Ditching the Press

I did a very strange thing recently. I drastically simplified my website. You might have noticed a few weeks back that my site was down for a few days. I needed to relocate to a new server, and I had an interesting decision to make: stick with Wordpress, which I've used as the hosting platform for MikeMadison.net for a decade, upgrade (in terms of potential functionality) and totally rebuild my website in Drupal, which I use for my day-job, or punt entirely and go with a managed solution like Square Space

Guess what? Square Space won.

Sure, you might be thinking, nice going Mr. Full-time Web Developer. Get lazy. Why do real work on your website when you can just pay someone else to do it for you? Wait. That's it exactly!

Five+ years ago, I was a free lance web developer and this website was one of several tools I used to garner business. "I'm good at the Internet, look at my web presence." It worked fairly well too. I supported myself (and my then-fiance, who was a student) on nothing by my income as a free-lancer. 

Now though, I do web development for an organization and I'm not soliciting business here. In fact, now that I've re-purposed the site to be about my writing, I've significantly simplified it's use. Oh, and I've done a terrible job of keeping Wordpress up to date. You know, security patches. Making sure my site doesn't get hacked, stolen, taken over, etc. Pretty important stuff. 

Enter this new decision. Drupal is, arguably, more powerful than Wordpress. I make my living leading a Drupal capability. But, Drupal takes a fair amount of energy and time to maintain, secure, and keep up to date. I do that every day, all day. The last thing I want to do is come home and do MORE of that. 

I heard about Square Space on a lot of the podcasts I listen to. I always wondered what it was, how it worked, and if it was worth it. This seemed like an opportune moment. It's different than using Wordpress, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes different is good.

A few of the things I like about Square Space:

  • It's really easy to use. Like foolishly simple, particularly the design part
  • I was able to import everything from Wordpress
  • I get to pretend I don't know d#@% about web development
  • I don't have to update ANYTHING but my content. 

A few things I don't like:

  • Things I think "should" be simple take a bit of prodding to figure out how to use
  • I have to rely entirely on their interface, API, etc. (Yes, you do with Wordpress and Drupal too, but they are a bit more extensible) 
  • I actually had to contact technical support because I can't figure something out. That's not really Square Space's fault, it's just embarrassing.

So yeah, the new and improved MikeMadison.net is, actually, new and "simplified" which means I can spend a lot more time on stuff that matters. Like writing. And reading. 

I would absolutely recommend looking into some sort of managed platform if you are in a position similar to me. A website is a luxury I CAN afford, but one that I don't want to suddenly have to pour my life into managing. Square Space is a really handy tool that helps me simplify that luxury. I'd recommend you check it out.