8 Ways to rock your Squarespace blog.
Your blog is a vital part of your website, whether it is for business or a passion project.
It helps you establish yourself as an expert in your niche. It improves your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) because Google likes websites that aren’t static and continually post new content. And it gives visitors a reason to hang out on your website to read and learn, or to return because they know you consistently publish valuable information.
But let’s keep it real...blogging ain’t easy! It’s takes a lot of time to come up with great topics to write about, sit down and write thorough, helpful posts, and then publicize those posts so people actually read them.
Here are 8 elements to include in your Squarespace blog to ensure your readers will get the most out of your blog posts and keep coming back for more.
1. Add images.
Adding photos or graphics to your blog posts adds visual interest and breaks up large amounts of text. They can also be very helpful in instructional posts by showing a visual example of exactly what the reader will encounter or need to do in a particular step of your instructions.
Design tip: Make sure all of your images are the same size in width to maintain a consistent look and make your post easy to read.
Another great reason to add images to your blog posts is that they make it easy for your readers to share the post on Pinterest (see #4 below) and other social media platforms.
Also, don’t forget to add a thumbnail image in the Options tab of the EDIT POST window in Squarespace.
The thumbnail is the image that will accompany your post when it gets shared on social media. It will also be used in the summary block if you choose to share specific posts elsewhere on your site. (Hint: I REALLY think you should. See #5.)
2. Include an excerpt.
When you add an excerpt, you get to decide what preview of your blog readers will see.
This might be the first few lines of your blog post, but you can also create custom text to get readers excited about what’s to come.
The excerpt section is also found in the Options tab of the EDIT POST window.
3. Create a custom URL.
When you add a blog post in Squarespace, a new URL will automatically be generated for you. But who wants a generic, random string of characters for their blog post URL? Not me.
You have the option to create a custom URL for your post, and it couldn’t be easier. Again, this option is located in the Options tab of the EDIT POST window. Simply click in the field under Post URL, highlight the Squarespace generated URL, and type in your new, custom URL.
Keep the custom URL as close to the post title as possible and make sure there are a few key words in it. This helps with SEO. When people do a search for that particular topic, your keywords will help your blog post show up in Google search results.
4. Use a custom Pin It button.
Pinterest is an incredibly effective tool to get eyes on your blog posts and your website in general. If you’re not using the power of Pinterest yet, get on it!
A Pin It button is the image link that shows up when you hover over an image in a blog post. (Hover over any image in this article to see it in action.) If you click the button, a page will open that allows you to easily pin the image to one of your boards on Pinterest without leaving the blog post you are reading. It’s a great way to encourage people to share your blog post.
First of all, you’ll need to enable Pin It buttons in Squarespace. To do this, go to Settings > Marketing > Pin It Buttons and choose Enable for Blogs.
This will give you the basic options for Pin It buttons that Squarespace offers, either a red circle or white, gray or red rectangle with the Pinterest logo.
This is fine and you can stop there if you want. But I like everything on my website to tie in to my branding so I created a custom Pin It button and followed the instructions in this post by Beatriz of Thirty Eight Visuals to replace the standard Squarespace button with my own using a little CSS. (If you need a little CSS refresher, read this post.)
If you’d like to use a custom Pin It button but don’t know how to make one, you can subscribe below to get access to my free resource library where I have four different custom Pin It buttons to choose from.
5. Add a Related Posts section at the end of your posts.
Once your visitor is done reading your blog post, you can give them options to hang around and explore more of your blog. This is where the Squarespace summary block comes in really handy.
At the end of your blog post, insert a summary block.
You can choose any of the four types, but I recommend using the Carousel summary block.
In the Summary window that opens, choose your blog in the Content tab.
In the Layout and Display tabs there are many options for how your carousel summary block will look. Play around and see what you like best.
In the Layout tab, under Header Text, the default is Featured, but I encourage you to change it to something with more personality. You could use Related Posts or Similar Posts, or, ideally, something in your own voice that matches your branding.
Summary blocks are a super useful feature, and not just at the end of your blog posts. Why not add a summary of your blog posts to your home page or other pages too?
6. Add a sidebar.
Having a sidebar is a great way to make some of your most important info easily accessible on your blog post page.
Good sidebar contents include a photo of yourself, a little snippet about yourself, a search field, an email opt-in form, links to your blog archives or categories, and social media links. Take a look at my sidebar at the right for some inspiration.
Not all Squarespace templates include a blog sidebar, including one of the most versatile and flexible template families, the Brine family. Fortunately, there are affordable plugins that solve this problem. I use this one by SQSPThemes.com and am so thrilled that there are workarounds like this. It’s easy to set up and works great!
7. Include a call-to-action.
Blogging just for the hell of it is great, but I’m sure you want your readers to take action in some way, right? If so, you’ll want to include a call-to-action in every blog post you write.
Ask your readers a question and encourage them to leave their answer in the comments section.
Add your social media links to encourage them to follow you.
One of the best calls-to-action is a content upgrade. A content upgrade is something you give away for free that adds value to the content you just provided in your blog post.
You can create a PDF of a checklist or workbook related to your content and offer it to your readers in exchange for them subscribing to your email list. It’s a win-win: they get valuable materials that will help them take action and put your information to good use, and you’ll be growing your email list.
8. Use categories and tags.
Add categories to your blog posts to help organize them and be able to utilize the summary block for related posts as described above. Think of 4-8 topics you regularly blog about and create categories for them.
Add one or two categories to each blog post by clicking the + next to CATEGORIES in the EDIT POST window.
You should also add tags to your blog posts, but for a different reason. Tags are related keywords that are fantastic for SEO.
For each blog post, add as many tags as you can think of that will help people who are searching Google for that topic find your blog post.
To add tags, click the + next to TAGS in the EDIT POST window.
Each of the elements outlined above are easy to implement and will help people find your blog and encourage them to stick around and learn more once they are there. Happy blogging!
Did I miss anything? What do you think is vital for a killer blog?