When I first started blogging, I moved from a free wordpress.com account to Squarespace - and bought my own domain! DrewHawkins.org (.com was taken....still is) was when I really started to get into publishing my own content.
As I learned more, I realized I was missing out on a lot of customization options that Wordpress's CMS had to offer. Other friends of mine in the same space encouraged me to start a self-hosted blog on Wordpress. So I registered brainwads.com on Bluehost and away I went blogging on Wordpress.
Except I messed up.
I had accidentally put all of the hosting on brainwads.net. More specifically, brainwads.net/drewhawkins. Setting up websites was something I had never done and obviously had some wires crossed. Instead of trying to fix everything to .com, I just rolled with it and blogged on BrainWads.net/drewhawkins for several years.
I loved Wordpress and everything was going smoothly. I was a happy blogger. Still am.
If everything was going smoothly, why did I switch?
The one great thing about Wordpress are the plethora of tools, plugins and themes available for use. It's an open source platform, meaning anyone can develop tools for it. It's a blessing and a curse. There is no shortage of tools and customization options...but there's no guarantee that the extension you download is going to work as advertised.
I found myself wasting a lot of time tinkering with my site. I kept trying out new themes, new plugins and other customization options to make my site better. The end result was a lot of clutter on the back end of my site and a slow user experience. My page load times kept getting slower.
I needed to simplify everything about my site. I was using a shared server, which doesn't help. Plus, I was getting tired of the .net URL.
I took a step back and figured out what I wanted out of a website.
I just wanted a site that looked nice and was made for writing. Something that wasn't going to take a lot of my time. I realized I wasn't trying to start a new business. I wasn't trying to build a magazine or media company. I just wanted a place to publish my blog and give others an opportunity to contact me.
After hearing an ad on a podcast, I decided to give Squarespace a free trial. Again.
Squarespace has really upped its game since several years ago. I loved its simplicity and clean design. It's not open source and doesn't have quite the amount of customization options Wordpress does...but that's part of its appeal. Every tool you use on here is stripped down and pre-vetted by a team. The ongoing maintenance for a Squarespace blog appears (so far) to be very, very minimal.
After a couple of nights of tinkering, I bought a year subscription, which also got me a free domain and free hosting. I found a template I liked and spent some time designing it to where it looked more professional (to me) and had a heavier emphasis on visual content.
Writing on here is also a dream. I love it. The whole user experience is very well thought out.
Now, this blog lives at thebrainwads.com and will continue to for the long haul.
I did a poor job prioritizing my URL renewals and now someone is squatting BrainWads.com...hence why there's a "THE" at the front end of my new URL.
Squarespace also allows you to connect Google Apps and email to the site with one click, so I'm also now reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does this mean for you, the reader?
Hopefully nothing will change for you. I've set up and tested all of the 301 redirects and they appear to be working fine. My email subscribers shouldn't see a change in delivery (minus time of day). People who read this on Feedly shouldn't see a change either.
However, if something does appear to be acting weird or content isn't getting delivered like it used to, let me know in the comments or by clicking here. I'll continue to make small adjustments to the site as we go on. Take a look around and tell me what you think.
Thanks to everyone who has been following along for the past few years. It's been fun and will hopefully continue to be.