How Do I Choose? Squarespace vs WordPress Breakdown

I know it can be really difficult to choose a escort website designer and escort website host. I know I struggled with it plenty, and have used every DIY site under the sun. Different platforms have different strengths and weaknesses. In my experience however, Squarespace and WordPress-based websites offer the best design elements, SEO options, and flexibility (Wix websites are also done on a per-case basis).

“But Erin,” you may ask – “what’s the difference between them? Which should I pick? This is all so overwhelming!”

Honestly, if you’re overwhelmed by all of this, but want to manage your own escort website after I do the initial setup and design, I highly suggest choosing Squarespace. While their plugins aren’t flexible and customizing of templates is lacking, they are all-inclusive and all managed internally by the service itself. Squarespace has incredible customer service and seem to be very friendly towards our particular sector of service. Their templates are beautiful, easy to manipulate, and come with a readme that’s very helpful for after I hand over the website to you. Their hosting services are very reasonable, coming in at $144 (as of June 2017), and they also offer a free domain name with your first year of service. Their servers are located in the US/Ireland and technically impacted by FOSTA because they’re a US company. If overseas hosting is a priority for you, you’ll want to consider WordPress. SEO is a place where Squarespace could definitely use some improvement; there aren’t as many customization available in this area. Overall though, if you’re looking for a website builder that’s easy to learn and manipulate after I build the initial site and you’re not already familiar with WordPress, Squarespace is for you.

There are a few options for my involvement with your Squarespace site. Tech support is provided solely via Squarespace since they are handling the servers. Any technical issues you’d have with your website would have to be dealt with through them. If I am simply building your site and handing it over to you, you’d be dealing with Squarespace folks on your own (they’re super helpful).

I can, of course, manage your website for you for a monthly fee- this includes updates, troubleshooting, and dealing with any technical support issues on your behalf.

I also offer updates for a per-update fee should you want to deal with updates in that manner.

If you’re looking for domain acquisition outside of Squarespace I can also handle this on your behalf for a small fee, but do suggest that you procure your own domain so you can retain ownership.

WordPress on the other hand, is truly about customization and options. The initial installation of WordPress is completely bare, and you often have to find plugins that suit your needs. All of my WordPress escort websites come with startup components that are the most useful for folks in our industry: a real-time drag-and-drop page builder, security options like 2-step authentication and enhanced firewalls, image plugins like galleries, sliders, and video embedding, SEO enhancements and more. If you’re a seasoned WordPress user and have your own plugins and templates that you know and love, I’m more than happy to let you handle that on your own as well.

With WordPress-managed sites, there are way more options available as to how involved I am, too.

Maybe you don’t want a damn thing to do with your website ever, and want me to handle the setup, creation, and ongoing management of your site. I’m more than happy to do so! I’ve created a specific portal site that allows you to submit requests for updates, technical issues, and the like. Because I host all of my own WordPress sites, technical support is included with your hosting fees.

Perhaps you know your way around WordPress pretty well, but you’re really into my aesthetic and design choices and you want me to create a custom website. Absolutely! This option is what really made me famous- initial website creation that’s then turned over to you. I’m available for help for a short period of time after the project is finished, but you’ll mainly be on your own as far as design elements are concerned. Tech support is always available and is included with your hosting fees. I can also acquire your domain name for you on your behalf if you don’t have your own, but again— I highly recommend procuring your own so you retain ownership.

If you’re a WordPress expert, this next option is for you. Essentially, I give you a brand spankin’ new WordPress environment and host your site for you for a low cost. I have a specific install that I do with a design program included. Again, I can also acquire your domain name for you on your behalf if you don’t have your own.

All escort website hosting through Black|Ash is currently $200/year paid up-front. If you’d rather pay monthly, it’s $20/month. My server is overseas (in Switzerland, specifically) and is incredibly secure (I’m constantly updating programs and discovering new security enhancements that I can make).

#NayFOSTA, a Grassroots SEO Project

Escort Website Marketing and Design

FOSTA, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, may have originally began with it’s heart in the right place. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that we, as non-trafficked individuals, find it appalling and abhorrent that anyone would coerce anyone else into selling services they don’t want to sell. #nayfosta

We can all agree that people who are working in this industry against their own wills should be helped. They should be aided. And perhaps in conversations prior to the actual legislation finalization, this is what those lawmakers intended. #nayfosta

However, due to the vague language of FOSTA, there are very real and very dangerous impacts that those of us working of our own volition are dealing with. Those of us who rely and depend on this work to feed ourselves, house our families, pay our bills, and live life as best we can under capitalism. For those of us who make a willing living via sex work, FOSTA has been devastating. It’s made access to advertising platforms a nightmare, sent people who were safely working indoors back to the streets, and forced sex workers to make decisions that shouldn’t have to be made. 

Sex work is real work. Sex work is a profession. Sex work can even, for some, be a calling. 

What I’m asking here is no small feat. It will require work and effort on a part of the entire sex work community, both clients and providers alike. It will take work, but if we do this correctly, we have the potential to change the way we engage with one another online forever. This is not a catch-all solution; no solution is. But what this solution provides is the democratization of tech knowledge and search engine optimization theories that are accessible to other businesses and folks with know-how, and even accessible to us via social media. 

You hashtag Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Now it’s time to hashtag your website.

#NayFOSTA is a unique hashtag that no one has used yet. It’s not cataloged by any search engine, but it could be. Search engines catalog hashtags and return results on them for search queries.

We need to implement this system as a way to be seen. We can show that we support sex work as real work, as a real choice. FOSTA states that there’s no difference between someone working in the sex trade of their own volition, and one who’s trafficked. We know better.  People need to work, and this work would be made easier if we could facilitate easy connections between clients and providers. 

I’m asking you all to start hashtagging your websites with #NayFOSTA, preferably within a blog post. There will be other methodologies to do this too, mainly through website code and metadata, the systems of which I’ll explain as time goes on. By hashtagging your websites with #NayFOSTA, what you’re doing is including your website to be cataloged, by Google, for that hashtag.

If every escort in the world with a free or paid website did this, Google would become the biggest escort directory in the world. It would bypass advertising platforms. It would bypass any kind of advertising middle-man, and any website, be it free or paid, could utilize this hashtag.

Incorporating #NayFOSTA with other descriptor hashtags like #Chicago, #BBW, #Blonde, etcetera, would allow clients to further refine their searches and more easily find what they’re looking for.

This little bit of backend work, which I’m going to lead you through, will solve the main issue of what could have been a solid piece of legislation. #NayFOSTA will simultaneously support the anti-trafficking sentiments of the legislation, identify us as non-trafficked workers engaging in the market of our own volition, and make it so our clients can do the same.

I hope that you’ll join me in creating the movement for undertaking.