Last night I was among the attendees at the New York City chapter of Social Media Club, and there was arguably one star of the evening: Squarespace, a home-grown Manhattan start-up that claims to offer a content management system for small Web sites that can do more than, say, WordPress or MovableType.
Here's the raison d'etre for Squarespace. There are plenty of small Web site owners out there, both businesses and individuals, that are yearning for more than a blog but don't have the technical know-how to do it themselves. Maybe they'd like a few extra pages, or a photo gallery, or a forum. At the same time, though, they don't want to shell out the money for a full-out, large-scale Web site--after all, that's more than they'd need. And that's where Squarespace comes in.
Created by founder and then-college student Anthony Casalena in 2003, Squarespace is an elegant little piece of software that allows site owners to use AJAX-laced point-and-click page editing to make sites that are a little more sophisticated than a blog, but still simple and easy-to-use. The interface reminded me of one of my favorite blogging services, Vox, except more functional: users can easily choose page designs, insert images, add new pages, and tweak the color scheme. Some of Squarespace's portfolio examples, like Purlbee and Modern Girls Kitchen, are really impressive.
Here's the catch: It ain't free. In the manner of "professional blog" platforms like MovableType, Squarespace charges a monthly fee that ranges between $7 and $17 depending on features that include storage space, number of user accounts, and domain mapping.
At the Social Media Club last night, founder Anthony Casalena gave a presentation about Squarespace that left just about the whole room thoroughly impressed. One attendee thought it would be a great solution for political campaign Web sites. Another thought it showed promise for the education sector. But regardless of where they thought Squarespace would have the most impact, the consensus was pretty clear: This is a "Silicon Alley 2.0" start-up that shows real promise.