While I know and use WordPress on a daily basis, Squarespace has been my choice for hosting my personal website for several years now. Its drag-and-drop interface, integrated blogging platform, and robust content management ability make designing a website easy, without the need to muck around in HTML or learning CSS.
Squarespace offers a great out-of-the-box option for most of its users, but for photographers, there are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of this very popular platform. Below is a list of five tips you may want to try for your Squarespace site.
A Post’s Title and URL Can Be Different
One of the best ways to build SEO for your website is to have an active blog. A blog allows you to add quality and useful content relevant to your business and tells Google that your site is still active.
With some blogging platforms the URL is pulled from the page title and isn’t customizable, at least not easily. Squarespace makes it easy for its users to create SEO-friendly blog posts with customizable page titles.
As a wedding photographer, Squarespace allows me to have a blog title be the couple’s name while having the URL something more SEO-friendly like “Vintage Philadelphia Wedding at The Manor House.” Squarespace will auto-format the URL to a search engine friendly format.
The best way to do this:
- Create Blog post
- Click options Tab
- Update the post URL
Creating a Fake Sidebar
While I love Squarespace’s ease of use, there are some things you have to give up depending on which template you choose. One of the biggest caveats can be how the blog page is displayed.
It is worth mentioning that not all Squarespace templates offer a sidebar option. A sidebar is a space that has a plethora of uses. It makes it easier for readers to learn about the photographer, search for other relevant content, find social media links, sign up for newsletters, etc.
Even with Custom CSS, there is not always an option for having a gridded layout with the option of a sidebar. One option is to have a faux sidebar by lining up all the items you want in the margins on a blank post and save it as ‘template‘. When you go to great a new post, copy the ‘template‘, and add the new information.
Connecting Social accounts
Adding your social media to your website may seem like a simple tip, but it is an important one. Squarespace makes it easy to post to your social media accounts congruently.
How to do this:
- Go to Settings > Connected Accounts
- Add any social media account
- Allow Squarespace to connect and make changes
Leveraging Cover Pages
Cover pages behave a bit differently than the rest of Squarespace. Each cover page you create is style independently from the rest of your site and contains no navigation bar. Cover Pages are in a fixed format and don’t use blocks and design elements like buttons, thus keeping your pages beautiful and responsive.
Cover pages can be used to create a great looking landing page or newsletter signup, but they are underutilized by most photographers and creatives. Some of the ways I use cover pages can be found below,
Other uses for Cover Pages:
- Client guides
- Home Page
- Pricing Page
- Newsletter Opt-in
- Event Registration
- Thank You Pages
- 404 Pages
- Cover When making Site Changes
This might be the oddest tip of the bunch. Why would you want to have multiple blogs? The short answer is that single-focused photographers won’t have a need for this, but if you shoot anything other than a single focus, then it helps.
Some photographers run a podcast, others photograph other subjects that do not fit their main discipline; whatever the reason, multiple blogs can keep your vision clear for potential clients or audiences.
Sure enough other loyalists of other platforms might not light the ‘limited’ nature of Squarespace. They may be right, but simplicity can be the key to creativity.
Simplicity and ease of use are a few of the reasons why I choose to host my site with Squarespace. Getting a site up an running in a few hours instead of a few days has helped empower millions of individuals the world over.