Squarespace is a fully integrated website creator that gives you anything that you may need to run a site–analytics, design control, and the capability to actually post content–in a beautiful package at a low price. I run my site through Squarespace, and one thing that has proven to really sweeten the experience has been the native iPad app.
Today we’ll look at what can (and can’t) be done through Squarespace’s iPad app in our in-depth review. Read on to learn more.
A Note on Squarespace
As I mentioned above, Squarespace as a service isn’t free. They offer a variety of pricing options, and after doing some digging I’ve found that for what you’re getting you’re actually paying a very low price. Still, some people want to hear ‘free’ whenever an app is discussed, and unfortunately Squarespace doesn’t include that magical word. There is a free two-week trial period, if you’re interested in testing the service (and apps) and don’t mind paying for quality.
Of course, the iPad app itself is free. One of the nice perks of using Squarespace is the existence of free apps, which exist on the iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.
Getting Set Up
Getting started with the app is as simple as adding your account information. While earlier versions of the app had issues authenticating that you supplied the proper information (an annoyance, at best) updates have made the login process much less aggravating.
The Squarespace account/settings pop-over.
You can enter as many sites as you’d like, provided they’re actually tied to an account. This is useful if you find yourself running, maintaining, or contributing to multiple Squarespace sites associated with different accounts. Switching between accounts is easy, and if you’d like to log out (say, to keep anyone that grabs your iPad from accessing your site) that’s also an option.
Posting to Your Site
One of the biggest advantages to owning an iPad is the enhanced portability that you get. It’s easy to grab your iPad and go to the airport or a coffee shop, and decidedly less so to take your 17″ MacBook or other laptop. I’ve found that something I’d like to share on my site will pop into my head at the least opportune moment, when I have nothing on me besides my iPad and iPhone.
Writing a post on the iPad.
Fortunately, the Squarespace app allows me to manage all of the content on my site while I’m on the go. By far and away this would make the app worthy of a download by itself, as inspiration can often pass just as quickly as it arrived.
Choose-your-markup, now with 100% more 'stop using WYSIWYG'.
Now, if you’re like me, you have a certain way that you prefer to write. I use the popular Markdown syntax, as I find that HTML makes it harder for me to go through and make changes (or is easier to break by missing a single closing bracket). Markdown is supported directly from Squarespace’s preferences, allowing you to write for your site with your favorite tools. You can also use a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, write with HTML, or use the popular Textile syntax if you prefer it over Markdown.
Managing posts that have already been uploaded, or drafts.
All of that is fine and dandy, and just what you’d expect from an app that allows you to post to your website. Each and every core feature is here, allowing you to properly categorize and tag your posts, write in your preferred way, and set times for items to be published.
We’re all social creatures, no matter how much we would like to deny it. We care about what other people have to think of us, care about our popularity and how many people have stopped by our website to check out what we’ve had to share. There are a wide variety of tools out there to help you measure this sort of information, ranging from free (Google Analytics) to paid (Mint and a variety of other services).
The app's view of your statistics.
With Squarespace, all of those analytics are integrated straight into the rest of your site and viewable at any time with the iPad app. You can track information such as Page Views (the big one), Unique visitors, Referrers, et cetera.
I enjoy having this data at my fingertips. The number of people that are being driven to your site can be a nice benchmark of how well you’re marketing yourself, or a good way of seeing how large your corner of the Web is. So long as you don’t get sucked in to the analytics game and posting only for the page views, compulsively checking your stats at the dinner table (on which I plead the fifth) the iPad app allows you to check in on your site’s progress in a functional, good-looking way.
One of my largest concerns with the app is the fact that I can’t require a passcode to enter the app, meaning anyone that picks my iPad up and knows how to tap an icon can end up posting something to my website. As someone that doesn’t even allow comments (no offense to you guys; all of your comments are beautiful) on his site, this lack of control over what can end up being posted with my name is a bit scary. It’s possible to log in and out of your account each time you open the app, but that defeates the purpose of having something readily accessible in the first place.
Another problem that I have with the app is the wasted screen real estate. In many cases, especially with the Statistics pane, I felt as though the iPad’s screen was only being used as a method of viewing the iPhone interface on a larger scale. The Statistics could be much more interactive and detailed than they already are, and it’s a shame once you head over to the Statistics page using a desktop browser; they clearly know how to make these sort of things beautiful, that talent just hasn’t travelled over to the iPad.
It’s All Relative
Of course, those gripes can’t even come close to the issues that I have with the WordPress app. Given the choice between the two systems on the web I chose Squarespace because of its integrated, end-to-end solution, but WordPress has been serving many people well over the years.
Talk about plain-Jane, geez.
The Squarespace iPad app is better designed than the WordPress app in just about every way, from the little clicks that you hear when interacting with something (which can be turned off) to the colors and textures of the app. I generally only use the WordPress app for checking in on a review that’s in-progress, but I always try to get in and out of the app as quickly as possible.
If the section above were any indicator, it would be obvious that I feel that the Squarespace iPad app isn’t perfect. I feel that that would be true of any app, though, and it does what it’s supposed to do–allow you access to your site–well. With a few improvements it could be a spectacular app, but right now it’s a functional tool with a little bit of eye-candy and a fair helping of misdirection.