Are you happy with your web publishing platform? Have you considered Squarespace to publish your blog or website? If you don't have a Squarespace website, you might want to check out their free trial after exploring this resource.
A dozen satisfied customers contributed their thoughts to form this Mega Squarespace Review. (And if you think they're happy with Squarespace now, just wait until the upcoming Squarespace v6 is released.) If you're considering the move to Squarespace, you won't want to miss the insights below.
Overall Squarespace Review
1. Josh Braaten
Josh Braaten a marketer, blogger and the founder of BigPictureWeb.com.
"I've been using Squarespace for two years now. In fact, this site is built on Squarespace. I've been happy with their services overall since writing my 2010 review of Squarespace. Despite the need for a few tweaks here and there, Squarespace has allowed me to grow my blog on a hassle-free, intuitive website platform. And from what I've seen of Squarespace v6, the next version of the platform currently under development, the future couldn't be brighter."
2. Alan Houser
Alan Houser is a long-time Squarespace user and developer. Check out his site, SquareFlair.com, then read his Squarespace review:
"I love Squarespace because I look good in hats.
Having spent over a decade in the I.T. industry, I have a great deal of respect for Web Developers. To run smoothly, traditional web development projects have involved about three people. There's the Project Manager, the Designer and the Developer.
With Squarespace, I honestly don't need a Developer in my process. There was a bit of a learning-curve to figure-out how to best-use the tools that Squarespace has built for me, and I've had to bone-up on my CSS skills. But now, I'm quite confident that if it can be designed, I can build it."
I've successfully learned to wear the hats of the Business Development Manager, The Project Manager, The UI Designer and the Front-End Developer.
3. Tony Ham
Tony Ham is a Squarespace designer, Chicago-area foodie, and all-around nice guy. Check out Tony's website at TonyHamCreative.com. His Squarespace review goes into Squarespace as a developer platform:
I am a web designer who has transitioned from the print design world and Squarespace has made that transition very accommodating. The more I learn, the more I can apply to the websites I am creating.
I love the ease of getting a website up and running in a matter of hours in optimal conditions. It allows more time and thought to be spent on the design and functionality of the site, as opposed to technical elements of the set-up. I love being able to log in and work on the site from anywhere with an internet connection.
I do wish sometimes that there were more available functions and features to "plug in" instead of finding custom work-arounds or implementing JQuery. However, I find those to be fairly minimal. But the developer community and forums continue to grow and solutions require a bit more work and research but can be had."
4. Jason Barone
Jason Barone is a designer, developer and web technology consultant, providing end-to-end web solutions for small businesses and entrepreneurs. At his company, Launchfront.com, he builds "frustration-free" websites powered by Squarespace and other industry-leading applications. His personal website is available at JasonBarone.com.
As a business owner, designer, and developer with years of experience working with website and CMS platforms, I feel Squarespace is the best and most advanced web platform available. The unique combination of top-of-the-line hosting, scalable and reliable software, and 24/7 support provides a rock solid platform to build on. Squarespace's beautifully designed interface also provides an excellent way to build and configure sites 100% in the browser, which cuts down development time.
- 24/7 Support from real people with less than 10 minute response time
- "Design in the browser" CSS interface
- Sections can be manipulated to do almost anything
- Lack of features that other platforms may have
- Built-in Customizable Forms should be available in mid-tier monthly plan"
5. Nathan Miller
Nathan Miller, aka "the Square Coach" of SquareCoach.com, is a graphic artist and web developer from Indiana. Nathan is a fan of Squarespace, but his review reveals how some Squarespace customers are growing eager for version 6 of the platform to launch.
"I absolutely love Squarespace. Version 5 has almost all of the features I could possibly need in a website. In areas that it doesn't support I have found work-arounds. That said, I will admit V5 is starting to feel long in the tooth. Sometimes it seems like there are too many steps to do a simple thing, and one really needs to know some hacks to make a stand out design, plus side-bars are a mess if you want to control which "widgets" go where.
However, once the site is laid out adding/maintaining content is slick and easy."
