Something we get asked a lot is.. Is Squarespace a good platform for bloggers? And our answer is always HECK YES! How do we know? Well for 1.) We spend quite a bit of time utilizing the blog feature on our business website and 2.) Anna (hey that's me!) has been using the platform for years for my personal blog. That's right, outside of Bold & Pop I also write a NYC lifestyle blog! The truth is, well before we launched our biz (or even thought about launching a biz for that matter) I've been using the platform personally. In fact, it was my experience with the platform that actually inspired me to further my web and graphic design skills -- yes really!
When I first moved to New York from the PNW over 6 years ago I started a blog to keep in touch with family and throughout the years it has evolved quite a bit (trust me you don't want to see my initial design 🙈). During those years I've done my fair share of exploring a number of platforms, Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger and Wix to name a few. Then I started to notice Squarespace popping up so I decided to take a peek at their site. After being impressed by just their basic themes I decided I'd check out their 14-day trial on a whim. I'd tried so many platforms already so I figured what the heck, let's see what this one is all about. Well it only took a few hours to realize, oh hey I likeeee this and I decided to switch to the platform! So today I'm sharing some of the reasons I think Squarespace is a great platform for bloggers.
The first thing that sold me on the platform was the user-friendly back-end. As with any platform, there's a little learning curve, but I really liked the setup because frankly it was organized in a way that just made sense to me. What you saw, was exactly what you got. There weren't any hidden widgets or plug-ins that I had to try and track down. If I inputted a photo gallery block, it was right there on the page and I knew exactly how to make edits. The features are consistent throughout too so once you learn how to use them, they are easy to add to your blog posts or any additional pages you want to create.
Need a little help along the way? I should also note their customer service is on-point! If you find yourself backed into a corner on something or need a little help with a feature their team is available around the clock to help you out.
Less Time Spent on Coding
One of my favoritteeee things about the platform is I can spend less time coding than I did on some of the other platforms. In my earlier days, I remember spending hours upon hours just trying to get my sidebar to look how I wanted. One of the reasons I love Squarespace is because it's so visual and has drag and drop design features. More design, less coding FTW! I can easily make my website look just the way I want by utilizing the options right inside the platform. This is KEY for me because Bold & Pop keeps me super busy so when I spend time on my blog I want it to be an easy peasy process.
The great thing about their templates is there's so much flexibility no matter what your skill level is. Are your web design skills minimal or non-existent? That's okay! When you decided you wanted to start a blog, chances are you didn't also decide you wanted to become a web designer. That's why Squarespace is great, you can easily make minimal updates to your style editor and use their templates fresh off the site for a professional look. They've introduced some fab new templates that are perfect for blogging too, some of my favs are Rally, Skye, and Haute.
Then on the flipside, if you do have more design skills and web design knowledge there is so much flexibility! Instead of being tied to design restrictions you can select a template based on key features and customize away! If you want to see some of the options you can check out a demo of the template I use, Galapagos and how my actual blog looks. I selected my theme based on some key features but if you look at the demo site vs my actual site you can see there aren't really a lot of similarities.
It Has a TON of Great Features for Bloggers
Another reason why I love the platform is there are so many awesome features relevant to bloggers. It's also very visually-driven which is such an important part about blogging!
Here's a look at some of my most-used features throughout my blog:
- Summary Blocks: I use these ALL over the place. My landing page is essentially a summary block party. I use these features to highlight different categories of my blogs, as well as including similar blogs at the bottom of my posts. This feature is also how I have created by category pages.
- Gallery Blocks: To switch up my photo layouts, I use a variety of gallery blocks. This feature is really great because you can upload all of your images and then easily flip between 4 different layout options to find your favorite.
- Affiliate-Friendly: Adding custom code for affiliate programs is really easy with the code block. Just copy and paste and your affiliate program is ready to roll.
- Syncing to Google Drive: I love that you can automatically have forms, or newsletter data automatically sync to your Google Drive.
- Forms: We use this more on our Bold & Pop blog than my personal one but I love the option to create customizable forms for people to fill out.
It's More than Just a Blog
If you caught my last post on easy tips to spruce up your biz this Spring, I totally took my own advice! I actually just did a little refresh and created a landing page for my blog and updated my graphics. I have always defaulted my readers right onto my blog for my homepage which has always worked out ok because I have a sidebar to help readers find other sections. For awhile though, I've been really craving switching up my homepage to more of a landing page style to highlight different components of my site better. So instead of just thinking about it, I made it happen! That's something I love about Squarespace. It's more than just a blog and it's easy to integrate the built-in features to accomplish exactly what you want.
A few other things I get a lot of emails about are things to do in the city, tips on moving, and my journey to moving to the city. So I listened to my readers and also created pages dedicated to each. This has been super helpful for my readers and a decent chunk of my referral traffic goes directly to those pages instead of people finding them through my blog.
I also love how easy it is to add in other awesome Squarespace features down the road if I want too. If I decide I want to create an opt-in page I can easily integrate their cover page option. How about if I start a workshop for bloggers and decide I want to sell tickets to an event? All about that event feature. Or if I decide I want to open a shop on my blog, adding an ecommerce feature is also super easy. I love how accessible all these options are and that their set-up is just as user-friendly as the rest of their features.
One hesitation I hear about taking the plunge to Squarespace is.. "well what if Squarespace disappears one day.. what happens to my blog?" I'm going to be really blunt for a minute.. I think this statement is kind of a cop-out. I just don't find much merit to this argument and think it's often just used as a scare tactic to those who don't know much abut website design. While Squarespace may seem like a "new kid on the block" because you've probably been noticing more of their ads, it actually launched in 2004. That being said, the company is constantly looking for ways to improve and offer more options to its customers, which is a good thing! Plus, being a designer I think the trend of making web design more user-friendly is only going to increase.
I've experienced this first-hand during my time on the platform and because we're a part of their Squarespace Circle community, we get regular updates on all the cool things that are in the works and Beta testing access. The truth is, the developers at the platform are always looking for ways to improve and they take community requests seriously! That being said, the platform isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Being an innovative and growing company is actually a really great thing and a perk for its subscribers. If you want to read more about the biz side here's a great feature too.
Responsive and SEO-Friendly
Then last but definitely not least. I love that Squarespace websites are automatically responsive which means they are designed to look awesome on desktop, tablet and mobile. Even better, you don't have to do anything... it automatically does it. Considering more than 50% of my web traffic comes from mobile, especially referrals from Instagram that's super important to me and it should be to you too!
The platform is also really SEO-friendly which makes the whole process.. wait for it... more user-friendly! User-friendly all the way around! Really though, it's super easy to add image titles, adjust your blog url and input descriptions throughout making the whole process easy to do without having to think about it too much.
I hope you've found my insight helpful! At the end of the day it's all about finding a blogging platform that you are comfortable with that does exactly what you would like and Squarespace has definitely been that platform for me both personally and in biz!
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