Click here for a transcript of the Squarespace - Why I'm Switching video.
Hey guys, Jeffrey from Faded and Blurred and On Taking Pictures. I've started a brand new project for 2013. I'm building myself a brand-new website, new blog, new portfolio, for not only my artwork but also my photography, and I'm building the whole thing with Squarespace. Now if you've listened On Taking Pictures, you've heard Bill and I talk about how great Squarespace is, how it's flexible and customizable, and and it's easy to use, and the templates are fantastic. So I decided to take our own advice and rather than coding my new site by hand, which is something I've done for years or using one of the existing blogging platforms out there that I've also done for years, I'm going to build the whole thing in Squarespace and see if it, as they say, really is everything I need to create an exceptional website. Now I've spent some time in the back end and the admin just seeing how things work. and how things are customizable, to what degree they are customizable, and I've come away so far very impressed. So I wanted to share a couple of the features that have made this an easy decision, and I think they're features that photographers, illustrators, visual artists are really going to appreciate if you decide to build your own website.
Alright, and the first thing the templates which are really, really nice. They're very clean, they're all responsive. so your content your site's going to look great on a computer, a tablet, a phone, without the use of any plugin stall scalable all the way down. They're, they're flexible, they're customizable. For example, if we look at Aviator. Now I can preview this, with Squarespace’s default content, but I can also scroll down and see how actual Squarespace customers have customized or personalized the template to fit their own needs. So it gives you an idea of how flexible each of the templates are, but it also gives you ideas on what to do for your own website. You can look at these things and go home – yeah, I didn't think of doing that, or or I don't quite like this, but if I change a little bit in the other direction, that that might work for me. So it's kind of a cool way to see what you can do extending the look and feel of the default templates. Let's see what's another one that I liked, well this is another one that I like. And again, you can, you can start with the demo content, ok and click through and see what the template looks like and how it works and look at the typography, and and that kind of thing. Or, you can scroll down and see how customers have made this their own. Ok, so again, really nice feature gives you a great idea of what you can do when you start building your own site. And all of this, by and large, is editable visually. So you're not going to spend any time writing code, you're not going to learn, you know, hex numbers for colors, it's it's all visual. If you, if you decide that you want to sign up, they'll give you a free two week trial, no credit card, all you do is click start with this template on whatever template you happen to be on. Fill out the form first name, last name, email, and a password, and that's it. There's no credit card, there's no PayPal, you just click finish and create site and that will begin your two week trial. If you, if you decide that you like Squarespace, they will be happy to convert that into a full account. There are two plans, eight dollars a month, sixteen dollars a month, they both come with a free domain name. There's free customer support 24 hours even for the trial, so as you're working through the trial, if you've got questions, even though you haven't paid them a dime yet, you can still call up and get a real answer which is really cool.
So let's jump over into the back end of my site, and and we'll talk about some of the features that I really like. As you can see, this is actually my site. I haven't done anything other than research so far. I've just looked around to make sure that it's going to be able to do what I wanted to do. Haven't even given it a name, which I can do right now and go ahead and save that. So if we preview this, I think this is the Wexley template. So, here's a blog entry comes with a demo content loaded in, comes with one blog post and a couple of image galleries that you can play around with so when you make changes to the site you can see how those changes are going to be propagated throughout the different pages. Now to edit this in the past, I would have jumped into codo or espresso or something and and been editing lines of code and lines of of text in a style sheet editor. With Squarespace, it's all done visually. Just click on the little paintbrush there and that brings you into the style editing mode and here are the things that you can edit. Here are all the colors that the site uses typography, layout options for spacing, sizing, padding, that kind of thing. If you see something or if you don't see something that you want to edit, you can also use your own custom CSS and they will warn you, hey, if you don't know what you're doing, you know you could break something, but if you're comfortable editing CSS, you can you can extend the the customization even further than what they already offer. So for example, if we wanted to change the color of the site title here, all I do is click on the color chip and I get this color picker, and I can drag around. Again, visually, I'm not having to memorize these hex values or look them up everything is just done in real time and I can see my changes immediately. Right, and I just click away, and there I've set the new color. The same thing goes for fonts. If, if I wanted to change this font of the site title, click the drop-down, you can see I'm using Varela Round. Click the drop down again, and now I've got access to all of the Google fonts and I'm not having to use any sort of font family CSS. I'm