Building Static Web Sites Suck

Man, do static sites suck. by Vicki Boykis (

I like clean stuff and I like tech blogs. So, I decided to give Jekyll, the most popular of the static sites, a try. At the same time, I’ve been revamping my main website to include some other WordPress blogs, so I decided to see how long it would take to install WordPress on Bluehost versus Jekyll on Gitpages.

Twice I’ve tried to setup a Jekyll website. I was successful once. The effort involved was much more than the QuickStart on the Jekyll website led me to expect.

So far I have Jekyll running on macOS but my process was.

  • Install HomeBrew — after realizing that I needed Git.
  • Install Git
  • Install Jekyll
  • Install a theme
  • Create a new page and modify front matter.
  • Launch Jekyll server

I already knew Markdown but I am unfamiliar with all the front matter stuff. If I have to learn Ruby or use a third-party web service to get anything done, I will abandon the project. Ruby sucks.

The Downsides of a Static Site Generator

The Downsides of a Static Site Generator by Martyn Chamberlin (Drinking Caffeine)

Database-driven architectures are better than file-driven ones. Who knew?!

Although Martyn later changed his mind about switching to WordPress, from my experience, his points are valid.

The challenge I have with using a static site generator or daily blogging is the amount of time needed to create a new post.

I like to create posts with featured images and many of my posts have several images. My current workflow for WordPress is:

For static site generators, the workflow is.

  • Export images to a folder
  • Open terminal and navigate to the content folder
  • create a new post — don’t forget to add font matter for the date, post title, etc.
  • Insert text and images —more challenging since I have to copy paste path and name of specific images. Lots of back and forth between text editor and files system
  • save file
  • build the ENTIRE site -- wait. Wait some more.
  • move files to the production web server

I don’t want to do that for every blog post. Too much work. It’s friction that gets in the way of content creation.

If I want to, I can create a WordPress post directly from my iPhone while travelling using the WordPress app. Or from my iPad.

Because Jekyll and Hugo have not front end, the way to create a post from a mobile device with a static site generator is to string together a solution using GitHub and Dropbox and a bunch of other third-party services.

I think Static Site Generators are great for creating static websites. For example, a business, church or organization website that doesn’t update very often. I think they are the wrong solution for a blog.

Migrating Monkey Hill, LLC from WordPress to a Static Site

It's a project that I have procrastinated on for some time.

It's a project that I have procrastinated on for some time. I created the website for my consulting business and hosted it on WordPress because that's what I know. WordPress is inside my comfort zone.

However, the website serves mostly static content. There are a few blog posts, but I rarely post to the blog. The site is a few static pages plus those blog posts, no comments except via Webmentions. Moving to a static site would require fewer resources on the server, improve web site performance and require less maintenance effort from me.

I may even be able to save money. Currently, this website is hosted on a Digital Ocean VPS for about $5/month. I could move the static content to the same host as my Island in the Net website under the same web server instance. I think the performance impact on Island in the Net would be minimal.

The important question right now is whether to export the current content to static HTML and leave that way or export to Markdown and use a static site generator? The advantage of the former is that I can export the website as it and tweak the HTML as needed. The disadvantage is that I am not good at theming, and changing the look of the website would be challenging.

The advantage of a static site generator is that I know how to edit Markdown and changing the look of the website would be easier; I'd change the theming files.