Blogging Strategy

A Change in the Big Picture of Big Picture Web

If you've been a reader of this blog over the last 4+ years, you know that the focus of my articles have shifted as Big Picture Web has evolved. Soon there will be another major editorial shift, and I wanted to let you know why. 

Less Squarespace Tips, More Personal Branding Advice

Squarespace has been the central point of focus for this blog for the last few years. Tips, marketing advice, reviews -- I've written just about anything and everything related to the content management system because I enjoy using the platform for my own online marketing needs and because it's been part of my revenue strategy for this blog. For every visitor I convince that Squarespace is the right platform for them, Squarespace provides me with a finder's fee as a part of their affiliate program.  

A major change in how their affiliate program works will cause me to write less about the Squarespace platform and more about a new topic, personal branding, to keep this blog profitable and worth maintaining into the future. I wanted to be transparent about it with you, my reader.

A Brief Lesson in Marketing Attribution

A hot topic in the world of marketing is attribution, which is how companies measure the combined effects of all their marketing efforts and decide which marketing campaign or channel ultimately receives credit for a sale. The two most common ways to look at attribution are:

  • First Touch - This style of attribution gives credit to the first marketing channel responsible for sending a new customer to and places a lot of incentive in creating awareness for the platform.
  • Last Touch - This attribution method gives credit to the marketing channel that "seals the deal" by being the last marketing effort to send a visitor to prior to them signing up to become a customer. 

Squarespace's affiliate program has historically been a last touch program, which is why I spent time creating countless resources that went in-depth on the merits and features of the Squarespace product. I wanted to be that blog that pushed people from wondering about the product to being genuinely excited to try it out for themselves. 

Rolling With the Attribution Punches

The Squarespace team recently informed me that the program will be changing from last touch attribution to a first touch program, which means the incentive has shifted from creating clarity around Squarespace's benefits to creating awareness for the product itself.  

The punchline? The content I've developed over the last few years has become a whole lot less valuable overnight, and I'll need to either adapt and shift my focus or end up with four years of content and articles that are nice to read, but whose main benefit is altruism, not a helpful second source of income for my family. 

That said, Big Picture Web's content strategy will begin to shift towards personal branding tips and technology in the coming weeks in an effort to attract an audience that can benefit from my expertise and who might be in the market to create a new website.

The Only Constant is Change

If you've come to enjoy the Squarespace resources on Big Picture Web, don't worry. I'll still be publishing them from time to time. They'll just be balanced with a broader set of topics. I hope you can appreciate why I'll be making this change, and I hope the new editorial focus produces resources you'll deem helpful.

On the Internet, the only constant is change.


Squarespace RSS: How to Add a Feed to Your Website

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds have been around since before the 2000's. One of the web's oldest and still active forms of social media, RSS feeds allow you to build your own "virtual newspaper" by pulling new content from your favorite websites and serving it up in an easy-to-use RSS reader  (e.g., Feedly).  Squarespace recently announced a new RSS support feature. Read on to find out how to add an RSS feed to your Squarespace website.

How to Add an RSS Feed to Your Sidebar

Adding a link to your Squarespace blog's RSS feed on your blog's sidebar is easy. First, identify where you want to place your RSS feed on your site. I have an email sign-up option on my blog. Putting the RSS feed link in this area seems to makes sense.

This is as good a spot as any for an RSS feed link.

This is as good a spot as any for an RSS feed link.

Log into your Squarespace website and view your blog. Click on the Edit Content option. Next, click on the plus sign to add a new content block. Click on the Social tab to locate the RSS feed block. Drag it to the desired location on your blog's sidebar.

The RSS feed block is within the Squarespace Social blocks tab.

The RSS feed block is within the Squarespace Social blocks tab.

Next, pick the blog you want to link to. You'll see an option for every different collection you have on your Squarespace site, currently including blogs, image galleries, and events. 

Choose from any collection on your Squarespace site.

Choose from any collection on your Squarespace site.

And that's all there is to it. Upon hitting save, your blog's RSS feed will be featured on your sidebar and will update automatically every time you publish new content on your site. 

An RSS feed featured on a Squarespace site. 

An RSS feed featured on a Squarespace site. 

Is RSS Even Worth It? 

