It's time for an easy tip that’ll be so helpful you'll wonder how you ever got through your days without it.
Without further ado, today I'll be presenting you with the key to figuring out the meaning of the world, what everything's about, and well, life itself. Pretty cool, yeah? It's something I've been working on for weeks now.
Just kidding. We all know that one already. The answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42. I mean, obviously.
The real topic of this post is...
The Summary Block
This simple, unassuming tool is actually packed to the brim with usefulness. Let's get a rundown of everything it can do for you:
- Add related posts at the end of a blog post
- Add featured posts in a website
- Add an archive or category page
I mean, does it get any better than that? The only possible way it could is if those summary blocks came with cake (and that probably only happens with cake blogs).
Summary Block Types
Before we talk about where to put the summary blocks, here's a quick primer on what types of summaries you can use.
First is the Wall Summary Block. This type shows off your content in a grid that resembles the photo layouts that many hip magazines use. It looks like a mosaic of photos. Your content is placed according to the white space around it—small content is stacked closer together and large content takes up more space.
Next up is the Carousel Summary Block. Your content will be shown in a side-scrolling slideshow. Because there is content that won’t be immediately visible to your visitor, there are controls in the upper right corner of the block (if the visitor doesn’t want to wait on the slideshow).
After the carousel block comes the List Summary Block. This block displays content exactly how it says it will—in a list. Items are displayed in a column on one side of the block and corresponding text on the other side.
Rounding everything out is the Grid Summary Block. When used, this block shows content in an even grid. If content is of an uneven length, then space is added between items to keep everything symmetrical.
Using the Summary Block
As mentioned above, the summary block has the ability to surface your website’s content in a few unique and powerful ways. Once the block is set up and stuck into your site, everything works automatically because Squarespace is cool like that.
Add related posts at the end of a blog post
Squarespace demands a little bit of elbow grease to get this going. If you want to feature related posts at the end of each blog post, then you’ll have to do it manually. A little bit of a bummer, I know.
But wait! With the loss of automation comes more granular control. You decide what posts you want the summary block to display. You know the “Tag” and “Category” field at the bottom of each blog post window? The information you put there can be used to sort posts in the summary block by those fields.
1. Add a summary block by clicking on an insertion point at the bottom (or wherever you fancy) of a post.
2. Choose a preferred summary block type.
3. In the editing window that pops up, select Blog (or whatever you’ve named your blog) in the Content tab.
4. Under the Layout tab, you can customize the appearance of the block. The settings you choose are up to you and your site’s design. You want these related posts to be eye-catching, but subtlety is a good quality to have.
5. The Display tab is where the power of this block comes in. Here is where you get to choose exactly what information and content is displayed. A good rule of thumb is to choose a category or tag that relates to the post you’re putting this block in. If someone is interested in a subject, they’ll probably want to read more about it.
Add featured posts in a website
Part of the beauty of Squarespace is its ability to adapt to just about anything you want to do. Knowing this, you have the power to direct a visitor to a particularly important blog post.
In every blog post editor window, under the Options tab, you’re able to mark a post as a Featured Post. This is a simple way to draw attention to a blog post that you feel really needs to be seen by your audience.
As with all blog posts, going the extra mile and including a thumbnail photo in the Options tab will make the post more appealing.
Add an archive or category page
An archive page is a handy way to collect all your blog posts into a single, easy to navigate location. This is a useful method for helping new visitors dig into past posts they may have missed. It can also help longtime fans find posts they’ve enjoyed in the past.
Developing a loyal and interested group of readers is possible by making it easy to discover new and old content. That three year old post shouldn’t start growing cobwebs. Celebrate it!
Getting an archive page going is easier than you may think. First things first, a blog archive will need a page on your site, so add a new one in the Squarespace Sidebar. I recommend adding this page to your Footer Navigation or Not Linked section, but that’s completely up to you.
Style everything as you’d like. Adding a summary block here is the same as anywhere else—click the insertion point where you’d like the block to appear. Choose the options you want and voilà!
The summary block may seem unassuming at first, but there’s a lot of potential in what it offers. Its ability to display your content with minimal effort makes it a winning tool in my book.
Give it a go with your own site. I think you’ll find it a handy way to increase engagement with your visitors and put a professional appearance to your website and blog posts.
Stay dandy, cats.