A Complete Guide To Setting Your Blog Up In Squarespace

 
A Complete Guide To Blogging on Squarespace

Let's great straight to the point:

blogging is great for business.

And here's why:

  • It helps with your organic reach in search engines, which is true for traditional search engines like Google but also non-conventional ones like Pinterest. Organic reach helps drives more traffic to your website.
     

  • Blogging can help you build authority., It gives you an opportunity to showcase how much you know about your industry, as well as becoming a go-to resource for your target market. For instance, a big part of my studio is building Squarespace websites, so I write a lot of posts that are (hopefully) helpful to anyone looking for Squarespace help.

    If I'm helpful to someone once, they'll probably think of me again if they have another question later. Or maybe they'll see someone in a Facebok group ask a Squarespace question, and they'll immediately think of me as a resource.
     

  • When you become a reliable source for answers you're effectively building trust with your site visitors (aka you're fostering a relationship with potential customers).
     

  • Have you ever found a website for the first time and their blog is just a gold mine of helpful information?? You spend hours digging through their posts. That's what we aim to do with your posts too.

    A helpful way to do it is through backlinking - which is where you link to similar posts within your new blog post. It works because if a site visitor is interested in one of your blog posts...they’ll most likely be interested in other things related to that topic. You can use this as an opportunity to reference an article you've written on a similar topic (see what I did there?), which can entice your site visitors to keep clicking around your site. That's always a good thing.
     

  • Blogging's also an easy way to build your email list and create qualified leads. You can do this by being creating "extras" to go along with your blog posts - such as a checklist, worksheet or resource that helps your readers work through the lessons in your post.
     

  • Blogging also gives you more content to share on social media (which drives more traffic back to your site).

    • Something else I see a lot is when industry peers share your content on their social sites (mostly on Twitter and Pinterest). They might do this because they think it's something that their followers would find valuable - extra incentive to make sure your posts are helpful or entertaining!
       

  • And lastly, blogging gives you an opportunity to show your site visitors that there's a real human behind your business.


How to set up a blog in Squarespace (tech guide)

Here's how to cREATE A NEW BLOG on squarespace:

  • Click the (+) icon from your Pages panel

  • Click "Blog"

  • Name your blog


Configure your blog settings:

Before you start writing posts you might want to dig into the blog settings first. You can do this by clicking the gear icon in the Blog panel. Here are some things to note:

  • B A S I C S // From here you can:

    • Rename your blog

    • Customize your URL slug (example: www,yourwebsite.com/blog or www.yourwebsite.com/journal)

    • Control how many posts are shown per page

    • Write a page description (this shows up in the banner of your blog on some templates)

    • Set a password for it

    • Disable/enable the page (handy if you're redesigning your blog and don't want visitors to have access during the rebuild)
       

  • M E D I A // If you click over to Media you can customize your banner image or make it a video.

    • Videos won't show up on mobile so if you do one, make sure to upload an image to fall back on too

    • You can click and drag the little white circle to customize the focal point (aka what the browser will make front and center as the image gets resized from device to device)
       

  • A D V A N C E D // The Advanced tab lets you see your tags and categories as a collection.

    • This is a handy feature to remember if you want to mass delete or need an easy way to rename your categories or tags.

    • You can also inject page-specific code from the Advanced tab. This is commonly used for Javascript or page-specific customizations.
       

  • S Y N D I C A T I O N // First let's lay a little ground work for syndication: 

    • Every Squarespace website comes with a built-in RSS link. RSS is essentially a file that gets created every time you make an update to your site and is commonly used for blogging and podcast syndication.

    • That file gets pulled into news aggregators, which people subscribe to so they can get notifications on these new blog posts and podcasts.

    • In Squarespace you can configure your syndication to Apple News and iTunes, or add a link for any other news aggregator you use.

    • Be sure to check out this post from Squarespace for more info on RSS feeds.
       

  • F E A T U R E S // This isn't on every template (I believe it's just on the Brine and York families). From this tab you can configure your blog posts to display as full posts or just excerpts.


