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5 Easy Squarespace Hacks to use on your Blog

Bold & Pop : 5 Easy Squarespace Hacks to use on your Blog

Is Squarespace a good platform for bloggers? Ab-so-freaking-lutely! In fact, it was my experience switching my lifestyle blog to the platform that actually inspired us to use Squarespace for projects to begin with! Since then we’ve built 50+ websites on the platform and you could say we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way. So today we’re spilling the beans on some of our favorites features and hacks that you can use on your blog. So if you’re a blogger, have a blog on your website or are just interested in some of the features you can use then you’re definitely in the right place!

You Have Options when it comes to Sidebars

Sometimes picking a template can be tricky because you may like the design elements of some, but the internal functioning of others. So which one do you go with?! Here’s the good news, you have some options when it comes to sidebars. If you pick a template that already has them, great! Then you can just use the internal option, but don’t feel like you can’t have the option if you want it because there are options my friends!

Faux Sidebars

Your first option is creating a faux sidebar. This is a great option is you want more of a landing page for your blog where you’ll show different categories of posts or want things displayed in more of a grid format — meaning instead of landing on one blog post, visitors will land on a page showcasing many of your blog posts. There’s a lot of different design routes you can go down with this one but essentially what you will be doing is creating a column of content next to your summary blocks that micmic the look of a sidebar. Once you click into a blog post, this will disappear but it’s a great option if you want a little about section next to your content when people first land on the blog. Below is an example of how Mallory implemented a faux sidebar on her website.

Sidebar Plugin

If you’re looking for something a little more permanent that will appear on each blog post, then buying a sidebar plugin may be the right choice for you. SQSP Themes offers a great option that can be easily added and is worth every penny of its cost. Both Mallory and I used this on our websites and then we also have it on the Bold & Pop website! Currently, it’s $50 for a single use and $120 for a business license (which we purchased and is a great option for fellow designers). The plugin rocks because the instructions are easy to follow and you’ll get the perks of having a built-in sidebar without having to feel restricted in your template choice. Essentially the way it works is you’ll have a separate page where you’ll put everything you want on your sidebar and then the plugin pulls that info onto your blog pages. So the way you edit it is a little different than one that is built-in but nothing major. Plus, looking at a website you’d never know if the sidebar was built in or a plug-in.

Summary Blocks are your BFFs

Whether you want to highlight related posts at the end of your post (like we do here), share different products you sell, or showcase your most recent or popular posts on your homepage then summary blocks are about to be your BFFs. Really though, there are so many options here. The key to using summary blocks is going to be making sure you use the categories feature on your blog posts, tags, or both! This is how you will tell your summary blocks what content you want to appear, so it’s important to keep up with that.

Not only are they really useful but they are so versatile too — in their uses and design. There are 4 different layout options including wall, carousel, list and grid and each can be customized as well. Having different styles allows you to stack multiple summary blocks on top of each other to highlight different categories without them all looking the same. Below is an example of a design we did with summary blocks for one of our clients who has a health and wellness blog.

Maximize using Category Pages

Bold & Pop : 5 Easy Squarespace Hacks to use on your Blog

Adding onto the conversation of using category tags, creating a dropdown or buttons that link to pages filtered by category is another helpful hack for your blog. This allows visitors to easily access content that they are most interested in without having to scroll through page after page. User-experience is key!

You can do this in your navigation or by linking buttons or custom images. I’m going to start by walking you through the navigation option:

  1. Create a folder and title it “Categories” or whatever you would like it named

  2. Within the folder, create a new “Link” page. When you click the add a page or + sign you can scroll down to the “Other” category to find link pages

  3. Give your link a title that will correspond with the category you will be filtering

  4. Click the “Clickthrough URL” and click “Content”. After doing that, find your blog and next to it will be a dropdown arrow. Click that and select either “Choose category” or “Choose tag”

  5. Click the option you would like, then click save and repeat the process for all categories.

The process is similar if you instead decide to link to a filtered category page using a button or a custom graphic.

