Why Squarespace?

Why Squarespace?

It’s a hard thing to decide on, right? Especially if you’re not in this design/website world & don’t know the terminology or what any of it actually means.

Maybe Squarespace is a platform that you’ve never even heard of.

Maybe you have heard of it but know it’s a website thing and just blew it off because you don’t know anything about websites & assumed those ads aren’t meant for people like you.

Maybe you’ve talked to designers before about about building a website & they’re using terminology you don’t know or understand. Do you find yourself nodding along, but thinking something like ‘I don’t know what any of this really means; how does this apply to me?’

Or ‘What is hosting & a domain?’

Or ‘What do you mean I’ll be able to edit my own website when you’re done with the design stuff? That sounds scary & overwhelming!’

In the beginning of a website project I always list the wonderful reasons why I use Squarespace for my own website & for my clients as well, especially to the folks who aren’t up to date & don’t know what a “Square Space” is. 😉

The key here is, I try to explain all of this in layman’s terms of how it applies to YOU and what the value is for YOU or YOUR BUSINESS.

16 Podcasts Every Female Entrepreneur Should Be Listening To

16 Podcasts Every Female Entrepreneur Should Be Listening To

I admit it. I've never been a podcast listener, until recently.

To the point that podcasts weren't even on my radar; like they didn't exist at all. When I'd hear something like, "subscribe to my podcast," I'd roll my eyes and think 'pshhh, like I need something else to keep up with.'

Turns out I was wrong. I started listening to one, and I loved it so much that I went looking for more to add to my library, and I loved those too, so I went looking for even more. Now I have 20 different podcasts in my library, and I listen to all of them fairly regularly, some more often than others. 

My husband even got into it around the time I did via the British History Podcast & became a member for the extra episodes.

There's nothing to "keep up with" as it turns out, these podcasts are a little like books; you can pick them up and stop whenever you want. They're always available whenever you have free time to listen.

Today I'm listing my favorite business podcasts that every female entrepreneur (or small business owner) should be listening to + 8 new ones I’ve found since my original posting!

Squarespace SEO Best Practices: Blogging

Squarespace SEO Best Practices: Blogging

I totally get it. Most people don’t want to blog, don’t know how to “write” posts or don’t have a friggin’ clue what to write about.

Well, I’m afraid if you want to have any kind of online presence, you need to get over it. #sorrynotsorry

Keep reading, because I’m about to tell you everything I know about why blogging helps with your website SEO, from my own personal experience.

(HINT: blogging is a “thing” for a reason, and more than just so everyone has a place on the internet to voice their innermost thoughts. 😉)

Squarespace SEO: Optimizing Images

S1862_SquarespaceSEO-OptimizingImages.jpg

Are you frustrated with uploading large images to your website (but didn’t know there was another way)?
‘I’m pulling out my hair over here!’ 🤬

Don’t know what to name your image files?
‘Is IMG_0321-edit1.jpg is wrong?’ 😨

Think it doesn’t matter what you name your files, or how large they are?
‘Yes, no one can see the file name anyway!’ 😏
(You’re wrong about that, BTdubbs.)

Optimizing images for Squarespace SEO purposes (and the web in general) isn’t actually hard or time consuming, so this’ll be quick, with lots of screenshots!

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Why does it matter?

I hear you loud & clear, all the way from south Georgia where the ‘ol folks don’t want you looking at your phone/computer/tablet screen so much, until they need help with their email because so-and-so sent a picture & they don’t know how to get to it. #salty

Why does it matter if we optimize?
IOW: “How does doing this benefit me?”

It’s beneficial for two main reasons: 

  1. Smaller file sizes help your site load faster. People are impatient & they don’t want to wait on your giant AF images to download, even if they are gorgeous.

  2. Optimizing the image titles helps Google with your SEO. That makes your site rank better in searches if Google knows what your images are & why they’re being used in your content.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way! Ready to move on to the HOW part??

