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6 Essential Elements To Add To Your Squarespace Blog

Blogs are a really huge part of online businesses. Continuing on the trend of discussing all things Squarespace this week, I wanted to talk about what a great platform Squarespace is for blogging for your business. Blogs help build SEO organically, showcase your expertise, educate potential clients or customers, and build trust with your audience. I can attest a large amount of my success to this blog and the content I post weekly.

Squarespace makes blogging extremely easy. One of my favorite parts about the blog post area is the ability to customize each post in the same way one might build a page (using that teardrop tool). You can add basically anything to a blog post to make it work best for you and your business. I have a routine of what I add to each of my posts and wanted to share some ideas with you about what you can add to yours.


HIERARCHY

The first thing to focus on is hierarchy within the content of your blog post. Creating hierarchy simple means to use different tags like your <H1> (header 1), <H2> (header 2), and <H3> (header 3), quote block, bold, italics, etc. Squarespace makes it easy to highlight a portion of each post and label it as such. I follow a simple plan for using sub titles within my blog post to make it more easy navigable (H3), click to tweets (H1), and bolding other relevant parts.

Hierarchy is a word that designers throw around a lot, but you don’t have to be a designer to use and understand it. 

Hierarchy makes blog posts easier to read and boosts your SEO! [tweet that!]

Why is it important? The search engine robots that crawl through your website pay more attention to wording that is labeled as a Header, so putting keywords into those categories is super beneficial for your SEO.

Outside of the technical standpoint, it’s also an easier way to divide up text and make things more legible. Reading on a computer screen is difficult; the more breaks you give your reader, the better. You’ll notice online the average paragraph is a lot shorter than what you learned in school, and that’s because huge blocks of text are less appealing to readers.

If you outline your posts before writing (which I highly recommend) it’s also a lot easier to think in the way of “title” and “4-8 subtitles” first and then go ahead and write the content later. I cover more about that here.


BLOG POST IMAGE

Another key thing to include in your blog posts are blog images, so that people can easily Pin your post (or share on other social media platforms). I add mine right at the top, like a title image, but you could add yours near the bottom if you prefer (I have other information at the bottom, and didn’t want it to feel too cramped).

In Squarespace you can use that teardrop tool to add an image block. Your file name for your image is important for SEO, so make sure you name it something relevant (not img5667_final_forreal.jpg). You can also add information into the filename area or the caption that will carry over into your Pinterest description (Squarespace will choose the caption first over the filename. I leave my caption blank and input all the Pinterest appropriate description in the filename area).

You can resize the image if you don’t want it to be so big, or add spacing blocks to either side. Spacing blocks are great for this sort of work, you add one the same as any other block, and then click and drag it to the left or right side of an image and can resize to whatever size you need.

For more information about creating great Pinterest-worthy graphics, click here.


CALL TO ACTION/OPT IN

Every blog post should also contain some sort of call to action or subscriber opt-in. I usually choose one or the other, as not to overwhelm a reader. Opt-ins are great for growing your list, especially if you create a relevant lead magnet that also fits your overall brand vision (read more about that here).

However, I sometimes skip the opt-in and go straight for the call to action to get people to look into a product or service I am offering. This is only if the blog post feels relevant to that.

What you don’t want is a blog post that has no real purpose or gain for you and your business. I’ve been slowly going back through my older blog posts and making sure they have relevant opt-ins or CTAs. It’s a lengthy process (I wish I would’ve just started off on the right foot, but hey, live and learn… and teach others) but worth the increase in subscribers.


AUTHOR BIO

If you have more than one writer on your blog this is SUPER important, but even as a solopreneur I still like doing it. It’s a fun way to introduce yourself to new readers, which is important because chances are new audience members are landing on a random blog post from Pinterest or something.

I recently started adding a little bio, my picture, and a consultation form to each blog post. I’ve seen an increase in client inquiries, which is amazing, but also an increase in shares on social media. I can’t say definitively, but I think having the picture helps build that trust and the “hey I’m a real person, really running a business” vibe is always a good one to put out there.


SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Social media links are an important part of any blog post. I use SumoMe (you can create an account here and add the code into your “code injection” menu in Squarespace. Go to settings>advanced>code injection).  Squarespace also comes with their own share buttons that automatically appear at the bottom of each post.

Besides the sharing buttons I also include regular social media links so that anyone who is interested in following me can easily do so. I do this by using that teardrop tool to bring up the different blocks I can add and scroll all the way down and add social links (the information is pulled from when I initially connected my social media accounts).


RELATED BLOG POSTS

I discussed this the other day when we covered the summary block, but the reasoning is this: you got a reader to go through your whole entire awesome blog post… now what? As far as user experience goes, you want to direct them to the next thing to read or do, so they stay on your website longer.

You can add a summary block and use the tag or category filter to make sure it’s relevant blog posts that show (for example, this blog post will show related ‘tutorial’ or ‘guide’ posts).