  1. Add your button, graphic or photo will be linking

  2. Click the “Clickthrough URL” and click “Content”. After doing that, find your blog and next to it will be a dropdown arrow. Click that and select either “Choose category” or “Choose tag”

  3. Click the option you would like, then click save and repeat the process for all categories.

Get Creative with your Homepage or Landing Page Design

Blog websites don’t always have to look so… bloggy! Even if it’s your main jam, you don’t have to have people land directly on your latest blog post. Instead you can create a landing page or more of a traditional homepage design for a personal website. This allows you some flexibility to focus on more things than just your posts and give people a more rounded look at who you are, what you do and easier navigation. This also really opens up the design options for your website. When you’re designing a landing page you’ll want to have the bigger picture in mind in terms of the content you showcase and you guessed it, summary blocks are going to be reallyyyy helpful on this hack too. Here’s a look at how I laid out the landing page on my blog.

Remove Blog Dates

If you’re a news website or something very timely having the dates on your blog content may be helpful, but in many instances they’re more of a con than a pro. Fox example, maybe you create a lot of evergreen content but only blog once a month or you went through a busy season and didn’t get to as many posts as you’d like. If you have the dates on the posts then they may appear outdated. We live in an age that is obsessed with new and fresh advice so if your post isn’t all that new then you may end up having people click off even if it’s still relevant. Luckily there’s a quick fix to this issue that can be used across templates. All you have to do is go to your “Design” page, click “Custom CSS” and then copy and paste the code below. Wa-lah now no one will know if that post was written yesterday or a week ago!

/*** Remove blog date ***/

.entry-title-wrapper .date { display: none; }

Make your Content Easy to Pin

Pinterest is a blogging gold mine so make sure you’re making your content easy to pin. I recommend having one graphic or image that has the title of your post if possible. Now that Pinterest has cut back on showing pin data, the images you pin are even more important. Next up, implement the Pinterest Save Buttons. This feature enables the little pin buttons that show up when you hover over blog images (like the example below)

Bold & Pop : 5 Easy Squarespace Hacks to use on your Blog

You can enable and customize the style of the icon for your website by:

  1. Going to the Marketing Page

  2. Under “Promotion” click “Pinterest Save Buttons”

  3. Then select which pages you’d like them to appear on and pick your customization features

Bold & Pop : 5 Easy Squarespace Hacks to use on your Blog

Another important reminder is to make sure you’ve added file names or alt text to your images because this information will be what Pinterest pulls for the caption of the images. You will find this in your image blocks under “Filename”.

Not only is this important for creating content that is optimized for Pinterest but it’s also really important for your SEO. So if you aren’t already in the habit of adding it in when you upload images, now is the time!

Squarespace is such a great platform for many different types of businesses, bloggers included and it’s even better when you know about how you can implement features on your website. I hope you’ve found this post helpful and let us know in the comments if you have any further questions or could use some help with your website!

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P.S. Exciting news! We launched the free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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#GoingBold :: Samantha Laycock of BeYOUtiful Box

Bold & Pop :: #GoingBold Feature with Samantha Laycock of BeYOUtiful Box

Samantha Laycock | BeYOUtiful Box

Tell us your bold boss story!: 

Bold & Pop :: #GoingBold Feature with Samantha Laycock of BeYOUtiful Box
Bold & Pop :: #GoingBold Feature with Samantha Laycock of BeYOUtiful Box

I’m Samantha Laycock and I own BeYOUtiful Box.  A subscription box for women to promote self love.  In my first semester of university, I was raped. I was 18 years old and had never even kissed a boy before.  I kept this awful secret hidden for 11 years. In those 11 years, I got married, had 2 kids (now I have 3), and was stuck in my life.  I hated everything about myself and knew that something needed to change. In 2014, I was given that chance when my husband and I moved to another province and I knew that it was safe for me to reinvent who I was.  No one knew me.

I began a year long, incredibly painful, and the most inspirational journey that I could have imagined.  I started a blog called BeYOUtiful Rewritten and shared with the world for the first time what had happened to me.  I began to get followers and so my healing journey had begun. A year later, I could finally look in the mirror and I loved who was staring back at me.  I knew that I needed to recreate that but had no idea how.

