What Would You Do If Squarespace Deletes Your Blog Posts and... Other Stuff?

origin_2846078511.jpg

I've worked with many different platforms and content management systems over the years. I've done the most work with Wordpress, but recently I heard of Squarespace and began using Squarespace 6. In fact, the blog you're reading right now is on Squarespace 6.

Squarespace 6 has several good things going for it, like automatically mobile responsive design and slick templates. I've even recommended it to other people because it really does "make it fast and easy to create a professional [looking] website, blog, portfolio, or online store." But the more I use and see Squarespace in action, the more I suspect I've been duped. No matter how pretty the templates are or how easy it is to use, if Squarespace doesn't WORK well, then all its bells and whistles are just lipstick on a pig. And with the way its working now, I'm calling pig lipstick.

I knew that switching from Wordpress to Squarespace would also mean trading control and freedom for speed and ease. But I didn't realize just how many significant bugs and quirks Squarespace would have that really mess up my mojo. The biggest issue for me right now is this: many times, all or part of the content in my blog posts are deleted when I try to save them. I'll write a post, maybe add in some cool content blocks, hit the "save" button, and then *poof* all my work is gone and all I have to show for it is a generic error message. I have lost hours upon hours of work because of this. 

Now, before you tell me that this is all my fault, let me interject that I understand exactly what you're thinking (partly because Squarespace's support made these suggestions), and I think I have some reasonable answers for you:

"You should save your work more often."

Well, I try to save my work frequently. But it doesn't seem reasonable that I should HAVE to hit save every two minutes to save my work. I mean, it's 2014. We have the technology to make this process better. Right?

Squarespace is the only system I use that doesn't have some sort of auto-save or backup capacity. Or a warning to tell me that I'm no longer logged in and that my changes won't be saved. And it's usually when I hit the save button that I get the notice that Squarespace is dead and that all my work from the last save (if there even was one) till now has been lost.

Oh, and it might make more sense for users to hit save every minute or so if you weren't kicked out of the blog post editor every time you did. There is no "save and continue" in Squarespace's blog editor. You click save and the darn thing closes.

"You should create all content in a different editor and copy and paste that content into the Squarepace editor."

Not only is this kludgy, but it also ignores other aspects of creating the content that you can't type in a different editor and copy and paste later. Content creation isn't just about text; it's about images, audio, video, creative formatting, and all kinds of other things that can only be created in Squarespace's editor. It would be really nice if I didn't have to worry about them being deleted after I spent so much time creating them.

"You should clear your cache very frequently to clear up performance issues."

Completely clearing my cache often requires me to log back into any site that I was also working on, and it is basically an interruption to my work. I don't think I use any other web app that requires so much cache clearing to function. This is just another a kludgy solution.

"Don't have more than one tab open to the same Squarespace page that you are currently editing in the editor."

I can't think of a more elegant way to phrase this suggestion from Squarespace's customer care group. Their precise words were, "Are you using multiple tabs while editing the site? If so, it's possible you're keeping older versions of a page open, then when switching between pages (by changing tabs) to the older version and saving, you're saving the older content over the changes you just made."

I kind of understand what they're saying, but this doesn't apply to my situation because I have not had more than one instance of the same editing page in the same blog open in more than one tab in the same browser. I think I just confused myself, but I hope you get it.

I'm Not Alone, but Will it Ever Be Fixed?

So this is a big problem, right? But surely it will be fixed sometime soon, right? Well, I just went back into my email history to see how many times I've reported issues with my posts deleting upon saving and found six (6!) different support cases related to the same issue since October. And I didn't even take the time to report every single instance of it occurring.

Squarespace's support team is remarkably responsive and polite, especially considering how difficult it can be to conceal how impatient and frustrated I am about these problems. But I'm becoming more disappointed in their failure to to actually fix these issues, especially since they seem to have happened -- and is still happening -- to many other people who also have not seen any progress towards fixing them.

Take, for example, the post Why You Shouldn't Use Google Chrome With Squarespace by Maggie by McGary:

So if by some chance you’re running into the same problem and have Googled “Squarespace 6 not saving posts” or some similar thing, just know that no, you’re not crazy and that apparently the fix is composing posts on some other platform then pasting into Squarespace to publish. Hardly a solution, IMO, but if I don’t have time to troubleshoot my blog platform I definitely don’t have time to migrate it to a different platform so basically a two-step blog writing process is what it’s going to have to be. Disappointing, especially for a platform that’s being touted as better than Wordpress. Wordpress might be buggy and not as elegant as Squarespace, but it’s never just deleted saved posts (at least not for me).

I also found this Twitter conversation that suggested the user was experiencing disappearing post issues that are similar to mine, but with a different cause.

Some disgruntled Squarespace users aren't quite as reserved in expressing unhappiness with post deletions and other bugs. This guy just puts his feelings out there all honey-badger-style. It's funny, but I feel his pain too much to laugh:

Don't tell me to write my posts in word first and paste them in. I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO DO THAT ON A $16/MONTH SERVICE.

Beyond seemingly random post deletions, there are many other issues with Squarespace that make me hesitate to recommend it to others. Frank Swift explains a lot of these issues, one of the biggest being the doubt that these issues will be fixed any time soon, in his brutally honest and well worth reading post Why Squarespace Sucks and Will Never Be a Wordpress Killer:

The hard truth was that I had given up too much control over my site and I wasn’t getting back enough in return.  They get a lot of feedback in their forums, but because there’s no roadmap it’s anyone’s guess if they’re even bothering to listen to what their customers are saying.  I’ve sent feedback to support myself, which they always respond along the lines of “We’ll send this to our developers for consideration.”  Which pretty much means, “We’ll fix or address this issue sometime between now and never.”

I am unhappy with Squarespace, but I'm even more unhappy with the thought of switching my site over to another platform yet again. I don't know what I'm going to do about it yet. But David Chartier could have been reading my mind when he wrote this in his post Throwing in the Towel on Squarespace 6:

I’ve been a huge proponent of Squarespace 6 ever since I found it. It seemed like a “cleaner, stylish WordPress” with some of the elements I love about blogging with Tumblr, along with real, responsive customer support and its own in-house apps. When I was testing during the beta, things performed really well and I didn’t experience nearly this much breaking, fixing, and re-breaking of the same features. But over these last few months it’s gotten bad, and I feel like I need to apologize to anyone who I sold on the platform.

I don’t know what’s going at Squarespace HQ; maybe they have some serious, unique challenges due to their custom platform or other aspects. I just know I can’t be a part of it anymore...

So, what would you do, if you were me?

photo credit: emilylt via photopin cc