Departing Squarespace

After writing earlier this year that I was moving my website back to Squarespace, I changed my mind and rebuilt it in Hugo.

I did this because Squarespace sent me an email saying something about increasing their prices and, since returning to Squarespace, I had been experimenting with exporting to Hugo from org-mode using ox-hugo to build static sites.

When I can, I like to see if I can build things myself rather than paying money for it. I quite like Squarespace but it was too expensive for a simple site like this. Given a rise in pricing, I felt like it was the right time to apply what I’d learned about Hugo to make a new self hosted site. And I did.

In the previous entry I wrote that I changed back to Squarespace because I didn’t want to spend time remembering configurations for my self-hosted site. That’s still true, but the workflow here is simple, which makes it easy:

  1. Update an org-mode file with new content.
  2. Export the new content using ox-hugo.
  3. Rebuild the website using Hugo.
  4. Commit the changes to a Git repository.

The changes to the repository are detected by a Digital Ocean app which then triggers deployment of the updated site.

An advantage of this approach is that all the written content for the website is contained in a single org-mode file, which makes creating and updating pages simpler even than Squarespace’s internal editor. It also makes it much easier to search site content.

I also spend a lot of time in org-mode and Emacs anyway, so I won’t lose familiarty with how site content is managed.

Changing the site design is more complex because I have to edit the Hugo theme css and layout files, which I don’t enjoy at all (I would go so far as to say that searching for truly simple static site generators, and learning to use them, is an exercise in immense frustration for anyone who is only casually acquainted with front-end web development). Since I am happy with the current design, I’m unlikely to revisit this unless I have to.

A few “nice to have” things didn’t make the cut, like image galleries, but I didn’t think these were that important.

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