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71 Comments

Do you use Notion as a website?

A few weeks back I changed my websites to a Notion site.

You can view them here - rosie.land / rosiesherry.com

Anyone else doing the same? Care to share the url?

  1. 13

    From an SEO perspective - I would strongly advise against using Notion as a website builder.

    For one the sites I've seen are pretty slow, Google has announced that in 2021 page speed/experience is officially a ranking factor, so sites that load slow will begin to see that reflected in their rank.

    Also, and most importantly, all the meta data is specified for Notion, and appears to be the same for every page. This does nothing for your website, and will not help you rank in the least - in fact it will have the opposite effect.

    The <title> tag is 'Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases' and the meta description is 'A new tool that blends your everyday work apps into one. It's the all-in-one workspace for you and your team' and from checking the three sites all linked here that seems to be consistent across all public Notion pages.

    The title and meta description are what appear in Google search results, and should be unique across pages, if every page published on Notion has the same default Notion title and meta description then it's going to confuse Google and knock your ability for your site to rank.

    If SEO/traffic from search are not a concern, then it seems to be an easy enough way to build out a one-page site.

    EDIT
    On further digging it looks like some sites built with Notion do have custom titles/meta descriptions set - however if you do not set these it appears the default title and meta description for Notion is set, which is still pretty damaging for SEO.

    Not to mention the open graph information for some of these sties still points to Notion (ex. the twitter og info still has '@NotionHq' specified)

    1. 3

      Check out https://notion2site.com -- it's in beta and addresses all of your concerns.

      Here's a breakdown of how it works along with a comparison of Google Lighthouse scores. https://docs.notion2site.com/Hosting-Comparison-984d843c30654e1eb8df63e689655393

      1. 1

        Hi Travis, I am trying out notion2site and running into a snag. It says my page isn’t publicly accessible even though I’ve confirmed that it is.

        1. 1

          Hey Tim, sorry about that -- Notion changed some aspects of how they present their private API. I believe it should be fixed now.

    2. 2

      Hi Tyler! Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful breakdown of the downsides of using Notion. I'm building an extensive learning resource – The Library – but it's just one of the places I'm sharing the information.

      In addition to the library at Notion, I'm also building a website using Eleventy and using Playgroup as a private resource for members who are in The School of Design.

      The issue with the <title> is a major shortcoming, it affects everywhere I share. So, for example, if I share a page with a learner on WhatsApp or Slack, what they get is the Notion promotional copy. Not great.

      All that said, for me, the ability to quickly and easily create – and share – learning materials is fantastic.

      —Mr Murphy (But you can call me Chris)

      1. 1

        No problem!

        I definitely don't doubt the ease of use and benefit that provides for developing a nice looking website (I love using Notion as an internal knowledge base, it makes it so simple)- but the lack of a unique title tag and other meta elements means that Google won't rank your content on Notion highly which cuts your legs out from under you if organic growth is your goal for that content (which your other website provides).

        That's a big if though, SEO and ranking on Google is not everyone's goal or concern and that's completely valid, but if someone wants to build a product and have that product outrank their competition they need to use a platform that puts their website in the best position possible to rank.

  2. 4

    Over at Phlywheel, we use Notion for our Knowledge Center, which is a library of marketing resources for people to access and use.

    Unfortunately, I can't share the link here because it's an exclusive offering for our membership, but I can say that it has worked great for us so far.

    It's a pretty intuitive platform, making it easy for users to find resources and admins to add resources.

    1. 3

      Yes, I'm doing the same for Rosieland newsletter subscribers.

      The power with Notion for me is that I actually update it multiple times a week.

      1. 2

        This is why I opted to use it for The Library. It's so easy to update that I actually update it, as opposed to thinking about it and never doing it.

        It's so low friction it makes creating content for folks – learning materials – super, super simple. I've built The Library in short runs, an hour here, a half a day there, and that's made all the difference.

  3. 3

    I use Super with Notion for my website https://anotioneer.com. SEO's definitely a consideration and Super's planning to upgrade their platform to use static pages soon, which should help.

    1. 3

      Consider switching to a better solution 😉

      1. 1

        Thanks for the heads up, that looks like a cool service.

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      Hey @alexsherwood, your Notion site looks pretty sweet!

    3. 2

      Hello, Alex! I thought Super looked interesting. When I first saw it, all I could think was why doesn't Notion offer this functionality?!

