I got in on the Squarespace 6 beta earlier this year and it felt like a breath of fresh air. It’s a gorgeous platform that does some great things you won’t find in other services. The LayoutEngine truly is a thing to behold; it feels like iWeb’s drag-and-drop goodness, but in a web app. It lets mere mortals like me align blocks of content in just about any way you can imagine, and no one needs to so much as try to define “CSS.” Hosting performance is top notch and I never noticed a sliver of downtime when getting Fireballed or Dalrympled. Customer service is quick to respond and generally very helpful.
But shortly after Squarespace unceremoniously removed the beta badge and I decided to commit to the platform, far too much else about the service started breaking and re-breaking, and I’ve reached my limit. It feels like every couple of days—every other week, at best—text editing gets weird and my cursor leaps to a different part of the page than the place I clicked. Sometimes the styling around the banner ad in my sidebar gets weird and cuts off the bottom portion. Markdown editing has always been quirky since they reintroduced it into the platform, exhibiting strange behavior and conflicts, especially when paired with the LayoutEngine.
Sometimes social posting behaves properly and Squarespace tweets post titles and links just fine. Sometimes it breaks and starts tweeting those links every time you save the post to make an edit, spamming your followers. Sometimes they fix it, sometimes it re-breaks again next week.
The iOS apps have floated in various states of broken limbo since I started using the platform, but for a while I gave them a pass because I hopped onto testing the iOS 6 betas pretty quickly. Then more and more users started telling me they’ve been like that for three years. For example: if you create a new post from the iPhone app, it assigns a randomized slug like /AUYQKEKyIUIqYUU, and there’s no way to edit that from the app. The iPad app still isn’t retina, and while I’ll grant iOS 6 has only been public for a couple weeks, none of its buttons are wired up to actually do anything; it is literally broken.
Regular customer service is generally responsive and helpful, but say your prayers if you’ve run into a tough or core engineering problem and your request needs to get escalated. Off the top of my head, I’ve found at least three such issues in the half a year or so I’ve been using Squarespace. While that in and of itself is not the problem—bugs happen—I can’t remember a time when a rep from the Escalation Wing has gotten back to me within a week or two; usually it’s been a minimum of 3-4 weeks, if not months.
I could go on, but we all have better things to do with our time.
I’ve been a huge proponent of Squarespace 6 ever since I found it. It seemed like a “cleaner, stylish WordPress” with some of the elements I love about blogging with Tumblr, along with real, responsive customer support and its own in-house apps. When I was testing during the beta, things performed really well and I didn’t experience nearly this much breaking, fixing, and re-breaking of the same features. But over these last few months it’s gotten bad, and I feel like I need to apologize to anyone who I sold on the platform.
I don’t know what’s going at Squarespace HQ; maybe they have some serious, unique challenges due to their custom platform or other aspects. I just know I can’t be a part of it anymore, so I’m planning to move Finer Things in Tech and DavidChartier.com off of it as soon as possible.