I may be the minority in this camp, but I really enjoy working on my website. For me, it is an extension of my art and a sincere attempt at providing insight to me as a person. Squarespace, the service provider I chose for all things web-related, is an indispensable tool for me.
As I stated to look into what I needed out of a website, there were some critical features I sought:
- Ease of use
- Full integration
- Design and Customization
Ease of Use
Without any formal background in HTML, I needed a platform that I could get up and running without much effort. Squarespace delivered. Once established, it was very flexible and nimble to meet my growing needs. The fun part for me was exploring the available features that met pretty much every creative thought I could imagine.
I found the ability to upload images, logos, and text seamless. The interface is well designed and very user friendly. My only complaint in this space was the lack of flexibility of images already uploaded. For instance, if I uploaded an image into a portfolio, I could not use the same upload on a different page. Not a huge deal - just upload it again - but I didn't seem logical.
With recent enhancements that do not limit page counts, overall site flexibility, an intuitive user interface, reasonable built in SEO, a quick entry platform that takes care of domain names and registrations, and a robust on-line forum for user question/answers, I found my overall experience very easy to use.
I really love the integration available, both within and outside of my site. Making broad change to the page structure is very easy and quickly filters through the entire site and corresponding menus.
More specifically, the integration with social media through blog posts, newsletters, and general updates is fantastic. This is a huge time savings. Want to add a blog post to your Facebook page or Twitter feed? No problem. Want to bring in your social media feeds to your site? No problem, either.
My only gripe here is Squarespace doesn't have its own email feature. There is the ability to integrate a domain-specific email address through Google's G Suite, but it is external and a bit cumbersome. Again, not a deal-breaker, but it is an extra step.
A total bonus feature is the ability to integrate with Squarespace apps on my phone. There are robust features that allow me to retrieve analytics, create and update blog activity, link to site portfolios, and a keep general notes all on my iPhone. This is very handy as it allows for the quick capture of thoughts, edits, and images I don't want to forget.
With my plan, there is a option to sell one item and integrate that with a commerce interface. I have not really explored that to date, but it is nice to have available.
Design and Customization
I loved the design options as they all feel professional, modern, and relevant. I chose the "Montauk" template because it met the goals I was looking for: simple, clean, and professional.
There are a number of additional templates available to meet a variety of platforms. With plenty of options and live examples of how they look with actual uses, it is easy to view their portfolio to see what best meets your needs. Further, they claim it is seamless to modify your template selection for a fresh update. I have not tried this, but I could see this as a nice feature in the future to give a refreshed look at your site.
For an artist, there are ample ways to display images. In the portfolio feature, it is easy to upload, manage, edit, add text to, and set slideshows of visual images.
There are options for further customization, but I have not used them widely. For the most part, things like font size, style, color, etc. are set in a style sheet and applied broadly to the entire site. I found this a bit limiting, but not a huge hurdle. I suppose if one is more savvy with CSS and general style sheet management, this isn't a road block. I'm not and just deal with that slight limitation. Likewise, it has the ability to embed HTML code for ultimate flexibility, but I have no business messing with that feature.
Simple. I signed up for the individual plan that charges $96 annually. I believe this is a great value for many of the reasons above. The email integration through G Suite costs and additional $5 per month, but I don't mind that since it connected to my same domain name.
In short, the Squarespace platform is exactly what I was looking for. The nuances that I don't care for are only slight compared to my overall assessment of the service. I am thrilled with what they provide and how the product looks. For me, it is well worth the cost and provides a different, but related, avenue for me and my art.