No Sidebar? No Problem!

How to create a sidebar for your blog on squarespace

Imagine: You’ve selected the template for your dream site. You happen to be a blogger and cannot wait to get all of your amazing pieces out there for the world to see. You’re 20 blog posts deep into your site when you realize you haven’t set up your sidebar yet and you think, sidebar is exactly what I need so everyone can see other blog posts, quick info about me, and my Instagram page. You go into settings and *horrified* find that your template has no sidebar on its blog function. What the heck are you supposed to do now?!

I’m here to tell you to take that panic and throw it to the side because honey, there is a solution (one that doesn’t compromise your template either!)

But first, here’s some helpful information, a list of all template families on Squarespace that include the sidebar function for the blog pages

Squarespace Templates (& families!) with Side Bars on Blog Pages

  1. Avenue

  2. Bedford

  3. Five (& all pages)

  4. Forte

  5. Galapagos

  6. Ishimoto

  7. Montauk

  8. Skye

  9. Wells (& all pages)

  10. Wexley

Whew, now that that’s out of the way, did you see your template or template family up there? If not, like I said, not to worry, I’ve got the solution below! I had a client who transferred her site from Wordpress to Squarespace, and the template we agreed on actually didn’t have a sidebar option for her blog...and she’s a blogger. (Psst…Check her blog out here for some awesome beauty and lifestyle info!)

Luckily, she trusted me to come up with a solution so I did what anyone would do...consulted Squarespace for their help (it’s 100% awesome and free by the way) and I discovered you could actually make a sidebar. So I did, and if I do say so myself, I think it turned out fabulously. Here’s what the final product ended up looking like:

Sidebar Final Product Lifestyle of Leslie.png

Not too shabby right? I created a few graphics for her, and she had some from her previous site that she wanted implemented and voila! You’d never guess that her site template didn’t have a sidebar feature because it’s on every page.

Alright, so now that you know it’s possible to create a sidebar on your Squarespace site, the last key question we need to ask is, what exactly am I going to put on it?!

Here’s what we did for Leslie:

  • Graphics (from her, and designed by yours truly)

  • A brief welcome to her blog and what her goal of having the blog was for

  • Email Subscription to her awesome newsletter

  • A “Get In Touch” button (actually a graphic!)

  • Her Instagram (she opted for 8 of the latest posts)

  • Recent Blog Posts

By no means do you need to include all of these components on your sidebar, but I’d say they’re pretty standard and have a great way of keeping your visitor engaged on your site and wanting to see more!

How to Create a Sidebar for a Squarespace Template Without One

OKAY. It’s time to get cracking, here’s a step-by-step on how to create a sidebar on your blog post!

Step 1: On your Home Page, go to “Pages”

Step 2: Select “Blog” (if you don’t already have it, click on the “+” button by “Primary Navigation” and click “Blog Page”

Step 3: Hover over your blog post (if you don’t have a blog post yet, click “+” by the gear symbol next to “Blog”

Step 4: You’ll see a blank page, this is where we set up your clean slate. Click to add 4 Spacer blocks and arrange them so that you have two with the smallest spacing on each side. With the two spacer blocks in the middle, arrange it so that one is large enough to be the centerpiece (your main blog content will go below here), and another that is generally about the size of two of the smaller spacer blocks (your sidebar will go here)

Step 5: Add your blog content under the “Centerpiece” spacer block.

Step 6: After determining what fabulous pieces of you and your website that you want to display in your sidebar, it’s time to implement! Simply add content boxes accordingly under the “Sidebar” spacer block until the sidebar you’ve been envisioning comes to life! Take this as an opportunity to be creative - use graphics you’ve designed or had designed for you, your favorite photos, link your Instagram, show other blog posts that need love, are crazy popular, or a combination of both. This sidebar is all you.

new sidebar on squarespace template without sidebar .png

Squarespace SEO 101

SEO 101 Blog Cover.jpg

1: Select your site type and update the website description. This should be 1-2 sentences about your site and include basic information such as your site title, your name, and what you do.

2 : Set titles on EVERY page. On every page you create, you will have the option to input a navigation title, page title and page description. Here’s what those things are:

  • Navigation Title: Shows up on the menu bar of your site (usually in the header/footer)

  • Page Title: Add more details in this description as this is what is pulled when search engines crawl your site for matching keywords

  • Description Box: This is optional as some templates display what you write and others do not. You don’t necessarily need to fill this out if you don’t want your description showing up on your site, but if it doesn’t show up on your site a little more description of your site won’t hurt when the search engines go a-lookin’.

