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Back in the Dark Ages of circa 1986, when I started my design practice, things were pretty much the same as they had been for years and years. I was a graphic designer creating logos, stationery systems, loads of brochures, annual reports, publications and all the stuff that required a printing press.
Then the Web came around. Although it scared the heck out of me back in the ‘90s, it was also something of a gift. As luck would have it, many of the custom company publications I designed started to dry up. Budgets were being cut and my bread and butter was getting stale. So, I learned how to code and develop Websites. It filled the gap, nicely. Many of us didn’t really have a clue what we were doing, but spinning logos with flames seemed pretty slick back then.
Yet, many designers held out and refused to learn the ins and outs. Even today there are designers who want little to do with Web design, if anything. Print is just peachy as far as they’re concerned. Yet, the world of print is shrinking. A little here, a little there, as companies move their budget dollars into the Web and mobile marketing. It simply makes sense. Companies need to be where their customers and prospects are hanging out and they’re on the Web or on their smart phone. Often simultaneously.
If you happen to be one of the Web-challenged, or a close cousin, consider this. What if you could offer Web design to your clients or
build your own portfolio site without knowing a <body> from a <div>? How handy would that be? A new revenue stream without much effort.
Squarespace is a turnkey solution for designers to create robust Websites without needing any coding skills. If you can read and move a mouse, you’re good to go. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that you’re pretty adept at both.
At the center of Squarespace is their LayoutEngine. LayoutEngine is a drag & drop technology that can give print-focused designers a somewhat familiar interface. There’s no steep learning curve. You sign up, sign in and get to work.
The Squarespace integrated grid system ensures everything aligns and all elements play nice together. Designers have control over color, position, fonts and other design elements. Begin with one of their deliciously designed templates. Either use it straight out of the box or customize to your heart’s content.
After choosing a template, you are brought to the Editor and the Content Manager. This is where you can add, edit or delete content such as text, images, media, etc. In the “Settings” area you can control various social media accounts, share buttons, change templates, add custom code and more.
In addition to your site, Squarespace provides a high level of blog integration. Settings include your blog title, categories, tags, custom code and syndication. Also, if you currently have a blog, you can easily import WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous and Blogger into your Squarespace site. The service offers sYou can push your blog content to your social networks, ensuring that your blog reaches the widest audience. One pretty powerful commenting tools to manage blog comments and keep you spam-free. Readers can also log in using Twitter or Facebook. There’s even a function to assign contributors for those times when you can’t think of a thing to write.
Galleries are a big part of Squarespace and they offer cutting-edge tools and technologies for you to create stunning portfolios. The service also gives you ability to edit images within Squarespace. A handy function. Galleries can be static or slideshows. Of course, adding your images is as simple a dragging and dropping.
Each Squarespace template also includes a mobile version, so offering your clients the ability to go mobile won’t require learning something new on your part. In fact, there’s nothing to do on your part. Picking a template is it. The mobile version happens automatically. Just type in the site URL into your phone and you and/or your client are up with the times as the proud owner of a mobile version of your site. Speaking of mobile, there’s also a function to edit your site from your phone. How handy is that? Especially for an on-the-go graphic designer, who’s now a Web designer, too.
Google Analytics is included within the service. Without the ability to track your site stats, you’ll never know if your site is doing anything or simply taking up server space. By including Analytics within your account, you’ll always know how your site is doing, where folks are coming from and what they’re reading.