A while back, one of the guy’s in our office asks if I’d ever heard of Squarespace.com. I said no, but that I’d go check on it. Mind you, I’d been looking for a website portfolio for a while. I’ve tried a bunch of WordPress templates and some other options, but I hadn’t found anything I really liked. So I went to Squarespace’s website and decided to sign up for a free account.
I Was Blown Away
Folks… I’ve got to tell you… I was blown away. It was nearly 2 months ago and I deliberately waited to see how I felt about it two months later, before I wrote about it. But I was immediately psyched at the quality and elegance of their templates. It was exactly what I was looking for – and more actually. Pete Collins (one of my fellow Photoshop Guys) and I both signed up for the trials at the same time and both of us had beautiful working portfolio galleries in minutes. Seriously, within about 10 minutes I’d uploaded, customized and turned my gallery live and it looked better than anything I’ve seen to date. The speed, elegance and ease of use of their interface is by far one of the best I’ve seen.
What Makes It So Easy?
One of the things I liked the most about Squarespace was how easy it was to build the portfolio. Everything is literally drag-n-drop. You want to add a page, just add it and drag it where ever you like. I personally have seen a lot of drag-n-drop website building tools, but most of them still required that you either know some coding or they simply didn’t look good if they didn’t require coding. They may have been easy to use, but they didn’t have that “WOW!” factor to them. But I’ve never seen anything as good as this with no coding.
Once you choose a template, you’ve got a ton of control over the settings, colors, fonts, you name it. And the choices you get actually keep you from really screwing up the look and feel if you’re not a designer. Basically, if you’re not a pro designer of websites, they make you look like one. I supposed you could choose some really bad colors, but other than that, you have just enough control, but not too much 🙂
It’s More Than Just A Portfolio
Squarespace is more than a portfolio though. They’ve got blogging templates and they’ve just announced a commerce engine that’s built in to their sites. So if you have anything you’d like to sell, you can do it there too. They also have detailed website statistics that show traffic, referrers, which content is most popular and what people are searching for.
But I Already Have A Website
One of the things I was concerned about is that I already have a website/blog. I was worried how it would work together and whether or not my portfolio would look disconnected from my blog since they look way different. Then I realized, there is no blogging template out there that I really want my portfolio to look like. I think they’re two very separate things. I have specific things I’m looking for from my blog and specific things I’m looking for from my portfolio, so I’m okay that they look different.
Integration was simple, as I just linked to my Squarespace page from the menu on my blog. Then on my portfolio, I just put a link that says “Back to Matt’s Blog” so the experience is pretty seamless.
How Much Does It Cost?
That’s the beauty. It’s about $8/month for their basic package (and I think the basic package is fine for most photographers). They have other packages (including commerce), but I think you could get away with trying the $8/month package first before you jump into anything bigger.
Is It For You?
All I can tell you is that for me personally, Squarespace works perfectly. I don’t shoot large events or need a client proofing gallery. I just want an awesome way to show off my work. And if I did need more, well, Squarespace has just announced integration with SmugMug so you could use the two of them together to show off your photos and sell them.
I’ve fully switched over a couple of months ago, and I deliberately waited to see how I felt about it two months later before I posted. But I probably sound like a walking billboard for them. Just ask any of my photography friends that I’ve talked to about websites in the past 2 months and they’ll tell you that I can’t say enough good things about them. Here’s the link to their website to to try it out. They have a free 14-day trial with 24/7 support, and they don’t even require a credit card so their’s no reason not to give it a go.
Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to jump in throughout the day to answer.