      1. 1

        Ha! Maybe they will one day. I expect they're in the best position to ensure the best performance for the pages. I'm seeing companies using Notion pages as websites more and more lately so yeah, it seems like a no brainer!

  4. 2

    Hey @rosiesherry 👋

    I love Notion and have been working hard on https://notion2site.com for exactly this purpose.

    Your site's google lighthouse score is unfortunately a 22 / 100 right now which is pretty bad for SEO and usability.

    Here's a demo of your site hosted with Notion2Site: https://demo.notion2site.com/448d133dd3f24ca5a7117ecd8e5eaedd

    The rendering's not 100% perfect yet for some cases, but I'm really excited at the future of this space. 💯

    1. 1

      That reminds me a lot like the approach Vercel showed a few months ago.

      https://vercel.com/blog/serverless-pre-rendering

  5. 2

    Kind of, I'm using it as my portfolio which I send to clients, always worked fine and much faster than anything I built ever before. :)

    Although I can't share the link because of the projects and signed NDAs.

  6. 1

    NotionDog might help. No your own domain needed!
    The easiest way to build simple, powerful websites with nothing but Notion.
    And, it’s free. https://notion.dog

  7. 1

    check out www.typedream.co

    they're bringing the best of Notion to website building!

  8. 1

    I think its a great tool to test products, audiences, but definitely not for complex websites. There are tools like https://super.so/ and https://hostnotion.co/ that can help you with domain names and analytics

  9. 1

    I've never heard of this option, but this example shouts to me "hey, never forget to look at things from different angle!"
    Thanks for sharing this!
    Looks personalized and captivating

  10. 1

    I've built my portfolio using notion:
    https://www.notion.so/Portfolio-d7eda2f2ecaf406cbe608af2115ff217

    I was struggling to launch a portfolio, always jumping around from Framework to Framework, trying to making it perfect but never actually launching it. With notion I was able to focus on what mattered and launch it in less than a day.
    Technically, it's far from the perfect solution but when they finally release the API, I'll use it as a CMS and build a front-end for it.

  11. 1

    Love your setup! Clean and minimal ✨

    Also...five childer?! woah...that's awesome.

  12. 1

    Check this out: https://thelearninglibrary.in/
    I've built it with Notion and https://fruitionsite.com
    It is just my go-to learning resources for topics I'm curious about.

  13. 1

    I didn't know you can do that!! I absolutely love Notion though--I draft and plan all of my content now (I used to use Ulysses).

  14. 1

    I don't and don't see why I should!

    • Slow
    • Bad SEO

    I always suggest a static site generated locally (or somewhere else with a pipeline) and hosted on something that is fast like a CDN

  15. 1

    I’m not doing so currently, but would do it for e.g. company values or hiring documentation as part of a broader website. It’s become a bit of a standard with some startups and I think it works really well when you need to communicate at a more personal level with potential talent. Less show, more talk.

  16. 1

    Love Notion and use it every day but not for running websites. Notion is great at what it does, but there are better tools for building sites. It’s just not its forte.

  17. 1

    Always the contrarian, or maybe just an old curmudgeon, but I can't stand the aesthetics of Notion. I'm also not into the latest styling trend of oddly proportioned character sketches.

  18. 1

    Notion is not good for SEO

  19. 1

    @rosiesherry Has anyone gotten an IndieHackers tattoo yet???

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      Lol, not that I'm aware of. Maybe I'll be the first. 🤣

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        I'd be willing to pitch a few dollars for it! 😂I'm sure we could get some more IHers to join in...

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          Hah. Don't know if you know but about 10 people in the community I started before got themselves (Ministry of Testing) tattoos. 😬

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            I saw on your website 😄Trying to keep the trend going

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              What would a cool IH tattoo look like?

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                Hmm...Maybe a person at a desk with multiple monitors covering their face and all you can see is their shirt, which has a big 'IH' on it 🤷‍♂️

  20. 1

    Hey @rosiesherry, what are you using to map your Notion doc to a domain?

      1. 1

        Totally agree, check this site which I've built with: https://thelearninglibrary.in/

  21. 1

    Hi Rosie, I noticed when you did that, because I'm in the midst of a passionate love affair with Notion, totally cheating on Simplenote and Bear!

