Matthew Lindfied Seager

Matthew Lindfied Seager

Why I Moved from GitHub Pages to Micro.blog

My first attempt at blogging regularly was on my Squarespace site while I was trying to “go indie” in 2016. If you’ve ever heard a podcast episode you probably already know the benefits of Squarespace but what drew me in was getting a high quality, mobile-optimised site without having to worry about servers, backups, downtime and deployments.

A few months later I was back in a real job and so when it came time to renew my indie “hire me” site I decided to cancel with Squarespace and find somewhere cheaper (preferably free) to host my writing.

In August 2017 I decided to migrate my posts from Squarespace to a static Jekyll site hosted on Github Pages. In addition to being free, I was really enjoying learning how to use Git more and more in my day job and I had grown to like GitHub. The fact my content was now portable (more portable than Squarespace anyway) and I could write in a real text editor instead of Squarespace’s web UI (not optimised for free form writing) was the icing on the cake.

There’s a lot to recommend about a Jekyll site on GitHub Pages including:

  • You can use your own domain (as I did)
  • You own your own content, you aren’t just contributing to the content mill of Facebook/Medium/LinkedIn/whoever
  • Your content is very portable, especially if you use Markdown for formatting (I was already using Markdown for nearly all of my Squarespace posts)
  • You have fine grained control over appearance, dates, comments, URLs etc
  • You can write in any text editor you like, including native Mac/iOS clients

That being said, several of those strengths have flip-sides that I discovered actually turned them into weaknesses for my wants and needs. For example, being able to use any text editor you like is nice but that flexibility also means you need to use a separate tool (git) for the actual publishing. And having fine grained control over appearance, dates, etc can be nice from time to time but the rest of the time I’d rather not have to manually name & move files and type out the Front Matter by hand.

They aren’t deal breakers but they were impediments to me writing regularly and so I’ve decided to move all my writing to Micro.blog. It feels like a really nice blend of what I liked about Squarespace and what I like about Github Pages:

  • Someone else takes care of all the plumbing… but at $5 (US) per month it’s a lot more affordable than Squarespace and I still have good control over the content (including mirroring it to Github if I want to)
  • I can use a variety of apps (I’m not limited to the Squarespace web UI) but, if I choose one that supports the MetaWeblog API (I’m writing this in MarsEdit), I don’t need to manually manage all the metadata or switch tools to publish

Tomorrow I plan to write about the process of moving my domain name and old posts from GitHub pages to Micro.blog (if I’ve figured it out by then :)).