Overview of the blog dashboard:

  • When you're ready to add a new post, simply click the (+) icon
  • You can use the search bar to look for a post you've already written (this is handy feature once you have a lot of posts under your belt)
  • You can also view your posts by publish status ("drafts", "review", "scheduled")
  • If you'd like to edit a post that's already been started, simply click it and it'll give you a few options for how you can view it:
    • Edit mode #1: After you click the post it should appear to the right of your panel. Hover over the page then click edit. This mode allows you to see a "live" version of your post (aka how it will look when a site visitor sees it).
    • Edit mode #2: Another option is to press the grey edit button that shows up when you click your post. This triggers a pop up box (the same one that comes up when you add a new post). From here you can access all of your blog post's settings, which I'll go over below.
    • Edit mode #3: From the pop up box you can also click the little arrow in the right hand corner to access a full page view. This is great if you want to toggle back and forth between the pop up box and full view. From this view everything is hidden except for your post (meaning you won't see your navigation, footer or even the post title).

blog pop up box.jpg

Blog pop up box overview:

  • T A G S  +  C A T E G O R I E S //
    • Tags + categories can be used in many ways: summary blocks, text links, buttons, or even custom images, which can then be used to showcase blog posts around your website
    • Categories are case sensitive (meaning Squarespace, SQUARESPACE + squarespace would show up as 3 separate categories)
    • In some templates your tags + categories will show up with your post’s thumbnail in grid view
    • In most templates you can use the style editor to show or hide the category with the post
       
  • C O M M E N T S //
    • If you want to allow comments on your posts but want them to have an "expiration date" (could be useful if you want to avoid someone asking a question on a technical post you wrote from like, 2 years ago), use this feature to set that date. Just click "never" then scroll through the calendar that pops up to select the expiration date.
    • Or if you wanna totally disable comments on your blog posts, just head to your main dashboard then go to Settings > Website / Blogging > click "Comments Settings" then uncheck the "Enable Comments Globally" option. Make sure to save your changes.
       
  • P O S T  S T A T U S //
    Your options are....
    • Draft - this lets you create a post without publishing it
    • Scheduled - if you write a post but don't want it to go live yet, use this feature to select it's publish date
    • Published - this means your post is live on your blog (you can also use this feature to make a blog post's publish date earlier, which is useful if you want to change the order of your posts)
    • Needs Review - good option if you’ve got a team and want someone to check over the post before it goes live
       
  • P O S T  T I T L E //
    To make the best use of your blog title, consider including keywords or key phrases that someone might use when looking for answers on Google or Pinterest.

    You want your blog post title to grab the attention of your readers, so here are some quick ideas for forming catchy titles:
    • Use numbers in your title: "5 More Ways To Customize Your Squarespace Website"
    • Create how-to guides: "How To Make Your DIY Squarespace Website Look More Professional"
    • Use adjectives that appeal to what readers want: "My Easy, Fool Proof System For Cranking Out Blog Posts Like A Boss 💪🏽"
    • Use...emojis?? I DUNNO, SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO EXPERIMENT! I try to write to you as if I'm talking to my beautiful + hilarious best friend (Beverly), so all my normal rules for writing are out the window. Throw in an emoji and see how it goes!
    • Use "what", "why", "how" or "when" in your title: "What To Do When Your Facebook Business Page Just Isn't Cutting It Anymore" (think about it....these are most likely the words someone is using in search engines when trying to find answers to their problems)
       
  • When you’re ready to write your post just add in content blocks like you would on a regular page. The most common one content blocks I use for blogging are:
    • Text block
    • Spacer black
    • Summary block
    • Galleries
    • Videos
    • Buttons
    • Image block
      • Since search engines can’t read images, adding a descriptive file name in the image block will help you boost your SEO a bit (you don’t need to add .jpg, .png, etc)
    • Horizontal line
    • Code (to paste in ConvertKit form in HTML)
Blog post options panel in Squarespace explained

THE Options TAB:

From here you can:

