Nesha Designs

How to switch from Wordpress to Squarespace

SquarespaceNesha Woolery3 Comments

A lot of people say that switching from Wordpress to Squarespace is difficult. It's something I used to believe too until I made the switch myself. I'm delighted to tell you that I easily switched my website over within a day and I didn't run into any problems!

Squarespace has an amazing library of tutorials that help you figure out how to do all things Squarespace-related, but a lot of people have been asking me for tips of how they can set up their Squarespace website or transfer from Wordpress, so I've decided to make a step-by-step tutorial!

Let's go through a few common questions before we get started...

What will this tutorial include?

  • How to set up your Squarespace website.
  • How to import website content from Wordpress to Squarespace.
  • How to switch your custom domain from Wordpress to your new Squarespace website.
  • URL mapping, so your old blog post URLS still work.
  • And more!

What is imported from Wordpress to Squarespace?

  • Blog posts
  • Page content
  • Users/authors
  • Images
  • Comments
  • Attachments

What isn't imported?

  • Your website theme and layout are not imported. You'll have to choose a Squarespace theme. 
  • Plugins
  • Widgets

Can I easily make the switch myself?

Yes. If you're confident with making changes to your DNS records, this will be a breeze. If you're not very tech-savvy then I advise you hire someone else to switch your website from Wordpress to Squarespace for you. 


Step 1. Sign up for Squarespace

Head to the Squarespace website and sign up for a trail account. 

Step 2. Choose a template

After you signing up you'll need to choose a template for your website. As I mentioned before, you can't import your Wordpress theme or layout to Squarespace so choose a theme that is similar. I chose the Galapagos theme because it's simple, clean and very similar to my old Wordpress site. However, there are plenty of other themes to choose from. 

  • Adriondack: perfect for online entrepreneurs.
  • Montauk: Great for minimalists. 
  • Avenue: A beautiful portfolio template for designers and photographers.

If you need a Squarespace designer to create a customized website for you, I can help! Just get in touch.

Step 3. Fill in your basic information

Head to the Settings section and fill in your business name and description, connect your social media accounts, alter your blog settings, add a business email address (eg. hi@yourbusiness.com) and play with the other settings. It's not complicated- you'll be done in 10 minutes!

Step 4. Change your SEO settings.

Squarespace SEO is just as good as Wordpress SEO. In fact, it's even better because you don't have to install SEO plugins or make changes yourself! Your theme has already been optimized for SEO by the creators. Go to Settings > Marketing > SEO and simply enter a description for your website. You don't need to change much else.

Step 5. Import your Wordpress content

Go to Settings > Advanced > Import/Export > Import > Wordpress. You'll have to enter your URL and Wordpress login details and then click import. A progress bar will indicate that your Wordpress content is importing and a 'success' message will appear when it's done. It takes about 5-10 minutes. Simple!

Step 6. Enable your imported content

In the Pages section, scroll down to Not Linked. You'll see all your imported pages here. To enable them, click the settings icon on each page and click enable. Then go through your imported pages and add your main ones to your navigation menu.

Step 7. Upgrade your account

When your site is completely ready, upgrade your account. I use the Business plan which is $26 per month or $18 if you pay annually. I prefer this plan because it offers unlimited pages. If your Wordpress website had lots of pages, this plan will probably suit you too.

Step 8. Transfer your existing domain to Squarespace

It's not exactly transferring, but I call it that. You need to keep your domain where you're currently hosting it (on Godaddy or Dreamhost etc) and map your domain to your Squarespace website. 

You'll need to go to Settings > Domains > Connect a third party domain. Enter your domain name, click on your host provider and click Connect Domain. A new panel will open with the records you need to enter in your hosting account so your domain can connect to Squarespace.

*This above image is from Squarespace themselves.

I'm not going to show you how to add these records to DNS settings because Squarespace has amazing tutorials on how to do that here. If you're not confident in doing this, you can hire someone professional to do it for you.

Step 9. Wait for your domain to work

When you've added those records to your hosting account, your domain will connect to your site within 24 hours. You can keep checking back to see how it's going by visiting Settings > Domains. Your domain will have a red line by it if it hasn't gone through, an amber line if it's almost there, and a green line when it's done. 

*This above image is from Squarespace themselves.

Step 10. URL mapping

After 24 hours, your custom domain will point to your Squarespace website. But it isn't over yet! Wordpress post URLS are different to Squarespace post URLs. In Wordpress, your blog post URL would have looked like this: yourdomain.com/my-first-blog-post whereas in Squarespace it will be yourdomain.com/blog/my-first-blog-post. Spot the difference? This isn't good because anyone who clicks on your blog posts from sites like Pinterest will now be taken to a 404 page.

To fix this, go to Settings > Advanced >URL Mappings. This function allows you to easily redirect broken links to the correct links. 

