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The differences between WordPress and Squarespace, Wix and Weebly

The differences between WordPress and Squarespace, Wix and Weebly

After researching, comparing and gathering information on what you need to know to make a choice between WordPress, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, I have come to the conclusion that there is no conclusion.

Each of these services has something to offer depending on what you need. For example, if you’re a hobby artist, a free Weebly site (with advertising) may suffice. An artist with little or no computer skill may want a simple drag and drop interface, which is available with all services (drag and drop themes are available for WordPress). A professional artist may want the power WordPress offers.

In all honesty, I find it very difficult to compare Squarespace, Wix or Weebly with WordPress the self-hosted version. WordPress is different, it’s a robust, scalable, open source (free) application that can be whatever you need it to be.

You’ll see how hard it is to compare WordPress with the others in the table below. But first I think it’s important to understand how these proprietary services work.

Where is my backup?

Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and other website services like them are proprietary. Which means you don’t own your website, they do. These companies can choose to close their doors tomorrow and your site goes with it. If you have spent years creating content and a blog following, it can go poof! Don’t think it can happen? Remember when Apple shut down iWeb. Then there was Posterous that left 60,000 clients in the cold.

SquareSpace is the only one of these services that will let you export a XML backup of your content that could be imported into WordPress, but you don’t get everything. It’s not an easy import either as you have to save the export as Livejournal or Typepad which may or may not work when bring into WordPress.

Wix allows you to duplicate your site but it stays on the Wix server, as that is the only place it will work.

Weebly allows you to download a zip backup of your site but has a disclaimer that your blog posts are not part of it because they are in the database, which can not be accessed. They go on to say that your site probably won’t work as expected unless it’s on the Weebly server.

If you’re an avid blogger or just have lots of content and don’t want to go through the hassle of recreating all that content elsewhere, you’re better off using WordPress.com (the hosted version) or Blogger. When you have outgrown these platforms or need extensibility you can easily import into the self hosted version of WordPress.

What about WordPress backups, I can hear you asking. You can export, migrate, save in the cloud, or download to your computer, a complete backup of your WordPress site. You can use this to migrate to another host provider should you ever feel the want or need.

A Fact Based Comparison

Below is a fact based comparison. If you want opinions on how easy each platform is to use you can find lots by doing a simple Google search. These types of comparisons are subjective depending on the author and their bais. You’ve probably figured out by now that I am pro WordPress, but have to say that all the proprietary services mentioned in this article are fairly easy to use.

So just the facts based on the basic entry package of each. All these services provide upgrades that will give more space, ecommerce, etc, which you can check out at their respective sites.

Note: at time of writing the prices are as shown. Please check the service’s website for up to date prices.

FeatureWixWeeblySquarespaceWordPress
Yearly Plan$9.25 – 24.92$8 – 25$12 – 18Varies $3.95 and up, depending on the hosting company
Monthly Plan$9.25 – 24.92N/A$16 – 26Varies
Bandwidth2GB – UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedVaries
Storage3GB – UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedVaries
Number of Websites1101Varies
Number of PagesUnlimitedUnlimited20Unlimited
Email ServiceGoogle AppsGoogle AppsGoogle Apps, Zoho EmailVaries
Max UploadFile Size15MB (audio)10MB (images)100MB120MB (audio)20MB (images)Varies
HostingGrid HostingCloud HostingCloud HostingGrid, Cloud, Shared, VPS, Dedicated
Domain NameFREE (1 Year Plan)Not IncludedFREE (1 Year Plan)Depends on provider. I recommend to keep them separate.
Drag n’ DropYesYesYesYes, depends on theme
Free Themes100+100+251945 + premium
SupportPhone – 24/7 Email – 24/7 Forums
Knowledge Base
Email – 24/7 Chat – 11am – 9pm Forums
Webcasts
Knowledge Base
Email – 24/7 Chat – 11am – 7pm Forums
Workshops
Knowledge Base
Community Forums, WordCamps, free & paid resources around the world
AnalyticsGoogle AnalyticsWeebly Analytics Google AnalyticsSquarespace Analytics Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics plus many other plugins to chose from
SEO OptimizedYesYesYesYes
Mobile WebsiteYesYesYesYes, depends on theme
Social SharingYesYesYesYes, plugin or theme supported
Image EditorYesYesYesYes
Form BuilderYesYesYesYes – plugin
Custom HTML/CSSHTML OnlyHTML and CSSHTML and CSSOpen source so all code is accessible
FeatureWIXWEEBLYSQUARESPACEWORDPRESS

As you can see it is very difficult to compare WordPress with the other services. All these services can provide you with a basic portfolio site, a blog or ecommerce, including WordPress. But only one is unlimited in its functions and can be as small or as BIG as required.

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Quick Steps to Create & Link NextGen Gallery

These three quick step lists should help you remember how to do the common tasks required to create and link NextGen Gallery.

Create and link a gallery to a page

  1. Create the gallery and upload your images
  2. Inside the gallery’s top task pane click the button that says add page.
  3. Go to Appearance > Menus and add the new page to the menu and save.

If you want the new gallery to also appear in the album

  1. Go to Gallery > Album
  2. Select the album from the drop down menu
  3. Drag and drop the new gallery into the album and save.

