Squarespace offers a deep-featured content management system that lets you create a blog, static pages, forums, and photo galleries, starting at $7 per month for noncommercial sites. It’s highly configurable in both presentation and design, with options to create your own templates and to insert third-party widgets such as a Google search box.
However, unlike WordPress, Squarespace is not for the point-and-click set. Creating a presentable blog involves navigating through a confusing array of menus. Adding items such as a blogroll or a forum requires you to figure out the application’s unintuitive drag-and-drop system. And you then have to decide whether to classify a module as a “navigator,” a “passthrough,” or “hidden”–options that are not clearly explained.
To its credit, Squarespace packs in features that normally appear only in server-side blog software such as TypePad. You can configure the amount of HTML allowed in comments, add follow-up posts with a single click, resize multiple images across the site at one time to fit a new template, and automatically create audio and video feeds.
The new-post template is a fairly robust WYSIWYG page with clear icons for adding images, emoticons, and formatting. The page also includes options to edit HTML or to use specialized markup languages to quickly add HTML to a post. Squarespace has advanced image-handling capabilities, including 16 size choices for a thumbnail image, but these features are hard to find and unintuitive. Unfortunately, like most of the site, the post template loads frustratingly slowly; and if you leave a post open in a browser, nothing else on the site will respond in another browser window.
Similar to WordPress, Squarespace can run on a Squarespace URL, your own Web site, or a subdomain of an existing Web site. Those bloggers willing to spend the time to master a confusing design interface could build themselves a beautiful and feature-packed site that can do things like let users upload files and collaborate in a forum.
If you are willing to put this much energy into a software package, however, you might as well do that with software that runs on your own server, because even Squarespace’s best commercial-level package, which will run you $30 a month, gives you only 12GB of bandwidth (the amount of data transferred from your blog each month).