendly experience

Beautiful design and styling options

Control and freedom of having the material on my website

More cost effective

One less platform to think about and contend with

Easy to update and manage once it’s set up

What’s Included - My Ecourse Launch Services

I particularly love working with creatives and below is further information:

Prices Starting at: £600/$600+

Set up your secure custom designed classroom

Your course can be set up as self-paced or, ‘drip fed’ over a period of time that suits you

Payment processor integration

Add (your pre-prepared) content including video, text, photographs, audio, pdf’s, links etc.

Photographic sourcing (limited)

Extras

Integration with Memberspace

Branding - ecourse graphic

Promo video

Set up integration with Mailchimp

Set up integration with Zapier

If this is something that you need, please feel free to click the button below so that we can chat (with no obligation) over your brilliant ideas…

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New Horizons and The Backstory

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Change is afoot my friends! For the past few months, I’ve been pondering life, the universe and my business…

You may have noticed some changes around here… My website is now reflecting some new offerings for Design Services and I’m feeling both energised and excited about new possibilities.

Let me answer some of your anticipated questions, as well as giving you some insight into these changes.

‘What’s the backstory?’

When I look back over my life, I realise that I’ve been at my happiest when I’ve helped, collaborated and shared my gifts and talents with others.

Over the years, I’ve worked in various places. My first job was as a Saturday girl at a trendy cafe in Leeds at the tender age of 16. I was shy and awkward but this job soon had me chatting away with customers, operating the till, working with staff and really prompting me to face my shyness and just forge ahead anyway.

In my early 20’s, I travelled abroad to the USA. There I stayed with a family and their two children for nearly a year as an au pair. Again, I pushed myself to adapt to not only a new country and culture but also a new way of life.

I’ve also worked extensively within a corporate setting both here, in the UK and the USA. Over the years this has included working at a stockbrokers, a solicitors office, pharmaceutical company, a law firm in the USA and then to totally change things up, I trained to be a beauty therapist. I wanted to learn more, so I went further and became qualified as a reflexologist and aromatherapy practitioner. All of this training and study culminated in the purchasing of an existing business and becoming a salon owner and employer.

In my salon days, the early 2000’s, I recall clearly relishing in designing a basic website as well as designing and producing all of my promotional and branding materials like my brochure, business cards, logo as well as events and special offers etc. I loved this part of being a business owner and poured many creative hours into this.

After getting married and with our boys having begun school, I began exploring and expressing my creativity through painting and the rest is history, as they say. I’ve since exhibited my art, obtained some licensing deals, sold my art worldwide, taught workshops and created eight online art classes.

Through it all, I’ve designed and created my own websites. I’ve used Blogger, Typepad, Weebly and Wordpress (don’t remind me about those plugins!!!) and so many other systems you wouldn’t believe. Finally, two years ago I’d had enough and I made the decision to switch to Squarespace and I’m happy to report that I haven’t looked back. I love the clean designs, the flexibility of the platform and the professional touches that are apparent throughout.

Over the summer, an idea began to form that I could help other women using my vast and varied experience with what I’ve learnt personally and my years as a female solopreneur.

So, to wrap things up, I certainly don’t see a departure from being an artist and online art teacher but I am tremendously excited about exploring other avenues alongside.

‘So Jane, what’s your heart behind your new offerings?’

Using my Design Services, I’m passionate about helping women in business to thoughtfully convey an idea or project that clearly and beautifully communicates your talents and gifts.

Collaborating with women and helping to shepherd the seed of an idea or passion to reality, fills me with joy and excitement.

‘No more art?’

As I’ve mentioned above, I’ll still be painting but I will also embrace ‘creating’ in other ways such as custom illustration for a client, website design, ecourse creation and launch or, book design.

‘I’ve purchased classes from you, will they still be available?’

YES! My online art classes will all still be available for purchase and will continue to be hosted via my website. Other classes will be added as time allows.

I’m still enjoying and creating for my year-long class, The Art of Contentment with monthly special guests and that will continue for the duration of this year. The Art of Contentment will then be available in January via my site shop.


Lastly, I look forward to working with lots of lovely clients whilst creating affordable but stunning websites, looking at your branding needs, launching your fabulous ecourses and birthing your inspiring books via my book design services.


Want to work together?

If you’d like to book a FREE, no obligation call with me, just click the button below.

I can’t wait to hear about your special project…

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Don't Like What's On TV? Sketch, Paint and Doodle, Instead

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Getting in some creativity when you can

Now that our boys are teenagers and that bit older, they tend to go to bed a little later these days and whilst my husband and I might not always have the same viewing choices as our sons, we do enjoy being together as a family…

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The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.
— Dieter F. Uchtdorf

It’s very important to me to spend time with my family and it’s also a lovely way to occasionally get in a little creative time. So, I’ve put together a little cosmetic bag filled with basic art supplies in our living room that includes a Pentel water brush, Pentel pencil, Winsor & Newton watercolour travel kit, paper towel, some markers and an eraser. I work from a Paperchase scrapbook and find that as long as I don’t flood the paper with water, it’s more than fine for my purposes.