Squarespace Blog Designer

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


Why Strategy is a Hugely Vital Step in The Branding Process

Branding design has been my focus for over a year now. I recently underwent a bit of a revamp in regards to my services, though. I had one of those moments where I know what is right and can coach others, but hadn’t revisited the ideas for my business and myself. Here’s what kept happening: I’d work with a client who would need more than what we had originally talked about or was included in my package. It would be random tasks, not directly design related, and I was always unsure of how to tackle the awkward “well I don’t really…that wasn’t included…money…” conversation. I thought I had landed on the answer in developing a coaching package, because to me it made sense that most of the questions fell into the realm of starting a business, what to do, where to post, how to make opt-ins, etc. But that didn’t feel quite right either; I couldn’t find a way to organize the package enough to have a detailed end result but also leave it open enough to feel flexible and customizable.

I’m being transparent with this process because I think it’s good to point out that owning a business isn’t all hashtags and retweets and big launches, but instead there are moments of confusion, trial and error, and so on.

Moving forward, I kept thinking on it. Usually at 2am when I couldn’t sleep. How could I make sure that my time and energy were being compensated, my packages were clear cut and made sense, and my clients were getting everything they actually needed to be successful?

It dawned on me the way best ideas do: in the shower.

I was thinking through my design process. Thinking of ways to make it more efficient, more explainable, and more approachable. I was thinking through ways to differentiate myself from competition, but actually provide something useful and needed.

When it hit me, it hit me in a total “omg, duh” kind of way, because if I look back at the evolution of TheCrownFox, THIS is what I initially started out wanting to offer. I started out using a tagline that said something about “strategy and design” but then somehow along the way abandoned the strategy portion and lumped myself in with all the other designers out there. Oops.

I’ve mentioned this story in another blog post, but that’s not the point of today’s blog post. What I wanted to talk to you about is why having a branding strategy is important and why I now include three strategy sessions in my signature process. Edit: as of 2017 I no longer offer branding + strategy design. But this post would still be helpful to learn why strategy plays an extremely important role in design.


DESIGN DOESN’T DO EVERYTHING

Let’s be real for a second – design isn’t the end all, be all in business. I obviously think design is very important and valuable and necessary for how you position your business, but it’s not going to solely grow your business.

Good design is important, but it won't grow your business by itself. [Tweet That!]

I hear you, as a designer what the heck am I talking about? Hey. I have a business online and I can tell you that there is more time put into social media, content, and client work than into actual design. There are tasks I do every day to grow my business that don’t require me opening Photoshop or Illustrator or anything like that. I know that design is important, but it’s not the focus.

You do need good design when it comes to having a memorable and impactful logo, having cohesive social media graphics, having a kick-butt website, and so on – but just having those things isn’t going to do enough. It’s not going to make people come to your website, subscribe to your list, buy your products, etc. It might help those causes, but you need more than design. You need strategy.

You need a strategy to get your blog content shared and accessible, a strategy to know what and when to post on social media, a strategy for your newsletter, for your list, and for growth. Having great design with no strategy is like me baking a cake: it might look really good on the outside, but when you cut into it there’s a weird sound and it deflates and looks both gooey and burnt at the same time (how!?). Maybe that’s a bad metaphor, but I think you see my point.


BRANDING IS ONE HUGE UMBRELLA

Here’s where I get kind of mind-flippy – BRANDING is important. But branding does not equal design.

Branding is a big deal. First you figure out your groundwork – your foundation or base for your business, then you work on the visuals… but what next? That’s when we focus on strategy. In Set Up For Success there are three strategy calls throughout the entire process – they help inform the visual development and help clients get a vision for moving forward and answer the terrifying “what next?” question.

Strategy is kind of an intimidating word, right? Like it sounds like it might be manipulative, or skeezy – but it’s not. It’s just creating and having a plan for business growth. I want clients to end our time together knowing where their leads are coming from, what interactions they are going to have with these leads (through newsletters, funnels, etc.), and how they are going to get their business noticed and growing. If you don’t know the answers to this for your own business then you need to revisit your overall strategy.


IT’S NOT: BUILD IT + THEY’LL COME

Something that basically sucked to learn in online business is that it’s not “build it and they’ll come” in regards to customers or leads. It’s more like “work, work, work, work, work” and then maybe pause for a snack and work some more. Creating content, interacting on social media, writing newsletters, hosting webinars, doing Facebook live… there is a ton to do.

Navigating that and having a plan of action to accomplish all of those tasks (and more) falls under strategy and falls under what I want to help clients do. My main goal is have people be successful after we work together and at this point, just designing isn’t enough.

So, all of that to say that strategy is essential for your business growth and figuring it all out on your own is tough. It took me nearly a year of perfecting my process and packaging to figure it all out and I don’t want it to take you that long. Even if you already have a killer website and beautiful logo, you can still work on your strategy moving forward and make sure your business is ready to blow the end of this year out of the water.



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!