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Goodbye Wordpress, Hello Static Site Generators

Discussion in 'Web Design' started by marketmonster, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. marketmonster

    marketmonster Junior Member Premium Member

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    I know Wordpress and IM have gone hand in hand over the years and I do agree that is finally evolving into a pretty nice GUI for a CMS from the user perspective. That said, it has plenty of downsides most notably the growing legions of bots that try to hack WP installs across the web 24 hours a day.

    But the real reason I am leaving the wordpress ship is I need more control over the layout of my sites and I don't care to learn PHP, MySQL, etc. Plus I am making more small sites these days (often just 1-3 pages) so it seems like a lot of software and server-side tech for a side that is essentially just a couple of static HTML pages.

    Why can't I just have a few simple text files that get wrapped in a template and stuck on the web?

    Enter the world of static site generators (or SSG for short). By definition this is a toolset (or framework so to speak) for spitting out static sites that are fast and in my opinion easier to maintain, and deploy to lots of locations. You can host a static site on Amazon's S3 (for cheap, pending your traffic), or even for free on Dropbox.

    One of the most popular SSG's is Jekyll, which is written in Ruby. Don't be scared though... you don't actually have to know how to write Ruby to use it. In fact one of the joys of SSG's is that you are able to transform a folder full of markdown files into a full-blown blog or just a small one-page-wonder if you'd rather.

    What's markdown you say? It's an awesome way to write web content without needing a GUI (although there are free markdown GUI's on the web or for your computer). It's easy to use since it's mostly just like writing plain text. My writers and VA had no trouble picking it up.

    Jekyll is popular but there is a growing collection of SSG's out there (all free and open source). My personal favorite is Hexo.

    Creating themes for your sites from scratch in wordpress is not a lot of fun in my opinion, but I never did get around to learning much PHP. Working on your own theme for a SSG is much more fun though as most SSG's allow you to use plugins for pre-propressors like Sass, Less, Jade, Haml, Handlebars, Coffeescript, etc. With complete flexibility in how I structure a project I don't feel boxed in and annoyed like when trying to develop a WP theme.

    None of them have any GUI so this isn't for the drag-and-drop crowd and I suppose the catch is that you have to run a few basic commands with a command-line interface (mac user's you already have Terminal installed... Windows people you probably need Putty).

    Don't fear the command line though. You don't actually have to understand the commands... just copy and paste out of the docs for the generator you choose. Typically there is just three commands... make a new project, serve the project (this is for theme development or to see the site before publishing), and of course "generate".

    Anyway, this is more of a general introduction to the concept of SSG's. If you are tired of all of the server and development overhead of WP then give a static site generator a try.
     
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  2. HomensdaLuta

    HomensdaLuta Junior Member

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    Very interesting stuff OP.
     
  3. CoolAdvisor

    CoolAdvisor Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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  4. twitter.followers

    twitter.followers Elite Member

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    That looks cool, I will try building an upcoming blog of mine using that and will see how it goes.
     
  5. ZennoBlaster

    ZennoBlaster Senior Member

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    I used to use Dreamweaver CC, as like you, only needed a few pages. The upsides are: quick load times, responsive for mobiles. Downside is the monthly fee.

    WP was, for me, too much work.

    With sub this thread for other suggestions.
     
  6. zebrahat

    zebrahat Elite Member

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    With the stated simplicity (no need to learn code) and open source nature, SSGs could be the appropriate alternative or supplement to WP for simple sites. If the platform is robust enough to add useful plugins as easily as WP, it could be a full replacement.
     
  7. AnthonyCorleone

    AnthonyCorleone Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    WP well optimized on SEO and with Allowing search bots crowed ur sites better with rss feeds and sitemaps and so on
    unlike in static pages all this u have to do manually and is really time consuming when u run a big network but that's just my opinion
     
  8. marketmonster

    marketmonster Junior Member Premium Member

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    Many SSG's (including my fave, Hexo) have a template for RSS feeds and sitemaps. There is no "time consuming" aspect to it... it's just baked in. If you are trying to run a big network I think this is a cleaner and simpler approach than using WP personally.
     
  9. ZennoBlaster

    ZennoBlaster Senior Member

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    As most PBN owners are concerned with any footprints, I assume it'd mean learning/using various SSGs?
     
  10. marketmonster

    marketmonster Junior Member Premium Member

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    No, that is completely dependent on your design and the way your markup is structured. You would need to have multiple themes though. In this sense, WP has a head start since there are so many free (mostly bad) themes available. I'd like to develop a smart theme that has some smart randomization of the class names and elements to keep the code output more varied. Also keep in mind that as far as a web census goes, 63.8% of sites have no detectable CMS (which means most are static HTML). Wordpress is the most popular CMS but if you want your PBN to blend in better, you should be deploying most static sites.
     
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  11. Aztral1

    Aztral1 Newbie

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    Is that gonna be footprint big G will notice?
     
  12. royserpa

    royserpa Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Just get a site/graphic designer. Nothing can beat that.
     
  13. ZennoBlaster

    ZennoBlaster Senior Member

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    How about the Twitter Bootstrap? Is this ideal for whipping up a quick site? Is there any reason to avoid this?
     
  14. Carreira

    Carreira Regular Member

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    I don't see myself without Wordpress... hehe
     
  15. lancis

    lancis Elite Member

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    Twitter bootstrap is slowly getting replaced with http://semantic-ui.com/
    They are almost the same size, but semanticui is much more intuitive.

    The downside of both is their size.
     
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  16. nikiobicata

    nikiobicata Regular Member

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  17. sikkepit3

    sikkepit3 Junior Member

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    I agree with you. When creating only a few pages websites then creating them yourself is way more useful.
    You control the entire design and server wise it safes a lot of resources as well :).
     
  18. pxoxrxn

    pxoxrxn Supreme Member

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    Many people don't realize this but Dropbox used Amazon S3.

    I have to disagree with you OP. I don't think Wordpress will be taken over by html generators, in fact wordpress is a html generator and that is what php was developed to do. It's taking a step backwards in my opinion.
     
  19. Dane-P

    Dane-P Newbie

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    Interesting post, after taking a quick look at the jeckyll site some of the blogs look too simple in their design though. I guess i'm just too used to WP.
     
  20. WebLab

    WebLab Junior Member

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    The problem is, such scripts dont provide any kind of demo or snapshot. Plus it forwards to github that makes it more confusing.