6. Jamie Brittain
Jamie Brittain is a tech geek, designer/illustrator, and aspiring coder from across the pond. Jamie has found Squarespace to be useful for multiple projects, including his own website, JamieBrittain.com.
"Squarespace, is by far, the best and my favourite web design host of all time. I've used Squarespace for various projects for just over a year no and I've enjoyed every minute of working with Squarespace! Nothing else compares!
I think that Squarespace is the new, easiest, and best way to design websites. Also, with V6 coming soon, I believe that designers, developers and even everyday bloggers will be able to make an amazing, unique website."
7. Dave Schlottman
Dave Schlottman of Quawkle.com likes Squarespace because of its security. If you've ever been hacked on another platform, then Dave's review of Squarespace will be of particular interest to you. Also, Dave is a fan of the Android and iOS apps available for Squarespace.
"I love using Squarespace for many reasons, but one of the top reasons is its security. When I was on Wordpress, I continually had to update due to sercurity vulnerabilities. After my site was hacked, I decided that there had to be a better option.
Squarespace setup is dead simple. You pick out a template and then modify it to look like you want. It doesn't take long to get your site up and running.
In addition, the Squarespace apps for iOS are fantastic for posting and managing your blog.
The Squarespace site tools are great and getting better. I would recommend Squarespace to anyone starting a new blog or looking for a better solution for their current blog."
8. Kevin Cummins
Kevin Cummins is an education blogger and consultant from Australia. Kevin tried more complicated platforms before finally finding Squarespace, where he was quickly able to construct the site he needed.
"I started out 3 years ago on square space after Drupal and joomla left me confused and frustrated about starting a decent website. To cut a long story short I achieved on ss in a week what had taken me months on any other platform because it just made sense and above all else if I got stuck I could get excellent support within 10 minutes or so.
I now run over 10 ss sites myself as a developer and have numerous others for schools and small business under www.techzoo.com.au and I constantly check out alternatives to ss and try a couple as I really don't think they are as affordable as they could be to developers and still use ss as my platform of choice.
Can't wait to try v6 and see what I can do with it."
9. Joel Gray
Joel Gray is a website and visual designer from g3D.net. Joel appreciates the ability to apply his custom CSS code to multiple websites. His Squarespace review also highlights the gallery feature of the platform.
"The service that Squarespace provides has been an integral part of the way I communicate with my clients and prospective clients. From day one I was able to assemble a respectable web presence that not only looked good, but had plenty of robust options to customize. I used a pre-built template and easily modified it to my liking. Yes I've gone the ultra-minimalist route, one which makes the Google search page look downright cluttered! But that's what I was after, an interface that was minimal and allowed the content to be the focus. Squarespace really does well at this, giving you templates and tools to develop a web interface that is consistent and clean, yet you still have the ability to add your own code for more advanced customization.
My favorite Squarespace feature is the Picture Gallery, it's simple to set up and scales perfectly to any size monitor as you flip through images - it just works they way you expect it to. The recent introduction of social widgets has been a great addition, but I'm hoping that the next update to Squarespace offers the ability to add these and other 'widgets' to the center page and not restricted to just the side navigation panels.
I recommend Squarespace often... These guys are doing it right!"
10. Shirley Woods
Shirley Woods is a designer. She uses her knowledge of CSS to modify existing Squarespace templates. Some designers start with a blank template and use their own CSS entirely, while designers like Shirley find efficiencies by modifying existing Squarespace templates.
Update (12/6/11): Since writing this review, Shirley has moved away from Squarespace and now uses Wordpress.
"For too long, I used open source platforms to develop business blogs and websites for myself and small local enterprises. That is - until I found Squarespace. No longer am I worrying about or spending time on plugin conflicts and security update issues. Squarespace lets me focus on what's important. I can at last 'enjoy' developing and blogging thanks to Squarespace.
I'm big on keeping sites simple yet effective, as at the end of the day it's content that is king. Squarespace lets me showcase that content, be it text, photo galleries or video - on a beautiful and powerful platform.
Price-wise, my costs are very reasonable and easily predictable every month. I'm no longer a sucker, wooed by the latest open source single licence theme because of 'how it looks'. Been there got too many t-shirts. With four years experience under my belt, I now know that what defines a great theme or template goes much deeper than simple cosmetics.
