Squarespace

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This is my small electric space.


   Now, if you don't know what SquareSpace is, you are technically looking at it right now. SquareSpace is a nice little web-host / tool that not only hosts the finished product, but also helps you maintain and update your website with ease. Everything on this site (with exception of hosting the videos) comes using their tools directly. It's a pretty diverse set, but I should elaborate that they are also a busy group of workers who are constantly trying to improve their services and make it better and easier. Take this review as an "at the moment of writing" review, particularly with the pros and cons list, as things certainly change. As a matter of fact, I'll even leave in some of the stuff they changed with a note next to it to show you the kind of drive these fine people have.


Pros
  • Easy to use and learn interface.
  • Versatile platform allows for in-depth tweaking.
  • Can integrate various 3rd party items (such as embedded video players for YouTube or live-streaming and audio) in pre-set 'blocks'.
  • Team in the background is constantly working to improve things and update features.
  • Built in web-store functionality (although I have not experimented with this feature yet). (2014) Now provided with most subscription models.
  • Use of Tags and Categories that can then be displayed in lists somewhere else (example: my title list for Movie reviews).
  • Multiple page layout types - such as blogs that can easily be updated, or pages that are more stand-alone.
  • Allows creation of forms to receive your own feedback or whatever you created them to do.
  • Can host (upload directly) audio files.
  • Can host (upload directly) image files.
  • Image files have relatively basic editing tools integrated in.
  • Provides metrics and other interesting tools (see what items are most viewed, how many visitors / feed subscribers).
  • Can tie-in to various social networks (post to facebook, twitter, etc).
  • Has a lot of pre-built/designed formats to apply to the overall sight.
Cons
  • Does not host videos directly (so for things such as video reviews, you'll still need that YouTube channel).
  • (Fixed 2014) Adding 'blocks' always defaults to the bottom of the entry, leading to the potential for a lot of heartache as you try and drag it to where you wanted it to be.
  • No auto-save of entries as you work.
  • Price plan might be a bit much for the casual web-goer looking to do things on the cheap, but you get what you pay for.
  • Currently an issue with my touchscreen laptop that requires me to use the touch feature to "check" any boxes.

   Over the course of the year or so I've been using it now, I haven't felt as though I have been throwing my money away. Sure, it's not the cheapest option out there, but with the tools they provide I can't help but feel that for me it was worth it. The business site that I used this service for has also been seeing it as worthwhile, getting plenty of hits and compliments on the layout. The support staff are friendly folks willing to joke around and be actual humans, but also know what they are doing enough to have helped me out on various issues that have cropped up during my usage. There is still room to improve on the service for sure (I'm looking at you, character limit on Categories), but the nice part about that is you can leave them suggestions or features you would like to see and the try and keep it in mind and pass it along. 

   If you want to run your own website, Squarespace is definitely something I'd recommend you at least take a look at. You can find cheaper,but the tools they provide help to make everything easy and manageable on a scale most cheaper places won't (and a lot of those cheap places will simply "host" your site, not actually help you do anything with it). 

Squarespace