Hey, web guys.
Are Suqrespace or similar services really that horrible os it's just a developers pride protesting against easy tools for laymen?

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    From a perspective of a user with limited webdev experience, Squarespace is nice. The CMS backend is nicely designed and very intuitive. But without custom tweaking the sites all have a similar feel to them - you can tell a Squarespace site by the look of its buttons or contact forms for example. Tweaking it is just adding custom CSS into a special small field in the design settings which feels hacky and not really satisfying. They have a developer platform though so maybe that's the way to do real customization, but I have never played with it so don't know how powerful it is. For setting up a quick, generic, but clean looking blog it's great, but for making a site that stands out with a unique custom design it feels very limiting. It's like trying to bend their ways of doing things into your way of doing things, but I guess if you want to do things your way this is the wrong tool to use in the first place. I assume that this is similar across the board for all platforms of this kind.
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    @konzeptraum if you're making your site for developers of the technology companies or technology purposes then your squarespace website is going to stick out as a generic overused sore thumb however if you just looking for a website to achieve a goal for a regular end-user there's nothing wrong with squarespace it's a nice simple clean effective look though Frankly little bit heavy on the load times because of no optimization built-in and well it just works it's quick, is ready. nothing wrong with that most people won't even notice or care
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    @seraphimsystems Yep, totally agree with you
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    @konzeptraum how does square space compare to WordPress?
  • 3
    @toriyuno It's pretty much the same as asking how does a Fiat 500 compare to Ferarri La Ferarri. It does the job but the level of details, customization and usability - differs a lot :)

    Both are great at getting to point A but if you need to go sideways - you might be in trouble
  • 4
    @toriyuno What @potata said, plus WordPress allows you to install third-party plugins and tinker with source code while Squarespace is a closed-off ecosystem with all the functionality created by the Squarespace designers and devs. Personally I like the Squarespace approach because I can trust that every feature will work perfectly since it's native and built according to Squarespace's high standards. I also don't have to worry about keeping plugins up to date and worry that they will break smth. Having no way to install third-part plugins might sound very limiting, but for a simple site Squarespace have everything you might want. They have a drag and drop page editor. They have e-commerce and analytics built in. You can also buy and register a domain directly from them. You can even create a pro email address by signing up for Gsuite directly from the settings without leaving Squarespace. And all throughout it will feel like a well thought-out, quality product. But if u need custom...
  • 4
    @konzeptraum you really know your stuff. what’s a good next step after Wordpress?

    My level now: I spent a couple days setting up a Wordpress install on a VPS and configuring virtual hosts on Apache. First time doing any of this (CMS, buying a domain, setting up DNS, web server, etc). Learned a lot and filled in so many gaps in my knowledge of the web. But learned nothing regarding front end.

    I chose Wordpress because I wanted something easy to get the ball rolling, and I know it’s what I would use to build and hand off simple websites to friends.

    I can’t tell whether it’s suppose to be painful to customize Wordpress sites. I can’t make sense of the massive CSS theme files, and resort to just using css selectors and visible:hide to remove elements 😆

    But moving on.

    What’s the next step/level up? I’m thinking of static site generators (Hugo, Netlify) but that’s a shallow one day project. I want an impressive leap from here.
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    @PonySlaystation ^what do you think to my comment above?
  • 2
    lol the jase train derailed
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    Shit like square space and wix is great for rolling with a theme. When you have real clients over 15k wanting real design work with real custom functionality, you’ll need a custom Wordpress or drupal theme built. Or my new favorite, headless CMSs like strapi
  • 1
    And when you have a client with real e-commerce needs for the love of god pitch them a custom app, don’t do them the disservice of building a woocommerce, Shopify or drupal commerce platform for a place doing 4 million a year just because their ignorant.
  • 2
    It depends on what you are using it for because it boils down to business priorities. So, the downside is that you pay extra for every little shit, that you can't easily migrate away because of vendor lock-in, that it looks generic, that it's somewhat bloated, and that SEO is usually not the best.

    The upside is that you can get something semi-decent up and running at very little initial cost both in terms of time and money.
  • 2
    So how does that translate into business?

    When you start up, you don't need a shiny, but expensive website because it's not mission-critical. Spending thousands of dollars in that phase would be wasted money. Squarespace, Wix and the like are perfectly fine. A shiny, professional website will NOT just magically make your business run.

    Instead, use the money that you have to actually build up your business, and to bridge the initial phase where you don't make enough money to live on. Or hire a room cleaner, a tax office or whatever to get rid of these tasks so that you can better dedicate your time to building up your business.

