Goodbye Wordpress — Hello Evernote
"I Would love to hear more about how you used Evernote to create this website."
- A BigGreenApp.com reader
Yes. This site, along with all of my current sites, is managed directly from Evernote.
Of course, there is a third-party that allows me to "skin" my content and present it to you as you are reading it now.
I'd like to share with you:
- Why I moved away from a more traditional website hosting experience.
- A review of this service I'm using now.
- Some simple steps for customization if you'd like to do the same.
- Final thoughts on the future of this site and creating your website using Evernote.
Are you ready?
Why I moved away from a more traditional website hosting experience
There are three parts to the answer of why I moved my websites over to Evernote.
Part One: GoDaddy is TERRIBLE
I opened my account with GoDaddy in August of 2008 to host a photography site for my wife, Marah, and a website I was creating to be a social site for sharing creative art. I had recently left a job where I had taught myself website development and had graduated from html sites to Content Management Systems. I was building in Drupal and Joomla — and just learning about this blogging platform that was really gaining momentum — Wordpress.
In addition to our sites, I started freelancing — building sites for others who just needed an easy way to have a solid web presence. Soon after, I started working for Creative Technology Solutions. I was able to bring my customers and had a technology consultant behind me to find even more work. I used a variety of hosting companies, but I always kept my GoDaddy account. It was where I could learn and try things out, and honestly, it just worked. It seemed faster and more stable than many of the other hosts I tried.
Ten years later... I started noticing our sites just weren't performing. My sites had regular traffic, but nothing significant. Marah's site had been consistently growing, but still wasn't seeing the level of hits that would cause a problem. As I investigated, I noticed the file storage for our account was getting to be quite significant. She is a photographer, so beautiful images are a must, and they MUST take up a lot of space. So, I decided it was time to up our hosting fees and move to a professional plan to allow for more storage and more hosting power.
This pattern continued and I could simply not get the performance that was reasonable to expect. I worked with support. I moved all of my sites off of the account. Still... No good. The only remaining option was to step up to an account that would move to a dedicated hosting machine. This was a huge financial leap, and Marah's site still did not have the traffic to justify that expense. It was just these storage concerns that seemed to be the problem, BUT STILL... why was it so slow? We were paying a lot and it seemed like everything we tried was just driving the price up higher and higher.
I HAD ENOUGH
At this point, I had found a fantastic web host that specializes in Wordpress hosting, which was now my CMS of choice. I moved Marah's site away from GoDaddy, with all of her files, and it works like a dream at a fraction of the cost. Check it out!
The catch though is this new host does not simply provide an open hosting account. You can only host one site at a time. This meant I couldn't have my own projects playgrounds without paying for them, and most of them were just not worth the investment. I just wanted to try things. So, I felt like putting MY sites there was just not an option.
EVERNOTE TAKES CENTER STAGE
I had begun my Evernote journey soon after I opened my GoDaddy account. Initially, I was just taking some notes, but as time went on, it became my repository for everything I needed to keep and remember. Over time, I learned how to structure and manage all of that information. Soon enough, it became the central hub for my days. I started to wonder if I could possibly make the content I was creating in Evernote flow directly into my website. I tried a number of syncing tools, but everything I tried was inconsistent and cumbersome. I ended up still manually copying my content and pasting it to my website. I was frustrated and kept looking for a better solution. I looked for scripting options and other out-of-the-box ideas to connect Evernote to Wordpress.
ALONG CAME POSTACH.IO
Postach.io promised to provide a FREE blogging platform (with paid options for custom domains and access to additional features) that syncs a site with an Evernote notebook and provides a great-looking front-end. I had to try it out. It works! It is fast! It is easy! ... but IT IS LIMITED!
I wasn't sure if the paid account would give me what I want, but I was certain the free account wouldn't cut it.
- Custom domains — a must. This I knew I could get
- I wanted websites though. The blog feature could be part of the picture, but I didn't want that to be the focus. It needs to look like a website.
- Can I integrate with other features like landing pages and forms?
- I want customizable layouts
- Don't forget analytics and SEO
The good news is that Postach.io is cheap and provides 5 sites a month... plenty to play and still operate my standard sites. So... I made the leap and now have all of my sites hosted here, and so far, it is great.
THE DOWN SIDES
- Support has been fine, and I've not needed much, BUT you are mostly on your own. The Evernote syncing just works so I'm getting what I pay for, but if you really want to make a site of your own, you need to be willing to develop and invest. This is NOT a Drag-and-Drop kind of experience. It is still primarily a blogging platform and takes some creativity to make it a website.
- There are limitations. You have to figure out workarounds to do some of what you want AND you will never get the range of features you can get on popular CMS platforms like WordPress.
- Worst of all, the future of Postach.io is unknown. The site is quite, as is the Facebook page. I've reached out to ask, but I do not get responses to these kinds of questions. So, it works for now, but I have no idea how long. You definitely risk by moving your sites here, however, it has been rock solid for a few years now, so I hope to get a few more out of it.
I'm done with GoDaddy. I LOVE Postach.io. We'll see what the future holds
Should you move your site to Postach.io?
That very much depends.
- Are you willing to work with code to make the website you want? (I will try to help along the way)
- Do you need lots of features? I would only consider risking a website here for a business IF you really just want a standard website with lead funnels (which I'll also help with along the way)
- Are you okay with the possibility of needing to migrate to something else if it doesn't work out?
BUT IF YOU WANT A GREAT BLOG AND YOU USE EVERNOTE, LOOK NO FURTHER!
AND stick around for tips to get the most out of your blog.
Photo created and used with permission by Craiyon.