In 2015, we went back to the U.S to spend Christmas with my family and I had a cousin ask me what I was doing with my life.  I laughed and said, “I’m a mom, does that count?” I knew that there was more that I wanted but I didn’t know what. Then she said to me, “I always imagined you being a life coach or a public speaker.”  The lightbulb went off in my head. When we got back to Canada, I set up a free consultation with a local life coach and I walked out of that meeting knowing that I was going to be a life coach. I wanted to change the lives of women.  I created a 6 week postpartum program that I held in my living room. I had 3 women sign up. I was beyond thrilled.

After those 6 weeks, I knew that I needed to figure something else out.  I wasn’t reaching the women that I wanted to. I struggled and one night while I was sleeping, BeYOUtiful Box came to me.  I wrote it down in my phone and the next morning, I jumped out of bed and wrote a post on a local Facebook group. I explained what I was wanting to create and that I was looking for local businesses to help me.  I had businesses messaging me and in less than a month, I had my first BeYOUtiful Box delivered.

It was messy and not even close to being perfect but I did it.  That was almost 3 years ago. I now am lucky enough to create self care boxes every month for women who are struggling to spoil themselves.  I also have the opportunity to do public speaking on my story and have hosted many events.

Bold & Pop :: #GoingBold Feature with Samantha Laycock of BeYOUtiful Box

We're all about bold boss moments, tell us about one of yours!: 

I remember creating a list of 101 goals in 1001 days.  I live in a city where many amazing businesses operate.  I remember when first moving to Airdrie and reading the local magazine that they have here called Airdrie Life magazine.  I read an article called Amazing Airdrie Women. This article celebrates local Airdrie women who are making a difference in the lives of those around them.  I wrote that I wanted to be nominated to be one of those ladies. In 2018, that goal had come true. I had not only 1 person nominate me, but 3 people nominate me.  I got my make up done, bought a beautiful new dress, and had the most amazing time at a photo shoot and was published in the magazine as 1 of these women. It was such an incredible honor to be considered among all of these powerful women.  A moment I will NEVER forget. And my parents now have it framed in their living room.

What advice or words of encouragement do you have for the Going Bold community?: 

Just be yourself.  Show the world your truth and your honesty.  They want to see the messiness of life; not the perfect one that we believe needs to be shown.  I allow those on my social media to see the real me. I do not sugar coat my life. I do not show only the pretty side.  I show the dark, the dirty, the real and it allows me to connect with my audience in an even stronger way.

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Have an awesome bold boss story of your own? We want to hear from you! Check out the dets and submit your story for consideration.

P.S. Exciting news! We launched a free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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Why Social Media Shouldn’t Be Your End-All, Be-All for Marketing

Bold & Pop : Why Social Media Shouldn’t Be Your End-All, Be-All for Marketing

Oh yes! We are going there and we know how odd it is as a social media agency to be the ones to point this out but bear with us.. we know what we’re talking about after managing 100+ social media accounts throughout our careers! 😜

So you’ve heard the term “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, right? Well that rings very true for your marketing strategy. While we loveee social media and know the power it has to build your brand, community, and ultimately sales, it really shouldn’t be your end-all, be-all for your marketing. Why’s that? Because your social media efforts are much more effective in conjunction with a larger marketing plan.

Why you shouldn’t solely rely on social media:

  1. Constant changes: We don’t have to tell you more than once that social media companies are constantly making changes to their algorithms, which unfortunately we have no control over. This means that when a change happens and you’re not prepared to make adjustments immediately, your marketing is down the drain and your business suffers. When you have other pieces in your marketing plan, you’re able to have more flexibility to allow yourself time to pivot when changes occur.

  2. You don’t own them: You know the days when Instagram or Facebook are down and you can’t post for the day? Well that day you’re not actively marketing your brand if you don’t have a more comprehensive marketing plan! You’re basically out of luck. And not that we see this happening but what if for some reason Instagram and Facebook were to poof! disappear? Or your account was hacked and you lose all your followers and/or content? That means your only marketing channel would be gone.

