Before you start designing a blog or a website, you have so many options to consider. One of the essential questions is: how would you like your contents to be served? There are virtually endless answers to this question, and your choice might impact your design decisions later.
Before you continue, if you have no clue about the differences between static & dynamic web pages, I suggest you read Static vs Dynamic by Noah Veltman. His analogy approach is easier to understand than most explanations available on the web.
At first, I thought WordPress was the best solution for my blog. I always use WordPress for my clients. After all, 25.6% of all websites in the world use WordPress as their CMS, why shouldn’t I?
But soon after I discovered that WordPress is not the panacea of the web design world. It comes with its share of problems and I think for a personal blog, the disadvantages outweigh the merit. I won’t go through them all because Helga Moreno probably has already listed more than I can even write about in this post about WordPress disadvantages.
Then in the midst of my search for digital enlightenment, I stumbled upon Jekyll, a blog-aware & static website generator by Tom Preston-Werner. It was then that I discovered cool, simple, readable websites/blogs like Robert Vinluan’s, Mig Reyes’, Alex Carpenter’s and Peter Y. Chuang’s. I made a decision, going static is the way to go for my blog.
Why go static? For me, the most important reasons are:
1. Lack of Back-End Skill
I’m a designer and front-end web developer. I am familiar with HTML5 & CSS3 to a certain extent. However, in order to create a theme for WordPress and most other dynamic CMS out there, I need to learn PHP and MySQL, which are back-end stuff. I mean I would do it for a client project, but doing this for a personal project? No thanks, it will take forever.
2. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
It is generally harder to set up static websites than WordPress (see the famous 5-minute installation), but they have better capabilities in versioning and can be hosted in GitHub Pages for free. They load a lot faster than most WordPress sites because they don’t have the bulkiness of added third-party plugins. And they are somewhat stronger because they don’t have security vulnerabilities that most dynamic CMS have in their databases.
Static websites have this geeky aura resonating about them. They scream “I’m not your regular WordPress blog!”. Do you feel it? I do.
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t mean to discourage you from using WordPress and this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop using it for my clients. My point is, every project needs different solution and WordPress may or may not be the best for you. It might be Drupal, Joomla, Stacey, Kirby, or some other obscure CMS. Go explore the world wide web, read their documentations, and implement them to your latest project.