The one where I rediscover my love for Squarespace.
Hello and welcome to the show. This is episode 34 of the Creative Me podcast.
If you follow me on social media, or indeed, if you're a member of my email list, you'll know that I've been stressing out about my website over the past few weeks because I got hacked. Like, seriously hacked! Not just once, but four times in one week!
It was not a pleasant experience.
My Pre-Hack Website Setup
Let's rewind just a second, though, and I can explain my pre-hack website set up.
The main reason I decided to move to Wordpress.org was because I plan to run online courses. I wanted the flexibility of hosting the courses myself so I could have total control. Also, Wordpress.org felt like the next logical step.
Here's an explanation of the difference between Wordpress.org and Wordpress.com.
Wordpress.org Seemed Fine
Up until a fortnight ago, I was fairly happy with my choice to move to Wordpress.
I was perhaps spending a little more time maintaining my site that I initially imagined, though. I used many plug-ins so there were regular updates to do. I was also running into some issues with my website running slowly.
If I am honest, looking back, I was spending more time on my site than I wanted to. Creating content is my priority, but my platform had to be working perfectly for the content to be created and shared. So invariably the website came first.
Then The Hack Happened
A few people have asked me how I knew my website had been hacked.
Thankfully a couple of my lovely website followers emailed me to let me know. They explained that every time they clicked a button or link on my site, lots of pop-ups appeared. Some of them were hard to get rid of.
The pop-ups were advertising gaming websites, mostly - it could have been worse.
Nevertheless, it was a huge inconvenience and people visiting my site couldn't access what they wanted to. So, I am extremely grateful for those people who took the time to email me to explain something was wrong.
I'd been a bit suspicious earlier that day as the back end of my website was behaving strangely. But I put it out of my mind until I received those emails.
Time to Restore
After that, I got on the phone to my hosting company and we restored an (apparently) clean backup from two weeks ago. I had to recreate a couple of blog posts, which was a pain, but I did it quickly.
I was feeling relaxed and happy and everything was okay.
Then the following day it happened again. Then I think had a clear day and then it happened again. And again... four times in total.
On the fourth hack I decided that enough was enough. I couldn't run a site where I had to do so many additional things to keep it secure. I needed to outsource this!
I also decided I'd definitely not be hosting my online courses myself - I would be using Teachable.
Just to be completely transparent with you, I did have security measures in place. I have complicated passwords and had a variety of security plug-ins installed. I am not totally naïve when it comes to this sort of thing. But clearly, I wasn't doing enough.
Wordpress Sites Get Hacked - A Lot
I started doing a bit of research and I began to understand that Wordpress sites do get hacked a lot.
I very quickly realised that I needed to outsource the security element to my website. I don't want to spend my time updating plug-ins and all that sort of thing; I want to be producing content.
Should I Go Back to Squarespace?
So, I did a bunch of research. It was clear that Squarespace was the right option.
Thanks to the course, I was able to create a website I am thrilled with in a weekend (albeit a long one!)
Looks and Functionality
My Squarespace site looks better than my Wordpress site, and I'd say 95% of the features I had on the old site have been replicated on the new one. I implemented a few hacks to achieve this and I will share those in a separate blog post.
There are just two plug-ins I will miss from Wordpress: Simple Podcast Press and KingSumo (giveaways). However, I plan to retain a basic Wordpress installation for future giveaways so I can still use the KingSumo plugin.
This has been a massive learning experience. One reflection I had was that a lot of the advice I hear given to newish creative entrepreneurs is to build their site on Wordpress.org. It's easy to use, flexible, safe etc...
Well, I'm a pretty tech-savvy girl and I really had a bit of a struggle with Wordpress.org, so I think advising newish creative entrepreneurs to take that route is not ideal. Granted, not everyone gets hacked, but...
I have always maintained that Squarespace is cracking starting point for anyone, but now I recognise that it isn't just a starting point. I was able to create something that really meets my needs and hopefully will for very long time.
What About You?
Have you ever been hacked? Or have you moved from Squarespace to WordPress to Squarespace like me? What are your thoughts on the subject? I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks for listening.