A URL mapping will look like this:

/old-url -> /new-url 301

For example, check out my URL mapping below (highlighted in yellow). I've pasted the old URL without www.neshadesigns.com in front of it, added an arrow, pasted the new URL, and added 301 at the end to make it a permanent change. 

It may not be practical to fix every blog post link- after all, who has that kind of time? Instead, I fixed the links for my 30 most popular blog posts. You may want to do the same and then fix the other links over time.

For more information on URL mapping, click here.

If you're not comfortable with...

  • Transferring your domain to Wordpress
  • URL mapping
  • Designing your Squarespace website

... I can help! Just get in touch and I'll provide you with a quote.

If you have any questions about switching from Wordpress to Squarespace, setting up your Squarespace website, or anything else, leave a comment below!


10 tools and apps I use for freelancing

My BusinessNesha Woolery23 Comments

My business would be a lot more stressful if I didn't utilize tools and apps to help me keep my processes organized. I think it's helpful when freelancers share their tools and systems with others, because it helps us learn and benefit from each other. Your business could be just one tool away from working infinitely better. So I hope this post helps you find that tool!

Here are my 10 favorite business tools & apps (in no particular order)

01. Echosign

I use Echosign to send contracts to my clients. The contract arrives in their inbox and requires their signature, and when they've signed, it requests mine. When we've both signed, it sends us both copies of the signed contract. This eliminates the need for me to manually send my clients their contracts and automates this process for me! 

02. Pancake

I've used Pancake to send estimates and invoices to my clients for two years now. Pancake is the perfect invoicing solution for self-hosted website owners. It allows you to totally customize how your invoices look and it allows you to create payment plans in one invoice. This was always perfect for me because I  require a 30% deposit from clients, then half of the remaining balance at the start of their project and the other half at the end. However, now I've joined Squarespace I have to look for another option. 

03. Wave / FreshBooks

Even though I used Pancake for invoicing, the app doesn't include accounting. I did my accounting in spreadsheets until recently. Then I discovered two fantastic accounting options: Wave and FreshBooks. Wave is free and offers all the accounting options that paid systems do, but FreshBooks is super simple, affordable and fun to use. 

04. Buffer

When I was on Wordpress I used Coschedule, which I LOVED. It's a social media scheduling system that integrates into Wordpress, and it also acts as an editorial calendar. But since I moved to Squarespace, I've had to let go of Coschedule and find something to replace it. I settled on Buffer because it's simple to use and allows me to schedule pins to Pinterest, as well as schedule Twitter and Facebook posts. 

05. Inbox pause

This is an add-on for gGmail that I just couldn't live it out. It adds a pause button to your inbox so your emails don't enter until you unpause it. It has literally saved my sanity! Like many freelancers, I spend hours each week answering emails, so it's really handy to be able to pause my inbox on evenings and weekends.

06. Jumpcut

If you have ever copied something you intended to pasted elsewhere, and then accidentally copied something else and lost the first copy, you'll love this. It allows you to sore 40+ copies from your clipboard.

07. Typeform

I use Typeform to send my clients questionnaires about their branding and website design, collect testimonials, collect feedback, and survey my blog readers. It's easy to use and the design is nice to look at. I love Typeform because I know that submissions are never lost on their way to my inbox.

08. Skype

I use Skype to chat with potential clients and consult with current clients. It's the perfect way to talk to clients who are overseas! See my recent blog post: 10 tips for Skyping with clients

09. Streak

Streak is CRM (client relationship management) for your inbox. I recently discussed with my Shelancers how I use it to keep track of my past, present and potential clients, but it basically allows me to create folders and processes for my clients within Gmail. It's one the tools I couldn't do business without!

10. Basecamp

I recently started using Basecamp and I can't believe the difference it's made to my project flow. Basecamp is a popular project management tool. It allows me to create a project page for each of my clients, and communicate with my client on that page. No more back-and-forth emails and lost attachments. Their mockups, feedback, project schedule and documents all go on their project page. Simple!

 

All these tools can seem overwhelming, but my biggest word of advice today is this: only use the tools that you really need. I find the above tools are all extremely necessary to my brand & web design business, but I don't use many more than that. Keep the tools you use to a minimum. Invest in the tools that are going to have the best impact on your business. 

Tell me- what is your favorite business tool or app?


10 tips for Skyping with your clients

BusinessNesha Woolery6 Comments

A year ago I loathed Skyping with clients or talking to them on the phone. I didn't offer free consultations unless a client requested one. Don't get me wrong- I didn't hate these calls because of my clients. My clients are wonderful! I hated them because I'm an introverted person and the prospect of having to sit and awkwardly talk to a computer screen was daunting, to say the least. 

I was always scared that they'd ask something that would catch me off guard, or I'd get nervous and babble.