How to save images for web

This part is easy and I’ll show you 2 ways to do this that work for people who have Adobe products, and Mac users who may/may not have Adobe software. (#SorryNotSorry! I don’t have a PC & haven’t used one regularly in nearly a decade, so I can’t give ya a tutorial for that.)

Ideally you are lookin for a web-resolution image (72 ppi = pixels per inch) but at a larger scale so it still looks clear & isn’t pixelated/distorted on screen.

Fun Factoid: 300 dpi (dots per inch) is the lowest recommended resolution for print, but it makes file sizes larger. Putting those types of images on websites will make your site load slower, making your viewers impatient, and causing them to bounce (leave) faster.

If you don’t have Adobe software…

…but you do have a Mac:

  • Open your image in Preview.

  • Duplicate the image & name the copy something different. 

    • I usually just add “-web” before the file format suffix, so I know which ones I’ve optimized for web at a glance.

    • So my file name would look like, “S1862_Example-web.jpg”

  • Click the Markup button (that looks like the tip of a pen/marker)

 Markup button

Markup button

  • Click the Re-size button (looks like a dotted line square with arrows pointing in opposite directions)

 Resize button

Resize button

  • This pop-up window will appear with all kinds of things you can change, in order to make the file size smaller.

 

What to change & pay attention to, within the re-size tool pop-up window. (Click to enlarge)

 
  • Make the changes you want, click “OK” and move on to the next one!

    • If you made changes you don’t like, press Command + Z on the keyboard, or go to Edit < Undo, to undo those changes and start over again until you get what you want.

 

If you do have Adobe software:

Maybe this was taught in one of my many design classes in college and I just missed it, or maybe it wasn’t & I figured it out after starting my own business & hated how long it took to upload “small” files for my own website. 😂

Exporting the normal way does not achieve quite the same results, so I encourage you to use the actual Save for Web process, when saving for web. I know that seems redundant but I’m saying it anyway for the folks who need to hear it. 😉


Aaaaaanyway, here’s how to save your images for Web in Adobe Illustrator (also works in Photoshop, CS6 or CC).

  • In Illustrator, go to File < Save for Web

    • In CC this is under File < Export (if I’m remembering correctly)

 
 
  • You’ll get a big pop-up window (with more options than the Preview app offers) that looks like this:

 

(click to enlarge)

 

In the menu bar on the right, change the same things I mentioned before with the Preview app.

  • Choose your file format:
    If you want a jpeg, select that from the pull down menu, 2nd from the top. Other options are png-8, png-24, & gif.

  • Choose your image quality:
    From the drop down right below the file format options, you can choose between Low, Medium, High, Very High, and Maximum.

    • You can also adjust the Quality percentage, next to that dropdown, to adjust more specifically between quality levels.

    • For example, if Maximum is too large of a file size, Very High is small enough but maybe slightly too pixelated, try choosing Very High and bumping the quality percentage up by 5 or 10%.

  • Choose your actual image size & resolution:
    You can dictate the size of the image (width and height) in pixels or inches or whatever works for you, based on whatever you’re using in that document profile. (This image is using pixels, specifically for my Pinterest images for this blog post.)

  • Keep an eye on the stats at the bottom LEFT.
    The numbers on the bottom left will tell you what the new file size will be, so pay attention as you make changes & before you save!

  • Preview the newly resized image in your browser:
    If you click the Preview button (down in the bottom left corner) it will open the image with the current resizing options in your browser window, so you can see it as it will appear on the web.

  • Want to see a before & after?
    Use the “2 Up” feature (click that tab at the top, center) to see the original image on one side, and the newly resized image side-by-side.

  • Save your changes:
    When you get the image resized the way you want, click Save and re-name your image something SEO friendly (use your newfound knowledge from my last post: SEO Best Practices: Using Keywords)

    • Watch where you’re saving. I’ve noticed this particular save pop-up window doesn’t remember where you opened that file from, it opens to the last place you saved instead (typically).

    • If you save it without checking the location first, don’t worry: just search your computer for the file name you gave it, and move it to the folder where you intended to save it.

