This is the original response to Guy Parke's post about not having a website

[originally sent by Vesa Loikas to Guy Parkes via G+ post on May 31st, 2015]

I took your message post very seriously (as you can see in the photo). Your cries were heard across the globe ... so here's your Kleenex: (this site)

Inspired by Jussi Lyons  and your photo of him in his Wanaka tree shot - I thought that there's nothing better for you to ease your pain than getting your feet wet, really wet. So I spent a few hours preparing a place for you to explore. This doesn't need to be your final site, I am not suggesting that. But it's technically possible if you so wish and I transfer the ownership to you if you wanna keep the site alive. Otherwise it will expire in 12 days or so. I added your name and email as an administrator of the site, you can take full control and remove me from there - or just poke around and try things. Anyway, the site is up and running. But because it's a trial site, people just looking at it need to type in a verify code - however anybody can look at it, so it's perfect for viewing it in your big screen TV or your small screen mobile phone to see how it adjusts (or doesn't adjust).

Glenn Guy coined the term One Byte At A Time - that's a perfect analogy for a personal website. You start with something and slowly chisel away to make it yours, like a master sculptor with a big piece of rock. 

I spent about half an hour to set up this site logistically (register, pick the initial template 'Momentum', verify my email etc.). Then I spent about 2 hours (and two shots of Scotch on Saturday night) working on it and creating the skeleton structure with some blog posts and galleries to illustrate the potential. Today I finessed it a bit further, and now I hand you the keys (info at the end of this post).

Couple pointers - you need as good and fast of a connection as you can get. Mine is 4G at home (with 50 down and 25 up) and this works great. If you have a slow internet speed, editing the site is not as much fun. It's doable, but because editing takes place 'live', it needs fast data connection. The design needs to be tweaked on a desktop. Certain things can be done with a tablet (and you can add blog posts via mobile app), but large desktop is best for tweaking and working on it.

Because it's a trial site, it seems to be slightly slower than a paid site (like mine ) However, after the site is setup, it's fluid even with slower connections. Of course large images take their time, but that will be the case in any platform. Generally they've done a good job trying to exhibit large scale photos with enough resolution to showcase them well. 

I set up a couple of galleries, one bio page, a blog and a couple other pages. Just dive in and see if you can redo any of them to your liking. Please feel free to ask a ton of questions if you wanna dive further into Squarespace. I've been using their stuff for a few years, and I think they are the price-performance-design leaders today (and I create Wordpress sites for my clients charging hourly ... oops). Anyway, just my humble opinion. And when it comes to mobile, this site spits out I believe 5 images so that they are always using the one that fits the screen. This site can also become a full fledged commercial site with online payments if needed. You can also password protect pages to enable access only to certain people which is sometimes very useful. And many other things, sky is the limit.

All the magic starts from the upper left corner. There you find all the categories where you can change and edit the site. Changing the actual pages that are already made takes place almost real time. For example, hit PAGES, select one of the pages and hover over the actual page and hit EDIT. This might sound mysterious, but after spending some time with it, the design environment becomes fairly straight forward. BUT, I understand that certain way of thinking just doesn't work the same for everybody. For example editing a WORD document is a pain most of the time for me, but working on Adobe INDESIGN I feel right at home. Anyway, take a dip and see if this is a match made in heaven, you and squarespace happily working on the design of your site.

Then there are always peculiarities, for example 'Gallery style' (slideshow) can be changed in >DESIGN>STYLE options,and not by clicking the gallery itself. Changing images usually require a right click of the mouse and so on. There are options for full bleed, 1:1 etc., autoplay etc. Just try them out. Not all templates have these. The template used here is called Momentum template. I am actually using a different one and they have slightly different controls. However, you can change templates on the fly, which is fun. Just be prepared to go through every page of your site again when you do that. I've done it a couple of times, and then spent two days making it really work. It's like moving, useful but not always fun (but you get rid off the crap that has piled into the corners of your house).

There are a TON of options - but sometimes templates don't let you do things that you want. then you need custom code. Something I haven't ventured into. I believe that at this point it is better to do something close to what you want, and put the time into your photography and content (e.g blog posts) instead of web design. But anything is possible with custom code and there are people specializing on Squarespace custom sites that you can hire.

There are numerous well crafted short videos about the basics f these site. They can be found here. Just remember, each template has their own way of doing things sometimes.

Here are the keys to your sandbox, enjoy!

If anyone else in the cohort needs a jump start, shoot me a message and I will help to get you started. I am not affiliated in any way with Squarespace, nor do I get any benefit from this, so this is very much just my personal gesture towards you to get your feet wet and on the way to a personal website goodness.