Windows Live Writer for Squarespace Users

windows-live-writer

Windows Live Writer logo Windows Live Writer for Squarespace Users photo

Although Squarespace has its own editor, I prefer using an offline desktop program to write all my posts. There are a couple of reasons for doing so that may or may not apply to your own situation.

Why I use Desktop Blogging Software

1. Internet Service. I use mobile broadband almost exclusively. Which means that service can be spotty and signal strength fluctuates at times. I’ve written a couple of masterpieces only to lose the entire document after clicking save. Either I lost the connection or the software is faulty. Whichever it is, it’s just not worth the risk anymore.

2. The Squarespace software is limited. There’s no interlinking between posts, no way to add plugins for your specific needs, and it just doesn’t utilize screen space well in my opinion. You have no way of knowing exactly how your post will look until you save and close. In other words, the editor version doesn’t account for your blog’s custom margins, content width, etc.

So what’s a girl to do? Because I’m stuck with a Windows machine, I use Windows Live Writer. Microsoft has done a couple of things worthy of praise, and that’s WLW and their MS Notes software. Both are excellent for bloggers. If you are a Mac user, I hear excellent things about Mars Edit.

Windows Live Writer

One of the best things about Live Writer, is the ability to customize it to your needs, including PLUGINS! YEH! These include Amazon affiliate links, SmugMug for photographers, image affects, and the list goes on and on.

But the first thing you will need to do, is download the WLW software from the Microsoft website. A word of caution- a bunch of other crap bloated software will be added on to the package. You will have to opt-out or it will automatically be installed along with WLW. Yuk! Don’t you just hate that?

Once you have installed the WLW software, you will need to set up your workspace by adding and entering your blog credentials. For Squarespace, that includes selecting Other Services from the Options > Account > Add.. Menu. You will then enter your web address, user name, and password. WLW will then import your site’s squarespace template settings so you can see how your article or post will look like when it goes live. How cool is that?!

wlw blog service other thumb Windows Live Writer for Squarespace Users photowlw account thumb Windows Live Writer for Squarespace Users photo

After you have your blog added, go ahead and check out some of the specific Blog Options (separate from the general WLW options).  You will want to click on the Advanced setting and make sure XHTML is chosen as your markup language as well as selecting Supported for Scripts and Embed tags options.

wlw advanced settings thumb Windows Live Writer for Squarespace Users photo

Once you get the software up and running, you will want to check out the plugins from the official WLW plugin website. Depending on the needs of your website or blog, you will want to install plugins that best suit your goals.

Now you are ready to start writing! One of the best features you will notice is how easy it is to insert links. Unlike the ss software, you can also set hyperlink “rel” values (nofollow, enclosure, license, etc.), add alt text to images,  and link to previous posts, all from one screen. No need to switch to HTML view.

wlw insert hyperlinks thumb Windows Live Writer for Squarespace Users photo

After you have completed your article or blog post, all that’s left to do is upload and publish to your website. I post as draft just to make sure everything looks ok.

Publish draft to blog thumb Windows Live Writer for Squarespace Users photo


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Squarespace user since 2009. Traveling throughout North America with my first husband and three kids. You can follow our journey at FoggyPhils. (http://www.foggyphils.com)

8 Comments on "Windows Live Writer for Squarespace Users"

  1. Curt Moreno says:

    This is a great tip! I am really liking the ease of use and the environment of WLW vs. the standard SS editor.

    Just one question, ok two:
    1. What are the plugins that you are finding most useful?
    2 . Is the “official” plugin store the only source you use or do you have other sources for plugins?

    Again, thanks for a great write up.

    - KFD -

    • Holly says:

      Sorry for the delayed response Curt but I’ve been busy volunteering and picking up palm froms all week!

      I’ve only used plugins that are taken directly from the WLW plugin site. The only other place I “might” trust to get one from is if someone built an awesome must-have plugin that they were selling, otherwise there is not other reason (other than malicious) a plugin developer wouldn’t have the plugin in the repository. So far, I haven’t discovered one worth paying for ;)

      I find the best way to search the plugin repository is to search by Popular and search by Recently Updated.

      With the latest WLW update, some of the Plugins aren’t necessary but these are the ones I have enabled right now:

      Generate Tags

      Poloroid Picture

      Zementa (good for finding related tags and articles)

      SmugmugtoLivewriter

      Table Plugin

      Insert Amazon Details

      Website Capture Plugin

      I’m always looking for new plugins worth installing so let me know if you find one you think I should know about. One thing to remember though, is that some plugins (especially Zementa) can slow down the software. Part of the reason it locks up on me sometimes, is because I’m primarily using wireless mobile broadband so YMMV. Good Luck and thanks for the nice comment :)

  2. Hey there! Is there a program similar to this that Mac users can use?

  3. Holly says:

    Ecto and MarsEdit are the two I hear the most about for Mac. Unfortunately, they come with a price (~$20 I think) but should have free trials. I’ve even heard of some people installing Windows on their Mac just so they can use WLW (and probably MS Office Suite if truth be told ) Let me know if you find anything else that’s promising. Oh and I also should mention that I use Scribefire sometimes, which is a browser add-on for Chrome and/or firefox that should be available no matter your OS as long as you have one of those browsers (mozilla firefox or google Chrome) good luck in your search :)

  4. code-d-code says:

    check ths windows live writer XsltPlugin here http://bit.ly/wQpeiF

  5. Holly says:

    Just found an article written by another Squarespacer on how to configure Mars Edit. You can check it out here:
    http://luo.ma/tech/configuring-marsedit-for-squarespace.html

  6. jkavanagh58 says:

    Other “crap bloated software”? Windows Live Essentials is crapware? Very interesting.

    • Holly says:

      Not sure if you are asking a question or making a statement, but yes, it’s definitely not SLIM. You can keep it trim by manually installing only what you need. Unfortunately, there are not many options and WLW makes it easy to incorporate all kinds of media and interactions that isn’t available in a simple test editor (eg. notepad). I’m actually on a Mac now and trying out MarsEdit. For those of us with unreliable internet, “live” blogging is just too dangerous!!

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