Squarespace, Social Media

7 Reasons Why We Chose Squarespace (Over Wordpress, Muse, Wix, Godaddy, etc.)

We have been around the block once or twice online and have tried our hand in many platforms, hosting services, and domain providers, but when it came time to rebrand we were stuck. We pondered for months over who or what we should choose, but once we finally made the decision we never looked back! Squarespace is by far the easiest platform to use, with the cleanest interface. Choosing them is hands down the best decision we’ve made for our business and blog. Here’s why…

We have been around the block once or twice online and have tried our hand in many platforms, hosting services, and domain providers, but when it came time to rebrand we were stuck. We pondered for months over who or what we should choose, but once we finally made the decision we never looked back! Squarespace is by far the easiest platform to use, with the cleanest interface. Choosing them is hands down the best decision we’ve made for our business and blog. Here’s why…  |  Think Creative Collective

Modern Design (With Esc Key)

Having an updated look was absolutely crucial to us when it came time for the switch. We have previously dealt with having our own custom coded website (DIY), large custom content management systems (in the corporate world), and WordPress, using various themes. Squarespace offers the cleanest selection of themes. Sure, there aren’t 100,000 options, but the 40+ they offer have extreme flexibility and can quickly become personalized. We spent hours combing through WordPress templates, only to be left disappointed. There are some awesome ones out there that offer great flexibility, but I have found them to be time intensive to set up and not always that user friendly (as they are built by many different people).

Don’t like the theme you picked on Squarespace? Press the Esc key and you are flown directly into editing mode. Press save and your site is back in action. Also, you can even try it totally free for 14 days – any theme, and can even switch to a new one halfway through!  

There came a time in our business when we feared we may have outgrown Squarespace. We were running a multiple six-figure business and needed more customization than the typical templates allowed for. But to our surprise and delight, we found out that if you can find the right team to support you, Squarespace has a robust backend system that can be manipulated with custom code, allowing for almost endless possibilities.

We’ve been nothing but pleased with our transformation – and because we didn’t budge and only improved usability, our SEO rankings continue to soar!

Easiest User Interface…. Ever

Being in design but having coding knowledge makes this a bit of a catch 22. Sure, I know how to manipulate code to move something to a different column, but I am visual, so having the flexibility to just drag it over to create a new column was genius.

We love the user interface. It is easy to understand – sure, there may be limited options, but each choice leads you to a new set of choices to fine tune the end result. An hour of coding to create a custom slider turns into seconds with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Even after paying for a very custom website, we still needed the flexibility to add pages, adjust the ones we had and continue to make changes into the future without the need to bring in the big guns. Having this interface allows ANYONE on our team to make changes on the fly with no background and it looks great, every time.

Compatible Across All Platforms and Devices

I am going to date myself here, but the first custom website I built…. was before EVERYONE had a smartphone, tablet or some sort of crazy mobile device. I wasn’t worried about making it responsive or easy to view on a phone, it just needed to be functional.

With today’s society, having your site be fully responsive is crucial. On an average day, nearly 50% of our site traffic is from mobile devices. Many WordPress templates are responsive, but no matter what, with Squarespace you always have that flexibility built-in. We could absolutely create a custom site on Muse without knowing code, but all of a sudden we are responsible for making the tablet and phone friendly versions separately on our own time and must update them independently.

Goofy things that you might overlook, like increasing the font size for phones or rearranging photos so the page flows, are automatically taken care of for you right inside Squarespace!

Social Integration

Many sites offer functionality to link to social sites, but we love the customized widgets that make the social streaming feel like it is apart of the original design. We have easily linked Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. P.S. You really ought to just follow us across the board!

But the even cooler thing, is that it isn’t just for the typical social stuff anymore. Are you a restaurant who takes reservations? What if you could integrate with an app like Opentable and have people reserve seats online without bogging down your phones? Yeah, you can do that too!

Security

Now many people don’t think about this, but having a secure place to host is extremely important. In the past we have had issues with WordPress allowing loopholes in some of their widgets that offer opportunities for the not so great people to sneak their way in.

I even ended up in a situation where a site I was managing was hacked and someone was selling black market drugs utilizing the back end of our high traffic site. Sure, this may be an extreme situation, but we like that all apps/widgets, etc. are Squarespace controlled. Of course that means less variety, but they are backed up by the Squarespace team so we have complete comfort in knowing they have taken care of these loopholes we may or may not be privy to.

Support

Real support offered by real people. Unlike many other service providers, there is chat and email functionality to channel questions through. In many other platforms, especially if you are utilizing home grown tools, i.e. custom themes or widgets, you must rely on user forums if you run into a problem or have questions.