I'm building my blogs on Squarespace version 5 presently. Squarespace version 6 is in Beta as I speak and I cannot wait to see what that's capable of. Squarespace saves me time, money and heartache. Squarespace gives me peace of mind and a phenominal platform to build websites and blogs for myself and others!
A key aspect to define a great blog or website platform - is support. Squarespace support rocks! I defy you to find better! 'Nuff said."
11.Lawrence van Niekerk
Lawrence van Niekerk is a blogger and painter from South Africa. The Quiet Front is his Squarespace website, a place where he shares things he deems to beautiful and inspiring. Lawrence's Squarespace review explains why he picked Squarespace instead of Tumblr.
"I run a small personal blog related to art, photography, film and music (I lie it's mainly smut).
I could have started a tumblr a couple of years ago but I'm currently employed as a construction worker in Swaziland and that would mean updating my blog once a month when I go into South Africa for supplies and then it lying dormant for the rest of the time, so out of necessity I looked for something that would allow me to schedule all my posts so that the site stays active even when I'm offline.
I found Squarespace when the advertised on Daringfireball (my favorite tech blog).
I have never built a site before but their system is very intuitive. I had to learn a bit and when I got stuck, I just asked questions from their help desk or on the developers forum - I always got the answers I needed. My blog went live this month.
My site is really stripped down to the bone but that is how I roll. The fact that I can add components as and when I want is real plus - especially because I can do it myself.
I'm a very visual person and the fact that the back-end of Squarespace doesn't look like ass means a lot to me and tells you a lot about their priorities.
The fact that I don't need to use additional services like Amazon S3 is huge and makes uploading and linking so much less complicated.
I'm never going to be a poster boy for Squarespace (the "Content, Structure & Style" podcast always seems to be talking about designing sites for schools and churches) but it is a perfect service for me because I can do what I want without relying on anyone else. It's great because I can bend it to my will as opposed trying to jam my vision into a limited template."
12. Ed Lucas
Ed Lucas (aka "the artist presently known as Ed") is an artist from San Diego. Ed is mostly a fan of Squarespace, but his review goes into a few rough edges of the platform that he hopes will be ironed out with the release of Squarespace version six.
"In general I am happy I got two sites on Squarespace. Mainly, I appreciated the freedom to get on with the work of creating and presenting content, rather than sweating the headaches of my own Wordpress installation, where I had periodically gone mad with the feeling of being hopelessly over my head in the backend and often fearing the upgrade process. I did lose data there and never felt like I had any control over the tools. As a person who wrote web entries since 2002, by the time I was drawn to Squarespace, I had done the old fashioned HTML pages, been hosted with a couple companies, used B2 and Wordpress for blogs, and then finally entrusted my site to an all-Wordpress package. And lost data some times. I couldn't decide to ditch it all and walk away or suck it up and rebuild things. Agonizing at times.
So Squarespace appeared and made the case that the backend was taken care of, and things like the drag and drop menu arrangements were quite a nice thing since I have several pages and sometimes need to rebuild things some. The ability to work the essential CSS components by the style editor was a charmer and freed me up to do things I rarely tried before.
For the first site I got running, Jubilee Economics, I was happy to find it would be pretty easy for multiple authors to contribute a range of content without any of them risking the integrity of the site. We were starting a podcast, which was new for me. Worked pretty well for a while till I got messages saying audio wasn't playing back right. Long story short, Squarespace said to me that they were not equipped with the right server equipment to handle the kind of load that podcasts can place (they don't have byte-range request ability, ala YouTube). Well, I wish I knew that a year and a half ago! What has driven me rather nuts is that there were a couple times when discussing my account and goals that Customer Service could have notified me that my request for more podcast-ability was not such a good idea, and that I might be better off with Libsyn (where I did go, after way much scrambling).
For my personal site, TAPKAE.com, I took advantage of many options to feature nearly a decade's worth of posts, galleries, endless capacity to put my old out of print albums up, etc. One thing I did was to manually and visually edit my old posts for some style and form, link checking, and general cleanup. That's 550 posts, people. It took me two weeks of pretty solid, nearly round-the-clock work! Since I just moved to Squarespace at that time, I was ready to commit to a massive process such as that in the spirit of the newness of it all.
