How to Blog: Part 2
If you followed along last week, you learned how to set up a blog on Squarespace and purchase and connect a custom domain name for it. Your site is real and living out on the internet! However, you may not love the way it looks...
The next step in blogging is designing your blog.
In Squarespace, editing the design of your space is very easy. Once you've logged into Squarespace, you'll notice a grey sidebar area on the left of your screen. This is the behind-the-scenes look at your blog. You'll see what your blog looks like on the right, and can make changes and updates using this sidebar on the left.
To edit the design, click on design, then style editor. It's here that you can update the fonts, colors, line weights, hover styles, buttons, and endless other pieces of your blog. Looking to edit something specific on the page? In style editor mode, you can click on the item you want to edit in the site preview on the right, and the sidebar will update to reveal what you can edit in the area you clicked on. For example, maybe you want to change the appearance of a button on your page. You can click on that button in style editor mode, and the left sidebar will update to show you what you can edit about that button - the text, color, and even the shape.
But what if you need different pages than what the template gave you? This is easy to edit as well. Leave the style editor area by clicking the back arrow at the top of your sidebar. You'll end up at the main tool list, which starts with pages. Click on that.
It's here that you will see the pages that show in your main nav bar, and you'll also see pages that aren't linked in the nav bar. Your template will come with some pre-made pages. You can choose to keep or delete those if you click on each page – a pop-up window will open and ask you what you would like to do with them. To add a new page, just use the + symbols. A window will pop-up with options, like page, blog, store, gallery, etc. If you want a blog page, select the blog option. If you want to show off only pictures on the page (maybe you're a photographer!), choose gallery. Want an about page or contact page? Just choose the plain page option.
Within each page, you can add widgets – in Squarespace, these are called blocks. You'll also notice that blocks are how you add different elements to your blog posts. This is how you can add an image, text, divider line, gallery of images, buttons, newsletter sign up forms, and so much more to your site! Squarespace has what seems like an endless variety of blocks you can use. I'll be writing up a separate post on what each block does, but for now, get creative with them and test different blocks out for your needs.
But what if I'm not a designer?
No need to fret. Though I highly recommend hiring a professional to help you along in branding your blog (hi!), here are a few tips to help you get started on the right foot:
- Make a Pinboard for your blog. Pin anything that inspires you or reminds you of how you want your blog to feel. Two years ago, I made a pinboard TPA when I overhauled my branding. I thought I would see lots of glitter and party hats and pink – instead, when I finished pinning around for a week and finally looked at the finished board, I saw an endless number of images of the ocean. Thus, TPA's blue-green color scheme was born. It was also more simplistic than I originally had in mind, and I'm so thankful for this. My pinboard revealed to me my true personal style and guided me in a direction with my branding that was authentic to myself and to my readers.
- Write down three words to describe your blog. Think in terms of how you want readers to feel when they come visit. Do you want them to feel invited? Inspired? Warm and cozy? What do you anticipate the readers of your blog to be like? What would their interests be? These words you choose can help you when you're making choices about the look and feel as well. You can choose everything from fonts to imagery based off of these three words. (Struggling to choose? Enlist a close friend or two to help!)
- Analyze what you love about other blogs. Select a few blogs you love and write down the things that draw you to their blog. Is it the way they write? Is it the way the content is laid out? What helpful items do they have in their sidebar or navigation? Write these things down and see how you could incorporate similar items into your own blog space.
Have questions? Need help troubleshooting? Feel free to shoot me an email!
And check back next Monday for How to Blog, Part 3 – we'll dig into how to write a blog post in Squarespace so that you can get writing. Happy Monday, friends!