What is SquareSpace?
An alternative platform to WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, etc. for creating a real estate blog.
How does it work?
It breaks the parts of your website into groups and lets you snap them together to make a site you want, sort of like what iGoogle does for start pages.
How do I get started?
SquareSpace.com offers a free 14 day trial membership – no credit card required and no commitment. After the trial they offer 5 levels of membership, ranging from $8 – $50 per month with the majority of real estate blogs falling into the lower category. All plans include hosting but you’ll need to step up $14/month if you want to use a custom URL.
What I like
It’s simple to put together a fairly good looking website in a small amount of time. You can choose from nearly any type of page: journal (blog), photo gallery, maps, links, file storage, discussion, contact form and a few others with similar widgets available for the sidebar. The fact that hosting is included is a major plus – no need to search for a reliable provider. Real-time analytics are available, along with several video tutorials and a community forum.
What I think is so-so
SquareSpace.com itself runs off their platform (you’d hope so, wouldn’t you?) and the examples they give look amazing. However, unless you’re already well versed in CSS your site won’t look nearly as good. Custom designers can be found through the community forum but that throws the low cost factor out the window. There are currently only 64 templates – which may seem like a lot but compared to thousands of WordPress templates it’s fairly limiting. Email or phone support isn’t provided, only a ticketing system. I haven’t tested the response time but hopefully questions are answered in 5 minutes and not 48 hours.
What I don’t like
Having 3 different editing modes is somewhat confusing at first. Content mode (large A) edits the actual content on the page. Structure mode (blocks) edits the position of where the content and widgets are placed. Style mode (paint brush) edits the template and appearance. Being a WordPress user for several years, my biggest beef with SquareSpace is not being able to add plugins. Some of the WP plugins I use aren’t needed, but I’d rather use the All In One SEO Pack instead of trusting that my site will be indexed correctly.
SquareSpace is an easy to setup, fairly low cost, visually appealing template site that could be a good alternative to other blogging platforms. Give the no-obligation 14 day trial a run and see if it works for your website needs.
Clicking on the links above will cause you to be redirected to SquareSpace.com. The author does not monetarily benefit from mentioning SquareSpace.com in this article and is unaware if any affiliate program benefit exists between AgentGenius.com and SquareSpace.com. Normally a disclaimer like this isn’t necessary, but due to some unruly comments in my prior article I figured it was better to be pro-active. Now if you’re still reading then go check out SquareSpace.com, they’re pretty rad.
June 5, 2009 at 11:32 am
I like how streamlined the user interface is. Good find, Ben! 🙂
June 5, 2009 at 11:52 pm
Speaking from personal experience, the ticketing system works pretty well. Often times, questions are answered from designers or programmers directly involved with the product development which makes it easier to actually get quality answers. What I like the most of SS is the ability to build an actual website instead of a blogsite. Some WP templates (like the AG one) allow some mimicking of a website but in my opinion SS does a better job of this.
June 6, 2009 at 1:12 am
@Erion – good to hear the ticketing service is pretty quick. I’ve seen that system mainly with hosting providers and it can be really great or just a disaster. I also agree that once you get used to the UI it’s much easier to tweak a SS site instead of trying to hack a WP template.
June 6, 2009 at 1:14 am
@ErionHouston might work better 😉 Everyone knows the AgentGenius crowd are some twitterheads
June 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm
Good review above. I think this is gonna work for a lot of agents, etc. The interface seems so much more elegant than wordpress.
I’m using SquareSpace.com for a new project (used WP for everything we’ve done in the last few years). One of the cool features is the way they deal with community building and levels-of-membership. We’ll see.
June 8, 2009 at 10:42 pm
Squarespace pulled off a brilliant marketing strategy today by making Twitter go crazy over their giving away an iPhone a day for a whole month to people that would tweet using #squarespace. Made it into top trending topics in a day wholly dominated by Apple. That might be a bit unrelated to this post, but I like the way they think… just sayin’