  • Add an excerpt (a short summary or intro paragraph) for your blog post
    • You can use this feature with the summary block
    • Some templates give you the option to display the excerpt with a "read more" link that leads to the full post (go here for more info on blog excerpts)
       
  • Customize your URL
    • Your blog post URLs are automatically generated, but you can also go to the Options tab to customize it
    • In your site settings you can format the URL to include the post date,  the title or both. Go to #3 on this post for instructions on how to do this.
      • I personally just use my post title as the URL slug because it’s already primed for SEO
         
  • Add a thumbnail image
    • Some templates have grid view instead of list view, and you'll need to add a thumbnail if you want an image to show up on the grid
    • If someone shares your post using the social share icons at the end of your post, the thumbnail will be the image associated with it
    • You can also use an item's thumbnail image when using the summary block 

The Social Tab:

  • To use this tab you'll need to connect your social media accounts first (Settings > Connected Accounts), then you can toggle any of them to “on” and they’ll automatically push the content to those accounts once the post is published.
  • You can use shortcuts to include title (%t), author (%a) and URL (%u) to format what content will post when shared

03. Anatomy of an ~aMaZeBaLLs~ blog post

How to format a good blog post.jpg

Here's what's going right in my example above:

  1. I've included a souped up blog title (aka it's primed for SEO).
     

  2. I've included a post category.

    1. My blog revolves around 4-5 things so I use categories to group them. If someone reads a Squarespace post of mine and they find it helpful, having this category listed will help them find related posts

    2. You can also use categories in a summary block at the end of your post to show recent articles you’ve written in that category. I like that you can include thumbnails when using the summary block this way (since visuals are so much more powerful than text alone)
       

  3. At least one image, graphic or photo related to the post.

    1. I always create what I call a "hero image" for each blog post. This is an image that goes at the top of each post that includes the post title and website URL.

      1. These types of images often get shared on Pinterest, and I want to make sure people can quickly scan what the post will be about and where they can go for more helpful posts

      2. To prime your images for Pinterest think about the following things:
            • Keep it vertical
            • Include easy-to-read text with your post title
            • Definitely include your website URL
         

    2. I kept the example above pretty short, but generally my posts tend to be longer so I like to include other images throughout the post, too.

      1. Including extra visuals in your posts can really help readers digest the info since our brains process images so much quicker than text

      2. A neat little trick is to create graphics to go with each section of your post, then put them all together at the end as an infographic. People love pinning infographics - plus they’re really helpful for breaking down technical guides or lists
         

  4. I've included back links to other posts I've written.

    1. This is great way to drive more page views and keep people clicking around your site

    2. PLUS, hopefully what you’ve written is super helpful info that your readers will be happy to have found

      1. A great way to build up back links is to create a series of posts that all kinda go together as a set. As you add new posts you can reference the earlier posts you've written for the set. 

      2. You can also use your blog categories in the same way

        1. "If you thought this post was helpful be sure to check out my other posts on __________"
           

  5. I've formatted the post to be optimized for quick scanning, which is another way to help my readers organize and process information.

    Here are my top 5 tips for doing this:

    1. Break your text into chunks instead of creating huge long paragraphs. You can also use the divider line to help break up your text.

    2. Utilize headers (h1, h2, h3) to create a scannable outline of your post

      1. I always start each post with an outline, and as I flesh it out each major point in the outline gets h1, subpoints get h2, calls-to-action get h3, etc.

      2. You can customize your headers in the style editor

    3. Use bold + italic styling to help your readers identify important keywords

    4. Use bullet points or numbered lists when possible

    5. Use related imagery (just wanted to reiterate how useful this can be to help people digest your post!)
       

  6. I've included a call to action (sign up, comment, go to another post, etc). Increase engagement, shares and leads by.....asking for it lol.
     

  7. I've included a quick and easy way for readers to find similar posts. Using Summary Blocks to share similar posts is a GREAT way to funnel readers through more of your content!


