How to Build a Blog on Squarespace in 30 Minutes [Video!]
Hey, friend! Want to start a blog? How about starting one today, as in like, in 30 minutes?
If I’ve peaked your interest with that kind of talk, then grab a sheet of paper or your computer, and (of course) a hot cup of coffee and sit back because I’m going to show you just how possible it is to start your blog off with a bang in just minutes.
And don’t worry, no slopping around over here. We’re going to make it look nice (of course.)
I’ll be showing how it’s done by using one of the most classic blogging templates Squarespace has and setting it up in a way that ensures that you, my friend, will not be agonizing over it till 3am (and ultimately throwing your hands up with frustration.)
Get ready to become a blog-building expert.
Check out the video below, and for those who would rather read, the written instructions are underneath!
First thing’s first, we ‘ve gotta get a couple things squared away (lol, get it… a little Squarespace humor for you… #badpuns).
In order to knock this setup out in minutes (not hours, days, or weeks) you’ll need just a few things on deck and ready to go. You can download the free checklist to accompany this tutorial to get things going!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Two Colors in hex code format (feel free to give them funky names.)
Ex: Vibin’ Blue #516d8e , 70’s Funky Orange #c88870
Two Fonts (I recommend pairing a serif and sans-serif)
Ex: Montserrat & Minion Pro
(Here’s a great tip sheet if you’re stuck here.)
Optional Items (But it’s a good idea to include these!)
An About Me Blurb: Basically just a few sentences about you: Ex: Hey! I’m Alex, an interior designer with a love of mimosas and my cocker spaniel, Butch. Here on my blog you’ll find all my latest tips, strategies, and hacks for amazing interior design for city dwellers on a budget.
Photo of You (because your audience wants to get to know you!)
Logo (or just a blog/company name.)
Icon (If not used, a square will automatically display as the browser icon.)
Social Media Sharing Logo (Basically a rectangle sized photo that appears if someone shares your website on social media (mostly Facebook), this could be a picture with your logo on it, or could just be a photo of you!)
Voila! You’re Ready to Roll!
Ready to get your Squarespace account? Sign up here! If you already have a Squarespace account, simply login to your account and click “Create New Site” in the top right corner.
We’ll Be Working With the Montauk Template
Y’all know I love the Brine template, so why use Montauk for this and not any one of the other thirty or so templates that Squarespace has? Great question.
Montauk is a perfect beginner template for bloggers who are just starting out because of its clean, classic blog aesthetic right out of the gate. It features a sidebar, classic header space, and a clean blog list layout. It’s also the head of its own template family which also includes Julia, Kent, and Om.
This template does have less customization options than other templates, such as Brine. You may be wondering if that’s a good thing, but in terms of setting up a blog (maybe for the first time!) in my opinion it’s a very good thing.
Less customization options means less time spent wading through alllllllll the small tweaks and options (especially in places you didn’t even realize they existed), and instead clearing the way to the real goal anyway, which is just to start blogging!
Keep in mind, you can always switch your template later on.
Work from the Inside Out
We’ll be starting with the design basics, or the inside of the site. These are the style elements like colors, fonts, and our logo settings. In this way, we’ll get a feel for what our brand is looking like from the start (and that’s really exciting all by itself!)
We’ll start with the design tab and make most of our important edits right out of the gate. This is where having the on-hand reference guide for your colors and fonts comes in handy! Simply copy and paste those hex codes in our appropriate areas and choosing our fonts accordingly.
You’ll also have the option to tweak the page borders, header size, and logo size within the header window. Looking pretty snazzy already! (Note: In the video I use the sliders to alter these, but you can also drag the highlighted blue lines on the template itself to adjust.)
Setting Up Pages
Next, we’ll move outward, to the structural part of our blog - the pages.
Your demo template will have come with many pages and settings already included, and Squarespace will ask you if you want to keep them, but you know what? Nah. There’s an easier and faster way to go about this. Just delete ‘em all. #kbye
In the top right hand corner of your pages screen you’ll see a “+” option. Click that and select “Blog,” and then select two more “New Page” options, which leaves us with three items. New Blog, New Page, and New Page. Go ahead and click the gear icons next to each page and we’ll rename them to: Blog, About, and Contact. (If you have other pages you’d like, feel free to add those in.)
