Skip to main content

Are you a travel blogger contemplating a move from Squarespace to WordPress?  

Are looking to scale your travel blogging income or have more ownership over your website?

I’m Mel, a travel blogger who recently migrated their website from Squarespace to WordPress, and I’m here to help you make that decision by sharing my own migration journey!

I was really nervous about potentially hurting my existing rankings… but the results surprised me!

So in this post, I’ll delve into my own experience of migrating my travel blog from Squarespace to WordPress, and what happened once I did. Let’s dive in!

Why I Migrated My Travel Blog from Squarespace to WordPress - My Old Squarespace Website on Squarespace 7.0

A snapshot of what my old website homepage used to look like on Squarespace 7.0 …minimal!

How and Why I Migrated My Travel Blog From Squarespace to WordPress

Please note the links below may contain affiliates which may provide a small kickback that helps this blog continue running!

What Website Host Did I Start My Travel Blog With?

So I used Squarespace for 8 whopping years. I first launched my travel blog on Squarespace in 2014 and eventually switched over in 2023. I was a loyal customer!

I still rate and use the Squarespace platform for other projects, but in terms of this travel blog, the benefits of having a WordPress site far outweighed the cons.

Before signing up to Squarespace I had tried WordPress.com and Wix.com, but Squarespace was the clear winner because of its ease of use and its aesthetic templates. It served me well for almost a decade – then I realised I was hitting a glass ceiling in terms of scaling my blog, as it is now my full-time focus.

My situation was a little different because I actually built my original Squarespace website on their old 7.0 version CMS and was being told to migrate to their new one (7.1) as 7.0 was being rendered obsolete – so I thought I’d leave the platform altogether to take my travel blog to the next level.  

I was nervous about the risks and impact on my rankings switching over but in October 2023 I finally took the plunge and migrated my own travel blog from Squarespace to WordPress, hosted by Siteground.

The results were surprising – and I haven’t regretted it since!

Check out my deep-dive post on the pros and cons of hosting your travel blog on Squarespace vs. WordPress.

why I migrated my travel blog to wordpress... Travel blogger Mel illumelation coworking on laptop in Palermo Sicily

Working on my travel blog at a café in Palermo, Sicily

What Were My Reasons For Choosing To Migrate from Squarespace to WordPress?

Travel bloggers need websites that won’t lag and prioritise mobile experiences

The main reasons I migrated were for better site speed and mobile responsiveness – something that Squarespace just wasn’t delivering on its legacy version.

When things take too long to load, people click away. That’s what was happening to my website.

As a travel blogger, I rely on beautiful images and interactive content to draw readers in and make it easy for them to book things through my site’s affiliate links.

But my old site on Squarespace was slow, which made it hard for visitors to enjoy the website experience as it took so long to load, so I had a really high bounce rate.

Being on Squarespace also meant that lots of the smart plugins that affiliate platforms offer to their partners weren’t accessible to me, since they were mostly designed for WordPress.

WordPress, known for its vast array of themes, plugins, and custom options, meant I could create a unique travel blog that matched my brand while improving speed and page load times, and engaging my audience for longer, which all had positive impacts on bounce rates and, excitingly, my affiliate income. 

As this guide put it, “Migrating from Squarespace to WordPress can help take your website to the next level. With WordPress, you can customize your content in dozens of ways, using page builder plugins and the Block Editor. On top of that, you don’t need to pay to use the Content Management System (CMS) or to unlock additional features.”

Relevant postHow Travel Bloggers Earn Money: 7 Ways to Make Passive Income Online

Remote working on my travel blog from a balcony in Valencia, Spain

Why I Moved My Travel Blog To WordPress: The Pros Outweighed the Cons

WordPress allowed for better customisation and responsiveness

For travel bloggers, having a responsive and customisable site, with autonomy over its design and content, is paramount, particularly when compared to using drag-and-drop builder tools like Squarespace or Wix.

A key reason lies in the diverse and rich content formats – from high-quality images and travel vlogs to interactive maps and user-generated stories – that define the engaging essence of travel blogs. WordPress, with its vast array of plugins and themes, offers the flexibility to seamlessly integrate these varied multimedia and interactive elements.

As I mentioned in this post, the level of control and specialisation that WordPress gives users in designing their user experience is something generic drag-and-drop platforms often cannot match, making WordPress a preferred choice (at least in my personal experience and for most of the SEO-driven travel blogger community) for travel bloggers aiming to inspire wanderlust through a mix of stories, visuals, and user interactivity.

WordPress enables better SEO because of the sheer volume of its plugins

To get noticed more online, travel bloggers also rely on SEO strategies.

This means using the right keywords, meta tags, and formatting to show up higher in search engine results and attract more visitors, which leads to more discoverability, more brand deals and a higher income from ad revenue and affiliate links.