If you want to add a gallery to an existing page or post

  1. Open the page or post in the editor
  2. Place your cursor in the editor where you want the galley to appear
  3. Using the “Add Gallery” icon on the top row in the editor select the gallery you want from the drop down menu and insert, then update your page.
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How to Copy and Paste a Link

You will find many uses for it so I am going to show you How to Copy and Paste a Link URL.

First it would be handy to know some internet lingo, specifically URL. URL is an acronym for uniform resource locator which is basically a web address. So when I say copy and paste the URL you now know it’s the web address.

Where to find the URL

All pages on the internet have a unique URL which can be found in the address bar of the web browser.

Browser Address Bar in Chrome
Browser Address Bar in Chrome

How to copy a URL

1. Navigate to the page you want and copy the URL by highlighting it all with your mouse, right-click and copy. It is now copied to your clipboard.

browser address bar copy

2. Now navigate to where you want to paste the URL and right-click and paste.

It is important to know that pasting a URL does not automatically add a hyperlink to it.  Nor should you be using a URL as the link text for a hyperlink. This is because most URL’s are not pretty and don’t have meaning. Read more about meaningful hyperlinks here.

Pasting a URL on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will dynamically turn the URL into a hyperlink. That’s unique to them.

Now that you know where and what a URL is you’ll be able to copy and paste it in all sorts of places.  I’m now going to copy the URL of this page and paste it into Facebook, you can too.

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How to Add a Red Dot to Sold Art in WordPress

Artbiz receives the odd request asking if there is a way to put a red dot in the description of their images. Unfortunately NextGen Gallery doesn’t have that option and you’ll hard pressed to find a WordPress gallery plugin that does.

By the way, the red dot tells people who the work is sold. 

The reason it’s not a feature is probably because – unless you’re an artist or involved with the fine arts you’ll have no idea what the red dot means. That’s why writing sold or private collection or in the collection of... is standard practice for website image galleries.

But for those of you who really, really want to know how to do this I have this solution.

Using HTML to add a red dot to image descriptions in NextGen Gallery. Here goes…

First we need a dot. The best dot to use is a bullet created by keyboard command “alt + 7″ and gives you a bullet ” • ”

Once we have our ” • ” we need to style it. Make it red and make it bigger. This bit of code does just that, copy it from the screenshot below, highlighted in yellow.

Copy the above and paste it into the image description box inside NextGen Gallery as shown below and you’ll have the red dot.

red-dot-nextcellent-gallery
Screenshot of description box

Here’s a screenshot of the image as it will be seen by your site visitors once the thumbnail is enlarged.

red-dot-nextcellent-gallery-eg

If you feel strongly about knowing how to add a red dot to sold art then this will work. Otherwise writing “sold” or “private collection” is perfectly fine and doesn’t need explanation.

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What do You Name Your Homepage

You may or may not know that you really don’t need a home page per se. With WordPress you can set any page or your blog to be the landing page of your site.

But if you want a special page as a home page then don’t name the home page homeWhy? Because home really isn’t a searchable term unless you’re looking for home page icons or pictures of houses.

So what do you name your homepage?

Why not take this opportunity to apply a little SEO (search engine optimization) to your site. It is especially important to do so on your homepage, after all that’s where search engines go first to index your site.

Here’s a  real life example. The Julie Anderson home page is called  Sculptural Ceramic Art of Julie Anderson

TIP: By default WordPress will use the actual name of the page when you add it to the menu. Once it’s in the menu open the menu item for editing and change the label to “Home” but leave the title attribute as the full-page name. NOTE: This will only work if your theme works with WordPress Menus

By putting some thought into what you name your homepage you will also have the start of a meta description unique to that page.

So what do you name your homepage? Provide us a link to see it in the comments below.

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Reasons to write blog excerpts

When you write blog excerpts you provide your readers a straight to the point summary and a reason to click-through to read the full post.

1. Write Blog Excerpts So They Appear On Archives

If your WordPress theme is set up to use excerpts you can craft a few sentences that will provide readers a snippet of what the post is about.

The problem with having a theme setup to use excerpts but then not write one, is that all the paragraphs run together when the excerpt is displayed. That’s because WordPress will grab the first 240 characters or so from your blog post and use it as an excerpt if none is available.

  • excerpts appear in category archives and search results
  • write blog excerpts to influence your readers to click-through
  • make searching and scanning easier for readers

Below is an example from this blog where I have used some HTML to format the excerpt and provide a to the point summary on what the post is about.

excerpt
In this example I used HTML in my excerpt to create paragraphs and line breaks

2. A well crafted excerpt can also be your meta description

An excerpt can be longer than a meta description so be careful what you write. The first 140 characters is all that will show in search engine results, making your first sentence the most important.

Where to write blog excerpts

excerpt-dialogue-box

To add an excerpt use the “Excerpt” dialogue box under the editor in WordPress. A sentence or two is fine and you can use HTML in the excerpt to make it readable.

The difference between a Meta Description and an Excerpt

If you write a meta description it will become the excerpt when sharing on Facebook or LinkedIn, not your excerpt. If you don’t write a meta description or an excerpt the first few sentences from the post are used and it all runs together with no styling.

excerpt-applied
Excerpt and meta description from my Open Book series page as it appears when shared on Facebook

The excerpt will appear with a thumbnail image along with the title and a link to the rest of the article.

It is good practice to write blog excerpts, it will help you focus and stay on topic when writing the full post. An excerpt can be used as the basis to write a meta description and will help your readers find what they are looking for faster. For these reasons what you write for your excerpt is important.

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