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How Static Site Generators Can Transform Your Business


12 min read

Many companies lose over 40% of website visitors if their site takes more than 3 seconds to load. To address this issue and other potential concerns in website development, I’ll introduce you to a solution: static site generators (SSGs).

Throughout this article, I’ll explore SSGs, their suitability for various needs and businesses, functionality, and the distinctions between static and dynamic websites. By the end, I aim to provide you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions in website development, ultimately saving you time and money while achieving the desired outcomes.

What is a Static Site Generator?

Simple definition: A static site generator is like a website builder. It puts together templates and content to make a website.

Detailed definition: A static site generator is a software tool that automates the process of creating and managing websites by generating web pages from pre-defined templates and content sources. 

These generators often utilize markup languages like Markdown or textile. They also rely on configuration files to produce static files. These files can be served directly to users without any server-side processing.

Static website generator is an alternative to traditional content management systems (CMSs). They let users manage web applications and content by themselves, generate web pages, and implement customizable templates. These templates supply developers with flexible formats to structure web content effectively.

What is a Static Website?

Static websites are simple sites with fixed content. The main definition and benefits of what are static pages is the fast loading time and improved security. However, they may not be suitable for websites requiring frequent updates or dynamic functionality.

Simple example

  • Imagine a flier that contains the same information for everyone who picks it up. That’s similar to how a static website works – it displays fixed content to all visitors without any changes. These sites are perfect for presenting basic information, like a company’s contact details or services, without allowing visitors to make edits or leave comments.
  • Dynamic websites are perfect for a range of online platforms, from e-commerce stores to content hubs, video streaming services, and SEO tools. Examples include Netflix, Etsy, Medium, and Semrush. These sites rely on dynamic features to handle complex functions and regular updates smoothly.

What is the Difference between Static and Dynamic Websites?

Static websites show the same content to everyone, while dynamic websites adjust content based on factors like location and preferences. 

What is a dynamic website then and how do they work?

Unlike static sites, dynamic ones don’t store separate HTML files for each page. Instead, they create pages on-the-fly using information from databases. 

“On-the-fly” means something is created or processed instantly as needed, without previous preparation or storage.

Dynamic sites are typical for e-commerce sites and social media, where they can show personalized content and recommendations based on user behavior.

  • If you and I type the same inquiry into YouTube or Pinterest, we will still get different search results.
  • But if you and I visit the DashDevs website, we will see the same data.

That is the difference between static vs dynamic websites.

When Should You Use a Static Site Generator?

Any business or individual seeking a fast, secure, and low-maintenance website with primarily static content can find value using static site generators.

Some common types of the companies typically find SSGs helpful include:

  • Simple websites / Landing pages. If your website primarily consists of static content that doesn’t change frequently (case studies page, services, etc.), an SSG can simplify the development process and ensure fast loading times.
  • Small businesses. Local shops, restaurants, or service providers usually need a detailed online presence with basic information like contact details, services offered, and operating hours.
  • Portfolio websites. Freelancers, artists, photographers, and designers often use SSGs to showcase their work in a visually appealing and easily navigable format.
  • Blogs and personal websites. Those who want to share their thoughts, experiences, or expertise through blogging or personal websites can also benefit from SSGs.
  • Startup companies. Startups looking to establish an online presence quickly and cost-effectively can create informational websites, landing pages, or product documentation sites.
  • Event websites. If you own the organization hosting events, conferences, workshops, or webinars, use SSGs to create event-specific websites with schedules, speaker information, and registration details.
  • Documentation sites. Projects or companies requiring documentation for their products, APIs, or services can manage and publish documentation using SSGs, as this is the easiest way for users to access and navigate.

Why Should Your Business Use a Static Site Generator?

Let’s cover some scenarios why using this technology would be beneficial:

#1. You need a secure website

Static sites are inherently more secure than dynamic ones because they don’t require a database or server-side processing. This reduces the risk of security vulnerabilities such as SQL injection attacks.

#2. You want you website to perform & be SEO friendly

Static web page is pre-built and serves as HTML file, resulting in faster page loading times than dynamically generated site. This can lead to a better user experience and improved SEO rankings.