The Squarespace RSS feature gives you 95% of what you'd need (i.e., I'd love to be able to customize feed URLs to integrate with Feedburner) to add this great feature to your site, but is it even worth it?

RSS isn't widely used--Google even announced the sun-setting of its Google Reader product--but don't let its low adoption dissuade you from adding an RSS feed to your Squarespace site. People who subscribe to your RSS feed can often be considered among the most loyal followers of your blog because, unlike social media network followers who are exposed to every tweet and status update possible, RSS subscribers elect only to see your new blog content when they follow you.


Squarespace Mobile Content Strategies

Content marketing is one of the most efficient online marketing tactics for busy entrepreneurs. Blogs, videos, podcasts, and more published on your website build both customer engagement and traffic from search engines and social media networks alike. 

Finding the time to create and publish content can be difficult, which is why I love having a Squarespace website and using the Squarespace mobile app. Today's post demonstrates how you can create a thriving blog with minimal added time requirements to your already-busy day.

The Squarespace mobile app for iOS is a mobile publishing force.

The Squarespace mobile app for iOS is a mobile publishing force.

Blogging on the Go With the Squarespace Mobile App

My days are jam-packed with work, volunteer activities, and other obligations. I don't blog nearly as much as I want to, but lately I've been attempting to leverage my volunteering as a part of my blogging strategy.

Last week I attended a event put on by MIMA (a marketing association). The content of the presentation was a good fit for my marketing blog, I put my Squarespace mobile app for my iPhone to work and rattled out a live blog post recap of the neuromarketing presentation.

Drafting a Blog Post with Squarespace

Mobile blog posts can be edited with text, HTML or Markdown.

Mobile blog posts can be edited with text, HTML or Markdown.

The event was an hour-long presentation on the advances of consumer psychology. The talk was given by author and speaker, Roger Dooley. I titled my blog post, flipped my editing interface to Markdown to increase my maximum thumb-typing speed (you can choose from text, HTML, and Markdown), and summarized Mr. Dooley's thoughts as quickly as my thumbs could travel.

I could have done this more easily using the Squarespace mobile app on my iPad, but I chose to use the iPhone instead to demonstrate that content marketing is possible even if the circumstances aren't ideal.

What you see here illustrates how quickly you could record the best moments of any events you attend in the form of a blog post.

Adding Photos to Mobile Blog Posts

Add photos from your mobile device to your Squarespace blog posts.

Add photos from your mobile device to your Squarespace blog posts.

Adding photos to my mobile Squarespace blog posts was a breeze. I took photos throughout the event using my iPhone camera. At the end of the event, I navigated to the photo tab of the blog post and added the photos to the blog post directly from my phone. The app even let me re-order photos by tapping and dragging them to my liking.

By default, Squarespace adds all photos included in the mobile blog post at the end of the blog post when published. It wouldn't be nice to be able to structure them directly within an article while you're writing, but I can appreciate how this would be difficult.

After publishing the article, it was simple enough to crack it open in a desktop browser and position the images to my liking using Squarespace's LayoutEngine editing interface.

Performing the Finishing Touches

Even tags and categories are a snap in the Squarespace mobile app.

Even tags and categories are a snap in the Squarespace mobile app.

Even the finder details such as publishing date, tags and categories were editable using the Squarespace mobile app. When the event was over, I saved the blog post to my website and joined the crowd in coffee, snacks and networking. An hour later, I was back at my desk and cracked open the draft I created at the event.

A few tweaks later and I published my event recap to my blog and social media networks well before anyone else had a chance to recap the event. As a result, the speaker and many attendees were quick to share my article.

Nimble and Efficient Publishing

Fresh news travels well in social media, so once again the Squarespace mobile blogging app proved to be part of an effective content marketing strategy. I saved time by making my content marketing part of my already-busy day and took advantage of people's excitement for a great event to drive traffic to my blog. 

You can become a content marketer for your brand by downloading the Squarespace mobile app for iOS, Ipad, and Android. (If you're not on Squarespace yet, the best place to start is by looking at their awesome mobile-friendly templates).

