Welcome to the Obsessiblog: Was it only two weeks ago? Just two weeks? The brilliant thought struck: I want continuity, simplicity, everything with one design in one place. I should move my little Blogger blog over to Squarespace where my website is hosted. Oh, to be so young and naïve...
I will now explain how I went from Blogger to Squarespace in (only!) 415 easy steps. Ready?
Step 1: Importation! (Import from Blogger)
Which, contrary to popular belief, is the opposite of exportation and has nothing to do with being important, although it is important. Squarespace (thankfully) has a handy import button that, unlike other platforms I've tried, actually works. Seriously, back in the day–like 2003–I went to WordPress, lost all my comments, went back to Blogger and lost them again. As for Squarespace, the process is easy, captures comments, images, et cetera. IF you can find the tool. What is it about Squarespace's menu? I have to Google how to do everything because I just cannot find anything in their d@mn menu…
Anyway, get to Import by clicking (DANGIT I have to Google! BRB):
Step 2: Weigh in. (Squarespace templates rock...mostly)
The Pros and Cons, that is. I.e., pick a template. Herein lies the major drawback of Squarespace. They have the weirdest assortment of template options. They're beautiful, really beautiful, but I had a hard time finding one that would meet my demanding specifications. Ahem. Namely: sidebar on blog pages, index page (for my main page), and nicely designed/visually interesting blog (think thumbnail images).
A template with all of the above does not exist. The closest one to what I wanted was Hayden, which had an index page and sidebar, but the blog page HAD NO PICTURES! I mean, really? Designers think a blog with no images (if post excerpts are used) is a good idea why? But Hayden came close enough, so I went with it.
I can hear you saying, “But, but, you use excerpts and there are swanky pictures. How'd you get it, then?” So glad you asked! I paid a designer thousands to– Just kidding!
I hacked it.
Really it was pretty simple to just add thumbnail images to the blog (she says as if she actually knows how to code). (Honestly, what kind of template would not have freaking blog pictures? Whatever.) The hack is easy and, for me at least, it worked. Find it here. The tutorial is for Bedford, but since the templates are cousins, the code worked just dandy for me.
Step 3: Prettify! (Blog design!)
Um, design your header or whatever. This was kinda tricky because the template I use has a semi-transparent overlay color over all header images. While I did discover how to get rid of this feature on one page only (Learn how here - the second bit of code), since my page was a blog page, the hack applied to all blog post pages as well, which I didn't want, so I kept my blog header in line with the rest of my site: a photo seen through a glass darkly. Dimly. Something like that. And in doing so, I'm practicing the fine art of Step #415. Just a little teaser to keep reading.
This issue here is: I love blogs that look like blogs – you know what I mean? Cute header in pretty colors. Like if it's a homeschool or mommy blog it'll have a cartoon lady (usually thin and beautiful) with oven mitts. Or if it's a tech blog it'll be pimped out in black and red with a million subscription boxes all the f@ck over the place. I swear there's one Wordpress theme that, like, 900% of all bloggers use. My blog doesn't look like that. Which is ok. I think. Though I still kinda want a cartoon drawing of myself, svelte and red-headed, with all my cartoon-kids arguing and throwing stuff in the background. <Insert Pout Here> </pout>
Step 4: Get your relatives on board. (Related Posts in Squarespace? YES!)
You do want related posts, don't you? Those little thumbnail images with the title of recent or similar posts? SOME Squarespace templates have this function built in. Bully for them. They don't have index pages and/or sidebars. But, BUT there is a way to add related posts to content!
I'm sure there's code to do it automatically (and while I did find it, I never got it to work), or you could hire a designer to do it (though I didn't want to/do not make that kind of $ – I write children's books, c'mon!), but for a DIY solution: Content Blocks!
As you go into each post to check formatting (some of it WILL get messed up on import), add a carousel summary block, style it, pick which tags you want to include, and move on. Easy! Unless… You have a lot of posts. If you do…
Steps 5-414: Pete and Repeat... (It's worth it)
Repeat summary block step for each of your four-hundred-eleven posts. This will take about two weeks. Because you're seriously OCD and will decide that every post also needs pictures, and many need good, pin-able pictures with WORDS on them. Like this.
Oh, wait. I'm sure YOU won't do that. I mean, no sane person would. Right? Right.
Step 415: Make Peace (Nobody's perfect)
There are some things Squarespace just can't do. Unless you're a code maven, which I am not. I might want my sidebar a little wider. I might want some text on the blog to be centered or flush left or whatever. I might want that svelte cartoon Me while still having the color overlay on blog posts. And while I'm sure there are hacks for these things, h@ll, I just added new photos and summary blocks to over four hundred blog posts. I am so, so, so very done.
I guess the real question is: Why go through the hassle? My blogger blog was ok. Cute. A little buggy (the font shifted oddly one every single visit). But it worked.
Well! I'll tell you. Squarespace has some benefits that outweigh blogger and what I know of Wordpress (which admittedly isn't much -- the cost to do a "real" WP blog seemed sort of ... silly). Which leaves me with...
What Squarespace is good for...
...beyond the obvious, like beautiful websites that anyone can design...
Consistency: My posts look good on any platform, including mobile devices. Content blocks are awesome for that. Pictures won't float into other areas in bizarre and unexpected ways, sidebar links won't suddenly jump their boundaries. And I don't have to mess with any cursed template code ever again!
Ease: Squarespace has a functional app where initial drafts are easy and quick, and simple posts can go up in a jiffy. Or I can save and come to my laptop to add any sort of content block. I want a gallery in a post? Easy. A YouTube video? No problem. Song? Image? Related Posts? Pow! Done, done, and done. Plus. PLUS. I JUST discovered that if you're reading along on your published site and come across something you need to change/fix, you can hit esc on the keyboard and Squarespace will magically take you to the editing screen. Wow! You do need to be signed in, but you don't ever need to see that dumb little Blogger pencil thingy again.
Integration: Although I haven't played with it much, I can use Amazon affiliates directly. There are also dandy share tools so new posts can go - WHAM - into my Twitter feed and Facebook and Pinterest with a click. No setting up weird relays on third party sites, no having to remember to post this or that. It's done.
Plus, h@ck, it's nice to have everyone all under one happy roof, don't you think?