This is where I think Squarespace falls on its face, and I hope V6 can do better... Mostly I have to complain about the limits of the so-called "content management system" part of it. Some of this stuff should be the standard issue features, not things I'm complaining about as V6 emerges... I hope they did something about this...
You know, I have not found any site-wide "find and replace" functionality for links. What a pain in the fuggin' hindquarter to have to visually skim for links and open entries to manually replace links. With sites filled with content like I have, this is a MAJOR bummer. I never swooned over Dreamweaver, but not having such a function DOES NOT speak of "content management."
One thing I still respect about Wordpress is the way posts can be managed with a bulk function, and such things as the quick edit option for tags and so on. In a similar way, I'd like for each image to have a master window to edit all its data (alt tags, not even a part of things but in HTML?) at once, including the alt tags, and a list of where that item can be found in the site, entry by entry. Audio files should be treated the same way.
Maybe I'm nuts but I am a captioning fool on images. But this business of opening each image's own caption editor is rather clumsy. They need to take a look at Facebook's model where one can just go down the page and enter text and click a few vital options as the whole gallery is visible at once. Again, this is sort of like Wordpress and the post or page management area.
And what's up with making it so hard to get a URL address to a given gallery picture with caption? Sure, I can look at the image on its own but I want to send the info along to friends. No page URL? If I have 100 pix and it's #78, all I can do is point people to the gallery and say " 'look for the one with the guy who's wearing the funny hat...' about 3/4 down"?
I've slowly learned CSS better than I used to because Squarespace made some things possible and something rather odd to work with. I still wish there was one clear view of the whole style sheet where all things could be seen together, even if the template parts are locked. Maybe V6? The template override thing has so far been an unwelcome challenge at times. I don't know why they don't provide a few presets that are sub-templates of a given template design (again, like Wordpress with full page, standard, or another option.)
Just a word to podcasters who are looking for a platform to host from... this aint the place for hosting the AUDIO files. Get Libsyn for that. You can keep your RSS feed here (do it properly from the start and use a dedicated feed from a second journal) but not the audio. Sure, you get "unlimited" storage and bandwidth, but they came out in support letters and said they aren't equipped for the load. Sure, you don't pay more for the space and bandwidth, but they can't serve your files right for that application. It's the same as they said about hosting video on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. But it wasn't so clear that podcasting would be hampered this way. If Squarespace can say they don't offer email, then they should be as clear that podcast work has to be limited to generating the iTunes friendly RSS feed, which it does well enough (that was one of the selling points for me originally).
The sorting out of the podcast disappointment caused me to have to get new hosting at Libsyn (cheap as 5/mo for 50mb), lose my iTunes feed address since Squarespace was unable or unwilling to offer the addition of one more iTunes tag that would do it automatically for any subscribers. I tried moving my podcast blog posts one-by-one over to a new journal, lost categories and tags, and then found that after I had moved things to that journal that it was not ideal given the structure of the rest of our web efforts, I had to move them back, and Squarespace was helpless to do so in any automated way. So BACK to manually reassigning posts, retagging them all, and because the upset was so big, I had decided to change the titles too, now I had to change them back and Squarespace said they had no way to recall the titles of old posts so that the links would work again! No CMS value in any of this! (I got lucky though and found that in the editor window within the browser, the names all came back perfectly in the title form field. That at least saved my bacon. I was prepared to scour old emails and Facebook posts for titles that I had sent out so I could reconstruct things so the links would not be broken. I might as well been working my way through a folder of local files like in 2002. Good thing I have the time and patience for this. What does one expect of a CMS except for content to be managed?
Okay, so maybe V6 is gonna fix this stuff. I've registered enough complaints about these that I hope they make the cut, but I'm a pretty late comer to the Squarespace world."
What's your opinion of Squarespace? Leave your own Squarespace review in the comments. If you're not on Squarespace yet, feel free to ask your questions or concerns about the platform in the comments.