Granted, it is so simple to use, we haven’t even needed support! Whereas in the case of other service providers we have used we were stuck after 15 minutes when something wasn’t rendering correctly, we needed custom code to overwrite something, or, even more frustrating, we had no idea where to even look to make the change we needed.

Integrated E-Commerce

Super simple integration with Stripe and PayPal makes it a breeze to list and sell products online using Squarespace. It is perfect for delivering digital downloads (for free or paid), selling physical products, managing shipping and more.

Did we mention that Squarespace didn’t ask us to write this? We just genuinely love their product and we think you are going to think it is pretty great too.

Bonus Resources!

Squarespace Pricing
Why It Is Worth It
Squarespace 101: Website Block Basics
Squarespace 101: Adding Your Instagram Feed to Your Website [Video]
Squarespace 101: Setting up a Free Opt-in Inside Your Shop [VIDEO]
Can I do that with Squarespace? + a FREE Video Ecourse
Wix vs Squarespace vs Virb vs Weebly vs WordPress Theme Builders

What other questions do you have about Squarespace vs. other service providers?



Post Your Questions on Instagram


Launching, Entrepreneur

The Quick Start Guide to Launching Your Next Big Thing

For someone with an extensive marketing background, launching something, anything, may feel like a walk in the park. But for others, regardless of what it is you want to put out into the world, you become frozen. You have awesome ideas, and perhaps have even developed an amazing product, and yet you are still sitting on it, scared it won’t go well. 

Today we are debunking the process by hand holding you through your first or next launch and cause we super love you am throwing in a launch guide freebie that you can find more about at the end of the post.

For someone with an extensive marketing background, launching something, anything, may feel like a walk in the park. But for others, regardless of what it is you want to put out into the world, you become frozen. You have awesome ideas, and perhaps have even developed an amazing product, and yet you are still sitting on it, scared it won’t go well.   Today I am debunking the process by hand holding you through your first or next launch and cause I super love you am throwing in a launch guide freebie that you can find more about at the end of the post.  |  Think Creative Collective

Decide on Your BLANK

So I could have said product instead of “BLANK”, but I feel like that could be misleading. See launching isn’t just for things you put up for sale. Launching is the process you should go through for every part of your business that is public facing. Some launches may be miniature - like every time you write a new blog post. And others may last for months - like when your high-end product hits the virtual shelves. Either way, the steps are the same. The speed you execute and the amount of time you prep for the launch may be different.

Now that we’ve debunked that crazy nothing, let’s picture this together. What do you want to launch next? A social media channel, a new product in your shop, a blog post, a book, the best thing you’ve ever done ever? 

Got it in your head? Awesome. Hold onto that picture as you keep reading. 

Who’s It For?

Who needs what you got to offer? Who do you want to be singing your praises when this hits the airwaves? Who would die to have this waiting for them under the Christmas tree? Got them in your mind?

Perfect. Now for the rest of the launch, whether this is your normal audience or a subset super specific niche of your normal audience, every time you go to write, talk, yell, whatever, picture this person (or group of people). Talk to them like they're your BFF. Touch on their pain points. Show them why your s*** is the best thing ever.

No more excuses, you know who you need to chat it up with. 

Visualize Your Success

You need to leave doubt at the door, babe. You got this. No matter how scared, nervous, or vomit-worthy you may feel, you have got to leave it behind. Confidence sells. You have to walk in the room (literally or otherwise) like you just got your hair done, your makeup is one point and those shoes, man they make you look boss. 

You have to go into this launch knowing you are going to do awesomely. Set expectations. Write down your actual goals - sales, views, engagement, whatever.

What do you want as a result of this launch? Where do you want to be because of it? What other opportunities would you like to have because you put in the work?

If confidence isn’t your strong suit, then let’s practice. Walk away from your computer for a minute. Stand in front of mirror and stand like Superwoman with your eyes to the sky for 2 whole minutes - yes, I’m counting! Psychologists have done numerous studies around open postures - babe this works - still don’t believe me, read this

Generate EPIC Buzz

It’s time. You know what you are launching, who it’s for and you’ve seen the chocolate-covered donuts falling from the sky. It’s time to put this thing that you’ve worked so hard to create out into the world. 

The number #1 reason we see launches fail is because people don’t tell anyone else that they’re launching. 

If you are launching - anything - you need to tell someone about it at least 7 times before they remember. So no, you aren’t a broken record. No, you aren’t being annoying. No, you won’t lose all your people.

