BQ REVIEW: THE NEW SQUARESPACE APPS
Amongst the number of (increasingly fewer) problems with their new online platform, Squarespace has, for the last few months now, had absolutely horrible mobile apps. The app meant for managing your entire website would, on a good day, only crash everyother time you used it. You couldn't edit posts made in the new online editor — only view them — and checking stats usually just timed out on you. It was a mess. An absolute mess. A disaster, if you will.
The other day, the app stopped working entirely. Not a single thing would refresh in it. There was a bit of buzz on Twitter about what could be on the horizon, and the very next morning, I woke up to a new set of Squarespace iOS apps.
Alert the presses!
But seriously, I haven't even seen anything written about the new apps — which is a pity, because they are truly phenomenal. In every way that the old app sucked, the new ones are excellent.
And that's the funny thing about it, actually. They split the old, single app (meant for editing and posting to your blog, as well as checking stats) into two separate apps: one for editing and posting to your blog, and one for stat checking. It took some getting used to — and I had to clear a space for two apps on my homescreens where I used to have only one — but I think the change was for the better. Each app is clearly much better off having its own, distinct vision. We'll take one at a time.
The new app for checking your site's stats (say that five times fast) is downright gorgeous. There is both a dark and light theme — sort of nuts for a stats app, when you think about it — and I prefer the dark one. Each individual stat (daily pageviews, weekly pageviews, comments, etc.) each turn various shades of green or red depending on how well they are doing compared to previous weeks or months.
There is a whole list of new stats that you can see, and you can rearrange them per your liking by tapping and holding — the usual. Once you have them set the way you like, tapping on any individual statistic will "open it up" to reveal more information. You can see a whole list of top search terms, graphs and charts for your weekly and monthly stats, and so on. Oh, and each stat comes with a projected estimate for the end of the week/month which is real nice to see as well. So far, they've been pretty accurate.
The app also hooks into your connected social accounts, and will show you your Twitter and Instagram followers, as well as stats from most any other social account you have connected to your Squarespace account. Very cool — I like this feature a lot.
Unfortunately, there is still no RSS statistic. Which is so dumb, because that information is right there in the Squarespace control panel online. Get on that, guys. Thanks.
The blog editing and managing app was the one that really needed the most work. Before, since the release of Squarespace 6, the blog section of the old app was literally useless. Now, it is quite the opposite. It is nicer to look at and easier to use in many ways than its web counterpart. They hit this one out of the park. You can add images to posts real easily, and it has full Markdown support as well. You can quickly and easily make small corrections, adjust publishing dates, and so on. The font choices are superb (it's Gotham), and the app is just an all-around pleasure to use. It's not quite as powerful as the web version of the Squarespace editor, but that is to be expected. You can do, I would say, about 90% of what you would ever want right in the iOS app, though. And, unlike the Metrics app, there is an excellent iPad version as well.
And, of course, both the Metrics and Blog apps are free for all Squarespace customers. (They also released an updated version of their Portfolio and Note apps — but I have no use for either of those.)
In short, the new iOS apps, while way overdue, are the sort of wonderful work I used to expect from Squarespace. For a while, I expected no less. Now, it was sort of a pleasant surprise. Let's hope they continue on this path.