In Photoshop, the options are a little different:

Photoshop allows you to figure out exactly how quickly the image will load in a web browser, which can be pretty handy!

To look for that, check the bottom LEFT corner, within the Save for Web (Photoshop) pop-up.

 
 

See where it says “2 sec @ 2 Mbps” under the file size? That’s where you want to be looking for the loading speed.

That means on a connection of 2 Mbps, the image will load in 2 seconds. If you want to change the speed, click that menu icon to the immediate right of that line of text; you’ll get this pop-up:

 
S1862_Squarespace-How-to-Optimize-Images-Using-Preview_Screenshot_SaveForWebOptionsLoadingSpeed.png
 

You can also preview 2 or 4 at a time, similar to Illustrator:

 

2-Up (side by side; each image’s stats are at the bottom LEFT)
Select the one you want to edit, by clicking on that image, then changing the options in the menu bar on the RIGHT.

4-Up (side by side; each image’s stats are at the bottom LEFT)
Select the one you want to edit, by clicking on that image, then changing the options in the menu bar on the RIGHT.

 

Once you’ve gotten the newly resized image the way you want, click Save and remember to check your save location before you finish!

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These tips fall under SEO Best Practices, because they’ll help you:

  • Name your images with SEO in mind

    • (no more file names like: IMG_0756.jpg!!)

  • Create higher, web-ready resolution images, that load faster (which Google likes!)

It’s easier than it seems, just play with the options until you figure out what you like, and by then you’ll develop go-to numbers you can plug-in super quick. The more you do it, the faster you’ll be. 🙌🏻 

Did today’s post help you? Please let me know in the comments!

 

Squarespace SEO Best Practices: Using Keywords

Squarespace SEO Best Practices: Using Keywords

Have you’ve been wondering whether Squarespace is SEO friendly? I'm sharing best practices for how & where to use keywords for your Squarespace website's SEO. 

Search Engine Optimization is an incredibly expansive topic, so I'm breaking this up into more bite-sized pieces! 

Stay tuned, because I'm also covering these topics in later posts & additional content:

  • A tutorial for optimizing images for websites

    • (smaller file sizes = faster load times)

  • Which types of pages have big SEO opportunities

  • Why Blogging is great for SEO

  • Social Media & SEO (focusing on Pinterest)

  • Helpful Tools & Resources

Truth? I'm not an SEO expert and don't claim to be one. That being said, when I first started my website back in 2015 (first of all I had no idea what SEO was or that I needed it in order to have a successful website), I couldn't afford to hire an SEO expert, so I learned everything I could about how to do it myself.

My efforts are paying off; Google has ranked me on the top of page 1 for several of my keywords. Now I'm sharing what I've learned with you!

5 Habits That Will Improve Your Productivity

5 Habits That Will Improve Your Productivity

Entrepreneurs wear so many different hats, it can be utterly exhausting; even if the work itself is still rewarding. Okay, that was the bad news.

The good news is that today I'm sharing 5 habits that will help you work more efficiently and be more productive with your time. 

Website Launch: Love My Doula

Website Launch: Love My Doula

Lynda McMurtray came to me because she wanted a simple website for her budding Doula business. She's been a RN for more than 10 years, and she is very excited about this new season in her life. I was absolutely thrilled to help her create an online hub!

She didn't need a logo or many website pages, so we settled on the Starter Website Package, minus the logo design; a perfect fit for her needs!

What resulted is a classy, family-friendly, beachy design for her Florida-based Doula business. Let's dive in now, shall we??

How to Schedule Squarespace Blog Posts

How to Schedule Squarespace Blog Posts

Life pulls us in all directions, doesn't it? It can be so unpredictable, especially for business owners & entrepreneurs. Anything we can do to make our business more predictable, for the people who invest their time in us, makes the experience more positive, right?

But I know blogging can be a time suck; I totally get it. Especially when you're first starting out.

