Squarespace is a commercial content management system (CMS), which allows users to quickly and easily build dynamic web sites, photo galleries, forums or blogs. It contains a number of core modules packed with features and functionality. Unlike WordPress, there are no downloads as all software and data is located on servers owned and run by Squarespace.
The idea here is that a user can create a web site using drag and drop functionality. Using WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) implementation, Web pages and blog posts can be set up without knowing the first thing about HTML or CSS. Or, if you’re a web master or mistress, you can use Markdown and write your own CSS. Menus and navigation, as expected are looked after by the CMS.
The core modules and their respective features include;
- Blog/Journal – pretty much every feature you can think of is included here: RSS support, permalinks, comments, full archiving and more.
- Photo Gallery – automated image resizing, RSS and lightbox integration.
- Form Builder – add contact or query forms.
- File Storage – lets users download files.
- Forum – build community.
- Change Tracker – looks after changes you’ve made on the site.
- Google Maps – easily add maps to the site.
- Amazon Items – add books or music as a list.
- Search – adds search functionality to the site.
Each of these modules are added literally with a click of a button.
There are a large number of professionally designed templates which you can apply to the entire site. The templates themselves are extremely flexible, with the ability to choose how many columns, the width, banner images, colours, fonts, and also the option to add your own custom CSS.
And here’s the downside …
The basic package costs $8 per month, which includes hosting, 1GB of storage and 75 GB/mo Bandwidth. There are five packages available with prices going up to $50 per month for a “Community Package”.
I’ve used the trial for a couple of days and it is a really good app, and very well put together. I don’t think designers need to lose too much sleep over it making them redundant (I was just being a drama queen), but depending on how popular it becomes, setting up a Squarespace site may be something we need to add to our skillset.
Have you used Squarespace? Do you think this could become a serious rival to the Open Source, WordPress?