I also thought, 'What's the point in Skyping or calling clients? We can discuss everything in email! At least everything is written and documented that way.'

I can't express how wrong I was. Totally wrong. 

These days, I don't take on a client unless we've spoken over Skype, and here's why:

  • When you have a real discussion with someone and actually hear their voice, you can usually determine whether they're a good fit for you or not. 
  • I like my clients to hear my voice and build their trust in me. I don't want them to think I hide behind emails.
  • Most of the potential clients I consult with over Skype become paying clients. In fact, my conversion rate is more than double what it was when I didn't offer free Skype consultations. 

Skyping or calling your clients is definitely worth doing. But it can take some getting used to before becoming comfortable with it. Here are my top 10 tips for Skyping with your clients:

01. Limit the call

I tell all potential clients that I offer free 15-minute consultations, and most clients kindly stick to that timeframe. Some go over it a bit but I don't mind. As long as there's a boundary in place, I have a reason to gently bring the conversation to a close if it gets too long.

02. Turn off the camera

Some people hate talking to computer screens, myself included. It makes me feel really self-conscious and awkward, and I don't want people to think that's what I'm like. When people book a free consultation, I email them with a confirmation and tell them we'll chat without the camera on, like we would over the phone. None of my clients mind, and ever since I made that change I've been really happy and comfortable Skyping! Some people think the only 'proper' way to Skype is to turn on the camera and talk face to face. But here's the way I see it: I'd rather not have mini panic attacks before Skyping. I'd rather talk without the camera off then not talk at all.

03. Type while you talk

As your client is talking, open up a blank doc and make notes. If you don't, you could risk forgetting something that was said. Don't worry- your clients won't be able to see the doc on their screen. 

04. Record the conversation

If you don't like typing as you talk, you can buy an add-on for Skype that records your conversation. You can then relax on your calls and stop stressing about remembering everything that has been said! Try Callnote. 

05. Create a script to direct the conversation

If you're really nervous, create a document that lists key information about the client, points you want to discuss, questions you want to ask, and answers to common questions. You may not even use this document much when you're on the call, but it's comforting to know that there are talking-points in front of you if you get stuck.

06. Be friendly, helpful and nice

Now is not the time to put on your telephone voice. Just be yourself. Be kind and friendly and aim to answer all of their questions in a calm and collected manner. Try to avoid using filler words like 'um' and 'like'. Instead, keep a glass of water by your side and take a sip before before you answer a complex question. It gives you that little bit of time to think about things and compose yourself. 

07. Look out for warning signs

You won't always be able to spot bad clients from Skype conversations, but you usually can. If the client is demanding, picky, confusing or really indecisive, think carefully about whether you'd like to work with them. 

08. Use a scheduling tool

I use Calendly to schedule Skype consultations and I love it! It has a simple interface and lots of options for the owner. You get to decide what times you're available, and the client chooses the best time for them.

09. Remind them of their session with you

Even though Calendly and most other scheduling tools remind both parties of upcoming calls, it's nice to drop your client a personal email. I simply tell my clients when their call is, remind them to accept my contact request on Skype, and wish them a happy day. It hopefully shows that I care and that I'm organized!

10. Be wary of clients who keep rescheduling their call

If the client has missed their session with you without providing an explanation or apology, think carefully about whether you want to work with someone who isn't good at time-keeping. It could mean they'll be one of those clients who never provide feedback or files on time. Picking up on this could save you from going weeks over the deadline, or sending dozens of email reminders.

 

A lot of my freelance friends have said they don't like Skyping, and I understand that. But it really is worth it! You'll book more clients and you'll give yourself a better chance of discerning the bad clients from the good.

Tell me in a comment- do you Skype with your clients? If not, why not?


Why I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace (after being such a Squarespace hater!)

My Business, SquarespaceNesha Woolery17 Comments

OK, so I didn't hate Squarespace... That's a little dramatic of me. But I didn't understand the hype around it, or why why dozens of my friends were switching from Wordpress to Squarespace.

I tried it for a day and decided that it was OK, but not as good as Wordpress. I even wrote a blog post outlining the pros and cons of both and favoring Wordpress. (That post has since been updated with a fair amount of pros for both.)

However, a conversation with a friend totally changed my opinion of Squarespace. 

As we sat drinking frappucinos one afternoon, we began talking about work. I told her everything was going well and I was still enjoying my business. But I wished things were a little more simple. 

I explained that one of my goals this year is to achieve a simple business. I thrive most when things are simple, easy and clean. I've noticed this spans into my personal life too, not just my business. I like simple interior decor, simple outfits, and I much prefer a simple and quiet life over a busy city life.

I've slowly realized that when my business systems and strategies are simple, I feel happier and more relaxed. And my business blooms a lot more when I feel that way!

