the notion effect

the notion effect

the notion effect

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
get your own notion avatar like the one i use on my homepage:
 

website woes

 
as an elder millennial, my first "website" was built on geocities. oof. later iterations included a self-hosted, ultra-basic HTML page; many miserable wordpress sites; the beta version of ghost; and eventually squarespace.
 
the release of squarespace 7.1 reduced flexibility, made templates generic, and, worst of all, got... slower and less responsive. 😢 i once again started thinking about seeing other sites.

what is notion, anyway?

 
notion is a very hip, relatively new collaboration SaaS platform that hit it big on product hunt. it combines product management tools like kanban boards databases, with documents and calendars. everything is written in markdown. the basic version is free.
 
an entire ecosystem started developing around notion, including ways to turn notion into a website. instead of using traditional content management systems like wordpress, you can take the content you're already creating in notion and instantly make a site.

how much?

 
i'm not sure cost needs to be the main driver, because there are more significant differences. much of the ecosystem around notion, as well as notion itself, offers free versions. obviously, this may change as companies scale or are acquired. there's also drawbacks to using notion that aren't purely monetary, like existing outside google's grasp.
  • annual squarespace + google workspace subscription: $216
  • annual potion.so + fastmail subscription: $143

the verdict

 
the biggest difference? speed.
 
i was disappointed to see squarespace, which has marketed their sites as mobile responsive for years and years, get dismal results on pagespeed insights - as low as 48 on mobile for my basic, text-based site with one image on the homepage! desktop did better with 93, but can't come close to the near-perfect performance of notion-based sites.
 
it isn't just the page loads that are quick. building a site in notion is fast as well. you type, create, and changes are instantly in production. remember the slow agony of publishing a change to pages on wordpress? oof.
 
it's also refreshingly simple. it almost feels like you're building a website in something like bear, a lightweight, markdown-based note app.
 
and honestly, it's just neat to be part of a different way of doing things. the internet is always changing. that's the best thing about it - there is no "we've always done it this way." move fast and break things that don't work for you anymore. i think that's the official motto.