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Dandy Cast 004: Why I'm considering leaving Squarespace...

Sean Anderson
Sean Anderson

This podcast episode was recorded as an accompanying audio version of the Dandy Newsletter that was published on December 10, 2019.

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Show notes

So Squarespace is pretty dang great. I’m not denying it and I don’t believe anyone else is denying it either. Well, except all those people at Wix. I’m just going to assume that there’s a dart board with Squarespace’s logo taped to its front somewhere in Wix headquarters.

Those guys must be so salty!

Squarespace is great, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not for me or Dandy Cat Design anymore. The needs of this business are growing beyond the capabilities of what it can provide for me. As all things in this world must, it’s time for Dandy Cat to grow up and become a part of something better. Enter Ghost...

There’s a brand new blog post waiting for you. It’s called, How To Learn To Use CodePen.

CodePen is a brilliant tool for the web developers of the world. Why waste loads of time opening up your heavy IDE when you can hop onto CodePen and write and test your code snippets online? Plus it’s crazy intuitive and snappy to use? It’s a win-win. I’m talking about how to use it in this week’s post.

We’re wrapping things up with what I’m watching, reading, and listening to this week. It’s a great assortment of media that’s worth your time.

Links to stuff that was mentioned:

Squarespace

Wix

Squarespace’s new 7.1 platform - Squarespace

CodePen

How To Learn To Use CodePen - Dandy Cat Design

Travelers - Netflix

A Deeper Understanding | The War on Drugs - YouTube

Worth Dying For | Lee Child - Goodreads


The full text

The Dandy Newsletter - 12/10/19

The end of this year, indeed the end of this entire decade (depending on what you believe), is coming to a close in just a few short weeks. What a crazy and sometimes ridiculous handful of years these have been. Back in 2010, I started the decade traveling to Lithuania and all over Europe, thinking that I’d soon move to England and start living the British life with my then-girlfriend. Clearly, I’m not in England right now. You can tell because I’m not sticking the letter U at the end of words like “honor” and “color.”

But much respect, English people.

Mid-way through the decade, I got serious about school again, enrolled in a film production program, and earned myself a shiny college degree.

And then there was a big loss in my family that changed so much for me and started me down the path I’m currently navigating.

The start of a new year/decade is a great time to take stock of your life and figure out what’s really working for you. What can you change about your life? What’s going great and should really keep on being great? What goals do you want to set out for yourself this coming year?

I don’t think I have the answers to those big questions just yet. I have some serious thinking to do before I can nail those down. What I can go into is something that’s been on my mind lately: reevaluating my systems. See, I’ve got this business that runs on Squarespace. It’s a developing business built on a platform that I’ve used for years and am comfortable with. I’ve got some mad Squarespace skill. But what good is a new year unless you ask yourself if you’re doing things the best way they can be done?

We fail ourselves if we forever set pieces of our lives or businesses in stone. Not just set them there, but also feel that our lives or businesses then never need to be changed. Frankly, it’s bananas to avoid ever asking yourself if you’re living your life the best way it can be lived.

Back to Squarespace. I recently relaunched Dandy Cat Design. Instead of building it on the same ol’ template I’d been using, I built it on Squarespace’s brand spankin’ new 7.1 platform. It seemed to offer a lot of convenience that their old platform couldn’t achieve. It’s the new hotness.

So I built a new website on it and, while doing so, nearly tore my hair out. I know I was essentially a beta tester for the new platform. I can’t live on the cutting edge without getting cut once in a while. I’ve been making it work for me since I started, but using 7.1 has been a slow and laborious process. It was not the easy thing that Squarespace made it out to be.

A few of my choice gripes:

  • If you want to use a font that’s not one they’re featuring, then you need to go into their advanced font settings to change it. I’m using the Nunito font throughout my site, but Squarespace displays my chosen font as “Poppins (Custom).” The text on my site displays as Nunito, but the font editor still says Poppins. Why?
  • I’ve had my main blog page design reverted back to its default look probably more than 10 times. It got to the point where I had to take screenshots of my settings so I wouldn’t lose anything. I did write to them about it. Apparently, it shouldn’t happen anymore. Ditto to all this with my product item pages.
  • For my blog posts, I tend to use the “Edit Post” window, but I know many people prefer to edit their posts on their website page. That way they can see how their post will appear as they type it out. That’s not currently possible with 7.1. You’re stuck writing in the “Edit Post” window.

The thing that takes the cake, though, is there’s currently no way to convert a 7.0 website to a 7.1 website. If you want to use their new platform—the one that’ll have all their new and future things—you’ll have to do as I did and start a new website from scratch. Like, rebuild the entire damn thing and start a new billing cycle for this new website you have to make. Thankfully, I was at the end of an annual subscription, so the timing was good, but that’s still a baffling thing.

And it’s enough to make me wonder, “Would WordPress be better for me?”

There’s a whole lot more freedom to be found in hosting your own WordPress site. Sure, many aspects of website building are far easier on Squarespace, but they come with a lot of limitations. More importantly, I wouldn’t be reliant on Squarespace sticking around forever if I hosted my own website. If Squarespace were to go under tomorrow, then I’d be in trouble. I’d be forced to rebuild my website again, and not by choice. If a WordPress host goes under, then I’d just need to find another host. I wouldn’t lose my entire freaking website because it’s all on my computer.

It’s unfortunate that the reason why I’m considering switching website platforms is because Squarespace’s new website builder can be so unfriendly. 7.1 was supposed to make the whole process simpler. They pride themselves on being one of the easiest website builders out there, but it took me a while to figure out 7.1. And I’m good at this stuff.

So with this new year and decade, I’m starting to wonder if Squarespace is right for me these days. Do I want to be locked into a platform that gives me such unpleasant challenges? Can I suffer any more of those headaches? Will a self-hosted WordPress site be a better home for Dandy Cat Design in the long run? I’m a long way from making a decision, but I am reevaluating if this part of my life is really working for me.

I’m so curious to find out what this new year has in store.

Let me tell you about something new I'm learning...

I’ve got a new blog post up for you. I’m working on sharing more about all I’m learning these days and this is the start of that. It’s called: How To Learn To Use CodePen.

As they describe it, “CodePen is a social development environment for front-end designers and developers.” What that all means is CodePen can be used to create things with code and share them with the CodePen community or elsewhere online.

I’ve been using it as the starting point for all the Dandy Cat Design CSS plugins. I make sure my ideas can work on CodePen first before bringing them over to Squarespace. It’s a really clever tool.

Read on to my post today so you can learn:

  • How CodePen can be used by anyone and everyone, even those without extensive coding knowledge.
  • Why you’d want to use CodePen instead of the more heavy duty development tools like Atom or Sublime Text.
  • All about how to use CodePen’s powerful code editors to create your very own web development projects.

Get yourself ready for a fun dose of discovering something new. It was a great joy to learn how to use CodePen and even more fun to write about it for you here.

If you ever want to throw some suggestions my way, then leave a comment on Instagram or at the end of one of my blog posts. Or heck, reply to this email.

Seriously friend, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, stay dandy, cat.

Podcast

Sean Anderson

Lover of productivity tips, Apple devices, and vegan ice cream. Mostly, I'm busy petting cats 🐱 and dogs 🐶


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