I have played around with web site development for the past 15 years, but have finally found a piece of software that enables me to publish a personal web site that doesn't look like crap, enables me to easily pull in all of my online activity in to one place, and has just enough functionality to make it useful.

Squarespace 

 Squarespace was first mentioned to me by Tony Haile of Chartbeat almost two years ago because he thought that it might make sense to publish Golfslope on it. We ended up building Golfslope on Wordpress but with two years of hindsight, Tony was probably right.

Squarespace has been spending a ton of money marketing over the last couple of years and finally got me when hearing about it for the umpteenth time on Roman Mars' 99% Invisible. (I beleive that I am paying $100 a year.)

I have been able to easily pull in my pictures from Instagram, create an email sign-up form and publish an email via MailChimp. (Thanks to MikhailFoley!) 

These relatively simple requests are easy to integrate, use and customize and make it very much feel like it is my custom site.

Wordpress

Now I know that WordPress can do all of this, and that there is a huge developer community with a ton plug-ins and extensions to fit just about every need. But it seems that WordPress has spent the last ~5 years focused on becoming THE CMS of the Internet for major publishers and that it is has lost the personal web site / blog market, and perhaps also the small business owner as it has become more and more powerful and served more and more customer segments.

Rebel Mouse

While I commend the spirit of Paul Berry's social start-page Rebel Mouse, I just find it too chaotic and can't figure out if I should be using it for both reading / viewing about my social graph's activity AND using it to publish all of my social activity.

 

I think that Paul and his team are incredibly smart and are rolling out a ton of new features all of the time, but I am not sure what need it is filling for me, yet... I do however love the way that Lerer Ventures has used it to pull in all of their information about their portfolio companies.

I also love how if I don't do anything to it, it still updates... :-) 

 About.me

In stark contrast, About.me is probably the simplest way to create a personal web site, it is the least useful. I find it sort of interesting who has viewed my profile (though not as interesting as LinkedIn's), starred it, etc... but I find it incredibly annoying that I am always Signed Out of About.me and continually have to re-log in. Since About.me has been spun out of AOL, there is some interesting innovation going on there now in the Interested in Me, etc...

Conclusion

Squarespace is the perfect blend of all of them. It is powerful, but elegant. If you have not tried it, you should give it a try as it is quite fun too... 

What do YOU think? 

Posted
AuthorEliot Pierce