Wordpress Users: What scares you the most about static websites?

turbin3

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I'm genuinely curious to hear about what keeps some of you from making the leap off Wordpress to a statically generated website.

Is it insecurity about your own coding skills?

Is it concerns about not knowing how to start, build, and organize a site with some new app/generator?

Is it concerns about "lack of functionality"? (widgets, forms, easy ad placement, etc.)

Is it concerns about making an "exit" and some non-WP system losing you the sale?

Is it something else?
 
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coding skills
time to get started
having to train a team on a completely different system (you can hire any writer off the street and have a 99% chance they know WordPress - they don't know how to scale images and upload via FTP)
updating sitemaps manually
there are probably more..

I'm building sites right now using WP more as a proof of concept. But for one of them especially, as I watch this Gutenberg train wreck I'm struggling with the technical debt I'm taking on...
 

mikey3times

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For my recent site, the exit factor definitely was a big part.

Coding skills for sure. I’m pure front end and have picked up rudimentary PHP skills through tinkering with Wordpress and Joomla. There are so many Wordpress training sites out there that I can almost always find a tutorial on how to accomplish my goal.

I don’t know how to pick a static CMS. Which one should I go with? Which ones will be around in 5, 10, 20 years?

The command line is intimidating to me.

The biggest hold up? I don’t have a new forever project and there is no way I want to migrate old sites for fear of losing rankings and just for the amount of time it would take to migrate.

I definitely want to try, but it isn’t the right time for me.
 
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UI and ad placement mainly.

User interface is key for me. For the writers but also for me. Also there's some functionality that I have with ACF that I guess it's not so easy to have with SSG)

But I'm really interested in the static site thing so I searched for a solution and found a lot of "Headless CMS"

Basically it's a UI that manages all the content, relationships, tags, images, etc. Then it connects with a static site generator (you can choose pretty much any SSG).

The SSG takes that data (via API or GIT depending on the CMS) and builds the site.

A lot of open source options like Strapi or Ghost that you can selfhost and own your data.

I'm learning JS and then I will start with VUEjs. Ad placement should't be so hard after learning this.

Also, I found that I really like learning this stuff
 
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To be frank, I'm not fully aware of what a static site is. I know only basic CSS, HTML, and PHP, which is enough to tame my WordPress site in a way that I want to.

My site loads in under 2s, and sometimes under 1s, which is good enough. Most of my competitors that are 100x my size have slower sites. Content, keyword research, and links are much more important than the difference between a 0.5s site and a 1-2s site.

I don't fully understand this forums obsession with site speed, to be honest. It's a small ranking factor. I'd rather have a site that's 80% optimized in ALL areas, not 100% optimized in speed and 70% in everything else.

The only thing that concerns me about WordPress is security issues. But I'm biting the bullet here so that I can concentrate more of my efforts on growth. If 8 out of 10 blogs are built on Wordpress, I'm sure I'll most likely be fine.

Here's a quick little comparison of what I'd compare your question to:
Honda users: What scares you the most out of a Mercedes AMG? Are you scared that you won't handle the speed? Are you scared that you won't be able to take take the turn without steering into a ditch? Are you too poor to afford the gas?

For most people, getting from point A to point B is what matters. It's not worth the effort of saving or repaying a credit for only a marginal benefit.
 

Cash Builder

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What's ACF?

What's SSG?
ACF = Advanced Custom Fields
SSG = Static Site Generator

That’s what I assume going by the context of the post.

For me, it’s mostly about the exit. Also, lack of time to learn something completely new.
 

animalstyle

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Personally I am familiar with WP which keeps me there. I use lots of custom functionality to build databases on my sites (location databases, user generated reviews etc) - not just building content only. Even recently moved on to ecomm and now using WooCommerce happily.

I've long seen the warnings around WP, but personally I've had a decade+ of good experiences with the system. So far the warnings haven't materialized for me - maybe it's my practices or knowledge that keeps me protected, but I am happy. I keep an ear to the ground, but don't play with fear.
 

BCN

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For me it's the fact that many of my sites are connected to APIs and have data models. So if I build static sites, I need a database ahead of it to maintain data. Also I hvan't been able to do proper data modeling with static sites i.e. let's say in Wordpress I have

Banks > Bank name LLC

Credit Cards > Provider = Bank Name LLC


on detail bake for Bank Name LLC list credit cards having provider= Bank Name LLC




or my travel sites, I list sights near hotels, hotels near sights, sights near sights, tour operators offering trips to sight A, sight B, sight C .... With static sites I need a database in front of it, and then dynamically generate the content each time, which is not impossible, but at that point I don't see the point of not running a database.

I have some smaller sites in static format, which work well.

However, my wordpress sites are damn fast thanks to caching. And I've also made some "middle ground" sites with NUXT and WP JSON API, this is awesome, but takes a lot of time and not sure I think it's worth spending time doing it.
 

