I have been seeing a lot of advertising for SquareSpace lately… Thought the time ripe to dig into this.
Found out that SquareSpace is quite efficiently filling a gap in nowadays internet world: That of those who do not have the “technical” knowledge for building a website, weblog or photo album, but do have something they want to share and are willing to pay for the easy-to-use tools.

As SquareSpace says it:

We let you snap together a web site in a flash that will allow you to manage all of your unique content right in one place. It can be as professional or personal as you want.
Anyone who needs to maintain a web presence, but wants exacting control over their site, and powerful publishing features that cover everything from blogs to files. No technical skill is required.

Well, sounds good. Let’s see how this works…

Signing up

It takes filling out 5 fields and 1 click to sign up, which technically is done in under a minute. In a few secs you confirm through the email-message you received and you are ready to go.

Content

Adding content is really simple… where content can be added, modified or removed, an simple bar is displayed with the available options: create a new journal entry | add page header | add page footer | modify entry | move entry | remove entry | post follow up | edit section html etc. This gives even the biggest digi-dummy no other option than doing exaclty what he or she wants to do…
When changing anything, an in-window pop-up emerges and the background fades, which allowes you to give all attention to what you actually want to do. It works fast and smooth, on both Mac and PC.

Modules

SquareSpace comes with a large amount of functional modules, easy to install, immediately ready for use:

  1. Page (HTML)
  2. Journal
  3. Journal Archive
  4. File Storage
  5. Links
  6. Picture Gallery
  7. Discussion
  8. Divider
  9. Drop Box
  10. Guestbook / Flat Discussion
  11. Amazon Item List
  12. Change Tracker
  13. Single Link
  14. Login Prompt
  15. Powered By Squarespace-button
  16. Send AIM Message
  17. Send Email
  18. Folder

Structure

With a simple overview you are able to reshuffle the structure and lay-out of your website or blog.

Themes

Changing the visual aspect of your site can be done through available ready-to-go themes, as well as modification of present themes. With a preview pane and clear pointers to what you will change, this also gives the dummy insight to website-design and compilation.

Resources/Traffic/Backup

Next to content and design features, SquareSpace offers a nice and clear (Mint influence?) overview of the site’s statistics. An overview of how much of your account’s resources are being used and the basic stats for your site’s traffic: Traffic Overview, Traffic Log, Referrers, Queries and Popular Pages.
A neat feature that I can really appreciate with a hosted service like this, is the option to make your own back-up.

More…

Setting up users and user-permissions is clearly explained and easy to modify per area of your site. Even IP-address blocking is an option.
The Support Area is wide and elaborate. Giving each member the possibility to submit tickets shows that they really want to keep improving and do not hide.
Adding your own advertising HTML-code is an option, but only limited to the (vertical) navigation bar.

Conclusion

For people that have never worked with any kind of website or weblog related software, SquareSpace should work easy and intuitive. The fact that one has to pay for this… it seems reasonable to me. The normal irritation and hassle to get things running are not present and it does the basics well, very well.

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