#3. You need a cost-effective solution

Static site generators are a go-to technology if you have a tight budget. Since website static doesn’t require server-side processing or database access, hosting costs are typically lower than dynamic sites. Also, developers need less time to create such websites. Hence, you don’t have to hire a big team for the development process, meaning you can save up costs on this part of the project.

#4. When version control is a priority

Static site generators often integrate seamlessly with version control systems like Git, allowing developers to track changes, collaborate with team members, and easily roll back to previous versions if needed.

#5. You want to scale easily

Static sites can handle high-traffic loads without additional server resources or scaling configurations. So, if you plan to drive promotional campaigns or launch a product, choose this technology for the website to avoid sudden traffic spikes. 

A static site generator is ideal when you need a fast, secure, and cost-effective solution for building websites with relatively static content

Pros of Static Site Generators for Businesses

As you can see, static site generators present a valuable solution for various business needs in website development. However, I’d like to clearly outline the primary advantages of this approach.

Please refer to the table below:

Quick website loadingStatic site generators create HTML files that load fast because they don’t need complex server processing. This means visitors can quickly see your site, keeping them happy and staying longer.
Strong securitySince static site generators don’t rely on databases or server processing, they’re really secure. This reduces the chance of hackers getting into your site, which is great for businesses that value their data safety.
Affordable hostingStatic site generators don’t need expensive hosting services. They can work fine with options like CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), which are cheaper. CDNs help deliver website content to users quickly from servers located all over the world. So, businesses can save money on hosting without sacrificing quality. It’s a good choice for businesses that want a great website without spending too much.
Great performanceStatic sites work faster and use less server power, which makes browsing smoother for visitors. This means more people will enjoy using your site, which leads to better results for your business.
Better SEOStatic site generators can be optimized for search engines. By organizing your content well and using the right techniques, you can boost your site’s ranking and attract more visitors from search engines.
Less strain on serversStatic sites don’t need complex server processing, so they’re easier on servers. This means your site can handle lots of visitors without slowing down or crashing.
Easy updatesMaking changes to a static site is simple and fast. You can quickly update your site using tools like Git, so it stays fresh without any hassle.
Simple maintenanceMaintaining a static site is easy because there are fewer things to worry about. Businesses can update content, make changes, and do regular maintenance without needing technical expertise.

Cons of Static Site Generators for Businesses

Besides all the advantages, SSG, like any other technology, has its own drawbacks

Limited dynamic functionalitySSGs are best suited for websites with relatively static content. If your site requires a lot of dynamic features, like user-generated content or real-time updates, an SSG might not be the best choice.
Complex learning processLearning to use a static site generator and its associated tools can take time, especially for those without prior technical knowledge. This could mean a longer ramp-up period for your team. However, it’s worth noting that this drawback can be mitigated by partnering with experienced agencies like DashDevs, who can provide guidance and support throughout the learning process.
Dependency on build processUnlike dynamic sites where changes are made directly to the database, updates to a static site require running the site through a build process. This extra step can slow down the process of updating content.
Lack of admin interfaceMany SSGs lack a user-friendly admin interface like those found in content management systems (CMS). This means content updates often require direct editing of files, which may not be ideal for non-technical users.
Scalability challengesWhile static sites excel at handling high traffic loads, they can face challenges when it comes to scaling complex applications. Scaling a static site with extensive functionality may require additional development effort and infrastructure.

As you can see, this technology has its cons, but they may not be significant if the benefits outweigh them for your business. Now, let’s delve deeper into the topic of CMS in the next section to understand its importance in the context of SSGs.

Let DashDevs assist you in choosing the best static site generator

What is the Role of CMS in Website Development?

While static site generators (SSGs) are great for making websites fast and secure, they’re not always flexible enough to manage dynamic content.

We can use a content management system (CMS) to solve this problem. CMSs make it easy for people to store, organize, and update website content without needing to be tech experts. By combining a CMS with an SSG, we can have the best of both worlds: fast and secure websites with the ability to manage content easily.

Let’s discuss this concept in the following sections.

What is the Difference between CMS and a Static Site Generator?

With content management systems (CMSs), developers can store website content in a database without hard-coding each page separately. This results in a friendly interface where users can manage content without IT engineers.