    When that has grown and is self-sustaining, i.e. makes some thousand dollars per month (much less in low wage countries, of course), then it may make sense to ditch the old website and start over from scratch with a more professional one. But not earlier.
  • 2
    Also, if you build the professional website at that later stage, you will already know your market, your customers, and all these kinds of things that a professional designer needs as input in order to make you the website that you need.
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    @konzeptraum bump to for my question
  • 2
    @toriyuno My experience beyond WP/SS is limited, so I couldn't really tell you what the next step should be. What are you trying to accomplish? Yes, static site generators are cool to explore. Check out Statamic, Kirby, Ghost, Grav, Jekyll, October CMS.

    Despite how easy everybody says it is, I have not yet successfully built a site. I could just plop a theme on a WordPress install but I find that so boring, so I make it super difficult for myself and try to understand how to set up and configure all the back end components, understand why and how it all works. It's been over a year that I am trying (mostly because I don't as much need a website as I need the experience of building one), so I wouldn't recommend my approach if you just want a site fast.
  • 4
    @toriyuno The next step for me is to sit down with a big sheet of paper and to draw comparative diagrams of the following: the LAMP stack, the MEAN/MERN stack, and static-site generators. I am committed to finally getting a site up and running this year, and I want to weigh the pros and cons of each stack. I want to choose something that will teach me useful and not-outdated skills, enable me to build a site that I can tweak to my liking, be reasonable in terms of price, and easy to update/maintain.

    Another super important thing is design.

    If you have any tips/advice I'd love to hear it. What has your experience with building a site been like?
  • 4
    @konzeptraum hmm, I learn enough to be confident in the overall skill. Vertical vs horizontal skill growth, I'm more inclined towards vertical.

    WordPress is a rabbit hole, but a lot of the issues aren't technical. For example, when I first set up my site on a 512MB VPS, the site kept on crashing for anything more than 2 concurrent connections.

    Root cause: default SQL configuration doesn't work with low system resources.

    Skill required to fix: googling recommended SQL config parameters.

    More valuable verarching vertical skill: bottleneck identification.
  • 5
    @konzeptraum And I like to focus my time on things that aren't likely to change.

    Learning about DNS, firewall configuration, etc. The classic networking fundamentals.

    Spending days on a manual Apache install isn't going to be too worthwhilel, since in 2 years the install process will probably change.
  • 3
    @toriyuno Yes vertical is very important, I need to do more of that
  • 3
    @toriyuno Yes, after losing a few days trying to build Apache from source and failing miserably, I started to ask myself how valuable/necessary it is. And the answer is: for building a website - not really necessary, for learning about building from source and understanding Apache settings - sure, it's a good experience. I guess it's about the time/value ratio
  • 3
    @konzeptraum right now I'm trying to find quick self contained projects in order to learn what I don't know.

    I've literally spent a weekend:
    * Installing WordPress and Apache locally
    * Setting up a tiny VPS with centos. VPS only has ipv6 address.
    * Migrating local WordPress site to VPS
    * Buying a domain name and configuring DNS
    * 2 days troubleshooting WordPress page routing issues which I was convinced was due to messing up the migration. In the end it was due to completely misunderstanding configuration of DNS records.
    * applying CSS to customize the theme. It's such a mess and "hacky" - I gave up.
    * learned about Apache virtual hosts. Blew my mind. Spent a couple hours creating the config files and directory structure. Bought another domain. Scp'd a hello world file directly into the html folder. And it friggin works.
    * Mind blown: the fact I can one line scp something from my home computer and it becomes immediately accessible to the rest of the world. Wow.
  • 2
    @toriyuno Thanks, you've given me some topics to research/explore. What is scp'd?
  • 3
    the hardest part of building a site: idea and inspiration.

    But it's so hard to think of something when you're not family with the toolset and knowledge the pros take for granted.

    It's like being handed a tomato but not knowing anything about knives and cutting. You can only think of serving it whole or smashing it. Then let's say you learn French cutting skills. All of a sudden you just unlocked everything about tomato presentation since you can pull upon you cutting toolset.

    I'm basically looking around to find what tools aren't as-seen-on-TV gimmicks, and actually worth my time.
  • 3
    @konzeptraum scp is just cp + ssh. It's just linux command line utility.

    I love love SSH. I consider it the duct tape of linux. It can do soooo much and so many tools are built on top of it.

    My example is very silly childlike hacker ephipany moment, that's all.

    Let's chat offline, I think we're on the same level and can learn together.
  • 3
    @toriyuno The tomato analogy is spot on

    Cool, I'm down to chat offline to learn together, if by offline you mean online on some other platform haha. I doubt that we live in the same locale
  • 2
    @irene nee-san how do people dm each other here?
  • 0
    @toriyuno there are no direct messages here. Only threads
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