THIS POST WAS REVISED & UPDATED ON SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 BY CRISTIN BURTON.
In the world of website builders, Squarespace is one that is more suitable for blogging than others, and it can produce some really clean, nice-looking blogs. Their goal is to be ultra easy-to-use, but it has some new and novel features that not everyone is used to in the website building/blogging world. Here are a few insidery tips to help you navigate the innovative site.
1. Set up Google Analytics. To maximize your Squarespace experience, and to determine what content on your blog is most popular to your community, add your blog’s URL to Google Analytics. It’s free for anyone to use and provides extremely detailed metrics. Not only can you see how many people are viewing your blog, and what your most popular posts are, but you can also see where in the internet your audience is coming from, where in the world your audience is located, how many views are unique, how long your audience’s sessions are, how many of them are returning, and more. Using this in combination with Squarespace’s user friendly stats platform is very helpful. For example, if you notice on Squarespace that a particular post is extremely popular, you might be inspired to check out Google Analytics for the micro-details of that particular page.
To set up Google Analytics for your blog, all you need is a google (or gmail) account. While signed in to google, go to Google Analytics and click “Access Google Analytics” in the upper right hand of the page. Then you’ll fill out the simple form which will ask for your site name, url, your industry, and your time zone. When you’re done, it will give you a tracking code.
Luckily Squarespace makes installing your tracking code easy. Select/Copy your tracking code and head over to your site manager in Squarespace. Click the gear icon to go to your settings. In the menu on the left, click on general. You’ll see the field for Google Analytics. Paste that tracking code in there.
You can also add other google accounts so your blog colleagues (blolleagues) can access the analytics of your blog. Just go to the upper right corner of the page and click the down arrow next to the name of your site. There should be a button that says “Add Google Account”. Click it.
You’re all set. Now you can learn about the performance of your site. You’ll specify a date range in the upper right hand corner below the account information and settings. After that, the best thing to do is to go to the left hand navigation in Google Analytics and click Behavior. The navigation will open up and you can click Site Content. Then click All Pages.
Your top visited pages will appear, but to specify a specific page, go to the right side of the page where there is a search field. Type in /yourpage. This will tell you how users are behaving.
2. Drag blocks to create columns. This might seem simple, but I found out that some people are not aware of this little feature. It also helps mix up the look of your post and can make it seem less long.
Let’s say you are in the post editor and you have added a new image block below a text block. You can click + drag the image up next to the text block. Before you let go of the click, a grey box will appear exactly next to the content that you want to turn into a column. By dragging it to the right spot, you can control the content that will become columns. For example, if you were to drag the image out beside two chunks of content, those two things will move to one column together, while the image you are dragging will become another column.
Once you have created the columns, you can adjust the width by hovering your mouse over the grey border of the image and then clicking + dragging.
3. Truncate your blog post on the home page. Sometimes you have a really long post and you don’t want the whole thing on your blog main page. Currently, Squarespace doesn’t have an easy way to insert “Read More”, or some sort of link that cuts off the post and takes you to the post page. In the meantime, there is a work around. You will have to add what Squarespace calls a “Promoted Block”. If you put a specific kind of block, such as an Image Block, as the first thing in the post, it becomes a Promoted Block. The other types of blocks that Squarespace will treat as a promoted blocks are Image Blocks, Gallery Blocks, Map Blocks, Quote Blocks, and Video Blocks. Most people will use an Image Block.
Then click on the Options tab of your post editor and put your first chunk of text into the Excerpt field. Now, the image and the Excerpt are only things that will show up on the homepage, just before a link that says “Read More”.
The way this ends up appearing will depend on the Squarespace template you are using, but this is a good place to start if you don’t want your entire super-long post on your blog’s main page.
4. Use the Escape key to go from Preview mode to the Site Manager. By clicking the Escape key, you can go back and forth from the Site Manager where you edit posts and adjust settings, and the Preview Mode where you can view your blog and edit the styles.
5. Embed an Instagram or Vine video. This process is not quite as straightforward as embedding a YouTube or Vimeo video. For Instagram and YouTube, you must copy the embed code into the Embed Block but it may not be clear where to paste the code.
Instagram video – Embedding an Instagram video is easier to do from the Instagram site on a browser. On Instagram.com, click on the button with three dots at the bottom right hand side of the video then click Embed. A pop-up will appear with embed code for you to copy.
In your post editor in Squarespace, add a Code Block instead of a video block. In the field, paste your embed code. Click Save.
Here’s the super weird part. From your point of view, the Instagram video will not appear in the post. A blank space will appear. Even when you preview your post you will see nothing. Even when you publish and view the post while logged into squarespace, you will see nothing! Waaaa? Apparently being logged into squarespace makes the URL a secure connection, which messes with the Instagram code. Anyway, it’s visible to your visitors, promise. You can see for yourself by logging out of Squarespace.
Vine video – Embedding a Vine video is also better done on Vine’s site at www.vine.co. In the feed, click on the Share button below the video and some share options will appear. Click on Embed.
This will take you to the embed page with options of size and format. Once you select your options, select and copy the resulting embed code.
Now you need to embed the video in your Squarespace post. Insert an Embed Block. For some reason, it doesn’t work to paste the video url or the embed url in the field. So click the gear icon.
Another field will come up. Paste the embed url and click set. Your Vine video should appear in the post. Cool!
Hope these tips for blogging on Squarespace help make your blog the best blog of blogs ever to be blogged! Happy blogging!