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Tech Tip: Website Builder




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? 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 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
ss_modesHaving 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.

In Summary…
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 The author does not monetarily benefit from mentioning in this article and is unaware if any affiliate program benefit exists between and 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, they’re pretty rad.

As the son of two music teachers, Ben spent his first 21 years trying to make a living with his slightly above average trumpet playing. After no return calls from Dizzy Gillespie and then a failed attempt at becoming a fly girl on "In Living Color," he switched gears and finally found his nichè in real estate. He's a Minnesota appraiser and also a Realtor with his better half, Stacia. Labeled “one to watch” from an anonymous source (thanks mom), Ben is smart, good looking, athletic and a rock star inside his own head. He also never passes up a chance to write his own bio. Find him online at twitter or selling Stillwater Real Estate.

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  1. Lani Rosales

    June 5, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I like how streamlined the user interface is. Good find, Ben! 🙂

  2. Erion Shehaj

    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.

  3. Ben Goheen

    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.

  4. Erion Shehaj

    June 6, 2009 at 1:14 am

    @ErionHouston might work better 😉 Everyone knows the AgentGenius crowd are some twitterheads

  5. Matt Fagioli

    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 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.

  6. Erion Shehaj

    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’

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.



Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.



Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?


Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.



social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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