On the page settings, make sure all of the page name options, including Navigation Title, URL slug” and Page Title are all to your liking. URL slugs need to be clean and SEO friendly, too! For instance, “about-me” is preferable to “new-page-1-about-me.”
Configure Your Blog
Yay, the fun part! Now we’ll get started with the blog setup. So before we get going, go ahead and visit the Settings panel, then visit the Blogging tab. Change your URL structure to just %t (stands for title, this affects the automatic structure of your blog links), turn on comments and also double check your comments settings and make sure they’re to your liking.
From here, whisk back on over to the Pages panel, and then back to the blog. if you have some posts and blog images ready to go, go ahead and hit the little “+” icon in the top right of the blog queue.
This is where we get to create our first blog posts! If you don’t have any posts yet, it’s all good! The guidelines below still apply.
A general blog post creation checklist:
Tags & Categories
Options tab (add thumbnail + excerpt)
Schedule, save as draft, or publish
There are some other options you can do with blog posts too, such as a push to social upon publish (you can set this up with your connected social accounts) but all in all, this is a great checklist to go by to ensure that no post gets left behind.
About Those Blog Graphics
For blog graphics, vertical (2:3) images do well on Pinterest, while square (1:1) or rectangular (3:2) graphics do well on Instagram or Facebook. If social media is your thing, you can choose what types of graphics to use based on the platforms you want to cater to.
Always a good idea
Always remember to back up your blog post content somewhere safe! A best practice is to write out your posts on a Google Doc first and then copy it over. Because if only one copy of your work exists and you accidentally hit “cancel,” it all might disappear! (Very sad!)
Set Up One Snazzy Sidebar
Alright, so once you’ve got some fun content in there (or maybe it’s empty right now, it’s all good) we can configure the sidebar.
Head on over the design panel and scroll through the site customization options until you reach the blog area. From here, you’ll see an option for blog layout. It’s default setting will be selected, but go ahead and choose a sidebar option (either right or left) from the dropdown menu. (You may also want to adjust the sidebar width here, I recommend 300px) Hit save.
Head on back to the pages panel, and choose your blog page. Hover your mouse over to the side where a sidebar has now been spaced (although it’s empty) until you see the tabs for “Sidebar Content” and then hit “Edit” beside it.
From here, the sidebar functions just like any other page. Simply click and drop content blocks in as you please! Popular picks for a sidebar are a photo of you, an “about me” bio, social links, a blog list (use the summary list block), and an Instagram feed.
Make Your Blog Your Home
To be super cheesy, our last step is to make our blog our home. As in, literally. We actually need to go to the blog page, hit the gear icon, scroll to the bottom, and say “Set as Homepage” Now, we can delete the former homepage, which was the last demo page, and we’re done.
Setting the blog as your homepage is optional, of course, but it provides that classic blog look and feel where the second someone lands on your site they’re whisked straight to the blog.
Whew! A Blog in Record Time
All in all, the time it took me to build this blog while recording on a video was a little over 30 minutes, and that was with explaining each step, adding in other details, and more. If I’d been just setting it up solo without the recording it most likely would have taken even less time, which is crazy. The setup with this template is truly just that fast.
If you’re wondering about the longevity of this template, know that you can always switch to another at any time. (However please note: you can export your styling options, but you will only be able to import the style pack to another template in the Montauk family. For any other template, you will have to redo your styling options.)
By far, the biggest complaint I hear from those wanting to start a blog is being overwhelmed by the tech setup. So the Montauk template and this simple tutorial takes care of that easily!
It Can Be Simple + Easy
In the beginning it took me a long time and a lot of trial and error to figure out that I was spending all my energy in all the wrong places when building my site. I didn’t realize that it was possible to build a blog in an afternoon. As someone with a tech background, I didn’t realize that it could actually be that easy.
So that’s my advice to you, if you’re just starting out or if you’re redesigning your site, just let it be simple and easy. The rest will fall into place.
And of course if you’d like the VIP treatment in this area, I currently offer website packages for a swoon-worthy site straight from a designer (moi) to you!
Did this tutorial help you get started with your blog? Are there still any obstacles in your way? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to help you out!