As far as inspiration on what to paint, I find keeping a small stash of my favourite magazines or, painting what I see in the moment is so much fun. In fact, some of the flowers I’ve drawn/painted were from a plate I’d eaten a little snack from! In other words, let your surroundings inspire you.

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It’s fun to mix things up a bit - I’ve included floral images, portraits, pattern, text etc.

I wonder what elements you might include? Perhaps symbols or mark making. Anything goes…

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Over to you?

In the comments below, please share if you already create in front of the tv? I’d love to hear how you find it. What supplies do you use and do you find it relaxing?

Keep creating friends…

Jane x

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Contentment Can Feel Elusive and Art Of Contentment Class Update - Month of May

The Art Of Contentment - swallows, bluebells and noticing the void

Do you find yourself swinging between contentment one minute and dis-content in the next?

This month within the Art of Contentment classroom, I share what I’m noticing about the subtleties of light and dark that show themselves within any given day. In fact, that’s what my art lesson is focusing on too (notice the covered eye ie. the ‘darkness’ clouding your vision from finding contentment).

In my audio reflection for this month, I vulnerably share how my sense of inner contentment can be hazy at times and how this can lead to me to wanting to fill the void that demands attention. This can show itself in all manner of ways including food, shopping, aimlessly scrolling through social media or watching programmes on tv that don’t nourish me. Can you relate? This behaviour signals to me that it would serve me well to pay attention to what my body and soul is needing. In the audio, I also share some journaling suggestions to explore this further.

The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.
— Lady Gregory
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May is a beautiful month and comes with expectancy as the nightingales and swallows return and cow parsley blooms once more. I wonder what’s inspiring you where you live? You might be experiencing autumn…

I share some images of bluebells from my personal collection - gosh, how I love them! Have you noticed the smell of wild garlic too? I love that smell and the bright green leaves and pretty white flowers.

Forever Bluebells - original mixed media (you can purchase this  here  - does not come with the frame)

Forever Bluebells - original mixed media (you can purchase this here - does not come with the frame)

I share the flower of the month which is the Lily of the Valley and some of my favourite famous paintings with the theme of Mother’s Day (shout out to USA Mom’s out there).

Notable dates for this month are May Day, Rogation Sunday and the Chelsea Flower Show and I give a little background to these which is such a fun way to learn about celebrations that we know and love, together with some that are maybe a thing of the past but which are fascinating all the same.

May Day has a special place in my heart and within the classroom, I share some photos from previous May Day traditional celebrations.

Lastly, my guest this month is Sam Martin, who is a flourishing local artist here in the Yorkshire Dales. Sam shares how her walks in the Lake District, inspire her paintings. She also shares photos taken from her walks and how these translate into her highly recognisable finished pieces of art.

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If you’d like to gain access to this self-paced year-long class with all the content as it unfolds, please click the button below.

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Possessions Don't Make You Happy & The Art Of Contentment

It’s a lie we’ve been fed far too long!

The accumulation of possessions - ‘stuff’, will never satisfy our longings for meaning in our lives…

I was trying to find a particular book this morning and as I was browsing my overflowing bookshelf, I was surprised to see several books that I’d entirely forgotten about. The thing is, all my books were purchased with what seemed, a great need and want at the time.

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The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it
— Henry David Thoreau

Likewise, on Saturday, I’d been frantically rifling through my clothes; trying to choose an outfit for a special, large family gathering - you know the feeling. I came across a few scarves, blouses etc that I can’t even remember the last time they were worn.

Of course, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t buy things but I am saying that buying to fill a void inside of ourselves will only bring about a temporary feeling of happiness - it doesn’t last - this is coming from ‘the ex kitchen appliance queen’. All too soon, the ‘feel good’ factor wears off and once again we’re stuck with the reality of our lives and who we are in this moment.

Back to emptiness…

Back to those feelings of lack, disappointment and a thirst for something more…

You can find this art lesson and others,  here .

You can find this art lesson and others, here.

Whilst creating this intuitive piece of artwork above for my class, the Art Of Contentment, I was reminded of the multiple times (often daily), when my vision of God is clouded because I’m experiencing a feeling of ‘lack’. I think that’s why I instinctively covered one eye - we literally can’t ‘see’.

A journal entry I’d scribbled down, reminded me, that ONLY God can quench our thirst. Here are the words - a prayer of sorts, that I wrote upon my painting:

Help me to look to You and only You for contentment.

Remind me daily that happiness can never be found in possessions - only though You!

Through Your love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

You quench my thirst as nothing else can.

Thank you Jesus!

Inside the Art Of Contentment classroom, I speak about my sense of sometimes feeling ‘empty’. How we can all fall into the trap of fooling ourselves into thinking there can be a replacement for spiritual food and water. All too often, we strive to control the outcome of our lives using our own limited resources. If we do without physical food and water, we soon would perish and it’s the same if we go without the living Word and Jesus to satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst that our souls so desperately need.

Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him/her shall never thirst...
— John 4:13-14

Reflection Question:

In what ways do you typically quench your spiritual thirst and hunger? What would it look like for you to quench your thirst through God? How might you fill your well this month?


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If you’d like to join me for a year of finding contentment in a busy world using art, inspiration from others, exploring notable calendar dates, listening to audio reflections and lots of other goodness, please click below to learn more…

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