SEO 101 Basics.png

3 : Set up your SEO Backend. Updating the SEO backend will provide search engines with the necessary information to pull keywords from your site that match the keyword search done by potential clients and site visitors!

  • From the Home page, head to Marketing > SEO

    • Fill out the Site Title and Site Meta Description fields - this is CRUCIAL to do. This step tells the search engines the name of your site, and when search engines scan site information for keywords being searched, what pops into your site description is what will pop up in the preview if it’s a great match to the keyword search.

      • You’ll be able to see how this shows on a search engine result page such as Google in the “Search Results Preview” box right below the data input boxes

      • You can further adjust how your site information displays by selecting “Advanced” to adjust how your site appears on search engine results as far as “Page Title - Site Title” or vice versa, however I recommend keeping it as is.

SEO 101 SEO Back End.png

4 : Secure Your Site. Search engines LOVE secure sites, so locking down the SSL is crucial in boosting your search result rankings. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and basically it ensures that the connection between your browser and the site is secure. So not only is it important to update the security of your site for rankings sake - you provide your site visitors with peace of mind that your site is safe and authentic.

  1. From the Home page head to Settings > Advanced > SSL (you might have to scroll down to see “Advanced” pop up)

  2. Under “Security Preferences” make sure Secure (Preferred) is selected, and then click the button to check HSTS Secure as well

  3. Click “Save”

SEO 101 Secure Your Site Instructions

5 : Optimize Images for SEO. When search engine scan through sites, they essentially “read” through everything - except when it comes to pictures. However, you can allow them to “read” your picture by including the appropriate file names and captions on the photos you upload to your website. This way, search engine can “read” your image file name/title, pull it and allow your site to show up higher on the search results if the keywords match.

Here are the 2 steps to optimize your images:

  1. Name the image file when you save the file, BEFORE you upload it to your website. So instead of uploading the image file “img123” it might say “3 Nights in Marrakech Blog Post” (say if you were a travel blogger). This is way more detailed and will allow for better ranking results for your site if someone were to Google “3 Nights in Marrakech.”

  2. Fill out the “File Name - Optional” Box. You can use the same description as your detailed file name, but I would also recommend including your name and your site name (or blog name in this instance). If you’re utilizing Pinterest, it will also allow it to show up on Pinterest as well. This file name what Google is primarily looking at and part of how it selects the order in which sites show on the results page. Make sure to hit Apply at the end!

SEO 101 Optimize Images

BONUS: Clean Up Your “Not Linked” Section

    1. Disable pages you want to keep but aren’t using - this ensures the search engine doesn’t find it in its scan

    2. Delete pages you won’t need again to create less clutter and a more organized back end for you and the search engine

    3. Add a password to pages that are private you don’t want search engines to crawl through

How to Compress Photos for a Faster Website

Compress Photos to Speed Up Website.jpg

Site a little on the slow end? It could be because your photo size files are too big. The best practice when it comes to photo size on Squarespace is to be a JPEG image that is no more than 500KB in size. Images larger than that can impact the speed of your site and cause site visitors to renege and leave the site before they even see what you offer!

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to compress your photo files if they are greater than 500KB

  • Head to

  • Download the app from the site onto your computer [it will show up as an app]

  • Determine how often you will need this tool -

  • If you are compressing less than 200 photos, I recommend using the trial.

  • If you will be compressing more than 200 photos (say you’re a web designer or photographer), I would recommend purchasing the app to for $89 USD per year giving you unlimited uses.

  • Upload the file(s) you’d like to have compressed by clicking the teal circle with a “+” in it

jpegmini add photo to compress.png

  • And Compresso! It will automatically compress your photos and save them as the smaller file size, and you can also see how much file space you saved as well:

jpeg mini saved space.png

  • Upload your new photo to your website!


  • Make sure you you have an appropriate filename before uploading the photo to your site per the SEO 101 [link] cheat sheet

  • Megabytes (MB) are larger file sizes than Kilobytes (KB) so you will more than likely be compressing MB files.

For the math impaired (me too, don’t worry!): A kilobyte is 1024 bytes and a megabyte is 1024 kilobytes

Is Squarespace Right for My Business?

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You’ve got your business idea and plan all ready to go, and now it’s time to create the website of your dreams - one that will convey who you are, what your business does, and allow your users to fall in love with you before they even have a chance to say hello! But what website platform do you choose? With so many options out there, it can be tough to decide which platform is the best fit for you and your business.

