Gatsby—A Great Tool to Build Your Website, Blog, or Sales Page
When you suffer from shiny object syndrome like me, you always have to try the latest technology.
Gatsby is the most recent shiny object I stumbled upon. It is a static site builder. You can use a static site generator to build your blog, web page, and product page. In short, what you do now with Wordpress can be probably achieved with Gatsby as well.
But why should you even think about switching from Wordpress to a static site builder like Gatsby? Let me give you the three most important arguments for a static site.
You can continue to use the writing tools you love. Whether you use Ulysses, Sublime, Vim, or whatever. You can stick to it. You create a new file in your Gatsby project and begin to write.
Gatsby can be run locally on your computer. This allows you to see your website update while you write. What You See Is What You Get in realtime.
You write your content in Markdown. It is a format that is very easy to learn. Learn it once and use it for the rest of your life. You do not have to fret that you will not be able to open your files in the future because Markdown files are just ordinary text files.
When you utilize Gatsby, your readers also get a better experience using your site. Your content gets compiled into a single page application. This means that your readers do not have to load a new page when switching to another article. You can see this here on CuteMachine as well. When you select an article from the blog index, it gets presented instantly, without having to make a new request to the server.
When I started with blogging I used Wordpress, but really got frustrated quite quickly with it. The security issues were bugging me. I had to constantly update plugins and install security patches offered by Wordpress.
After I had yet received another email from my hosting provider, asking me to update my Wordpress installation, I decided to switch to a static site builder instead.
If you ever had to think about the security of your Wordpress installation, you should look into static site builders more closely.
StaticGen has a great compilation of open-source static site generators. I used Wintersmith and Gatsby, which I can both recommend.
Another important argument for using a static site builder is speed. All of your content gets bundled into static pages. Therefore, when a user requests one of your pages from the server, the server is not very busy, it just takes the static page and delivers it to the browser. No database requests, no rendering of templates, or anything else that takes away the website’s performance.
You can make a quick test, to see your site’s speed. Go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights and enter the link to your website.
There are many more arguments for using a tool like Gatsby. The three I listed above are only the most important.
Yet another argument for using a static website is cost. If you host your site on surge.sh it does not cost you a cent. You can even use your own domain and do not have to pay anything.
In the next article, I will write a hands-on article about Gatsby. I will show you how you can build a complete static site with Gatsby. You can take the source code and article to build your own sales page or blog. This will be fun.