To solve that problem, you can batch like-tasks (blogging & posting to social media, for example) & schedule ahead, so that throughout the days/weeks ahead, you don't have to think about it on the day-to-day. Who's got time to post live, anyway???

You've got enough on your plate already; don't add even more unnecessary stress to your day!

Contract Templates for Freelancers & Small Business Owners

Contract Templates for Freelancers & Small Business Owners

One of the scariest things about going out on your own is NOT having a contract.

I know this because I'm in an industry that should be using one and I'll be the first to admit that operating without one in my early days, was frying my nerves!

Depending on what you do or what your business does, you may not need one though. If you're selling products, for example, you shouldn't need a service contract with terms & conditions regarding what will and won't be done during the project.

If you're a service-based business, you should definitely have one! But where can you get one? Who can you trust?

(Psst. I've got an answer!)

What to expect during a large design project

What to expect during a large design project

You likely know what service you need, or at least have a vague idea, and maybe you even know who you want to provide that service for you & how you want it done, but maybe you have no idea how much (if any) work you’ll need to put in. We’ve all been there!

This works for pretty much anything in the service industry, right? From home renovations (choosing furnishings, and countertops, and appliances, and paint colors, etc.), to graphic design, which is what I do!

Whether you have or haven’t worked with a graphic designer like me before, I’d be willing to bet you’re not sure what to expect, especially in a remote work or freelance situation.

Because I find myself explaining these kinds of things frequently, I know that there are a lot of you out there who have no idea & that’s okay! To help you out, I figured I’d fill you in on a little bit of what I expect from my own clients during a large project (like Branding or Web design).

What you need to know about GDPR + tips to become compliant

What you need to know about GDPR + tips to become compliant

This legal stuff is pretty boring, so I'm going to make this as simple as I can so you don't fall asleep on me! 

I've gotten a lot of questions about who needs to be compliant, and while I don't have all the answers (I'm certainly not an attorney, so I'm not giving you legal advice here), I do have some helpful info, suggestions, and resources to share with you that will help you figure it out.

On that note, here are 5 things you need to know about the General Data Protection Regulation that went into effect on May 25, 2018.

Are you making these 5 newbie branding mistakes?

Are you making these 5 newbie branding mistakes?

I've been a graphic designer since 2006. That's more than 10 years! This field is full of people who are both self-taught, and college educated; some who have the natural instincts and some who only know how to use the tech.

Because of the variety of designers out there, I see a lot of mistakes being made, either from a lack of innate skill or inexperience/knowledge.

But I'm definitely not here to bash anyone; just the opposite, actually. I'm here to help! 

So here are some branding no-no's I see a lot, and some suggestions on what to do instead, to make your brand even better.

If you suspect your current branding falls into this category & want to know how to fix it, I've also included a MINI BRANDING AUDIT DISCOUNT CODE for you! Just purchase through my shop & apply the code at checkout, then I'll take a look and provide some personalized feedback to help get you out of the design-gutter.

UPDATE: Fee-Free Business Banking with Azlo

UPDATE: Fee-Free Business Banking with Azlo

So I opened my account nearly a year ago, and I've gotta say: I reeeeeally like Azlo!

So much so, that I actually just closed my other business bank account, and opted to go solo with Azlo. I got a gorgeous new card in the mail recently thanks to a new update, and I've learned about a lot more of their features.

They make small business banking so... easy. And that's the way it should be, right?!

As I grow & my business morphs into something more complex, who knows where I'll need to be banking, but for now I'm genuinely very happy with it.

How to build your Free Resource Library in Squarespace

How to build your Free Resource Library in Squarespace

My own Free Resource Library has evolved a lot over the last year. It was password protected for most of that time, and I never really felt right about that. 

I don't know about you, but I like to see the resources before I decide to sign up & grab one; ya know? 

So recently, I decided to open it up to everyone.

That meant no more password!

But how do those freebies still work as opt-ins, if the page isn't password protected anymore?

Well my friend, that's a great question! 