WordPress has so many incredible plugins to superboost your SEO presence – something I found lacking on Squarespace

So in essence, since travel blogs mix visuals, multimedia, and interactive content to catch readers’ attention, fuel the desire to explore, and share useful travel advice and tips, it all means that travel blogs require lots of best practices to ensure the site doesn’t lag.

Even though I loved Squarespace, WordPress’s advantages—like better customisation, improved SEO, and more ways to make money—made the decision to switch easier. I was excited about features like AI-driven tools that could help me connect with my readers and earn more from my blog. I decided to move to Siteground after comparing lots of web hosts.

Why I Migrated My Travel Blog from Squarespace to WordPress - illumelation Website Taxonomy for Countries

My updated travel blog website taxonomy, mapped out more logically using mindmup

Migrating from Squarespace to WordPress: The Journey 

How I Managed The Migration of My Travel Blog To WordPress

I actually managed my website migration process myself, with the invaluable technical support of an SEO specialist friend, who helped me navigate the transition with confidence.

He helped me with technical aspects like ensuring I didn’t have any broken links, importing old images, restructuring my URLs taxonomy, and so much more.

The migration journey was not without its challenges, but the rewards have been SO worth it.

Should you hire a professional SEO specialist to migrate your website?

As mentioned I decided to handle the migration myself with lead support from a technical SEO expert. We worked through challenges like moving content over smoothly, fixing URLs, and solving issues as they came up.

Throughout the process, I was really grateful to have technical SEO support and guidance to ensure a smooth migration and maintain my travel blog’s integrity and prevent any negative impact.

It’s SO important to work with someone skilled in SEO that you trust, as website migration can be a tricky and complex process. Handing over the keys to your travel blog (a.k.a your baby) isn’t something you do lightly, and you need to make sure that whoever you work with has some experience in migration.

What’s also worth noting is that migrating websites more complex than a straightforward travel blog (which was my case, although I did have an online shop with digital products), will probably require some more specialist SEO support.

My SEO specialist also anticipated and helped me work through unforeseen challenges and potential opportunities during the migration, so that we could transition as successfully as possible.

Detailed spreadsheet rearranging my URL taxonomy and mapping out 301 redirects on my travel blog

What are the steps for migrating your travel blog to WordPress?

Here’s an abridged version of the steps I had to take during the migration process to ensure that I moved my precious website from Squarespace to WordPress without any hitches:

  1. Benchmarked Performance: I assessed and recorded my website’s current performance metrics, including visitor numbers and search rankings so I could make an accurate comparison later and measure the effectiveness of the switch.
  2. Gathered URL Data: We compiled a list of all pages on my Squarespace website to ensure nothing was left behind during the migration. This was a bit trickier because Squarespace actually allows you to create multiple ‘blogs’ whereas all blog posts on WordPress are grouped in the same content management system.
  3. Reviewed Content To Keep or Delete: I conducted a thorough review of my website’s content to determine what would be moved, combined, or created anew on my WordPress site. There were lots of old irrelevant posts that I got rid of that didn’t particularly resonate.
  4. Redirection Mapping: Together with my SEO support we created a roadmap for redirecting old pages to their new locations (and their new URL taxonomy) on my WordPress site to maintain SEO integrity.
  5. Reviewed Sitemap: We ensured that all redirections were included in my new website’s sitemap for optimal search engine crawling. Then we let Google know about it.
  6. Testing Redirects: We implemented 301 redirections on my WordPress site, ensuring they functioned correctly. We triple-tested all redirections to verify they led to the correct destinations, using a staging environment to identify and resolve any bugs. This is where Hickman’s SEO support was really invaluable.
  7. Reviewed Crawl Data: We checked technical aspects of redirections, such as status codes and canonical tags, for accuracy. Screaming Frog was a really helpful tool for making sure nothing was broken.
  8. Ensuring Mobile Responsiveness: We ensured my new WordPress website was optimised for mobile devices to meet Google’s mobile-first indexing criteria by previewing all posts on a mobile test environment. Again, this was a key priority for me!
  9. Testing Page Speed: We optimised my website’s loading speed for both search engines and user experience. This involved a number of time-consuming steps like resizing images, deleting duplicate content in my media library (for some reason importing photos from Squarespace using an image import tool meant there were about 4 duplicates of each image which really ate up space in my Siteground hosting library).
  10. Removed Legacy Sitemap: We removed the old sitemap from search engines to indicate the permanent move to my new website. Then I deactivated my Squarespace account which was slightly devastating, since I’d been with them for so long!
  11. Reviewed Keyword Rankings: We monitored how my website ranked in search results post-migration, using tools like Google Search Console and SEMrush.
  12. Reviewed Post-Launch Changes: After migrating, we evaluated if any adjustments were needed based on my website’s performance after the launch.
  13. Reviewed Internal Linking: This was the most fun bit. I could finally use SEO plugins like RankMath to scour my posts for opportunities for internal linking and added in tables of contents to enhance navigation and search engine visibility. It’s made a world of difference!

