I was listening to the Talk Show a few weeks ago and one of their sponsors was SquareSpace and since I love the show and want to support them I generally check out the sponsors to see if anything interesting catches my eye.
Now for some time I have been struggling with some sort of blogging platform. I have played with everything from nanoc to wordpress, but none of them really fit my fancy. Nanoc was cool but I have no skill when it comes to graphical design so my website could be generated and be really smooth but it still looked terrible. Then Wordpress never quite fit the bill either, I didn’t want to maintain everything it required.
That brings me to Squarespace which has some gorgeous themes and simple to use and for $10 a month more than adequate. I figured it had a gallery and some other options so I could consilidate my smugmug account, blog and other services under one roof. The first roadblock I hit was the lack of any ftp for bulk upload or just storing of files. Instead you have to place your files in a zip file and upload them, ensuring that it does not go over the limit. This annoyed me but I figured I could get around it. The second part was setting up a photo gallery, playing aroudn with it I could get these wonderful lightbox style gallery, but if I wanted more than one gallery you had to click on the gallery then a single picture then you got the good looking gallery. I could find no way to force it into that mode and contacted their support with little success.
The Initial Thoughts
That being said it is a great service if you need something extremely simple, the posting interface was intuitive and simple. I think it is one of the best web 2.0 interfaces I have ever had the pleasure of using. Unfortunatly the drawbacks outweighed the benefits. So my current approach is to host my blog here, pictures at smugmug and have www.ppog.org to be the landing pad of all the sections.
The Post Mortem
I eventually turned away from this service since I needed something with a little more control and something with FTP where I can upload some custom pages. What I really needed was some sort of blogging platform. I looked at blogger, posterous and tumblr. Obviously I eventually chose tumblr, I used both posterous and tumblr for a bit but tumblr just seemed a bit better plus the layout options I really liked. It is a service I would even pay for. So in hindsight SquareSpace is an awesome service but for most people they can go through a blogging service and have just as good usage, after all most people don’t need super uptime.