I'm going to walk you through how to set up your own Free Resource Library on Squarespace right now, that will still work as opt-ins, but without the pesky password.

Branding Souljam: How I Created Their Custom Logo

Branding Souljam: How I Created Their Custom Logo

A few years ago, Anna came to me & asked for help designing a logo for the band. I took on the project, feeling both happy & excited to help her.

The thing is, Souljam is a very talented jam band, and designing their logo meant designing a little outside of my comfort zone.

For those of you who don't know exactly what that means, think (or lookup) Grateful Dead, Phish, Widespread Panic, Allman Brothers and have a listen. The band members in this genre are typically free-spirited hippies, lovers of music, & super talented. They produce songs that are long & wandering to take advantage of every available second to show off their mad skills & just feel free while they play.

While I do love the Billy Breathes Phish album and I've been to see Widespread Panic live once with my husband, generally that style of music is not my jam. I can appreciate the talent it takes to play it, but I don't personally love that style of music. I find myself listening to a Widespread Panic song that's 10+ minutes long, wondering when the hell it will end, because I can't tell what the structure of the song is (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, etc.). 

So this project became a prime example of stepping into my client's shoes to get the design right. I knew enough about the style of music & what appeals to their listeners, to step in & give them a design that matched their musical souls.

How to Schedule Automatic Instagram Posts

How to Schedule Automatic Instagram Posts

I’ve got some BIG NEWS for you. Both Tailwind and Later have released the ability to auto-post to Instagram, and it’s coming soon to other schedulers as well, like Buffer. That means no more notifications like, “It’s time to post!”

Halleh-freakin-llujah. It’s about time!

If you’re anything like me, you’re lucky if you have time to set up and schedule posts for Instagram (or any other platform). You might not also have time to post it yourself at the time scheduled, for platforms that don’t allow automatic posting.

If you’re sitting over there, staring at the screen and thinking, ‘what–scheduled times? I just post it whenever I can! Why do scheduled times matter?’ or ‘How do you find the best time to post on Instagram and how do you implement that?’ Then I’m so glad you found this post, because I’m going to walk you through it!

I’m going to show you how to schedule auto-posts to Instagram, specifically with Tailwind and Later, because those are the two I’ve been using since they released this feature.

7 Ways to Use Trello

7 Ways to Use Trello

The first organization tool I ever heard about was Asana, and while I like what Asana can do, the way it worked just didn't mesh with how my brain functions. And as we all know, if we don't like how something works then we're probably not going to use it.

I wanted a more visual way to organize things. Then I was introduced to Trello, but I wasn't really sure what to do with it, or how I could use it. I set it aside to come back to later, and for months I completely forgot it existed.

Then finally, I ran across a mention of it in Think Creative Collective's Facebook group, or maybe it was their blurb about their online course for Trello during their podcast. No, I'm not an affiliate, but that super cheap course was worth. every. penny (& probably more).

Once I dug in, I found all sorts of fun ways to use Trello both for business & for home, so today I'm sharing 7 ways you can use Trello too!

How to use an Acuity paid plan for FREE with Squarespace

How to use an Acuity paid plan for FREE with Squarespace

If you've been following along for the last several months, then you probably already know I use Dubsado for my business. In fact, I'm kind of obsessed with it!

They introduce new features constantly, and on their to-do list is a calendar/scheduling feature like Calendly or Acuity. As of now, it's just in the planning stages though. Since it's not ready yet, I use Acuity because it integrates well with Squarespace and it has a lot of features, like the ability to take a payment when a client makes certain types of appointments.

Acuity has a free plan, but it allows limited customization among other limitations. At first that was fine, because I knew I wouldn't be using it longterm (since I plan to switch over to Dubsado's version as soon as they release it).

However, it has recently come to my attention that if you're a Squarespace user, you can upgrade to the Emerging Entrepreneur Acuity plan, FOR FREE.

That plan is valued at $15/month, allows more customization, and I'm going to show you how to get it FREE in today's quick blog post. #thankmelater