Squarespace

Squarespace is a Software as a Service (SaaS) website builder with content management system integrated. It offers both hosting and blogging, enabling businesses and individuals to create blogs and websites. They only offer bundled services, rather than separate ones. As such, any Squarespace website must also be hosted by them. The company launched in 2004 and currently has some 500 employees in some 190 countries, with millions of websites hosted.

History of Squarespace

The company was founded in 2003, but didn’t get launched until January 2004. It was created by Anthony Casalena, who studied at the University of Maryland at the time. His father gave him a $30,000 investment to create the software. What he wanted to make was an all in one solution for web publishing. By November 17, 2014, the company had started to make acquisitions, with Brace.io being the first purchase. This was a startup website creation company powered by Amazon Web Services, Dropbox and other cloud tools. The acquisition was completed for an undisclosed amount.

The company’s headquarters is located in New York City, but they also have offices in Dublin, Ireland, and Portland, OR. The Portland office is the largest, with some 149 people working there.

Squarespace has released a number of important updates and versions. As such:

  • May 2007 saw the introduction of FAQs, full site searching, forums, integrated form building, and Google Maps.
  • July 2009 saw the first revision of the interface. Drag and drop functionality was added, mainly using JavaScript.
  • July 2012 saw a brand new system with more flexibility and freeform available. New templates were added, some of which were mobile responsive. A true developer platform was also added, allowing access to JavaScript, CSS, and HTML files. They also added Stripe payment processing, Xero accounting support, and ShipStation order integration.
  • October 2014 saw another major redesign, launching Squarespace 6. This added Getty Images integration, cover pages, 15 new templates, Google Apps integration, new Android apps, and more.

The company has also won numerous awards over the years, including from Time.com, Crain’s New York, Forbes, CMS Critic, Webby Awards, Fortune Magazine, and Wealthfront.

Squarespace’s Services

Squarespace provides website platform and builder.

Features of Squarespace

Squarespace offers a number of specific features:

  1. Design – modern templates, templates switching, templates designed for any purpose, style editor, built in mobile website, customizable content layouts, free typekit fonts, free Google fonts, custom CSS, example content restore, and chart blocks
  2. Image manager – drag and drop management, responsive image loader, progressive image loading, CDN included, Getty images integration, image focal point control, built in aviary image editor, lightbox presentation, image SEO, and image metadata importing
  3. Galleries – gallery blocks, display effects, and video in galleries
  4. Audio collections
  5. Connected services – socially connected, Dropbox file synchronization, easy important content downloading, social links, simultaneous posting, photo downloading and resizing, Facebook page integration, smart 3rd party service support, Amazon associate support, and OpenTable blocks
  6. LayoutEngine 2 – custom WYSIWYG editor, automatically responsive design, full screen editing, markdown mode, automatic image scaling, and more
  7. User data collection – form blocks, newsletter blocks, and more
  8. Site control – annotations, style editor, mobile information bar, custom favicon, CSS, code, and more
  9. Multiple contributors
  10. Cover pages
  11. Blogging
  12. Commenting system
  13. Commerce, including unlimited products, flexible variants, product merchandizing, and more
  14. Search engine optimization
  15. A number of apps – blog, analytics, note, portfolio
  16. The Squarespace logo
  17. Analytics
  18. A reliable service architecture – the Sqaurespace website is hosted and serviced by Squarespace itself. Hence, what people see there is exactly what they can create as well. The company’s history is nothing short of remarkable and they now offer high capacity and availability at all times. They also have a custom but very powerful infrastructure.
  19. Content ownership and the Squarespace business – All content posted on the Squarespace platform belong to the client, and data is fully portable with just one click. People can monetize on their site by running ads, but Squarespace itself doesn’t run or sell ads against the content of clients. The website is fully owned by clients, in other words. The Squarespace badge can be displayed on the website, however, for those who want it. Privacy is fully protected thanks to the easy to understand subscription business model. Data is never sold, and Squarespace has been profitable for more than 10 years now. Additionally, they do not believe in nasty surprises, hidden fees and charges, long term contracts, upselling, up front credit card details, and more. Instead, they offer a full, no questions asked, 14 days trial.
  20. Domains – customers can configure third party domains, or purchase domains directly from Squarespace. A free domain is included in all annual Squarespace packages for the first year. Domain registration is completely seamless and provides domain forwarding and DNS control, as well as custom emails. It is also possible to connect third party domains.
  21. Google Apps for work integration, including email by Google
  22. Custom site search engine, which is Squarespace’s proprietary internal search engine. This is constantly updated and provides full search results, as well as a front end and back end search.
  23. Importing and exporting – providing full and complete access. It includes blog importing, store importing, image importing, and content exporting to WordPress.
  24. Full support, including 24/7 email support, the Squarespace help center, a wealth of community answers, and live chat support
  25. The developer platform – this provides people with full code control, has Git built in, provides SFTP access, native development tools, JSON Access, JSON template, LESS.css, query tags, automatic script combo-ing, and custom code.

Squarespace is available for all types of businesses. However, their particular focus is on online stores, photographers, bloggers, artists, restaurants, musicians, and weddings. For these, they have some very good templates available, all of which are fully mobile responsive. It is obvious to see that Squarespace was created in response to a lack of something really good, and the company’s focus continues to be on creating the things that others don’t provide, but that users are looking for.