The Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Starting your Blog on Squarespace
One of the biggest decisions you'll have to make as a new blogger is where you are going to create your site. This post isn't going to tell you how to do that!! Because I've already written about it - and so have about a million other people. You don't need another Squarespace vs WordPress post!
Instead this post goes through 7 Essential steps in starting your blog using Squarespace and a brief intro to the dashboard and user interface. And I included 5 short video tutorials.
(This post was originally written in May 2016 and was updated and re-published in Feb 2017)
If you're still undecided about where to build your blog, take a look at these posts:
If you've decided you want to create your Blog using WordPress (or want to know more about it) you're on the wrong post - you need to be here: The Super Straightforward Guide to WordPress for New Bloggers
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase a product or service through one of my links. I am only an affiliate for products and services I use and/or love!)
1. Get Started on Squarespace
All you need to get started on Squarespace is an email address! Set up a free 14 day trial by creating an account from the Get Started button.
Squarespace has 2 Package options - Websites and Online Stores. Each package has two different levels of features. The Badass BusinessMum is on a Business Websites Package. Find out more about the different Squarespace Package features here.
You set up your free Trial Account by simply entering your name, email address and creating a password. You then have a few optional questions to fill in and then you can get to work on your brand new site!
Grab your Free Printable Getting Started on Squarespace Checklist here!
This short, 5 minute video shows you how to Get Started on Squarespace.
2. Choose a Template
Know what features you want
While Squarespace doesn't have hundreds of templates, it does have enough to look through that it's going to take forever if you have no idea of how to narrow down which ones will suit you.
Some templates have very specific features that aren't available on any other template and there are other features that are available on a selection of templates. As a blogger, you might want to take the following things into consideration when you choose a template:
Images visible in excerpts
Special gallery pages
Per page header images
Blog image slide shows
Read the Help files
The help sections have information about all the features of most of the templates. And if you search for a specific feature there is normally a list of templates that the feature is available on. This section of Squarespace Help gives a brief introduction to Blog special features
Test templates out
There are preview sites of all the templates so spend some time exploring them. Some of the templates have a 'Read More' option that shows the features of that template. You can also change templates at any time so before your site goes live try a few out to see which template best suits your needs.
There are several useful blog posts with comparisons of Squarespace templates. The ones I've found most helpful are:
- Squarespace 7 Template Comparison Chart by Using My Head
- A Step-by-Step Guide for Choosing the Right Squarespace Template by Elle & Co.
- Squarespace Website Comparison by THERANDOMP
Purchase a 3rd Party Squarespace Theme
As Squarespace has grown in popularity, DIY Squarespace Themes have become more readily available. One of my favourite Squarespace Theme Designers is Station Seven*. Their Squarekits contain all the graphics, video tutorials and site settings you need to replicate the design, as well as helping you become an expert at Squarespace customisation!
How to change templates
If you're not happy with the template you chose you can change it at any time.
From the Home Menu select Design > Template > Install New Template
Choose your new template from the selection and it will be installed in your Template options. Hover over it and select Preview to start using it as your new template. It will not become visible to your audience until you select Set As Live Template. To go back to your original template, click Cancel Preview.
Some changes don't transfer from one template to another including footers, sidebars and style changes. Find out more here: Switching Templates FAQ
I changed to Nueva because I like the Index Page design with the Parallax scrolling and the grid layout for the Blog page. I do kind of miss the sidebar though!
The template I've used in the video tutorials is Bedford.
3. Edit your Template using the Style Editor
The style editor is where you make the changes to the look of your template. Different templates have different levels of customisation and some have special features that others don't. But whatever features your template has, the Style Editor is where you change them.
The effect of any changes you make can be seen on your site as you change them. To avoid confusion the areas you are editing are highlighted so it is easy to tell which Style Editor section corresponds to which elements on your site. The changes aren't live until you save them.
This short video shows how simple it is to make changes to fonts and colours using the Style Editor.
4. Create a landing page using cover pages
Cover pages are simple to set up pages to use as a landing page while you're building your blog in the background. You can start to promote your new blog and link to your Cover Page in your profiles and information.
Link your cover page to your social media accounts or, even better, your email list. Grow your audience and get them excited about your blog before you launch.
There are several different cover page templates available and they are fully customisable by editing images, fonts, colours and text.
The video shows how to create a simple cover page and set it as your homepage.
5. Add your Static Pages
When you first start you site you will have the sample content from the template on it. To create your own content you copy the sample content to a new page and then edit it so you keep the pre-designed layout or you can simply create new pages from scratch (which is what I did!)
Squarespace has several options when it comes to creating pages. Options include Product, Gallery, Blog, Cover, Static and some templates have Index pages.
Select the page type you want from the 'add' menu and edit the name of it. The page title is the navigation title. You can edit the URL slug and the page title that shows up in Google in the settings.
Squarespace pages are made up of content blocks that are inserted in the insertion points you choose on the page. The blocks can be dragged and re-sized to change the layout.
It is up to you which pages you have on your blog but some common ones are:
Disclosure and legal information
Products and/or service pages
The video shows how the navigation works, how to create a new page and add and rearrange content blocks.
6. How to add a Blog
Your Blog page is added in the same way as any other pages you have added to your site. Your blog posts are listed in the Blog Menu and you can view all of your posts, or just the published or scheduled ones.
This last short video shows you how to add, customise and change the settings of your blog page and where you add new blog posts.
7. Publish to your Domain
You need to upgrade to a paid plan before you can move your site to your own Domain name, which you can do at any point during your 14-day trial period.
You add your Domain under Domains on the Settings Menu. You can purchase your domain from Squarespace or connect one you have purchased from a 3rd party domain registrar.
You can log in and connect your domain without even leaving Squarespace with most popular domain registrars. The process literally takes minutes.
For more information and step by step instructions, take a look at these Squarespace Help articles
What to do if you need help
There are several options for getting help with Squarespace.
Squarespace Help. The help pages are extensive. There are video tutorials on how to use Squarespace, details about all the different menu options and settings, tips on SEO and the full lowdown on most of the templates and their features.
Squarespace Answers. The community forums are the best place to start if you're looking for 'hacks' and work-arounds to make changes to your template's CSS.
Email Support. I have personally used the email help and the support team replied really quickly and were very helpful. Email help is available 24/7.
Live chat. Live chat is available when there are members of the support team free between 3am - 8pm EST (7am - 12am GMT).
Time to Take Action! You don't even have to give Squarespace your credit card details to set up a free trial so if you've ever wondered if Squarespace is for you, set up a free trial and have a play around with it! Grab your Free Getting Started on Squarespace Checklist here and..... well, get started!
Enjoyed this post? Share it on your favourite Social Media!