A Bit More about Squarespace
Among the many reasons for my decision to choose Squarespace exclusively is the ability to create and maintain profoundly complex sites without the need for complicated web-development software. Additionally, there is no need to search elsewhere for downloadable plug-ins. For the right client, this is a fully-contained service with a robust set of features that will allow you to present your online content in a truly impressive manner. It's been fascinating to watch this story unfold over the last 10+ years. I've highlighted some of the features in the latest iteration, Version 7, on this page.
I enjoyed **this blog post on the Squarespace site - with video - that provides far more insight than I could, about some of the things I find special about Squarespace, and reasons I'm so pleased to have followed one fortuitous link so many years ago. Which you are welcome to read about below. (**It seems I'm overdue for an update. The post I've linked to is a couple of years old. Nonetheless it remains a quality example. I also suggest you look around their blog!)
Back Story: How I Discovered Squarespace
This is merely a human-interest sort of piece. I've been asked this question so many times over the years that I decided to share it here for those who care. It is by no means necessary reading for someone wishing to work with me. It does, however, illustrate a bit of what I believe was created into the foundation of this remarkable company... the openness to exploring possibilities.
While working as the webmaster for a fairly sizable community college, early in 2005, I was encouraged by several writer friends to start a blog. Like that of many, my initial reaction was "Why would anybody read anything I blogged about?" and it took a lot of new understanding before I revised my perspective on online publishing and what it could do for anyone with a website. Curious one weekend, I finally started researching my options. If I did cave and start a blog, thought I, I wouldn't know where to begin! That was when I found a September 2004 interview in the Washington Post about Anthony Casalena and his then-fairly-new product, Squarespace. Having seen some alternatives, I was immediately excited about what I was now seeing, and started exploring Squarespace. I resonated to his attitude that "it shouldn't have to be this hard" since that was precisely what I had been thinking. I was hooked immediately, having discovered a tool that streamlined and simplified what was then for me a very "clunky" process. My resonance with this discovered tool was to such a degree that I reached out to Casalena to see if there was the possibility of ever seeing a non-managed version for educational institutions, that could be exported. (The big catch phrase on campus where I worked was "security paradigm" although declarations using the phrase rarely made sense to me.) Although I instantly recognized a product with the capability of revolutionizing my work and the online offerings of my employer, they would not be open to working on the platform as it was/is structured. Anthony was intrigued enough to know what I was looking for, when he received my query, and graciously gave me his number, then an hour of his time when I called. I was then more convinced than ever that although the Squarespace vision and my dreams for how I wanted to use it in that job would not collide in that way, I had stumbled across something significant.
I left that job less than a year later, more frustrated than ever at what I was able to do online for my friends and family members, and for my own website which now had a blog (with actual readers!) but which offered me options that were impossible to achieve at work on the gargantuan site I managed on a daily basis. Clearly it was time for me to do what I loved, in the way that made sense to me. Since this tool made website building actually fun for me, I needed to freelance.
That's the thing about Squarespace: it makes us look good. When I say I'm "half a geek" and "sort of" a website designer, this in no way means to denigrate my skills and abilities, but to be clear about what I've been able to learn, through being self-taught** in this field. I can create some amazing things using this platform, and my knowledge since those early days has grown exponentially. Still, without Squarespace I may have decided to go in another professional direction altogether. There are companies and designers creating much more cutting-edge work than I offer. I laud their work. But for some very specific clients, I am precisely the person to work with. I'm proud of what I've learned to do with the help of Squarespace, and love that it's so much fun to learn more every day.
**I don't, in fact, believe there's such a thing as being "self-taught" - it's a ludicrous misnomer - because even when our path to learning is informal, we are obtaining the knowledge we need through the resources provided by another. Although I've attended various graphics-related workshops in a classroom setting, my initial web-centered course (an HTML one!) was taken online, as was the subsequent graphics class. Countless hours of videos, written tutorials, and trial-and-error work on sites I've created for myself to facilitate the learning process, have taught me well. As, naturally, have the many client projects I was able to take on from the beginning, that needed just what I was able to offer at each step along the way. In a word, learning is fun. Still that simple word doesn't begin to touch my relationship with the taking in of new information and techniques.