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Building Business Websites with Squarespace 7 - Second Edition: Master the Squarespace platform to build professional websites that boost your businesses Paperback – 26 Oct 2017
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About the Author
Miko Coffey is an established digital professional who has been building websites with Squarespace since 2007, and websites in general since 1995.
Having first been introduced to the internet in the mid-1990s (through cyber-art projects such as SITO's HyGrid) while studying Fine Art and Mathematics, she soon developed a taste for creating things on that new-fangled thing called the World Wide Web.
After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin, Miko moved to London, where she continued designing and building websites as part of her career in marketing. During these early years, she spent a lot of time trying to convince her employers that this whole "web" thing was really going to take off. Over time, she started to specialize in online marketing, moving beyond design into more tactical and strategic work in areas such as email marketing, search engine optimization, content strategy, and user experience. As she worked her way up to senior management positions by day, by night she continued to keep her hand in with web design, building websites and blogs for personal projects or friends and family.
By 2007, having spent 2 years as the Head of Digital Media for NESTA, the UK's largest innovation organization, Miko decided it was time to use her skills and experience to work for a broader client base by doing freelance work. She also wanted to get back to her design roots. Through her previous experience of managing web teams, she'd been exposed to quite a few content management systems over the years, most of which were too complex and expensive for her smaller business clients. Having been frustrated by the cost and learning curve associated with these larger systems and the lack of finesse offered by smaller ones, she started looking for something that would be easy enough for her least-technical clients to use, flexible enough for her to apply her custom designs, and powerful but affordable. It was at this point that she discovered Squarespace, and she hasn't looked back since.
Miko has spent the last 10 years using Squarespace to create websites for her clients at Using My Head, where her focus is on "helping people do things better online." She strives to keep her digital marketing skills as sharp as her design skills, because the combination of the two is what allows her to add the most value to client projects. She has worked with a range of sizes and types of organizations, from The Royal Society for the Arts to Channel 4 to small start-ups and nonprofits. Her passion is to enable people to communicate better online by giving people the skills and tools they need to make their work easier, their glitches smoother, and their lives better. She now specializes in Squarespace design, support, and training, and was one of the first designers to be invited to join the Squarespace Circle, Squarespace's own community of its most influential and experienced users.
Half Japanese and half American, Miko currently lives in Brixton, South London, with her super-creative husband/DJ/VJ/generally awesome man, Mark, and their two cats, Kuma and Toshi. When not working online, she fills her offline time with crochet and cooking.
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Building Business Websites with Squarespace 7 is a great introduction to using Squarespace, especially for someone with no prior Squarespace experience. I found it to be a logical, methodical treatment starting with how to plan a website and create a Squarespace account, and then continuing with a discussion of building the site using templates and Squarespace layout engine. The book also describes Squarespace support for social media and commerce, and it ends with an overview of advanced customization techniques. In addition to explaining how to use the Squarespace software, the author describes why certain tasks are important such as password protecting a page and moving a page into the unlinked section.
The book covers version 7 of the Squarespace software and the information seems to be up to date. There are numerous useful web links within the book and all the links that I tried worked. As an extra convenience for the reader, all of the links are collected together in the appendix. The only topic that needs updating is the description of the Squarespace hosting plans. I was concerned to read that personal web accounts are limited to 20 pages, but, in fact, this restriction has been eliminated from current hosting plans.
The Squarespace layout software is template driven and choosing a template can be difficult for a new user, since there are dozens of available templates. The book does a very good job explaining the general operating principles that are shared by all the templates and it points out the templates can be grouped into a small number of families that share similar characteristics. The book includes a chart that explains the differences between the families. It still takes time to find the right template, but the book provides a logical framework for this search.
The author maintains a companion website for this book. This website, which appears to be built with Squarespace, includes tips and demo web pages not contained in the book. There is also a link to an online version of the template chart, which has been recently updated. The companion website does not have an errata section, though.
I purchased the Kindle version of this book and read it on an iPad. The Kindle presentation is very good. There is an index embedded in the text and another index that is accessed via the Kindle pulldown menu. The illustrations are clear and readable as embedded in the text. Double tapping on the illustration brings up the image on a separate page and enables magnification of the image. The pages are formatted for easy reading. Each section starts on a separate page, even if the section only comprises a single paragraph. Although this formatting seemed unusual, it has the effect of forcing the reader to concentrate on each section. Of course, it would not be an eBook without a couple of annoying glitches. The author uses icons to alert the reader to paragraphs that contain special information. Unfortunately, these graphics display on top of the paragraphs making them hard to read. The chapter titles are displayed in a justified format that results in large amounts of white space between the words, making it uncomfortable to read the titles. All-in-all, these are minor inconveniences.
I am happy with my decision to purchase this book to get me up to speed on using Squarespace. The author has done a great job compiling, distilling, and presenting the information. I found it helpful to reread some of the chapters after some hands-on time with the software. There is more information in the book than I could absorb in a single reading. I believe that I will continue referring to the book the future.