I wanted to make a website. And I never really started. At best, I bought a domain here and created my own 'under construction' page. But with the current situation (lockdown!) and with more time than ever (lol ha i wish!), I decided to give it another go.
My preliminary research for websites got me into Jekyll. Why not Wordpress, Squarespace, or any other CMS solution for that matter? At the time I wanted more freedom into how I was building the website.
At a glance, Jekyll seems simple, fast, free, and easily customizable. It seemed easy to use and easy to maintain. On top of that, it would provide me the chance to re-learn coding. Naturally, it seems like a reasonable option.
Everything was good until I finally started using it. I made a repo, figured out a decent workflow, and spent way too much time trying to set up the perfect environment. After that I spent way too much time re-learning the basics. Then too much time deciding on which template or which framework.
Given too much freedom, I ended up with too much procrastination, and too little time to create anything meaningful. I ended up with barely any results. I even found out that I hate writing in Markdown later on.
So I dropped the project. "Temporarily", I thought.
As I was reorganizing my Google Drive files, I suddenly had a notion to check out Notion—no kidding. Immediately, I created an account and started experimenting.
Building a website with Notion was not even on my mind then, but I just felt like I needed to produce something to balance the recent overdose of digital consumption. So I explored the idea of documenting my digital journey during coronavirus (results here). And the first few hours of Notion blew my mind. I was inspired and found myself too excited to sleep! It was because I started producing more than I was procrastinating!
On top of that:
- Notion is just so easy to use. And I have found myself being able to produce more content.
- Creating content + Neat visuals = Confidence to publish
- Confidence to publish → Website!
As much as I like to use Notion, I needed a way to publish things to my own domain. Why? Maybe because having a personal website while still retaining the notion.so domain just doesn't feel right. It feels like building a home without a proper address. At least for me.
Unfortunately custom domains are currently not a feature, despite being a popular request. Which means that a lot of people have the same need, some of which I am sure have managed to find a way to either:
- Build a web then use Notion as a CMS by reverse-engineering its private API like this, this, or this.
None of them really fit my simple need, until I found this clever way of redirecting to a public Notion page while still retaining the custom domain url!
Digging deeper from the key source, I realized that manipulating the response is even possible, opening up possibilities to add new components or even completely change the look!
Unfortunately, this is not an optimal solution. It is a hacky one. As with all hacky solutions, it is reasonable to come with its drawbacks. While the implementation of this website enabled to focus more on producing content, it would not allow me to do a lot of things that I would want. Someday, I'll really need to build my own website.
- I wanted to make a website
- I went in with Jekyll and got stuck in procrastination hell
- I tried Notion for another thing, but was hooked by its experience
- I produced more with Notion and wanted to publish the things publicly but to my own domain
- This is a hacky temporary solution, it has its drawbacks but it works for now