Serious Communication Lesson: She helped me want to better explain my Squarespace Love

If you:

  • Are considering using Squarespace as your website hosting provider but haven't made a decision yet,
  • Have ever been frustrated with my ranting about this company when I haven't successfully explained why I love it so much,
  • Want to be proud of me for a little "A Ha moment" I had last night,
  • Have heard some rumbling on the interwebs over how Squarespace just rolled out this awesome new upgrade, "Version 5" which is lovingly referred to by its users as "V5" and you want to know what all the fuss is about,
  • Know a bit about Squarespace but last time you tried it, you wanted things they didn't yet offer, like templates that use horizontal navigation,
  • Have nothing better to do this Friday morning than read a blog entry by a seriously ADD Squarespace Evangelist who has, thus-far, merely used the service to help others who want clean, attractive, manageable, but not overly-fancy websites for their businesses - but who wants to learn how to really use it to build something seriously impressive...
...then you might find this post useful. Warning: the first part is mostly an illustration of how far I have to go before I can begin to think of myself as an effective communicator. But there's some value in anecdotal evidence, no?

Last night while on the phone with a very close friend who lives in another state, the topic of using Squarespace as a hosting provider came into the conversation. As it tends to do with me. Truthfully there was a good reason - friend was explaining how she's always thought it would be great to have her own blog and how she isn't really sure why she never took the time to start one. So she asked me about Squarespace and why it is I'm so gung ho about using this company for my own site, over any others. "What are some other services that are comparable?" she asked. Then me: "I can't. I don't know of anything that compares. I mean, for just a blog you'd probably want to use something like WordPress, which people really love a lot. Squarespace isn't free." I hadn't answered her question. Friend grew frustrated. "Well, okay, but still. Tell me: why do you love this service so much? There must be something. I mean, why is this better than my finding somebody on and hiring them to build a site?"

The conversation broke down from there, but eventually we found our way to the same page again. Not having been here, you'll wonder why I didn't just start rattling off a basic list of all the reasons this service is so amazing to me. The simplest answer to that question includes information you didn't have before now:
  • that this particular friend's ADHD is more intense than my own, (woman can't even make it through reading a 3 paragraph post in my blog, even if it's about her!)
  • she has far less patience with geekery than I do - has no interest whatsoever in a technical set of answers,
  • we've known each other since middle school and I've had some experience with reading between the lines when she's trying to get at something. And while I wasn't sure what the right answer was, yet, in this conversation, I knew my usual and customary approach would not work.

When we finally started hearing each other better, I learned that she had some things in mind that she might want to have a website for, other than her future blog. She was even wondering about a professional project her husband might need a site for. But until that discovery, I was stuck on "blog" and knew that Squarespace is often not the route a person would want to take if all they needed was a basic blog, as friend had been telling me she wanted.

This talk last night was far more valuable to me than just one more example of how I need to work to become a better listener and ask better questions. That conversation pointed me to evidence that I need to be doing a better job articulating for myself, my customers, and my future customers, why I only build websites using this service. And I need to use my blog, too, as a better tool for communicating these messages. Many times I find myself sitting down, fresh from some new and exciting Squarespace-related discovery, and writing yet another "Yay Rah I Love This Company!" post. All those creative writing classes and, oh yea, That English Degree I Went And Got Myself? They hammered the assertion "Show, don't tell" into my head, class after class, year after year. But many times I still forget.

Commercials to "share the love" are fine. The ability to tell you why this company blows my mind, however, is vital for someone helping other people learn to use it to manage their own sites. And something I'm going to immediately start improving on. I'm not there yet. But stay're gonna' hear more of this. I feel a series coming on. Heh.

Since this is so long? I'm gonna' send you to a little video my friend finally agreed to watch. (That, only after saying, "Why would I watch a video, Melody? I mean, would you watch a video about the importance of composting???" And when I answered that yes, if she thought it was important for me to see the video, I would, in fact watch her composting video, she agreed to watch it, too! I guess I'll keep my eyes peeled for that composting video.)

Visit their home page, and click on the little green arrow. Short and sweet. The overview will tell you far more than anything I could possibly say here. 'Cause they show and tell!