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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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Why You Should Use Squarespace for Your Blog

Bold & Pop : Why You Should Use Squarespace for Your Blog

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.

It's User-Friendly

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 RallySkye, 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.

Bold & Pop : Why You Should Use Squarespace for Your Blog
Bold & Pop : Why You Should Use Squarespace for Your Blog
Bold & Pop : Why You Should Use Squarespace for Your Blog

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.

Bold & Pop : Why You Should Use Squarespace for Your 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.

Always Improving

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! 

To help you step up your blogging game we also have a fun content upgrade for you below! Sign up for our newsletter party to download a free blogging checklist of things you should do before and after you click publish.

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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