I told my friend that I'd simplified a lot of my systems, but things still didn't feel 'easy' enough. I'm a big believer that business should be easy, or else it isn't fun. 

"You wrote a blog post on Wordpress vs. Squarespace, right?"

I nodded. 

"I know Wordpress is awesome and offers everything you could ever need in a website, and I know that you love it. But maybe what you need is a simpler platform, with less updates and plugins and themes. Like Squarespace."

She'd been raving about Squarespace all year and I'd just rolled my eyes. But it was when she said that (or something to that effect, anyway) that I decided to give Squarespace one last try.

I signed up for another trial of Squarespace and set myself a little excercise: see how long it takes to rebuild my website on Squarespace, getting as close as I could to my Wordpress design.

And here's the amazing thing: it took just two days, and that was in between doing client work. 

Here the other amazing thing: I think my Squarespace sites looks better than my Wordpress site. 
It's amazing how much better my second Squarespace trial was. Maybe it's because I actually gave myself an assignment instead of fiddling with a theme I wasn't interested in. Either way, I've found myself jumping on the Squarespace bandwagon. Not because it's better than Wordpress but because it has something Wordpress doesn't: severe simplicity. Anyone could learn Squarespace in a day, and that really appeals to me. 

A few more reasons why I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace (after being such a Squarespace hater):

  • I knew my clients would love it. I design brands and websites for small business owners, and they usually like to maintain and update their website themselves when our project is over. Squarespace is the perfect platform for them to maintain their site easily without getting confused or stressed out.
  • I love the drag and drop feature. I barely have to touch any code!
  • I love that it's limited, which is ironic because that's one of the aspects I disliked to begin with. But I love that my clients and I can only choose from a certain amount of themes. It stops us from overthinking things.

I'm very happy with my decision to switch from Wordpress to Squarespace. In fact, I'm thinking of creating a mini-series on it for you very soon!

In case anyone is wondering, I'm using the Galapagos theme. It's a very popular theme for bloggers because of how simple and clean it is, so I highly recommend you try it if you're a Squarespace user!

I'd love to know- are you thinking about switching to Squarespace? Do you have any questions or concerns?


What is the Genesis framework and do you really need it?

DesignNesha Woolery10 Comments

I recently wrote about Squarespace vs Wordpress. I prefer to use Squarespace for my business it's simple and fun to use! But I used Wordpress for years, and I know a lot of people who read this blog also use Wordpress. A lot of you email me asking about the Genesis framework, because that's the framework I used to build my clients websites on.

I love Genesis! So I thought I'd explain a bit about why it's so awesome and why you should use it if you're a Wordpress user.

What is the Genesis framework?

Genesis is a framework you can add to Wordpress that allows you to quickly and easily build beautiful websites. If you don't know what a framework is, it's a bit like a "supertheme". You install this "supertheme" to Wordpress and then you can install a child theme that handles all the design aspects. Here's how the creators of Genesis explain what a framework and child theme is:

'It's a bit like car. Genesis (the framework) is the frame and body of the car, and is the basic design, security, and SEO foundation of your website. In handling all the core code, Genesis also helps to “future-proof” your site, so all your customizations won’t disappear when it comes time for your one-click software upgrades. A child theme is the pure design element that rests on top of your framework — the cherry red paint job on that car. Or blue. Or black. Pink. Green. You get the idea...'

Here's why I love Genesis:

1. It's coded well

The Genesis framework is constantly being maintained and updated by a team of developers. This means that you never have to worry about your website breaking when you update Wordpress. You can be confident that this team of developers are always improving the Genesis framework and making it the best it can be.

2. It's affordable

You can purchase Genesis from Studiopress for just $59.95! Talk about value for money. If you want to then buy a theme for Genesis, it will cost another $50 approximately.

3. There are so many themes and plugins available

I use the Swank theme on this website and totally love it! There are lots of amazing themes you can buy from Genesis developers. My favorite Genesis theme shops are Pretty Darn Cute, Restored 316 and Studiopress. You can also get lots of amazing plugins built specifically for Genesis that help enhance it even more and allow you- the website owner- to easily make changes that you normally couldn't.

4. Genesis offers fantastic support

If you purchase the Genesis framework and then need help, there are lots of options. You can check out the Studiopress support forum, or you can open a support ticket. Their reliable support system means you always get the help you need. It's a much better option than buying a random theme and not being able to get in touch with the creator for help.

You can also seek help from the many designers and developers that use Genesis. It's like having your own extended support team! My favorite places to find tutorials and assistance with Genesis? Genesis Tutorials, Studiopress Tutorials, Genesiswp Facebook group and #genesiswp on Twitter.

If you need someone to install, set up and customize your Genesis website then check out my website package! I'd be happy to help.