Substack is a fine tool for most, but I felt that it wasn't for me. I really liked what it had to offer as far as a newsletter. It was simple, easy to use, and allowed for me to worry less about the backend details and more on writing the content.
That said, I still wanted more control on the design, because I worried about being like everyone else on Substack and not being unique and recognizable.
If you are wondering why I want it to be recognizable, it is because of a Clubhouse chat I listened to with Ben Thompson where he explained the origin of Stratechery and how he grew it to what it is today, in part buy the unique look of his website.
The idea was if you came to the site and you read an article and thought “Oh that is a good article.” but if you came back to the site for a second time, you’d say “Wow, that was a great article. Hey wait, I have been here before!” I really wanted to have that sense of consistency here. Where it is not just one article that’s good, it is multiple articles that are good. If you want to build a site, the most important article you write is the second article someone reads. Because anyone can write one really good article, but if they go “Oh, that’s good let’s see if there’s something else, and they click on another article and that article is also really good and they click on another one and that article is also really good. You can really build a reputation and sense of consistency right up front and they put you in a bookmark and then follow you on Twitter and then they start looking forward to what is to come.
I am a stickler for the design of my website, always have been. I have spent way too many hours tweaking and editing my website themes over the smallest of details. I know what I want in a website and I know that it can be unique and recognizable over time. Substack can’t offer that. I will say that they did offer new design options to choose from, but even that isn’t enough for me. I am sure it is for most people, but I am borderline neurotic about this kind of stuff.
Now that I have a website that is both unique and a great newsletter I can start to focus on making the second good article people read of mine.
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