October 07, 2012
In January 2008, Sibylle and I created a new Website for her piano studio and registered her domain. The Website was all static pages that were hand-coded. After much work I managed to cobble together a WordPress theme that mirrored her site, allowing her WordPress-backed blog to have a similar appearance. As nice as the design was, after nearly 5 years it was getting a little long in the tooth, so we spent considerable time over the summer trying to find a good WordPress theme for her entire site - both the static studio pages and the blog. One of the goals was to have a site that she could maintain herself; the initial static studio pages had all ben maintained by me.
After not finding a suitable WordPress theme -- while there are thousands and thousands of themes available they all looked the same -- we finally decided to use Squarespace. Squarespace is a bit like WordPress.com; they handle all the backend work, you just edit your content and publish. At first glance it seemed to be a good way to go, especially since they had a very elegant theme that suited her site's needs and her aesthetic sense.
Unfortunately Squarespace has proven to be a poor solution. The site administration functions perform poorly when using Internet Explorer on Windows. In fact it was quite easy to rapidly mangle the layout and then not be able to straighten it out.
This week we moved her studio site to a self-hosted WordPress instance. Rather than searching for the perfect theme we decided to just use one of the default themes for now. Getting her site on WordPress where she could edit its content was more important than having the absolute perfect theme. Imagine our surprise to discover that the latest WordPress provided theme, Twenty Twelve, is not only elegant and responsive, it closely mirrors the theme we had been using with Squarespace.
After a couple evening's work to move the content and verify everything was in place, I made the necessary DNS change last night and today her new studio site is available. Canceling the Squarespace account was quick and relatively painless. Had we canceled the account within the first 30 days we would have gotten an 11-month refund, since we are at roughly 60 days we will get a 6-month refund. After 90 days there is no refund.
I think Squarespace is a good solution - provided you don't want to use Internet Explorer to manage your site. And provided you are comfortable in the cloistered environment that they provide.