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Mike Rohde (Color - Square)

ROHDESIGN is the website of designer Mike Rohde, who writes on design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books & coffee.
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Entries in Blogging (59)


The Great Rohdesign Blogshift

SquareSpaceSeven years ago, I started the Rohdesign Weblog.

Last week I moved my blog from Movable Type on a friend's server to SquareSpace. Here's why.

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.

Enter SquareSpace

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.

SquareSpace Benefits

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)

SquareSpace Limitations

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.


Related Links

Yahoo! Interface Blog: SquareSpace
ISO50: Building a Site with SquareSpace
Melody: Movable Type Open Sourced


7 Years Blogging

7.pngWell what do you know — today is my 7th anniversary of writing at the Rohdesign Weblog.

I began this blog as a way to capture my thoughts on design, travel, technology, and more after selling my e-zine, the Palm Tipsheet in 2003.

Along with my articles here, you can also follow me on Twitter as @rohdesign for daily commentary.

Thanks for staying with me as readers for all these years, I appreciate your support!


6 Years Blogging

rohdesign-6years.gifWelcome to year 6 of continued blogging at Rohdesign.

I'm pleasantly surprised at how sustainable my blog has been.

It's good to see this space remain a place I can share my thinking, processes, insights and design work with others.

A Busy Year
This year has been especially tough. I've dealt with a job change, incredible busyness professionally and personally and the impact of using Twitter to share small tidbits I might have posted here a few years back.

There was a rise visibility of my sketchnotes from SXSW Interactive 2008, SEED 3 and An Event Apart this past year, and a few posts about my design process to boot.

Goals for Year 7
One of my goals for my 7th year is a focus on sharing more of my design process posts, from initial challenge to final solution for logo, icon and other design and UI work I'm up to. In fact, I have 2 posts brewing already.

I want to say thanks to you, my readers and visitors, for leaving comments and visiting the blog all of these years. Thanks go to my family and friends, who have always been supportive of my work here.

I appreciate you all, and I'm looking forward to a great 7th year of blogging.


I've Gone Pink for October!

idesignstudios_p4o.jpgIn honor of my friend Kathy who is a breast cancer survivor (Yeah!) I've decided to go Pink for October.

Thanks to Matthew Oliphant for starting this off and challenging people like me to raise awareness of breast cancer and the important research and preventive care needed to fight it.

Learn more about going pink at


Rohdesign Rated 8.5/10 at

Rohdesign at BloggedLast week while on vacation in Pennsylvania, the Blog review site rated as an 8.5 out of 10. That's a pretty decent rating, considering my tendency is toward fewer, in-depth posts.

If you'd like to add your own review of Rohdesign at, look on the Rohdesign review page — there's an area for ratings and comments at the bottom of the page.


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