From Blogger to Squarespace - Day 49

In some ways I wish I left Blogger two years ago. And in other ways I feel I picked the perfect time to leave. Squarespace is a mature product now and there's something to be said for jumping in when the company is just hitting its stride. There's also the fact that after using Blogger for ten years I can fully appreciate the quality-of-life improvements and general upgrades I get from using a much superior product.

Finally, a WYSIWYG Editor That Actually Works!

I've transferred my blog many times. This is in fact my seventh time changing web hosts! And this has for sure been the smoothest and nicest transition yet. I'm actually enjoying the experience.

Editing posts is a dream. Everything in the editor is isolated from each other by their HTML block level elements. So if you start writing text, that's the <p> element and it gets its own block. If you add an image that's a new block with <img> tag and so on! And if you want to move a block around just click and drag it to a highlighted hotspot or insert point. It's so elegant! Where has this been all my life? I love, love, love editing in Squarespace.

Yes, I'm describing WYSIWYG! But I've hated WYSIWYG all my life. Shitty WYSIWYG implementations are the reason why I've only ever edited my websites in plain text. And don't try to sell me on Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is a slow, bloated, memory hogging dumpster fire! All Dreamweaver ever did was slow down my production and cement my ire for WYSIWYG.

But Squarespace has taught me that good WYSIWYG is possible. Who knew, right? And if you ever need to put some code on your site you can just use a code block. Too easy!

A Single Tab Experience

To add an image you just upload it. Say goodbye to copying URLs from a separate image host you have opened in the next tab. Squarespace hosts everything. This includes arbitrary files (up to 20MB per file) and even music! I've never seen anything like it. I'm blown away.

You can also connect many of your social accounts and web services to Squarespace such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. How does this help? Because again, this eliminates the need to open a new browser tab and copy URLs. Now it's all built-in and Squarespace can reference these accounts or services and use them when the need arises. There are so many welcome creature comforts on this platform. It's not only convenient, it makes for easier and faster production.

Of course, sometimes you need to bring something in from another tab. A tweet, for example. Squarespace has you covered with their oEmbed support! So just like on Twitter, when you share a link it's converted to rich embedded content. This uses the embed block, naturally. The running theme here is making your life easier. Everything just works!

How's the Move Going?

Of the 261 posts I published to Blogger I only have 86 left to go. That's a lightning fast turnaround time! To put that into perspective, I moved from LiveJournal to Blogger in 2008 and I still have over 300 journal entries remaining on there. Technically I never left. It's depressing! It's such a chore to post on Blogger that just the prospect of importing my LiveJournal posts always gave me a headache. I moved some but most remain on LiveJournal.

Let me tell you how Squarespace has made the import process a breeze. I'm not talking about the import tools because everybody has those. I'm talking about how the entries are formatted after the import. Again, Squarespace's amazing block system simplifies everything.

Some of my imported Blogger posts include a JavaScript code. When I encounter this code, it's inside its own block. Since the code isn't needed for Squarespace I can quickly just delete the block. Compare this to Blogger's (or ANY) editor where you'll need to tediously scroll through walls of text to find and delete the code. On Squarespace you just point and click!

I don't think you understand, this block system is EVERYTHING. It's elegant, simple and powerful. It solves so many problems! Unbelievable. I miss it when I'm on other platforms. It's because of this amazing system that I've been able to get so much work done.

Can You Digitally Remaster a Blog?

I could have just used the import tool and called it a day but I'm using this opportunity to scrutinize and review all my past work. Everything is getting a 99-point inspection. Here's a partial list of the work that goes into the import process.

  • Expanding on posts that are too short or brief.
  • Simplifying posts that are too long.
  • Rewriting entries below my current standard.
  • Combining multiple entries that work better as one.
  • Spelling.
  • Grammar.
  • Updating outdated tutorials.
  • Deleting posts that bring no value to nobody.
  • Adding page thumbnails/banner images. (New feature!)
  • Adding META descriptions. (New feature!)
  • Adding categories. (New feature!)
  • Uploading files. (New feature!)
  • Restructuring tags.
  • Checking for dead or bad links.
  • Linking to archive.org when needed.
  • Writing better titles.
  • Updating URL slugs.

These are just guidelines. For example, I've kept some entries as they are because I want to remember them that way. "New feature" indicates functionality I didn't have before like categories. Blogger has META descriptions but 99% of my posts don't have them and for the ones that did I'm rewriting them anyway.

I'm also counting thumbnails as new because the way Blogger does it is so trash that I had to code my own method. Neither Blogger's nor my own thumbnails translate to Squarespace's system thus I have to add one for every post. But I like their system so I don't mind.

It's quite a list, but with Squarespace it's all manageable. Every old entry is getting some love. And I can't wait to finally start moving my LiveJournal posts. I don't know why but I feel very satisfied after updating an old entry. Maybe it's the fact that I've been wanting to do this with Blogger for longest time. But the tools and feature set just made that a daunting proposition.

So When's The Relaunch?

You can expect the new site to drop either in late December or early January. I have a full-time job so you know how that goes. That's the other thing, the amount of work I've been able to get done in only my spare time is incredible! Okay, Okay, I'll stop. By now you're probably sick of hearing me sing the praises of Squarespace. Ha ha, sorry about that!

Alright, let's meet back here in thirty days. Enjoy your holidays and see you next month.

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