not having to go import any of the fonts. It's all visual right here in the style editor, so if I want to change the font - I don't know something with a Serif, maybe Coustard, I just click and the changes made in real time, and that's it done. If I want to change the actual layout of the page I can do that with these sliders here or you can see as I'm moving my mouse around I'm getting these solid boxes and his little dotted lines. I can actually click and drag these dotted lines to change the spacing to change the layout on the site. If I want to add some padding in between my thumbnail images, I can do that. If I want to change the size of the thumbnail images, I can just click and drag, and and this is a fantastic feature. I've spent way too much time editing CSS, and this is actually a pleasure to use. You can do these things visually without having to go into an editor and if you if you like the changes, just click Save. If you've made a mistake or you don't like the way it looks, you can click reset and that gets you back to the default settings for the template. You can also click on different items to get their properties or parameters that you can change so just click on about and that shows me: here's the color, here's the active color, here's the hover color, so if I want to change the, the colors of the navigation, I can do that. If I want to change the typography of the navigation right now, it's using Arial, and again, I can go into my Google fonts and - I don't, let's say, let's say, we want to do Coda, ok, and the change is made in real time and that's it. So, very, very simple. This was one of the features that that I was really excited about, coming from a background of, you know, coding and spending a lot of time in editors. So, save that, and now I'm back into preview mode, and you can see the changes have been made. We've got our little light box here for our gallery, which you can change that as well. You can change the size of the of the images, the layout of the images. If you want to change the way the blog is laid out, you can do that, and same way. Click the pencil, now we're in edit mode, and the way Squarespace handles content is in this idea of blocks. So, for example, this is our sidebar for the blog, and if I wanted to add, I don't know, a search bar, I can click the Add button, and now I've got all of these choices for different types of blocks. If I wanted to add an about text block, I can just click text and type in some text under structure, that's where you'll find the search bar, for example. Click Save, and there I'm done. If I click out of edit mode in preview mode now I've got my search bar. So it really is very intuitive and very easy to use.
One of the other things that I like is the the integration with social media. If you've got sharing services that you use your not having to go out and look for a plug-in that works with your particular version or whatever platform you happen to be on, everything is built-in. Right now, all of these services are enabled. If you, for example, only wanted to use Facebook, Twitter, and Google, you just turn the other services off, and now just those three buttons will appear in the sharing options in the blog posts. You can also connect your social media accounts to Squarespace, so if you want to write a blog post and then publish data to additional services, you can connect your accounts Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and publish to those accounts. You can even do a Facebook page, so if you've got a business page or fanpage you can publish to that as well. So lots of options for customizing your content and lots of options for getting your content out in front of as many eyes as possible. If you're an Amazon associate, under the general tab here, you can enter in your Amazon associate tag and actually look up and insert Amazon product data right in the blog editor. So, for example, it's let's create a new blog post. We just did a post on this guy here Jon Contino who is a fantastic typographer, illustrator, designer, and I want to include this video. So I'm just going to copy the URL and add a new blog post, give it a title, and we'll put some temporary text. All right, and again click the + add a video block, very simple, and I'll just paste in that URL. Ok and it's going to grab the title, is going to grab the description, if you'd like to add a custom thumbnail, you can simply drag one from your desktop onto this little box here and it will add a custom thumbnail. Click Save, and there's our video. So again, we're not having to look for a plug-in to display the video correctly, and if we wanted to add an Amazon item, let's say one of my favorite designers David Carson. Ok, add one of his books, The End of Print. You've got options for showing title author price and a Buy button. If you if you don't show a Buy button, just clicking on the cover will take your site visitors to Amazon. so I'm going to get rid of all of this stuff but I will add a Buy button and go ahead and click save. Now, it comes in very large, but all you have to do is click and drag to change the size, right. If that's still too large, just keep dragging it down. If that's still too large, drag it down even further, and then we'll click Save, and let's preview this. So here is our video, here is our product from Amazon, and again your Amazon associate ID number will be plugged in there so you get credit for the sale and here's our modified sharing with only the three that we have selected.
So really, really great features so far. I'm, I'm excited to get this thing built and up, and that's that's kind of what I'm what I'm really liking about Squarespace so far. If you'd like to set up in an account, set up a trial, head over to Squarespace.com and they will be more than happy to set you up with a two week free trial. Until then, thanks for watching and I will see you next time.