New Tools Make Squarespace A Better Website CMS Than Wordpress

Squarespace is faster, easier to use and allows you to market like a pro

Squarespace is faster, easier to use and allows you to market like a pro

Squarespace announced a new platform update on October 7, 2014. Initially rolled out to an existing subset of Squarespace customers, Squarespace 7 features a range of changes, including a totally redesigned interface and simpler controls, which have made an industry-leading content management system, CMS, even better.
At the same time, existing customers should find the transition relatively painless and, in all likelihood, quite pleasant. The additions of templates and site editing annotations addressed the needs of existing customers while integration with Google Apps for Work and licensing agreements with Getty Images were new, less anticipated benefits.

Squarespace founder and CEO Anthony Casalena noted that “the architecture of the new interface paves the way for many new features we have in the works.” In other words, Squarespace 7 is just the beginning of a series of improvements for its users designed to make development with Squarespace more efficient and more robust.

We've gone through the list of new features and provided an overview of each. We think there's plenty to be excited about.

A New Image Driven Website is a Breeze on Squarespace

Squarespace 7's new visual language is part of the completely reconfigured site manager. The streamlined interface relies primarily on WYSIWYG controls. Icons and buttons are clearer and more intuitive.

The end product is a simpler style that makes site design—and not just the final product—a clean and elegant experience. This includes features like the ability to swap out items in your online store quickly.

Site Editing Annotations

Site editing annotations in Squarespace 7 place the interface and content side-by-side. This allows for easy annotations on every editable feature of your Squarespace site without having to access the site manager.

You'll be able to evaluate your changes in real time via Squarespace's preview pane, rather than editing blindly without access to the final product. The preview automatically adjusts as you resize your browser window, giving you the ability to see how your responsive design would appear on an iPad or iPhone.

Cover Pages

Squarespace 7's cover pages were designed to provide easy-to-create splash pages and landing pages for Web visitors—a single page for a unique idea.

Ten new templates allow you to quickly communicate your brand, personal identity, or even promote a new product with minimal time investment. There's no need to create a whole new site when you just want one page. The feature is especially powerful for those looking to feature striking images, video trailers, music albums, or a central hub for social media.

Stock Image Integration

As part of the Squarespace 7 update, Squarespace users now have access to about 40 million high-resolution images from Getty Images. (This is still only a fraction of the Getty Images database.) The stock of creative and editorial photos includes just-taken images from breaking news stories or other time-sensitive events. Images can be licensed for just $10 each, a small sum compared to the hundreds or even thousands of dollars professional image licenses can cost.

You can browse and add Getty Images, in the same way, you would do so for any other picture. They can be dropped into your website or on a cover page with a single click.

 Category-Specific Templates

Category-specific templates are perhaps the most reactionary alteration to Squarespace—the company had previously lagged well behind competitors (like WordPress) in this area. Among the fifteen new templates are those for weddings and restaurants.

Templates were created in collaboration with people such as Alex Honnold, a free solo rock climber, and the band St. Lucia.

Google Apps For Work Integration

You can now connect directly to your email, calendar, and file storage with Google Apps for Work integration. This was another Squarespace 7 development that users had clamored for, and one that allows Squarespace customers to link their domain to existing elements like branded email accounts.

The cost to connect to Google Apps for Work is $5 per user per month. The fact that Squarespace uses Google Apps for Work internally is the reason for optimism for seamless integration.

Mobile Apps

Squarespace 7 offers accessibility on a variety of mobile apps, including iOS and Android operating systems.

The mobile platforms allow you to write and edit blogs, send yourself notes via email or platforms like Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive, monitor the analytics of your site, and access a “Portfolio” that provides the capacity to share galleries on your Squarespace site without needing an Internet connection.

Developer Platform

Squarespace 7's developer platform, formally a beta version, offers savvy Web designers options to customize fully their website. Features include SFTP access, which integrates content from Sublime Text and Coda; JSON Access, to query any page as JSON and access content in a structured way; and LESS.css by default, with server-side automatic CSS pre-processing.

The developer platform also automatically joins scripts into a single file, decreasing page load times. You're able to use native development tools, not unwieldy web-based HTML editors, to manage your Squarespace site. Custom code is saved on Squarespace's scalable grid network.

As always, Squarespace provides around-the-clock in-house email support, an extensive online help center, a community forum for posting questions and answers and live chat support from 3 a.m. until eight p.m. EST on weekdays.

SQUARESPACE 7: ANOTHER STEP FORWARD

Squarespace wasn't the first CMS to arrive on the scene. Since appearing in 2004—born in a University of Maryland dorm room and financed with a loan from Casalena's father—it has continued to make significant strides.

The extent of Squarespace's progress is evident by its purchasing of Super Bowl commercial air time in 2014. While it was one of the smallest companies to fork over advertising money at Super Bowl rates, it was a definite statement about how far the company had come.

With the added features of Squarespace 7, Squarespace has provided customers and potential clients with another leap forward, and a promising direction for things to come.

Squarespace 7 is preferred by builders, interior designers and architects because of its ease of use, cutting edge design and ability to attract the right clientele. If you're looking for a new website, give us a call for a free consultation. We build sites that work as a marketing tool and generate positive return on investment.


About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition. Contact me for a free-of-charge consultation and marketing review. It takes about 40 minutes and you'll be provided a list of actionable improvements designed to solve your specific marketing problems. 

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