One of my favorite designers, Emily Henderson, said this in today’s blog post (emphasis mine):

I like how it looks like nutcracker terrorists, blindfolding and torturing these poor drum beaters.  (i apologize for that sentence that doesn’t make sense. it should say ‘I like how WE look like nutracker terrorists’. The problem is Squarespace, my blog platform won’t allow me to delete sentences or words sometimes. Its a real treat and why i can’t wait to change to wordpress in a couple weeks….i digress).

I haven’t blogged in SS enough to know what issue she might be referencing, and it seems like it could be user error rather than SS problem. However, even if it’s just her not understanding their UI, that still sounds like an incredibly annoying and unacceptable blocker for a professional blog. I find it interesting that a non-nerd is making the switch from the seemingly more simple and DIY-friendly option to the more obtuse old-school option.

My own experience trying out Squarespace has been less than awesome, but for different reasons than Emily. In the end, even though I love the idea of Squarespace, I could NOT get a beautiful design out of their service no matter how hard I tried. I tinkered with a number of different themes, but they all looked way too “someone else’s theme-y theme” for my taste, ya know? (To be fair, what you see here is all custom CSS wrapped in a bare-bones custom theme. I’m spoiled.)

But it wasn’t just design issues. Squarespace 5 (at the time) also had some very serious shortcomings, like the fact that when I imported my WordPress blog, they treated all categories AND tags as categories. I personally use tags as a serious SEO bump, which means that I include an overwhelming number of them in each post and I include variations with misspellings, like “WP blog” and “WordPress blog” and “Word Press blog” that would be super annoying to readers. The way I organize my post metadata is by making categories transparent and tags invisible, and I was forced to set both to invisible after I realized that Squarespace had no way to differ between these types of metadata. That seems like a pretty big missing feature. (SS support confirmed that there was no fix; no clue if they fixed this in SS6.)

It was also a bit of a hoop to get my site upgraded from Squarespace 5 to Squarespace 6. I realize that they didn’t want the upgrade to be troublesome, but my GOODNESS was it obtuse for a site that theoretically makes things simpler. I wonder how many other people were lured to SS with promises of simplicity, and wound up going back to their prior CMS because they found it more elegant or familiar or robust or what have you. I don’t know if I’ll keep my Squarespace site after my paid period runs out, but at this rate I doubt it. I’m sure it works well for many people, but so far I haven’t been one of them. I keep assuming this is due to teaching an old dog a new trick, as I’ve been blogging via WordPress since 2005, but I’m starting to think it’s more than just habit.