Everyday people are served hundreds if not thousands of ads (the jury is still out on exactly how many, but you can read about it here). This all just adds to the confusion, and the sea of messaging. People do not remember how many times you told them something. And they definitely don’t see EVERYTHING you put out there. Even your mom does not see everything you do online.

So stop worrying about it. Put yourself out there again and again.

And then ask for help! I cannot express enough the power of asking for cheerleaders. Tell people to spread the word. Email your friends and ask them to share. Ask people to tag their besties. This alone will do amazing things for you, but if you read more on the freebie below we got even more BUZZ ideas. 

Analyze Your Results - Tweak & Repeat

You just launched!! How awesome was that? Now before you hang up your coat and pour yourself a glass of wine, I want you to do a little reflecting. What part of your launch went off like sriracha sauce and what fell a little flat?

Can you pull up actual numbers? Can you analyze analytics? Did a certain part of your campaign work better than another part? Whatever your results may be, you need to reflect. 

See what needs tweaking and keep track of all the things worth repeating.

Ok, now, we both need a glass of wine. I’ll take a Moscato. Thanks, boss! 


Still need more help? We feel ya. We’ve put together a handy dandy launch checklist and it’s waiting right here for you. You’re going to figure out how to generate some hefty buzz so you can freaking launch baby!


We're happy to chat strategy over on instagram!


Website Traffic, Blog

10 Ways to Maximize Your Blog Posts and Increase Your Traffic

How many times have you heard that you need to blog regularly? All the time, right?

And whether you are a natural or reluctant blogger, you need to ensure that you are optimizing your blog to maximize the visibility of each post, your blog, and business.

How many times have you heard you need to blog regularly? All the time, right?    And whether you are a natural or reluctant blogger you need to ensure that you are optimizing your blog to maximize the visibility of each post, your blog, and business. | Think Creative Collective

Does this scenario sound familiar?

⏳ You finally write an awesome blog post that you are so so pleased with.

💻 You lovingly publish it on your website.

📲 Then you share on your social media profiles once…and then you stop.

🚫 You wonder why no one is reading it, no one is leaving comments, and you’re not getting traffic to your site. Zero…zilch…nada.

“Why?” We hear you cry,  “What am I doing wrong? Is it the content? Is no one interested? Do I need to change what I am writing about?”

Well, maybe.

But no, what you really need is a social sharing strategy. Ok, we know it’s another thing to worry about but trust us, this works. Basically, you need to have a systematic approach to sharing all your new content multiple times and re-sharing your old content again, too.

Again, imagine if the one time you shared your blog post someone missed it or they were too busy to take a look. And let's face it, not all of us have necessarily got the type of blog (yet) that someone will just log into every day on the off chance that you have written some awesome words (besides, this kind of blog reading behavior is soooooo 2007).

Or, you shared it to Facebook and only 1% of your audience saw it anyway.

What you need is your own sharing strategy, as well as a method to get others to share your content more easily.

So let's get started on a social sharing strategy. Follow these simple suggestions and you’ll be doubling your blog traffic in no time:

1. THINK ABOUT SHARING YOUR NEW CONTENT MULTIPLE TIMES ON ALL OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS.

Set up a schedule that makes sense for you. For instance, you can share more frequently on Twitter than on Facebook and your audience won’t switch off. Think about what works best on each platform. We personally use Post Planner, and love their feature of recycling old posts to repeat forever.

2. CONTINUE TO SHARE OLD CONTENT.

You should continue to share old content – some of our most popular posts were written over a year ago. There’s no reason we can’t shout that from the rooftops from time to time. You’re constantly gaining new readers and growing your audience and you need to remember that they haven’t seen everything you’ve ever put out so it’s okay to remind them.

3. ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE INTERNAL LINKS IN BLOG POSTS THAT LINK TO OTHER CONTENT YOU HAVE DEVELOPED – IT SPARKS THE INTEREST OF READERS TO GO CHECK THAT OUT TOO.

Remember that you’re adding value and creating an experience for every reader. If there’s another post you’ve written, a post someone else has written, a great news article or resource that might add value, be sure to link it up. If your readers know that you are a source for valuable content, they’ll keep coming back for more.

4. MAKE SURE YOU POST COMPELLING HEADLINES.

When you post to social media channels, mix your headlines up across platforms. As you begin to share multiple times, you'll begin to figure out what works best.

5. REPURPOSE YOUR CONTENT IN VARIOUS WAYS.

This could be as an infographic or a podcast, an intense course or a quick email series. Different things work for different places, so remember that when you are repurposing.

6. BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR BRANDING AND MAKE IT LOOK VISUALLY APPEALING AND INTERESTING.

We know how enticing it is to want to change up your blog layout, the header, the graphic or even your logo. But every time you do this, you’re potentially taking a reader who recognizes you and confusing them. Create consistency across the board by trying not to change anything for 6 months (at least).

7. MAKE IT EASY FOR OTHERS TO SHARE YOUR CONTENT WITH TOOLS SUCH AS:

  • Clicktotweet: Clicktotweet is the easiest and simplest way to promote and advertise your blog, website, and business on Twitter. Highlight a message you want to promote, generate a Clicktotweet, and you have an instant way for others to easily share your content.

  • Sumome: Sumome share toolbar is a tool that makes it easier for your readers to share your blog posts on their own social profiles. Sumome also has an email capture tool, so you can build your email list at the same time. Bonus!

8. ADD GRAPHICS TO ALL YOUR SOCIAL UPDATES.

Tweets with images are, on average, shared 180% more than those without.

9. USE A SCHEDULING TOOL TO SET UP YOUR POSTS SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT.

Again, we use Post Planner to share out content across Twitter and Facebook. We utilize Later to schedule our content on Instagram.

10. DEVELOP YOUR OWN CHECKLIST OF THE MULTIPLE TYPES OF CONTENT AND PLACES TO SHARE (SO YOU DON’T FORGET ANYTHING).

Something like this might work initially (it's in Trello, of course!) and once you get going you can add more steps.

Try implementing these simple steps and sharing your content multiple times and see what effect it has on your blog traffic. Spoiler alert: it’s going to help it a ton.



Follow Think Creative Collective on Instagram


Blog, Marketing

Why You’re Not Making Money From Blogging + Tips on How to Start

So you’ve started a blog — congratulations! You’ve probably heard amazing stories of people making money from their blog and you’ve envisioned this life of writing posts + cashing checks (virtually). It sounds like a dream.

But maybe it’s not going quite as you expected. Maybe you’re not making it rain dollar bills, people aren’t knocking down your door with offers to pay you for posts, and perhaps all of this seems a lot harder than you thought it would be. Sound familiar?

Well, there are probably some pretty solid reasons why you aren’t making any money from your blog. And a lot of it starts with your expectations. Let’s break down the school of thought that’s traditionally surrounded the world of blogging + money making so you can start to see it a bit more clearly.

Bonus: we’ve got actionable ideas for you on how to actually start making money with your blog further down in this post, so keep reading!

So you’ve started a blog — congratulations! You’ve probably heard amazing stories of people making money from their blog and you’ve envisioned this life of writing posts + cashing checks (virtually). It sounds like a dream.  But maybe it’s not going quite as you expected. Maybe you’re not making it rain dollar bills, people aren’t knocking down your door with offers to pay you for posts, and perhaps all of this seems a lot harder than you thought it would be.  |  Think Creative Collective

First, we’re going to be real honest with you. A lot of the old school advice about how to make money blogging is just that — old school. It’s outdated and it’s not how blogging works anymore. You’ve probably been fed a lot of bologna when it comes to how to establish your blog and audience to make money. But there are few people out there teaching on this subject who are not only up-to-date in their methods, but who are actually profitable (we’ll link to a few at the end of this post).

Now we’re going to get down and dirty, busting myths and taking names. Are you ready?

You're Wanting to Learn from the Wrong People

Okay, this is possibly our biggest pet peeve. We’ve been seeing this topic come up a lot lately. Someone will start a thread in a Facebook group and it goes on like wildfire. It goes like this…

“I’m not making money from my blog and I’m tired of just hearing from people who teach others how to make money blogging. I want to learn or hear from people who aren’t teaching or running courses, but who are making money from blogging. Why aren’t they talking about how to do it? Does anyone like that even exist??”

Then someone will chime in and say something like…

“Oh, I totally understand. I want to hear from a lifestyle brand that makes money blogging! What about this person who sells moccasins? Why can’t I know how she makes money blogging?”

Let’s be clear.

The reason why you are hearing from someone who is teaching about how to make money blogging is because that is their job.

The reason why you aren’t hearing from someone who sells moccasins or fine art prints or yoga poses is because their job is to not teach you about how to make money blogging. Their job is to sell moccasins or fine art prints or yoga poses.

It’s not that they don’t exist.

They are just working in their businesses.

And you should absolutely want to learn from someone who makes money blogging that then teaches how to make money blogging. Because guess what they’re doing? Making money from blogging.

