No-Code October 3, 2020

Should I make a website on Notion?

Nico Cerdeira @nicocerdeira

I'm a big fan of Notion and I'm thinking about creating a personal site.

I've lately seen a lot of new websites built in Notion (probably because of @traf's new tool, Super) but I struggle to see a great cost-benefit relationship.

As for pros, I guess that the nice minimalistic look of Notion and how easy it makes it to create and update a website are the main two benefits. It is also really cool to keep everything within the same tool you use for other things, as well as keep the expenses at a low cost (Super only costs $4/mo for one site).

However, I've personally found Notion websites to be quite slow and difficult to navigate. I fear it will also limit my self in the future as I try to add more customization and features. Furthermore, in the case you want to publish content (as I do), I've heard that it isn't really good in SEO optimization (as far as I know, you can't edit meta title and descriptions, create H4 and H5, etc).

I have to say that there's something from Notion websites that I really like ;)

What are your thoughts on this?

  1. 3

    Hopefully you don't mind me chiming in, but our Static method solves most of this:

    – Search engines tend to favor static sites
    – Static sites are much faster than Notion's default docs (see https://super.so)
    – Per page SEO settings are coming to Super within the next few weeks
    – Custom JS/CSS allows you to truly customize your Notion sites (see https://icons.tr.af)

    1. 1

      Actually tagged you so that you could share your thoughts ;)

      That site is indeed really fast and the custom JS and CSS thing is amazing. Once you add the per page SEO settings, I can't think of any other disadvantages in that sense.

      Something that I was also thinking today is that Notion doesn't work with CMS templates and editors, so if you need to change something on all blog posts, you'd have to go page by page... or am I missing some Notion feature?

    2. 1

      Super looks like a natural addition of Notion. Good job there!

      One question. Is it currently possible to do custom URL paths for pages (e.g. site.com/myawesomepage)? If not, any plans?

      1. 1

        Thanks man! Yep, possible using our pretty URL feature. See https://super.so/showcase for example.

  2. 2

    Makes sense if you can port it to a static website. I wouldn't trust a platform that wasn't mean for hosting websites to do that for me.

  3. 2

    For testing an MVP Notion is pretty great. Building and shipping as fast as you can. If the idea validates, make your own website then cause you know a revenue will come if leads are coming from fast MVP ;)

    1. 1

      Yep, I was also thinking that. I guess it's also possible to integrate things with a payment platform like Stripe.

  4. 1

    If you want your website to rank/be found in Google search results I would strongly recommend avoiding it.

    Notion sites do not (from what I have seen) allow you to:
    -manage meta data (titles/meta descriptions)
    -manage the robots.txt (tells Google what not to crawl)
    -have a sitemap specific to your site (makes it possible for Google to crawl your site)
    -are slow, which will hurt your ability to rank

    If ranking on Google is a concern, by all means go for it! If it is, then use a CMS.

    1. 1

      Three of these points are inaccurate. If you're using our Static site method. We generate sitemaps based on your pages when using our pretty URL feature, and since we turn your Notion docs into static websites, page speeds are near instant. We also make sure the your site is crawlable by search engines. Per-page meta data settings are also coming soon.

      1. 1

        They are accurate for the Notion sites I have seen/tested.

        I checked out your demo site for the builder you are working on and you're right, it does have a sitemap and robots.txt specific to the site which is great.

        The ability to edit per-page meta data is critical though for SEO which is why I stress that right now a CMS is the best option because it has all of this baked in.

        1. 1

          Yeah agreed. We're definitely prioritizing this.

  5. 1

    If you're open to about 30 minutes of account creation and tutorial following, you can get a lot of the same features of super.so with https://fruitionsite.com. It's not a service itself, just a guide to accomplish similar results with notion sites. It relies on a free cloudfare account and an open source script they provide to use with it. It requires a little bit of tech savvy but it's essentially no code, just copy paste.

    It's not easily customizable and I don't think it serves the sites statically, but if you want pretty URLs and custom fonts, it's free and has worked for me.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing man, will check that as well ;)

  6. 1

    Totally :) I like running site on Notion. And I did twice:

    Virtaul Mojito and VenturesList

    1. 1

      They both look amazing! Any comments on the SEO part? I see that you don't have any blog posts or SEO-oriented pages but maybe you have something to share.

  7. 1

    I also think Notion is a great place to start with an MVP, there are a lot of options to create a personal/mvp site, you could this one out https://plexie.com

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