    😂

    I've been using Notion for around three months to create The Library, for The School of Design. The library is essentially a giant website, gathering everything I've learned across a 30+ year career, building startups and a 20+ year career teaching at Belfast School of Art.

    It includes content on: ideas × execution, branding, product storytelling, pricing, positioning, everything. All free.

    Mr Murphy (But you can call me Chris)

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        This looks great, Vinay. If you fancy jumping on a Zoom, would be great to swap notes. christopher [at] mrmurphy.com

        🚀

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          Sorry, Chris but I can't come on Zoom but I can add you as a collaborator on notion if you wouldn't mind

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      Amazing 💯

      Would love any feedback you may have on this hosted version: https://demo.notion2site.com/The-Library-98a9d72f127f40adb85f78a020bf1e76

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        I really like what you're doing. It loads nice and snappily. Are you able to add analytics with your service? That, for me, would be a huge win.

  22. 1

    Rosie, I've checked the site, and its pretty heavy in size. JS takes like 2MB and there are tons off ajax requests. I think Notion has in its JS bundle a lot of stuff you don't need. Your site is very light in design and it would be a perfect fit for something like Eleventy.

    Eleventy can generate static site code without the need of JS and you can place it on Netlify for free. Their CDN is super fast (global ping bellow 30ms, maybe except Australia)

    Please take a look: https://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.rosiesherry.com/XBoKK2aK

    If you want to get help with this just let me know.

    1. 1

      The site's just proxying notion's rendering, so she doesn't have any control over assets / cdn / etc. Check out this writeup for more info: https://docs.notion2site.com/Hosting-Comparison-984d843c30654e1eb8df63e689655393

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        You should create 301 from www -> non-www on your site ;)

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          Great call -- just added 😄

    2. 1

      The website we're currently building for The School of Design uses Eleventy, but…

      It's being built by a supersmart friend of mine. I think the appeal of something like Notion is that normal people – muggles – can use it to build a web presence quickly and easily.

      Is it a long-term solution? Absolutely not. As you've pointed out, there's a tonne of weight there JS, etc., that slows everything down. That said, for some, it's worth it for the ease of use.

      —Mr Murphy (But you can call me Chris)

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        Sure, it all depends on what is important for @rosiesherry Rosie in the long term.

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          Yeah, for me it's not a long term solution, I have plans for others things. So right now I don't really care about SEO or load time.

          I'm also super time poor. My the little spare time I have right now is better off being spent elsewhere.

          It's pretty powerful as a knowledge hub, I have a separate private one that I give access to for my paid newsletter subscribers.

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            Ok, Rosie. Makes sense. If you'll decide to move elsewhere with this I'm ready to help. Enjoy the summer :)

          2. 1

            I love that you're giving access to a separate private Notion for your paid newsletter subscribers. We're doing the same for The School of Design and it gives you another lovely added benefit.

  23. 1

    Big up for this! Like the simplicity and default building blocks by Notion.

    Currently running Virtual Mojito and my design portfolio on Notion.

    1. 1

      You're a heavy user of table + gallery views -- I love it 😄

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        Thank you @saasify - what features should we implement next?

  24. 1

    I believe Notion hasn't released the official API access yet and anyone supporting the custom domains on Notion must be scraping the content/caching etc and this could be risky.

    That is one of the reasons I kind of stayed away from using Notion as a site. I may be wrong too.

    1. 1

      Yep - Notion's public API isn't available yet.

      But you can use the API that all of their pages use -- https://github.com/splitbee/notion-api-worker is a great example of this. The core data model is extremely unlikely to change much or at all at this point, so once they release the public API it'll be an easy switch (per multiple sources within Notion).

      1. 1

        Makes sense. Got it!!

  25. 1

    I have built a website with Notion but my only issue is how much time it takes to load -reminds me of my angst with a slow internet connection. Shall overcome both one day :) The url is https://mytimecloset.xyz/

  26. 1

    This is an idea I had in the back of my mind for a long time. But I was too lazy to figure out how to use custom URLs. Thanks for showing the way!

    1. 1

      But, I was wondering if there's some utility to evaluate visitor metrics. Does Google Analytics have such a feature?
      (Sorry I'm a noob 😅)

  27. 1

    While I consider myself a power user of Notion I haven't really considered using it as a personal website. In fact I didn't even know you can have custom URLs with Notion?

      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 7 months ago.

  28. 1

    I am just starting to build something on notion - https://arpit.dev

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