Ideas for showcasing blog posts around your site:


First make sure you’re taking advantage of the category function to give you more flexibility when showcasing your posts. A lot of the examples below make use of the Summary Block and we'll need a category to help us organize your content..

summary block sidebar poopular posts.jpg

01. Add a summary block with “popular posts” in your blog sidebar.

  • To do this add a tag called "popular" to all the posts you want to feature
  • Then add the summary block in your sidebar
  • Locate the tag by selecting your blog then searching for "popular" in the tag section (search can be found on the last tab of the summary block pop up)
  • Style your summary block by deciding on the layout, setting the number of posts you want to appear and customizing what information will show up (for such a tiny space I suggest only including the thumbnail, but that will only work if you can clearly see the post title in the thumbnail)
  • Kaitlyn from The Crown Fox opted for a grid layout (love how this looks!) but a slideshow or carousel would also look great
  • You could also do this as a "featured post" section or simply a collection from one of your regular categories

blog categories in description banner area.jpg

02. Use links to your categories in your page banner section

I love what Kayla did here in the top section of her blog. To do something similar simply go to your Blog Page Settings and use the description area to include links to your blog categories. (You can also add a banner behind this text (might not be available for all Squarespace templates).


Easy way to add "related posts" to your Squarespace blog posts: make sure to use categories for your blog then use the summary block to showcase blog posts by category

03. Use the summary block to showcase related posts at the bottom of your blog posts.

  • Add a Summary Block (Carousel layout) to the very bottom of your post
  • Choose Blog from the first tab
  • Customize the Layout settings (2nd tab). If you want yours to look similar to mine choose:
    • Carousel
    • 3:4 (Vertical)
    • 4 items per row
    • (You don't need to worry about any of the drop down stuff in the bottom section)
    • On the Display settings (3rd tab):
      • Slide the scale all the way to the right to get to 30 posts (that's the max)
      • Make sure everything is unchecked except for "Show Thumbnail"
      • Set "Primary Metadata"to none
      • Under "Category Filter" start typing in the category you want to showcase 
      • Save your edits by hitting "Apply"

custom icons for categories in sidebar.jpg

04. Create custom category Images in your blog sidebar.

I love how Sam of Brand It Girl showcases her blog categories in her sidebar. They're on-brand and more eye catching than buttons or regular text would be and I'm sure she gets tons of clicks each day through these custom buttons.

  • Create (or purchase) icons related to your blog categories
  • Add a Grid Gallery Block
  • Upload your graphics
  • Add a link to the corresponding category by:
    • Hovering over each image
    • Clicking the circle icons that pops up to the left
    • Clicking the grey drop down box in the next window and searching for the blog category (Content > Blog Dropdown > select your category)

Create an archives page for your Squarespace blog using the summary blog and tags/categories

05. Create a customized archive page.

  • First you'll have to make sure each post you write is tagged with something you can easily recall in the Summary Block (example: any post you write in October of 2017 gets tagged as "October 2017", November posts will get tagged as "November 2017", etc)
  • To make an archive page similar to Lauren from Elle & Company you'll create a new unlinked page
  • Add sections for each month
    • Add a Text Block to title each section ("October 2017")
    • Add a Summary Block then customize the look and find the associated tag for each section
  • Each time you publish a new post with the tag it will automatically show up in the Summary Block you created for it
  • Each month you'll need to edit your archive page to include the new month
  • You could also organize your archives by category. Just note that the max amount of posts for Summary Blocks is 30 - so if you write more than that only the 30 most recent will show up 
  • Make sure to check out Lauren's in depth post about creating an archive page in Squarespace too : )


06. add custom category icons to optimize your archive page.

Something else I love about Lauren's archive page is how she incorporates custom icons for her categories at the top (kinda like mixing Kayla and Sam's examples from above!).

