After using Blogger, Wordpress and Squarespace as blogging platforms in the past, I have to say Squarespace is definitely the easiest to use. It's been built to be very user friendly and you don’t have to worry about plugins.
If you already have an existing Squarespace website, you can set up your blog on a new page, so everything is within the same site! This also means it automatically uses the same custom styling you made to your site template, so your blog will match your website and be cohesive with your branding without any extra effort on your part!
For those of you that aren’t familiar with squarespace, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to start a blog, create posts and enable a blog sidebar.
Adding a new blog to your website.
Create a new blog
Log into your Squarespace website, and click 'pages' in the main option panel.
Then click the little '+' icon, like you would you add a normal page but when the box appears, click the 'blog' button like shown in the photo below.
Blog Page Overview
Once you've created a new blog, you'll arrive at your blog overview page like in the photo below. The panel on the left shows you all your current blog posts. You can toggle between the 'drafts', 'review', 'scheduled' and 'all' buttons to view your posts by those categories. The blog overview page also allows you to create a new post, access the blog settings and search your current blog posts.
The main part of the screen gives you a preview of your latest blog posts, or whichever blog post you select to view.
If you click on the little cog symbol (its circled in the photo below), it opens the blog settings. There are four tabs on the settings, 'basic', 'media', 'advanced' and 'syndication'.
The 'basic' tab allows you to change the navigation and page title of your blog. You can add a description for the blog, choose how many posts to show per page, add a password for the blog, and set the blog as the homepage for your website.
The 'media' tab allows you to upload an image for your the blog banner and thumbnail. This can vary depending on the Squarespace template you are using.
The 'advanced' tab allows you to manage the tags and categories for your blog. It gives you an overview of all the tags and categories used across all of your blog posts. You can add, edit or delete these.
The 'syndication' tab allows you to share your post on Apple News and add an RSS feed replacement.
Creating a blog post.
When it comes to creating your blog posts, I always recommend you write the post in a text editor like Google Docs first. This is for two reasons. Firstly, it means you will always have a saved backup of your blog posts, if for any reason Squarespace goes down, you haven't lost all the posts you spent so much time on. Secondly, Squarespace doesn't autosave and it has a tendency to crash if your using Safari as your internet browser (I think its a bug they are working on fixing). If you use Google Chrome, it works perfectly, but I like to make sure I don't write out my whole post in the Squarespace editor just in case!
Add a new post
Click the little '+' icon to add a new blog post. A box will appear like shown in the photo below. This post editor box has four tabs.
The 'content' tab allows you to add your post title, add tags and categories to your post, enable or disable the post comments, and publish or schedule the post. This is also where you can add the content for the blog post.
Once I've written my blog post in Google Docs, I like to paste the text in the content box here. I then save the post and add my images in the preview mode. I'll show you how to do this in a while.
The 'options' tab allows you to add a thumbnail image, customise your post URL, change the author of the post, add a source URL and write an excerpt for the blog post.
The 'location' tab allows you to enter a location for your blog post.
And the 'social' tab shows you the social media sharing options for when you publish the post.
Edit your post in preview mode
Once you've pasted your post content into the content box and saved your settings, you'll be taken back to the main blog page overview. You can then see a preview of how your blog will look live on your site. If you hover over the preview, you can press the 'edit' button as shown in the photo below. This allows you to edit the post in preview mode. I personally prefer to edit the post in preview mode, as opposed to the 'edit post' box because I can visualise the layout better.
Squarespace uses the same text editor for the blog posts as it does with the rest of your site. This makes it easy to format your text, add headings, paragraphs and bullet points.
You can also add images the same way you would throughout the rest of your website, by hovering over the black teardrop, and adding a new image block.
Adding recent posts
Squarespace makes it super simple to add image links through to your recent blog posts. You can do this by adding a summary block. I use the 'carousel' option to display the links horizontally at the end of my post.
You can then adjust the settings to display the thumbnails how you like.
My favourite feature is the 'category filter'. This allows you to only show your recent posts within your chosen category. If you blog about various topics, your reader is more likely to want to read your recents posts in the same category to the post they are already reading.
'about the author' section
Adding an 'about the author' section at the end of each post, with a photo and short bio, is a great way for new readers to connect with you.
You can easily create this by adding line dividers, photos, buttons and a text block!
Adding a newsletter signup box at the end of your blog post is a great way to convert more of your readers into email subscribers. You can add this using the newsletter block!
Setting up your blog sidebar
Enable the blog sidebar
With your blog still open, go back to the main menu on the side panel. Go to 'design' and then click on the 'style editor'. Scroll down until you see the sidebar section. Make sure you uncheck 'hide blog sidebar'.
Please note, at the time of writing, the blog sidebar feature is only available for the following templates: Avenue, Bedford, Anya, Bryant, Hayden, Five, Forte, Galapagos, Ishimoto, Montauk, Julia, Kent, Om, Skye, Foundry, Tudor, Wells and Wexley.
Edit the Sidebar
Hover over the sidebar and click the 'edit' button that appears.
You can how customise your sidebar by adding blocks.
I recommend adding a photo at the top followed by a short bio for new visitors. Then add social media buttons so it's easy for visitors to find your other social platforms. Then you could add a newsletter signup form, blog category buttons, recent posts or a link to any products you sell.
I hope this post was useful! Let me know what you thought in the comments below!