So how do you decide if Squarespace is “the one” for you?

To be honest, there are a ton of factors you could consider when trying to decide which platform is going to be right for you and your biz, but I want to focus on two things: your time and your content.

Time - Your time is valuable. As a business owner, your priority when you’re first starting out is to make sure that you can devote as much time and effort needed to developing your business, brand, and services. You don’t want to spend a ton of time trying to find and implement plugins and building your website. At this point in time you might not have the money to export the work to hire a web designer and you need to do it yourself.

This is where Squarespace REALLY exceeds in my opinion - building a website on Squarespace is intuitive and they include so many of the key things that will help optimize your site. Features like SEO, security, and premium features like pop-ups and announcement bars (which might be plugins on say, a Wordpress site) are already included. Not to mention if you ever have This makes it super easy and time-efficient for you to create and maintain a site if you’re a one person show at the moment. It’s as simple as selecting the plan that works best for you and includes the features you need, and implementing them. There’s no worry about finding plugins and trying to download and implement them onto your site, everything you need to run a fantastic website is there. Now, should you decide you’d like to have features that aren’t offered by Squarespace, there is the Custom CSS box where you can implement coding to add something that Squarespace currently doesn’t have (e.g. if you want to use Calendly as your method of booking clients instead of their partner, Acuity Scheduling).

Simply put: It takes significantly less time trying to figure out how to use Squarespace and maintain your site than with Wordpress and if time is not on your side (or you aren’t necessarily tech-savvy), Squarespace is the best platform for you.

Your Content - When you’re building your site, it’s important to know exactly how much content you have and have an understanding for your vision as to how much content you may eventually have as well. For example, if you currently don’t have a ton of content, simply need a 4-5 page website that conveys your services and maybe a few digital products, Squarespace is 100% the platform for you. However, if the site you’re building needs to have a TON of content such as an extensive resource library, a variety of options, opt-ins, blog, and information about you and your service(s), WordPress may be a better option.

This is not to say that Squarespace can’t handle a ton of content or doesn’t have a ton of options for customization, but by the time you’re developing that much content or have that much information and tools you’re providing your clientele and users, you probably have a team who is running the back end. In this case, you can hire WordPress wizards to handle everything for you since you’re no longer a one-woman (or man) show and are free to focus on content exclusively. Squarespace is the better option when you don’t have a ton of time or too much content you’re trying to manage, but as you grow, you will have more options for customization and content management with Wordpress, and likely the money to hire someone to help you as well.

BONUS: 2 Features Offered by Squarespace That Will Make Your Web Design Journey Easier

SSL Security - All sites include SSL Security, which is crucial when it comes to Google ranking your site and user peace of mind. As of July 2018, Google implemented a protocol that basically said if your site wasn’t SSL Secure, it would be heavily impact your search results rankings. Squarespace automatically updated its platform to include this as an option, and the only things Squarespace users had to do was *literally* click a checkbox and their sight was secure. Wordpress users on the other hand? Not so easy. See part of the service that you’re paying for with Squarespace is that they make sure to update their extremely inclusive platform to ensure the back end (security, SEO, etc.) is as up-to-date and easy to use for you. Wordpress is much more manual in their approach and at the time this change was taking place, web designers were swamped trying to help site owners convert their security measures. Why was it such a big deal? Ensuring all the sights meant that EVERY link had to be secure, so if a blogger had tons of links, can you imagine the tediousness of having to go through each link to make sure it was secure and didn’t break? #GoSquarespace

SEO Optimization - Another huge difference between Wordpress and Squarespace is that the Squarespace platform is already optimized for SEO. It’s as simple as filling in the boxes and you’re good to go (on a basic level - of course there are more ways to improve your SEO but these are the basics when you are building your site). Wordpress on SEO is a much different story: you have to search for and download an SEO plugin (with tons to choose from) before adding your titles, tags, descriptions, etc. to optimize your site. #aintnobodygottimeforthat