  3. You’ll have more success with a comprehensive marketing plan: When you have a full marketing plan encompassing more that just social media, you can reach more people leading to greater success. Your target market isn’t always going to stumble across your social media posts so they may never even find you if that’s your only focus.

So what should you focus on when it comes to your marketing plan?

All of your marketing pieces should work together to maximize results. Here are a few areas you may be missing and how they work within your overall strategy:

Content Marketing: Yes, social media is part of your content marketing but it’s not the only strategy included in it. Content marketing involves anything of value that you create for your audience. It doesn’t necessarily sell your brand but it gives people an idea what it would be like to work with you or builds interest in your products. This includes:

  • Blog posts

  • Videos

  • Social media posts

  • Infographics

  • eBooks/White papers

  • Free resources (checklist, worksheet, etc.)

As you create this content, you want to make sure people are receiving it too. This means your blog posts can be shared on social media or in an email newsletter. You can use the free resources you created as an opt-in to build your email list. Blog posts help boost your SEO so it’s easier for people to find you when they Google search terms. You can also leverage your different content to help in your PR strategy by pitching yourself as an expert in your field (and you have the content to prove it!).

PR Strategy: Public relations is often overlooked (we get it.. you either don’t know how to get featured or you don’t have the budget to hire someone) but it’s a great way to get your brand in front of a new audience. Plus, you actually don’t need a budget and can do some of it by yourself! Sign up for HARO and you’ll get a list of stories that reporters are looking for sources for. Find the contacts for your local newspaper and reach out to them. You won’t know until you give it a shot!

When you do get press mentions, you want to make sure you’re sharing this on social media and in your email marketing so your established audience knows about it. That way you can build additional credibility with them as you simultaneously reach a new audience.

The backlinks for the article (if online) are also great for your SEO. Don’t forget to add it to your website too so when people do stumble upon your brand online, they know you know your ish!

Influencer Marketing: Influencer marketing is a little bit of a mix between social media and PR and seriously one of our favorite ways to help new brands hit the masses! Just like with PR, you don’t need to have a huge budget to do it! Use social media to identify some of your favorite bloggers/influencers and reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in trying your product in exchange for a shout out on social media. (Keep in mind influencers with a larger audience will require compensation so don’t count out nano- and micro-influencers!)

But once you secure some influencers and they post about your brand, you’re able to leverage that content for your own social media (helloooooo #reposts) and even leverage bigger partnerships or even some press! Plus showing that influencers love your brand is super helpful in your sales strategy too… anything to show there’s a strong demand for your product/service.

Email Marketing: Building your email list is another crucial part to building your audience. Just like with social media, these are your most loyal followers so you want to give them an opportunity to stay connected with the brand. Here is where you can share blog posts and other content you created. You can use a freebie to get them on your list. You can provide them with exclusive offers/discounts to promote sales. You have the opportunity to do a lot here once you get them on your list.

Sales Strategy: Obviously you need to make sales to stay in biz so creating a sales strategy is essential! Depending on your brand, it may entail pitching retailers to carry your products or if may revolve more heavily on selling directly to customers. Social media will fall into this, especially if you’re selling directly to customers, but it may also entail going to trade shows or other events to sell your products to retail/consumers or if may be seeking out your favorite local retailer to pitch your products to them. Whatever it is, it’s important to have this piece locked down.

Every single piece of your marketing strategy should be focused on this end goal so it should all support your sales strategy. For example, your social media is going to reflect your overall brand to help a retailer or consumer determine if it’s a good fit for them. (We had a client go into a meeting with GNC and get complimented on their social media efforts.. retailers notice and pay attention to the brands they carry!). Your content and email marketing helps build a connection with your audience and creates a following for your brand, ultimately leading to sales. Your PR and influencer strategy will help illustrate the demand for your brand to both retailers and consumers.

As you can see, all of these pieces intertwine with each other to start to form your entire marketing plan but you can only do this if you have these pieces in place! So yes, we’re still sticking with don’t make social media your end-all, be-all for your brand… create something larger to guarantee your success!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched the free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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