Ryuzaki

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I'd rather have a site that's 80% optimized in ALL areas, not 100% optimized in speed and 70% in everything else.
This is a false dichotomy. I'm obsessed with speed, but my sites are 100% optimized in speed and 100% optimized in everything else. It's not like you get one or the other. You can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to SEO.
 

CCarter

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I don't fully understand this forums obsession with site speed
You actually are the first person to mention speed in this thread. There are bigger picture items that people will need to consider as WordPress continues down it's road towards a Wix. I'm holding off my comments until everyone has had their say so I too can see what people are concerned about.

However, it's worth noting - the iceberg is indeed melting:

 
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It's not only about speed. For example, the new version with gutemberg inserts the "noreferrer" tag in links again.
 

BCN

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You can remove that. I run Wordpress only with custom themes. Very minimal, strip away all the junk add Advanced Custom Fields.

The problem with static, in order to do exactly the same, I'd have to define models in a DB, and make a front-end editor for writers, and then spit out static sites from this. It's just very backward, i.e. I'd need a dev server running a ton of crap to spit out a static site, when I can just run some badass caching on my WP servers and save 90% of the time.

I think static sites are fine for "one-dimensional" sites, or sites that are rarely updated.
 
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turbin3

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I'm building sites right now using WP more as a proof of concept. But for one of them especially, as I watch this Gutenberg train wreck I'm struggling with the technical debt I'm taking on...
What kind of technical debt are you running into? Is it just Gutenberg that's causing it to pile up, or other things about WP?

And I've also made some "middle ground" sites with NUXT and WP JSON API, this is awesome, but takes a lot of time and not sure I think it's worth spending time doing it.
Interesting! What are some of the most time-consuming issues you ran into when working with the WP API?

I totally get the issue of modeling complex data and relationships. Were there any other parts to the Wordpress API that took too much time, or was it more to do with Nuxt?

Also there's some functionality that I have with ACF that I guess it's not so easy to have with SSG)
What kind of functionality, if I may ask?

My site loads in under 2s, and sometimes under 1s, which is good enough. Most of my competitors that are 100x my size have slower sites. Content, keyword research, and links are much more important than the difference between a 0.5s site and a 1-2s site.
Awesome work! That is pretty fast. There's definitely something to be said for "good is good enough". ;-)

For me, it’s mostly about the exit.
For my recent site, the exit factor definitely was a big part.
Interesting. So have you guys had buyers actually inquiring about tech the site is built with? If so, have they asked about Wordpress specifically?

I've long seen the warnings around WP, but personally I've had a decade+ of good experiences with the system. So far the warnings haven't materialized for me - maybe it's my practices or knowledge that keeps me protected, but I am happy. I keep an ear to the ground, but don't play with fear.
Glad to hear it! There's a lot to be said for incorporating safe and robust fundamentals when building/managing Wordpress sites. That attention to detail and consistency can certainly go a long way.

In the past, I've gotten bit several times with site hacks due to getting too lazy about doing things "quick and dirty". I haven't had that happen in years, though, since I adopted a sort of self-restrictive structure in how I deal with WP sites.
 
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This is a false dichotomy. I'm obsessed with speed, but my sites are 100% optimized in speed and 100% optimized in everything else. It's not like you get one or the other. You can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to SEO.
I guess my comparison was kind of flawed. What I meant to say is that the time spent on optimizing site speed, design, and a custom CMS, is better spent on producing content, link building, stretching out to other target audiences, building new products for your audience e.t.c.

My strategy is to build those "not that important" aspects of my site to 70-80% and focus solely on growth. When the site is earning enough, I'll outsource that to someone else. I'm not a web developer, a coder, or a web designer, so learning all of that myself is less profitable than focusing on growth.

You have the experience and knowledge needed to develop everything to 100% without losing too much time. Props to you. But for all the newcomers who have less experience, It's not worth it to learn to get 0.5s load times and make perfectly designed, unhackable sites.
 

Cash Builder

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Interesting. So have you guys had buyers actually inquiring about tech the site is built with? If so, have they asked about Wordpress specifically?
The first site I sold was a static site build using Bootstrap. I sold it, and the topic of what the site was built with never really came up. I guess he just assumed it was Wordpress.

After I sent him all the files, his developer asked me where the database was. I said there was no database, it's just HTML and CSS. He then said, how do we add content, I can't find the control panel. I spent a good bit of time explaining how to add content, and other aspects of the site.

After that, I thought it would just be easier to build sites in Wordpress.
 
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What kind of functionality, if I may ask?
Repeater fields for example.

ie: I have 5 products and each one has 4 fields of data (image, description, etc). I insert that data once and I can use it multiple times on the page.

Also I can insert "raw" data and it gets processed in the backed. ie I insert an image and it gets a custom class, a certain size and the link from another field automatically.