  • On your archive page add a Grid Gallery
  • Upload your graphics
  • Add a link to the corresponding category by:
    • Hovering over each image
    • Clicking the circle icons that pops up to the left
    • Clicking the grey drop down box in the next window and searching for the blog category (Content > Blog Dropdown > select your category)

Announcement bar and summary block to showcase your blog posts on your home page (Squarespace)

07. Showcase your most popular blog category series in your Announcement bar.

Check out #9 in this post for full instructions on how to customize your announcement bar 🎉
 

08. Add a Summary block to your home page

  • You can organize this by all posts or filter by categories (might be cool to add a few summary blocks for multiple categories)
  • To create one like the example above, add a Summary Block (Carousel layout) to your home page
  • Choose Blog from the first tab
  • Customize the Layout settings (2nd tab). If you want yours to look similar to mine choose:
    • Carousel
    • 3:4 (Vertical)
    • 5 items per row
    • Text size small and left aligned
    • On the Display settings (3rd tab):
      • Slide the scale all the way to the right to get to 30 posts (that's the max)
      • Make sure everything is unchecked except for "Show Title" and "Show Thumbnail"
      • Set "Primary Metadata"to none
      • Save your edits by hitting "Apply"

9 Ideas for showcasing blog posts on your Squarespace website

09. Create A full page banner on your home page to showcase your most recent post.

  • If you want to create something similar to the ladies over at Hello Big Idea just add a background image to one of your index pages (Index feature not available for all templates)
  • Add text through the Text Block
  • Place a Summary Block next to it with only 1 showing

05. Blog/template considerations


If you want a blog sidebar:

- Avenue
- Bedford, Anya, Bryant, Hayden
- Five
- Forte
- Galapogos

- Ishimoto
- Montauk, Julia, Kent, Om
- Skye, Foundry, Indigo, Ready, Tudor
- Wells
- Wexley


templates with Grid view vs stacked*: 

STACKED POSTS

- Adirondack
- Avenue
- Aviator, Aubrey, Encore
- Bedford, Anya, Bryant, Hayden
- Five
- Flatiron
- Forte
- Galopogos
- Ishimoto
- Momentum
- Montauk, Julia, Kent, Om
- Native
- Pacific, Charlotte, Fulton, Horizon, Naomi
- Supply
- Wells
- Wexley

POSTS LINED UP IN A GRID

- Farro, Haute
- Skye, Foundry, Indigo, Ready, Tudor

 

TEMPLATES WITH BOTH OPTIONS

- Brine, Aria, Basil, Burke, Cacao, Clay, Ethan, Fairfield, Feed, Foster, Greenwich, Hatch, Heights, Hunter, Hyde, Jaunt, Juke, Keene, Lincoln, Maple, Margot, Marta, Mentor, Mercer, Miller, Mojave, Moksha, Motto, Nueva, Polaris, Rally, Rover, Sofia, Sonny, Sonora, Thorne, Wav, West
Tremont, Camino, Carson, Henson
- York, Artesia, Flores, Harris, Jasper, Jones, Lange, Shibori


*Current list of templates as of October 2017
*Templates grouped together are the same template family


Templates optimized for blogs:

  • Skye, Foundry, Indigo, Ready, Tudor
    • Grid format
    • Sidebar - Blog posts

    • Related posts - Three display below blogposts

    • Customizable Share buttons

    • Infinite scroll

    • Author profiles

    • Sidebar - Blog posts only (not on main blog page)

Templates with “read more”/excerpt feature:

  • York, Artesia, Flores, Harris, Jasper, Jones, Lange, Shibori

  • Brine, Aria, Basil, Burke, Cacao, Clay, Ethan, Fairfield, Feed, Foster, Greenwich, Hatch, Heights, Hunter, Hyde, Jaunt, Juke, Keene, Lincoln, Maple, Margot, Marta, Mentor, Mercer, Miller, Mojave, Moksha, Motto, Nueva, Polaris, Rally, Rover, Sofia, Sonny, Sonora, Thorne, Wav, West

  • Tremont, Camino, Carson, Henson


This is a pretty broad overview of blogging with Squarespace, so I’d love to know if there’s anything specific that I didn’t cover here. Leave your Q in the comments below or email me at hello@mybilliedesigns.com so we can talk about it!