For now, I have finally chosen SquareSpace as my site host, and I'm diligently shoveling away at everything I need to do to get the site up and running.
Why SquareSpace? I know that in my last post on this matter, it looked like I was going to go with Duda. Since then, I've traveled further along the convoluted paths of website-building research, and one of the things I discovered is that SquareSpace is a solid company in many ways, including staying power. I really wasn't sure I could say that about Duda-that a couple years from now, they'll still be around.
In the end, it was a competition between Squarespace, and a hosted site using Wordpress. I'll tell you a little bit about that.
I like Instagram. My interests fall into a few main categories: dogs, crochet/yarn, design, food, and museums. They have targeted ads, which I sometimes look at. One day, an ad came up for SkillShare, where you can take mini-courses taught by whoever. Some are free. Some require a premium subscription. I found a premium class called, Mastering Wordpress: Build the Ultimate Professional Website. So I paid the 99 cent three month trial fee, and started taking the class. It was pretty bad. It was boring, and the guy was describing how to make his EXACT site. But it did make it clear to me that I could do this.
Then I found another course, How to Properly Make a Website with Wordpress-Beginner's Tutorial. This one was helpful. You can check it out on SkillShare, but the guy has his own site called, Websites Made Easy.
Basically, you use HostGator.com to host your site. You can also buy a domain name through them.
To review briefly, the domain name is the name of your site, i.e. its address, like alfredeneumanmd.com. (I actually got a .org domain name). The hosting site is where your site "lives" online. Hosting sites usually have several pricing plans that vary by what's offered.
Once you buy your domain name and pick your hosting plan, you hook up Wordpress to it, and you build your Wordpress site. Wordpress has a ton of plugins, which are little extra functions that someone else wrote the code for, and which do great things for your site.
I didn't go this route because I actually tried to go this route, and something happened with the billing, and then it somehow got canceled. The problem wasn't on my end, so I started reading reviews of HostGator, and apparently they used to be pretty good, but not so much anymore. So I gave up on it.
It's also not clear to me why this is a better way to go than simply hosting your site through Wordpress.
But here's what it came down to with SquareSpace. It's a one-stop shop. You can buy a domain name through them, and host on their site, and use their software to build your site.
The domain name has an annual fee (no matter where you get it), and SquareSpace charges $20/year, which is more than many of the other hosting sites. But they lock you in at your initial rate. Other sites don't tell you what they'll charge after the first year.
SquareSpace also doesn't give you a hard time about transferring your domain name, if you decide you don't want them to host anymore, as long as you've had your site for at least two months. According to reviews, other hosting sites do give you a hard time. I think it's indicative of SquareSpace's trust that you'll like their product, and want to continue with them.
The pricing is middle of the road. I got the "personal" plan, as opposed to the business plan. It boasts:
and costs $16/month, or $12/month if I pay annually. It includes Domain Privacy, which removes your personal contact information from the public WhoIs internet record of your domain name, which can be crawled by spam marketers for your email address.
The business plan has a few more items that I don't need right now. But you can switch between plans whenever you like. They also require a 14 day free trial, so you're sure SquareSpace is what you want.
The design software took a little getting used to, but it's powerful, and really quite beautiful. They have excellent online tutorials, and lots of them.
In case you're interested, I chose the Keene template:
I changed the font and ditched the toothbrush, and I really like it. It's clean, uncluttered, and attractive.
The new font looks like this:
Finally, SquareSpace has exceptional customer service, which I came to realize is very important when you're DIY'ing your own site. Every review I read about SquareSpace was impressed by the customer service. I've already made use of it, and the turnaround time was faster than I expected, and they were genuinely helpful.
Next up, the ACTUAL building of the site, or, "How do I introduce myself to the world and describe what I do? What DO I do? Why do I do it that way?" I never realized how philosophical building a website can be.