HOW TO CREATE A KILLER SQUARESPACE SIDE BAR + FREE GRAPHIC DOWNLOAD
A common practice in blog design is to have a sidebar on the right or the left of your posts. This allows for some of your "go-to" content to be easily found for your reader. Plus it allows them to connect with you from the moment they enter your blog. Here are a few ways to create a killer Squarespace sidebar.
01 / Choose the right template
Go Live HQ's Boulevard Design Kit easily allows for sidebar integration, check it out here. Keep in mind, if you are choosing to work in Squarespace from scratch, not every template allows for a sidebar. Some of the popular templates for blogging (with sidebar) are Avenue, Five or Bedford. Squarespace keeps an updated list of templates and what they offer for blogging here.
02 / Decide on your content BEFORE you hit the design editor
There are various ways you can put together your sidebar, here is a general idea (and then omit or add as you like!):
Profile Image + Welcome Text + Social Media icons + contact info or link to contact page + Categories + Search + Popular Posts + Links to pages + final text (copyright info).
03 / Feature your profile image
Let's really talk about this one. This is potentially the FIRST image someone sees when they enter your site, and it becomes their first impression of you. I'm all about a well styled image, but make sure that this photo really represents the real you. Natural light is best to create a welcoming image. A professionally shot image that is bright (and shows your face) will ensure a strong connection with your reader. Decide what represents you best: a simplified portrait or you in your environment – either of these work.
04 / Introduce yourself
Your welcome text should be short and sweet, but use this as a place to introduce yourself. Use this formula to build your welcome messaging: Your name + what your blog is about (what the reader can expect) + a fun fact about you. Ex. A NYC street style blog by Jane Smith who believes that beach hair isn't just reserved for California.
05 / Use custom graphics
You can use various content blocks (like "search", "newsletter", "social icons" and more) to add content to your sidebar, but these items aren't very customizable and if that's ALL you use, your sidebar will end up looking generic. Remember you can add in your own graphics and buttons via the "image block" which can link to other pages or websites. This will add personality and make sure your sidebar is on brand.
06 / Be strategic
Less is more. Think about your reader and what you want them to do on your site. Want them to move deeper throughout your site? Then make your POPULAR POSTS higher up and more visible on your sidebar. Want to connect with your readers outside the blog? Make your SOCIAL ICONS top and center. Be reserved in what you add onto your sidebar and the reader will thank you. Because who wants to scroll through the never-ending list of categories anyway?