Anthony Casalena, Founder and CEO of Squarespace, wants to give the Web to the masses. And as more people join the greater Web community there will no doubt be more demand for an easy-to-use, worryfree system that allows just about anyone with an idea to have their very own Web presence. And isn't that what it's all about?
The roadblock for many aspiring netprenuers is their lack of technical skills to take an idea and turn it into a Web-based property. For those people, Casalena has a vision. "We're trying to solve the problem of having to merge everything. We wanted something like Lego bricks for the Web."
Squarespace does just that. Started as a blogging tool, Squarespace has grown into a fully customizable system that supports a variety of functions. And it's simple. Choose from a variety of templates that are easy to customize. On-site editing and drag-and-drop functionality allow for quick editing and updating. You can add authors, manage member comments and give site visitors full site-search functionality supported by Squarespace's integrated search engine that continually indexes your site as it grows. Business users will appreciate a form building and data collection package that includes more than 14 field types. It allows you to collect information and emails and instantly load them into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
On the other side of the equation is the Web professional with several properties, but not enough time in the day to constantly tweak every site, or who simply wants a customizable system without the hassles of building from the ground up. "I designed Squarespace for myself - and I'm a technical user that just doesn't want to deal with needless complexity," said Casalena.
But Squarespace's simplicity does not mean boring. Along with standard customization methods, users can get into the custom CSS and edit how they see fit. Even designers can come up with new styles, submit them to Squarespace and have their tools made available to any other user. Branding of a website is under complete control of the site owner - Squarespace offers their support from behind the curtain. And that support includes SEO benefits, hosting and technical assistance. Site owners also have complete control over advertising and all revenue.
According to Casalena, code for these sites is very clean, text is readable and tags, links, RSS links and URLs are optimized. Sites are fully hosted and distributed over multiple servers. To date, Squarespace has never gone down. They claim between 80-90 million hits per month.
Getting up and running with a functional, easy-to-use yet customizable website is the goal and Squarespace is hitting the mark. This is a great tool for bloggers, publishers and just about anyone who wants to put themselves out there on the Web. But there is still room to grow. Currently, Squarespace does not support ecommerce functionality. According to Casalena, that is a feature being developed, along with the ability to host video.
A website and blog can be started and hosted with Squarespace for as little as $7 per month, with typical fees for a business enterprise ranging from $25-$65 per month. If you want to see how it all works, visit Squarespace.com to sign up for a free 30-day trial.
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