Squarespace releases new mobile apps to stay focused as its service becomes more complex
There used to be just one Squarespace app. It allowed the blogging platform's customers to post new articles, edit their existing posts, or monitor their traffic with their phones or tablets. It wasn't the best mobile blogging or analytics tool around, but it worked well enough and was much better than the official WordPress app, which remains a shockingly awful pile of software.
Much has changed since that app's release. Squarespace has become less of a blogging platform and more of a general website builder. The company has released multiple apps, like Note or Portfolio, that have little to do with blogging. Yesterday it released updates for each of its apps, splitting the main app in two and showcasing its efforts to better serve a wider variety of customers.
Squarespace has been trying to reach more and more people since launching the sixth version of its service last year. In February, it added commerce features to better appeal to shop owners; in July, it added features designed specifically for restaurant owners; and in October, it added features to help musicians utilize its platform. The company is making its blogging tools a single feature of its constantly-expanding service instead of its singular focus.
"Squarespace has already become, and is becoming more of, a very broad platform," says founder and chief executive Anthony Casalena. "And people might not care about every single thing it can do. Developing specialized apps allows us to create these very, very focused apps and experiences that do one thing really well."
The company is effectively using these apps to slice its horizontal platform into easy-to-manage verticals. Bloggers might not care about the Portfolio app, but they might want to post articles from their phones or tablets; artists might not care about that as much as they do their website traffic or their ability to showcase their work. Squarespace is fast becoming a sprawling service that tries to do everything well -- these apps allow its users to focus on the things they like about the service while ignoring everything else.
"We're focused on making people's online realities reflect their real-life ones," Casalena says. That requires building a platform that can support everyone from restaurant owners and bloggers to musicians and shop owners, but it also means that Squarespace must offer products built with each groups' needs in mind.
Put another way: Squarespace used to be a specialized service that offered a single mobile app meant to do as many things as possible. Now that it's becoming a general service, its mobile apps are being developed to perform specialized tasks.