Hip to be square Build a well-designed, feature-rich site with hosted content manager Squarespace

Posted by maggie.hunsucker December 29, 2008

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Blogging platforms and site builders have made web publishing easier and more affordable. However, despite all the tools and templates made available, it’s still pretty rocky design terrain. Looking for that exception to the bad design rule?

Try Squarespace. With a goal of making “the complex simple”, this hosted content management platform makes web design and blogging both easy and beautiful. Squarespace features a fully-stocked library of professional themes (some nice stuff here) and over 300 fully-integrated features like blogs, forms, photo galleries, forums, file storage, a site search engine, membership and permission settings, and more. With 100% customizable designs and a drag-and-drop interface, creating and altering your site has never been easier.

You can control design elements like columns, navigation, and appearance by clicking on the individual element and making alterations in the Squarespace editor. Changes occur on the page and in real-time, so you can fine-tune design elements to your heart’s content with no code changes or knowledge of HTML. Of course, designers and developers who do know what they are doing can use Squarespace as the raw material and alter the existing code or write their own CSS.

Squarespace offers very reasonable pricing and packages, customized to your bandwidth and storage needs. Contracts go month-to-month, and you can cancel at any time. The basic package will run you about $8/month for 1GB of storage; the community package is about $50/month for a 5GB, full-feature package. You can easily import your existing site or blog content (Blogger, Typepad, and Wordpress ) and all your content is centralized, and fully hosted, managed, and protected on Squarespace’s servers.

SquareSpace also throws in a nifty little web analytics package so you can monitor site usage stats like visitor count, referrals, keywords, RSS subscriptions, and top-performing content. Code jockeys can integrate traditional Google Analytics, but the system provides a nice, well-rounded reporting feature for those who aren't technically inclined.

Want to monetize your site? No problem. SquareSpace won't force you to run ads in exchange for their services, but they do leave the option open if you want to put advertising on your site.

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