Why I Quit Bluehost and WordPress

When I first started The BOM, I followed the lead of all the most popular bloggers at the time and bought my domain name with Bluehost and set up my blog on WordPress. Previous to blogging, I had worked for several online media sites and knew how to navigate content management systems (CMS) and also knew how to code. Which put me leaps and bounds ahead of a lot new bloggers.  I felt confident that I’d be able to build up a strong blog in no time.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of work and frustration that came along with using Bluehost and Wordpress.  It wasn’t until a good friend showed me a new website for her family farm business, which she built herself. The site was clean, easy to navigate and absolutely beautiful.  My friend was one of the least technically inclined people I know and looking at the gorgeous site she had built (over a weekend, I might add) made me realize that there were better options out there besides Bluehost and WordPress.


How Bluehost and WordPress Work

Bluehost and WordPress are two different platforms.  Bluehost hosts the domain of a blog or business - the address of your site. WordPress is the platform that your actual website is built on. This means that in order to get your site up and running, and depending on your level of expertise, you can spend a lot of time just trying to figure out how to navigate both BlueHost and WordPress, including how to integrate plugs in for things like newsletters, social icons, ecommerce, and so on.  

Bluehost is like a Multilevel Marketing Company

Bluehost owes its popularity in large part to the huge affiliate network of bloggers who recommend it.  If you’ve ever read any dazzling Monthly Blog Income reports, - you know the headlines that read “How I made $80,000 in one month of blogging” -  you’ve probably seen links to the Bluehost affiliate program.  

Now, there is nothing wrong with affiliate marketing. I promote content on Creative Market all the time as part of their affiliate program.  And the Bluehost Affiliate program has made a lot of money for a lot of people. But I always wonder, would these same bloggers who recommend Bluehost be singing its praises if they weren’t making significant money off their recommendations? Maybe. Maybe not.  

Imagine you own a restaurant and you never actually get to serve food to customers because your walk-in freezer keeps breaking and you have to spend all your time and energy fixing it. This was me. Wordpress/Bluehost was my crappy walk-in freezer.

I wanted a Business, Not a Blog

In 2018 after finishing up my graduate degree, I decided it was time to turn The BOM into a full fledged business. This included integrating ecommerce into my site in a safe and secure fashion. I also wanted to build in newsletter sign ups and landing pages, along with creating content for The BOM.  

But everytime I sat down to work on my business ideas I ended up spending most of my time dealing with all the issues relating to slow servers and wonky plugins that plagued my WordPress site.  I nearly called it quits a couple of times because nothing about what I was doing resembled a business. I couldn’t work consistently or produce quality content for my audience because I was too busy dealing with all the behind the scenes crap.

Imagine you own a restaurant and you never actually get to serve food to customers because your walk-in freezer keeps breaking and you have to spend all your time and energy fixing it. This was me. Wordpress/Bluehost was my crappy walk-in freezer.


Time Is My Most Important Commodity

There’s a saying that cheap and easy always trump free and complicated.  And this was definitely true of my Bluehost / Wordpress experience. I was afraid to use any plug ins to add features to my site because I never knew if it would slow everything to a crawl.  And I was spending way too much time trying to figure how to make WordPress work more efficiently, instead of focusing on income producing activities.

Now, there are lots and lots resources out there for creating a well run WordPress site and if I had been more patient, I probably could have figured it out. Eventually. But here’s the thing - I didn’t want to learn how to build the most perfect WordPress site.  

I wanted to provide business resources for busy working moms.  I wanted to show moms how to manage their time, how to build a better brand or how to structure their business to make money. Instead, all my time and energy was going to fix the bugs that plagues my site.  

This is What I Use Now (spoiler - It’s SquareSpace)

Today I use SquareSpace for all of my business needs. For less $200 a year I have access to a beautifully simple CMS program that is literally drag-and-drop.  It integrates domain hosting, landing pages, a blog, newsletter options, online commerce and a bunch of other stuff in one place. You can even build courses using it.  Yes, up front SquareSpace is more expensive than Bluehost, but in my opinion the money is worth it because it saves So. Much. time. Elle&Co is my favorite SquareSpace resource, with all kinds of tutorials and free resources for getting the most out of your SquareSpace site.

One complaint I’ve heard about SquareSpace is that it doesn’t offer enough customizable design options. To this I say - if you are serious about your digital business, you don’t need to spend a whole lot of time fussing with font choices, site colors and layouts.  That’s just a nifty way to procrastinate. SquareSpace has lots of design options available that work with any brand.

Check out my free style guide for tips on building a brand that stands out -no matter what website platform you decide to use.

I want to note that I am not being compensated in any way for singing the praises of SquareSpace. I’ve used a lot of different digital platforms and it’s one of my favorites (along with Canva).  If you want to get to the business of being in business, SquareSpace offers a professional polish to your digital home quickly and easily.

Bootstrapping a new business requires time, energy and money.  Ultimately you’ll have to decide how you want to spend each of yours.  Bluehost and WordPress offer a low cost way to set up a website. But they often require more time to maintain and update.  SquareSpace costs about $200 a year, but it’s easier to build and maintain in the long run. For me, SquareSpace is in a sweet spot of being inexpensive enough for a novice to use, while producing a finished product that looks like a professional designer created it for thousands of dollars.   

Do you have a favorite website builder? Share it with me!