I guess this can be done in the frontmatter of the static site generators but it's not confortable when you have 10 rows of data for example.
 

BCN

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Interesting! What are some of the most time-consuming issues you ran into when working with the WP API?

I totally get the issue of modeling complex data and relationships. Were there any other parts to the Wordpress API that took too much time, or was it more to do with Nuxt?
The WP API is pretty easy to work with, like any JSON rest. The main thing is nuxt since you need to re-invent everything, google tag manager/analytics ++++++++ it's mainly for a fun learning project though.
 

Tao

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For me, I guess its the same as asking "what scares you the most about writing content for your sites?".
Sure, I can write, but it takes a long time which could be spent working on other things.
I have thought of the idea of switching to a static site, but would have to write my own Amazon affiliate script that displays the products how I like them etc.
One for the "maybe one day pile" I think...
 

Steve Brownlie

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I think mostly the concern I'd have about it is the potential impact on sale value. Everyone (thinks anyway) they know how to use WP so when it comes to offloading a site there's no 'well I built this on...' and they have to think about it. Maybe some of you guys have sold sites at full valuations that aren't built on WP and this concern is just overthinking things? But I'd imagine anyway it has a potential impact on valuation which would put me off.
 
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What kind of technical debt are you running into? Is it just Gutenberg that's causing it to pile up, or other things about WP?
The Gutenberg train wreck is the major part. WordPress used to be fairly predictable.

Now say you build a semi-complex site with automation and integration on WordPress, you're forced to maintain that automation/integration with each "improvement" made to WordPress.
 

Ryuzaki

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Now say you build a semi-complex site with automation and integration on WordPress, you're forced to maintain that automation/integration with each "improvement" made to WordPress.
This is going to be the next 2-3 years of Wordpress as they continue, with regards to the Block Editor, to realize they did things wrong or backwards, change them, add new features... and each time that's going to cause a handful of plugins to have to change things. Each step introducing new bugs, deprecated functions, console errors, stuff breaking. That's not even to mention them jumping the gun into "Gutenberg Phase 2."

_______

My personal answer to the question in the title is I'm not scared. I started out building static sites, only later learning how to use PHP to template them, and only later than that jumping over to a CMS. Wordpress wasn't my first CMS either.

The consideration for me comes down to the fact that my current sites are too embedded in Wordpress to change now. Future sites might not be built on WP but I'll always keep working with it. The main reason is, despite the bloat and current discombobulation, it's what the people want (because of comfort and familiarity and trust).

I offer all kinds of development services by word of mouth and in the past 5+ years I haven't had a single person ask me for help with anything but Wordpress. The farthest out thing was WooCommerce, which is Wordpress. That's why I'm staying involved, because I need to know how to work it for any potential clients that come along.

The other reason is my main project is on Wordpress and it's far too late. I'm always a late adopter on everything so this time I went ahead and committed to learning Gutenberg inside and out. The editor itself isn't bad. I'm actually starting to feel it's an improvement. Once all the little bugs are gone and it's streamlined and optimized, it's going to be on the level of 'great.' As long as you trim it down, set up a whitelist of blocks, blah blah. You can't just accept what they give you or it's overkill.

But for the type of sites I build where new content is continually added, I don't see the point in a static site generator. You end up with everything a CMS like Wordpress offers you, like a post editor, a dashboard, templates, etc. But now you have to recompile and redeploy all the time. If I'm going to deal with all that, I'll just use a CMS with a database.

Otherwise, I'd just build the static site by hand and not have to generate a thing. I can add a new page in a heartbeat since everything is templated.

Not to mention it's not any faster than any other website built on any other platform if you're using the proper server caching to generate static pages anyways.

Static sites would be perfect for tiny sites, like 10 page business sites that never change. For growing content sites that require a lot of dynamic aspects, there's nothing wrong with a database. Of course, that's not the charge. The real problem is the CMS's trying to be everything to everyone while keeping up with their competitors.
 

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Why keep the hate to wordpress.

Content management systems involving databases are just to much long term work.

You're trading convenience for a mountain of future headaches.
 

mikey3times

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Interesting. So have you guys had buyers actually inquiring about tech the site is built with? If so, have they asked about Wordpress specifically?
Kind of. I am probably overreacting, but it caught my attention. Last summer I was in negotiations with a company to sell all or a portion of my large site. We were discussing some add-on technology they had that could also be added to my site as a product that will create a new revenue stream. He asked what the site was built on. It wasn't Wordpress and there was a brief pause, before he said, "well that is still PHP so we can figure out how to integrate." He then said that we probably wouldn't transition to Wordpress for fear of losing rankings. We never made a deal, but it wasn't because of Wordpress.

TLDR: I could tell he preferred to be on Wordpress, but he got over it quickly and we moved on. The deal fell apart, but not because of Wordpress.