There wasn't anything wrong with where my blog was. My friend Matt hosted it for 7 years, originally starting as an employee benefit while I worked at MakaluMedia. But since 2008 I've worked at other firms and it was time for my blog to move on too.
I nearly moved the blog to WordPress, but there was always something holding me up from making the jump. My concern about redirecting Google traffic from popular posts to the new site's blog format, along with other technical details, mixed into a busy life were enough friction to delay me.
On episodes of This Week in Tech podcast, I constantly heard about SquareSpace — how easy it was to migrate, the in-browser design control, iPhone app and more. I was curious and decided to export my blog (again) and import into SquareSpace. What I found was a very easy, integrated system.
I found it very easy to start with a template and pretty quickly tune it to match the minimalist design I had in mind. Rather than firing up BBEdit and CSSEdit, locating files, getting my head around code, I was working in-browser, adding modules and text, tuning the design and getting things in place right away.
For my crazy life right now, less friction and immediate control are huge. I have limited time to spend these days, so I'm always looking for ways to make the time I have more effective.
Once I had the design close enough, my buddy Michael Ashby helped give me the kick in the pants last Tuesday, to pull the trigger on moving to SquareSpace with my blog and my email to Google Apps.
Here are some of my favorite features:
- The ease and control of getting a site up and running with all in-browser tools
- A very handy iPhone app that manages quite a bit: creating and editing posts, comment review and approval, and site stats
- Modules that covered what I most needed on my blog and were pretty easy to configure
- Easy URL forwarding within the CMS, letting me create easy aliases for old or new URLs
- Secure, hosted environment I never need to worry about updating to the latest version
- A 10% off lifetime coupon from TWiT (using the code TWIT)
Of course every system as limitations and so does SquareSpace:
- No root access and no FTP access. If you need this feature, being without root access and FTP might be a deal-breaker. Initially I thought this was a big deal for me, until I realized I've not needed or used either feature on my old blog for a long time.
- Limited template options and no community of template sellers compared to WordPress or Tumblr for example. However, for my minimalist design, the template I started with worked fine.
- Limited Modules compared to WordPress
- A little pricier at just under $18/month (1 year paid in advance) with the TWiT 10% coupon, though with that comes blog security and a great CMS backend for my needs. Besides, it's a business expense.
I'm happy to have made the move, glad for a change that's pumpied new life into my blog.
There are still broken images, hosted in a different spot on the old blog that I'm addressing. I have more elements to add to the design and decisions to make about what to keep from the site and what to remove, but that's normal.
Clearly, the greatest feature for me is the direct, in-browser design and module editing. I really feel that every moment logged into SquareSpace is a moment converted to positive action on my blog.
I'm looking forward to posting more regularly about my process and observations, thoughts, sketches and more with you all.
Readers who have been here a long time, thank you for sticking with me.
I appreciate you all.