Finding your site.. probably not #squarespace

April 05, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I hadn’t posted for a while, to the blog, anyway because I was waiting for #squarespace to fix some annoying things. I’m guessing that their marketing arm has the company so busy working on signing people on they can’t afford for engineers to work on problems. Ironically, I’m posting this on my #squarespace backed site but I’m now in search of another alternative.. or at least sizing one up for when I decide I’m ready to move.

Issues:

  • Posting a blog from anything other than Chrome fails pretty consistently. I haven’t had an update in close to 90 days on that issue now and I don’t expect to get one any time soon either. The last time I asked for an update I got an apology and a pretty abbreviated version of “we’re working on it” type of explanation.
  • You want to sort (a gallery, for instance)? Sure! Just do it by dragging and dropping… because that’s efficient; especially when you have lots of photos in a gallery. That’s sarcasm, by the way, just in case it wasn’t *really* obvious.
  • Set up commerce? Squarespace has it but unlike other sites they sure don’t make it easy to do and other than making sure you are tied to a commerce engine (for payments) you’re pretty much on your own with everything else. Want to sell a photo? Well, that’s up to you to figure out exactly how you get your customers their content, digital or printed.
  • Want to do other things with your site that Squarespace doesn’t provide out of the box? You can certainly do that but you then assume the risk of supporting your site on your own. Squarespace makes this pretty clear when you start delve into customising beyond the fairly simple knobs and buttons they provide.

Squarespace does offer a very easy way to setup a very nice, and consistent, looking site and you can do it pretty quickly. I was able to have my site up and running in (far) less than an eight hour’s day work and I was quite happy with the appearance of the site. I wasn’t stitching other services together to try and make it look like on seamless site, it offered (or at least I thought) all the services I was going to need and I could wash my hands of the overhead and concentrate on the original intent of the site — photography — instead of managing the site. I’d say that they are ideal if you are looking to quickly market something with a minimal to moderate amount of information and other content. Beyond that, it’s not the engine of a full blow web presence — at least not yet.

If you are looking for a site to host you then think about what you want to do with the site. What are your objectives with it? Blogging? Photo galleries? Commerce? Social networking? Building a community? In fact, I’d suggest thinking about what your immediate objectives are and then what your objectives are immediately after first. Chances are, you may achieve you initial goals pretty quickly and if you’ve planned poorly you’ll be looking for another solution before long — stealing time from what you want to actually be doing.

All this said, I’m not aware of a service that exists, yet, that offers everything I want to achieve. I’ve been down the “do it yourself” road several times now. SmugMug is a great service but lacks the integrated blogging capability — requiring a second service to be integrated to it. I’m on Squarespace now which is lacking in fundamental features such as sorting objects by something as simple as newest-to-oldest, to the more complicated features such as commerce integration for photography (which SmugMug seems to do quite well, right out of the box). Of course, there are ways, and services, that can help you accomplish all of this but I’ve found that instead of the headaches of managing a server and making sure all the working parts are working together; you trade that in for managing a bunch of services and service accounts and trying to make sure they all work together — in some cases you’re trying to make competing sites work with each other. I want a single, elegant solution, that allows me to blog and sell photos buy download or print and I want to do it by paying a single bill to a single service.

I don’t know of any such service right now but I know of  few that almost get you there. I’m certainly open to suggestions though.

 

I forgot, I’m testing right now to see if I can actually tie some other stuff together.. what was I saying about trading headaches?

 


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