A Look at Squarespace Competitors in the Market

In the search engine marketing industry, it's common knowledge that something's popularity often correlates with how frequently people search for it. For example, "ugly sweater" parties didn't really exist before 2006, but since then they've grown in popularity according to Google Trends, a tool that measures the popularity of search terms in Google over time.

If you're looking at different website publishing platforms, consider search engine trends when looking at Squarespace and competitors for your blog or website.

Squarespace's Growth in the Market

When it comes to Squarespace's popularity, the web publishing company has grown every year since it started in a college dorm in 2004. Now Squarespace powers over 1.4 million websites, and is positioned well against its competition to continue increasing market share since they released their next generation platform last year, Squarespace 6.

The Squarespace Competitor Landscape

When looking at the different blog and website platforms out there, consumers typically look at two main types of competitors:

Big Players in the Web Publishing Space

Platforms like Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger, and Typepad are competitors often considered alongside Squarespace because they already have millions of users each. Of all of them, Squarespace and Typepad are relatively smaller players. Blogger is in the middle of the pack, and Tumblr has become extremely popular since starting to grow in 2009. Wordpress is also shown to be a very popular choice (note: consider Wordpress an outlier here for purposes related to how people search for it relative to other platforms.).

True Squarespace Competitors in the Visual Web Building Niche

While similar in some aspects, comparing Squarespace to Wordpress is ultimately like comparing apples to ferns. Yes, they're both plants, but that doesn't make them all that similar in the long run. Wordpress typically requires more in-depth code knowledge and your own hosting.

Squarespace is positioned in the market place as the premiere solution for web publishers that prefer fully hosted websites built using intuitive, WYSIWYG design tools. In that sense there are far fewer direct competitors to Squarespace.

Virb, Edicy, Site Kreator, Plebu, and Drupal Gardens compete much more closely with Squarespace than do the big players in web publishing like Wordpress. Of these, Squarespace is the clear winner and dominant player in the "premium web publishing" niche.

Squarespace has led this part of the market for the last five years, and continues its trajectory as the segment leader. Squarespace is positioned to exceed its 2009 campaign popularity with its baseline monthly interest, and has passed the segment's #2 Virb's historical high-point from back in 2007.

By all accounts, Squarespace owns this market segment, and continues to earn more total web publishing market share as news of Squarespace 6 spreads and the premium web publishing segment grows as a whole.

What Squarespace Competitors Have You Found?

Are there other Squarespace competitors that you've found? What do you like about Virb, Wordpress and all the rest compared to Squarespace? Where does Squarespace shine? Be sure to share your thoughts and we can chat it up in the comments.

What Will 2013 Will Hold for Squarespace, Inc?

2012 was a huge year for Squarespace. They released Squarespace 6, weathered Hurricane Sandy, and announced the Squarespace Developer Platform. They keep cranking out new features, and new customers keep signing up in droves. If this trend continues, 2013 will be another big year for Squarespace, Inc.

What's on Squarespace's 2013 Road Map?

Squarespace is typically pretty tight-lipped about their future plans. This desire to surprise and delight customers is exciting when new features are released, but those hungry for more information are often left guessing about what the future will hold for the company and the product. Luckily, there are a few clues out there that suggest an exciting 2013 for Squarespace.

Squarespace Careers Page

You can always tell a little about a company based on what jobs they have open. The Squarespace Careers page currently lists 15 full-time and internship positions on the Squarespace team. Here's what we know:

  • The five openings on the engineering team suggest a focus on continuing to advance the core Squarespace product, and an open position for each Android and iOS suggest a balanced prioritization of both major mobile platforms in 2013.
  • The openings in marketing/business development suggest an expansion of Squarespace-based content on the web, as well as deepening integrations and partnerships with other services on the web.
  • Their design openings and internships imply that Squarespace doesn't show any signs of departing from their designer roots any time soon.
  • Finally, Squarespace continues to hire in the area of customer service, another historically strong area for the company

The Squarespace Rumor Mill

Squarespace already boasts countless features, but what other changes should we anticipate in 2013? Based on previous company statements and community buzz, expect to see a lot more advances on the Squarespace Developer Platform. Also, will 2013 be the year we see a completely integrated e-commerce platform for Squarespace? 

What changes do you hope Squarespace, Inc. makes in 2013? What advances to the platform should they make? What new third-party integrations should they support? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.