BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ

Users of Notion, the digital tool commonly used for note-taking, brainstorming, and corporate knowledge-sharing, will now find it easier to build public websites with the platform.

On Tuesday, the company revealed a new feature called Notion Sites, which lets users make sites available through their own domain names, customize site navigation and search options, specify metadata that shows up on search engines and social media, and connect Google Analytics accounts to track site usage. Users have already been able to make publicly viewable content with Notion using the same editing tools used to make a personal or corporate document. But the new features will make Notion more attractive for building websites that look and work much like those built with traditional tools.

“What we’re launching on Tuesday is a set of features that turn a Notion page—which was probably about 80% to 90% of what I think we would all consider a website—to literally 100% of a website,” says Matt Piccolella, product lead at Notion.

The new feature should make it easier for both companies and individuals to publish material without having to use a full-fledged content management system or rely on engineering support to update web content. Many users already edit web content in Notion, then copy and paste it into a CMS or other platform for publishing, he says. People building Notion Sites will be able to use ordinary Notion features, including the platform’s array of specialty themes and generative AI that can help draft content, and can embed plenty of web content like social media posts, PDFs, interactive maps, and videos. When they’re ready to make a site live, they can simply click a button to publish or update the page.

“Many of the things that make up a website are the exact things that Notion’s core editor allows you to do,” says Piccolella.

Users generally won’t be able to edit HTML and JavaScript directly, and Piccolella acknowledges that the platform lacks some features found in more advanced CMS tools. But for plenty of customers and content needs, he believes, the tool will be enough to quickly and easily publish professional-looking sites for everything from corporate blogs, job boards, and product documentation sites to personal resumes or restaurant recommendations.

“The idea is that because it’s so easy to publish these sites, it becomes a really quick and easy way for users to kind of express themselves and share their kind of taste with the word,” he says.

Users of all levels of Notion plans will be able to publish web content, but some of the more detailed customization options will only be available to users of paid plans, which start at $8 per month, Piccolella says. And users who don’t care to use a custom domain will be able to publish on a chosen Notion subdomain, similar to other blogging sites, with paying users given access to multiple subdomains for creating different sites, he says.

In addition to AI features, Notion has recently added other features like a sophisticated calendar app and enhanced tools for organizing and searching documents beneficial for corporate users, as it competes with traditional office suites from Google and Microsoft and, now, with other website building tools. Piccolella says he anticipates that the platform will continue to add web development features, so that there’s less and less need to use a separate host or CMS.

“The hope is that this is just the first launch that allows us to continually get more and more powerful,” he says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist living in New Orleans.

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