Which is what you want.

If they’re good teachers they will give you examples of how this can work in many different industries. They will let you know that the foundations of making money blogging aren’t that different, regardless of what you sell (more on that later).

Learn from people who know how to teach. Period.

Your Blog Doesn't Actually Make You Money

Okay, this is a hard idea to grasp. Back in the early 2000’s when blogging was just getting started, you made money from your blog. Like literally.

How much you made was determined by how many people visited your blog, how many people shared it, commented on it, etc.

Why?

Because ads on blogs were huge then.

So advertisers would pay per view, click and share. Then the blogger would get a check. Boom.

That’s not how blogs work anymore. That’s not how readers want to engage with bloggers and advertisers anymore.

So that’s not how money is made through blogging anymore.

Now, it’s about what you sell. What can you offer? It’s about curating a content library, attracting the right people to read it, providing immense value and then selling something to them (we’ll get more specific about the selling later).

What You're Selling Doesn't Make Sense

Okay, so sure, you’ve heard that you need to sell something in order to make money from your blog. So you do. But...chances are it’s the wrong thing. Here’s a scenario that we just saw someone in a few week ago…

This person had a blog where they wrote about energy, positive mindsets and motivations. They had readers that liked this type of content. So they decided to leverage those readers and put up something to sell in their shop.

They decided to sell editing presets that you can use in Lightroom.

Why?

Probably because they’re good at making presets and they’ve been told to sell what you’re good at. The problem is, that’s not what their audience was used to hearing or learning about from them, so they were not primed to buy that thing.

It would’ve made more sense for this person to sell desktop screensavers with mantras on them, a positive energy cleanse course, a book on essential oils and meditations, etc.

Is what you’re selling in line with what your audience is used to hearing? Fix it.

If You Don't have Time, This isn't Going to Work

This is the biggest and most crucial piece of advice. Woven through every Facebook thread like the one we mentioned earlier is the concept of time. Someone comes in and says something like “Blogging takes time, you have to be consistent and keep at it to get results.” (Which is true) But the person struggling comes back with something like “Yeah, I just started blogging a couple of months ago. I only blog once a week, because I just don’t have time. But if I were making money from it now I’d be able to dedicate more time to it.”

That is not how any of this works.

Your audience won’t come unless you provide value.

They won’t come back unless you provide material and a reason for them to come back.

You won’t be able to make money unless you create something to sell.

You won’t know what to create to sell unless you spend the time engaging with your audience and providing value.

All of that takes time. A whole lotta time.

Blogging is the least “get rich quick” business plan that has ever existed. If that’s what you’re here for, you’re going to be so disappointed.

Here's How to Turn it Around

  1. Create a content calendar

  2. Put out valuable content for the sake of putting out valuable content

  3. Turn your readers into subscribers by offering them something for free

  4. Nurture those readers

  5. Ask them how else you can help them

  6. Create something that takes what you already talk about a step further

  7. Sell it

  8. Do all that again and again.

If you want some accountability and a place to bounce your ideas around then be sure to join our community. It’s free and it’s awesome.

P.S. Earlier we said we’d mention the people who teach about blogging really well. We recommend Melyssa Griffin, XO Sarah, and Mariah Coz.


Instagram is our Jam!

Blog, Infographic

Super Saucy Blog Post Anatomy (BONUS: Blog Planning & Analysis Printable)

We know that you're probably hearing every single day how important it is to have a blog. The numbers don't lie, the interaction with you audience is incredible and the value of what you can give can be a game changer. We also know that sometimes you put off something simply because you don't know the best way to go about getting it done. We want to make sure that you're using each and every post to its full advantage - it takes way to much time to prep those posts for them to not be working for you!

Today we're breaking down a blog post piece by piece. We'll tell you exactly what how your post should be laid out, what to include in it and how to wrap it all up. 


Your Free Blog Boost Weekly Worksheet

At Think Creative Collective we want to continue to help you grow and reach your potential. We want to see you succeed and be proud of how far you have come. We want you to go after a life and a business that you love.

And because we just love our readers and want to encourage them (that's you) we have created a printable perfect for keeping your blog on track. You can use it as your planning tool to title new content. Keep it around to check off your engagement across social media platforms. And assess the results every week - "hearting" your favorites and seeing the real traffic numbers. We would suggest printing one a week and using it to track for the next month. See if it helps you stay on task. See if there is new growth. Use it to see what is and isn’t working. Keep it in a binder so you can come back and look at it later. 

Get instant access to your free printable worksheet and many more in our all free backstage resource library for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs!


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