Migrating from Squarespace to WordPress: The Results 

The Benefits of Migrating my Travel Blog to WordPress

The migration journey was not without its challenges, but the rewards have been SO worth it. So with that said, let’s go into detail about my firsthand experience and the results of the switch – including an in-depth look at the journey and its impact on my travel blogging rankings and income.

We hit a major milestone with the full site launch, setting up new redirects and checking crawl data to ensure everything worked as it should.

Screenshot from Google Analytics showing the brief dip in traffic after migrating website from Squarespace to WordPress

The Shocking Results: A Successful Move

We decided to launch my new website on WordPress on a Saturday evening, when traffic might be lower. We let Google know that we had flipped the site to a new host and changed the taxonomy of URLs by using proper 301 redirects. 

At first, we saw fewer visitors and the number of sessions plummeted, which was really worrying, since I’ve been blogging and building my rankings for 8 years – but the SEO specialist had warned me about that and reassured me that a temporary drop was totally normal. 

Sure enough, after being patient (since we had been efficiently managing our links and fixing any errors), I saw a significant increase in both the number of visitors and the speed of our site within a couple of days once Google recrawled my site. 

The results of moving our site from Squarespace to WordPress were better than I had hoped. Recovery took no time at all, two days tops, thanks to effective URL and post management, and this boost meant my travel blog came back even stronger.

The improved site speed and lower bounce rate have made a huge difference in how long visitors stay and how much they engage with my content.

I’ve since earned better income from various affiliate marketing streams on my blog than before, thanks to better site performance, higher user engagement, and improved visibility on search engines.

The Results: ‘Wins’ from Moving my Travel Blog to WordPress

The move had its tough moments, but the outcome has been noticeable. WordPress has opened up new possibilities for my site, from design customisation to better SEO and new ways to monetise.

Though we were a bit nervous at first, the switch to WordPress went smoothly thanks to careful planning and hard work.

The real challenge came after the launch, as we had to keep an eye on our keyword rankings, make any necessary tweaks, and improve our internal links to keep the site growing and visible.

Looking back, moving my travel blog from Squarespace to WordPress was a game-changer. Some of the ‘wins‘ included:

  • A more professional looking website taken more seriously by travel and tourism clients and brands
  • Significant improvement in site speed and page loading speed
  • Significantly reduced bounce rates
  • More blog posts ranking on the first two pages of Google
  • Exponentially more access to plugins and widgets designed to boost discoverability and improve performance
  • Greater control over the appearance and formatting of my blog posts and pages
  • Increase in affiliate link clicks and income
  • A website I’m super duper proud of
  • Cheaper overall costs per year (Siteground costs less than Squarespace did to host my website).

Useful Tools for Migrating Your Travel Blog from Squarespace to WordPress

  1. HTML Cleaner is a brilliant site for pasting in any old copy or blog posts and cleaning up broken or bloated code. I had so many old photos and weird bits of script floating around which appeared when I exported my blog posts out of Squarespace. Copy and paste the cleaned HTML into your post editor on WordPress, easy peasy!
  2. Screaming Frog was a really helpful tool for making sure nothing was broken.
  3. ChatGPT was AMAZING for sense-checking my taxonomy and helping streamline various tags and categories.
  4. Mindmup was super useful for creating a mindmap of categories and tags that would help refresh and streamline my URL structures. Before, on Squarespace, I had created multiple blogs for different reasons so I had URLs that were structured with /guides-reviews/ or /resources/ – which meant that I needed to completely change my URL structure on WordPress to streamline them into /blog/category. We made sure the taxonomy was logical, then did a whole bunch of 301 redirects to ensure no links were broken!
Should you migrate your travel blog to WordPress? Laptop and coffee

Sitting in a café, wondering if should you move your blog to WordPress…

Should You Set Up Your Travel Blog On WordPress or Squarespace?

With persistence, strategic planning, and dedication, choosing to migrate from Squarespace to WordPress really does open up new opportunities for growth on your travel blog. I can personally vouch for it!

After eight years with Squarespace, I was drawn to WordPress for its flexibility, speed, and potential. The migration was a mix of excitement and anxiety, but it’s paid off more than I hoped.

This migration has not only boosted my blog’s presence online but also helped me reach more people, improve the user experience, and increase my earnings.

Reflecting on this journey, I’m grateful for the lessons learned and excited about continuing to improve my travel blog every day.

I hope you found this useful!

Drop me a line if you have any questions about hosting your travel blog on WordPress or Squarespace.

Mel Legarda

Melissa Legarda is the founder of illumelation. She has worked as a travel blogger, creator and writer since 2015, and has collaborated with well-known brands worldwide. She has helped over 1,100+ students improve their travel photography skills since launching her creative courses. Her mission is to encourage and empower others to travel and create more. Find her on Instagram.