Customer Service - You may not think customer service is important until it’s 4am, you’ve been up all night trying to work on your site and you’re about to pull out the last of your hair trying to figure out why something doesn’t work. You’ve googled questions, checked out forums and still can’t figure it out. Cue Squarespace CS. You send them a quick message on the live chat (because it’s 4am and they’re awake too), and in 10 minutes you’ve figured out the problem that you’ve spent the last hour on. The WordPress user on the other hand? Same problem, 4 hours later and no solution. Okay okay it sounds like a dramatic commercial at this point with a Morgan Freeman-esque voice-over but SERIOUSLY, Squarespace has AMAZING customer service. I have no shame in admitting I’ve reached out to them for help numerous times, and they are always quick to respond, extremely knowledgeable, and courteous. What more could you ask for? Squarespace offers two methods of contact - they have a live chat during the day, starting as early as 4am EST and closing at 8pm EST, and if live chat is closed, they have 24/7 email services as well. I have neither seen nor experienced this option with Wordpress, at least not to the degree of ease that Squarespace has. #winwinwin

Fun Fact: A massive difference between Squarespace and Wordpress is that there is a team in New York who works for Squarespace to ensure the platform’s back end stays with the times and keeps platform features up-to-date(such as SSL for security and SEO optimization). Wordpress doesn’t have a consolidated team like this, and it’s pretty much a free for all if you’re using if you’re using WP. This is also where Squarespace’s amazing customer service

So there you go! Long-story short, if your biz doesn’t have crazy volumes of content and you need a site that is intuitive to use, easy to maintain and fully equiped with the assistance and features you may need, Squarespace is the site for you. Time to build your website!

Which Squarespace Plan is Best for Your Business?

Which Squarespace Plan is Best Blog Cover.jpg

Congratulations, you’ve created your beautiful website and you’re ready for launch! But now for one of the most important questions, which Squarespace plan is right for your business?

Squarespace has two types of plans: Websites and Online Stores (formerly Sites and eCommerce). How do you know which one is the right fit for you so you have all the features you need and want for what you’re actually paying?

Basically, Website plans are for sites that don’t sell a bunch of physical or digital products. Your site exists to convey mostly information and the services you offer and maybe a few digital or physical products, but nothing you anticipate selling a high volume of. For this reason, Squarespace charges a small fee on every product that is sold. Conversely, the Online Store plans are higher in price but Squarespace doesn’t charge you, the owner, a fee when you sell a product.

Here’s a quick description to give you a better idea of each of the different types of plans and options in each plan:

Website Plans

Option 1: Personal Site - This plan is for the website that simply exists to convey information. Basically, you are not “selling” anything (aka there are no transactions going on on your website) and are just a platform for online users to see your information.

Option 2: Business Site - This site plan offers more flexibility by including premium features like the announcement bar and custom CSS. You as a business owner/operator are more than likely going to be utilizing this plan, even if you don’t necessarily sell a product on your site, so you can take advantage of those premium features. If you do sell products, Squarespace charges a 3% transaction fee.

Online Store Plans

Option 1: Basic - This plan is for the commerce site that is just getting started. Linking products to instagram, accounting tools, label printing and customer accounts are a few features offered in this plan.

Option 2: Advanced - Your commerce site is off the ground and you’re ready for some higher-end features. The advanced online store plan offers more options like subscriptions, gift cards, and abandoned cart recovery. This is the best plan if your business is at a pretty automated, higher level.

Option 2 of each plan includes features from each of the plans of lower tier (e.g. Business has all of personal site’s features + more, basic online store has all business site features + more, etc.).

Note: You can basically answer the question of which site plan you want to use by asking one simple question - am I selling any products, digital or physical? If the answer is “Yes,” you immediately eliminate the personal site option. Additionally if you want to include some no- brainer features like the announcement bar, you’re going to need a site at the business level or above (which is what I would expect from a business owner anyways - you go girl!).

Finally, if you are selling something, remember the business plan allows you to sell products, but each sale comes with a 3% transaction fee at your expense while the online store plans do not charge this fee. It’s a good idea to do some calculations to see which plan would be best - are you selling enough so that a 3% fee isn’t too much and doesn’t cost more than upgrading to one of the online store plans? Or would it make more financial sense to pay for the plan with no transaction fees because you will be selling so much to the point where you’re saving yourself some transaction fee money?

All plans come with the following basic features:

  • 24/7 Customer Service Support (and it’s AMAZING!)

  • Free Annual Domain (if you buy an annual plan)

  • Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage

  • SSL Security

  • Website Data

  • Optimization for mobile

You can check out more details about the exact features each Squarespace plan has by clicking here.

Still not sure which plan works best for you yet? I’ve created a basic checklist to help you determine which plan is best for you:

All done? Awesome!

Now find the last check mark on the list, and that is the plan that will meet your needs! Remember, each higher-tiered plan will have features from every tier below in addition to its own special features.