  • How it works: when a user requests a page, the CMS dynamically generates the HTML based on the stored content.

On the other hand, static website examples offer an alternative approach. With static site generators, developers pre-build HTML pages before deploying them to the web server. These pages are generated from templates and content files, typically written in markdown or similar formats. 

Unlike CMS-driven sites, static sites do not rely on a database or server-side processing to generate content. Since no database is involved, maintenance is clearer, and hosting costs are lower.

Can You Combine SSG and CMS in Website Development?

Yes! Let’s break it down.

Having a website that’s lively and keeps visitors engaged is super important for any business. Whether you’re sharing blog posts, webinars, news updates, or new products, it’s key to keep things fresh and ranking your site high in Google.

As I mentioned before, static site generators are awesome for building websites quickly and securely. But sometimes, they’re not so great for updating content easily. That’s where headless content management systems come in.

By pairing a headless CMS with an SSG, you get the best of both worlds:

  • Your marketing team can use the static site CMS to create and manage content easily.
  • Your developers use the SSG to make sure everything runs smoothly.

For example, your marketing team can use a headless CMS like Contentful or Tina to handle things like blog posts and product updates. Meanwhile, developers can use an SSG like Hugo or Gatsby to build static pages, like the homepage or about section.

This combo gives you the flexibility of a headless CMS for content management and the speedy performance of an SSG. It’s a win-win! With a headless CMS, you can use popular front-end frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue and pair them with a static site generator that works well with your chosen framework.

This means your team can work with static CMS website and doesn’t have to spend time learning new theme setups or customizations. As a result, you can create a CMS static site that’s both dynamic and super fast, making everyone happy.

Here are the top static site generators used by the DashDevs team in our projects and by different developers teams worldwide:

#1. Gatsby

  • Gatsby is known for its speed and efficiency.
  • Offers a wide range of plugins for added functionality and customization.
  • It’s excellent for fast-loading websites with lots of interactive elements.

#2. Hugo

  • Hugo is a lightning-fast static site generator written in Go.
  • Its simplicity and speed make it a preferred choice for projects of all sizes.
  • Provides a strong templating system and requires minimal dependencies. You can be sure that with this tool, development and deployment will be as fast as possible.

#3. Jekyll

  • Jekyll is a popular choice, especially among GitHub Pages users, as it is very easy to integrate.
  • It’s user-friendly, especially if you’re familiar with Ruby and Liquid.
  • Perfect for personal blogs or small to medium-sized websites, as it offers built-in support for blog posts.

#4. VuePress

  • VuePress, powered by Vue.js, simplifies website creation, especially for Vue.js fans.
  • Its flexibility allows for various websites: documentation, blogs, and small to medium-sized sites.
  • Suggests Vue.js single-file components for easy customization and a smooth developer experience.

These platforms have great potential, but they can be complex to navigate without expert help. If your website requirements match what we’ve discussed previously in this article, reach out to the DashDevs team for assistance.

With our extensive experience in SSGs, we’ve built over 100 successful websites for clients using this technology. Save time and money by collaborating with professionals who can achieve the results you want.

DashDevs knows what you need!

How to Start with Static Site Generators?

We’ve reached the last section of our guide! Let’s focus on how to practice with SSGs and where to begin.

1. Find the right partner

Look for an experienced development partner like DashDevs, specializing in SSG implementation. The expertise of such a company guarantees your project is in good hands, and you don’t have to worry about each step during the project development. 

2. Specify Your Goals

Outline your website’s objectives, target audience, and desired features. This sets the cornerstone and ensures your site aligns with your business goals.

3. Select the SSG

Choose an SSG that fits your project needs. Consider factors like performance and scalability. Look for options that offer flexibility and community support.

4. Design and development

Work closely with your development partner to design and develop your website. Collaborate on wireframes, UI design, and custom features to enhance user experience.

5. Content creation and integration

Populate your website with engaging content. Use headless CMS platforms for seamless content creation and integration with your SSG-powered site.

6. Optimize for performance

Assure your website loads quickly and performs well. Minimize file sizes, use caching techniques, and optimize images. If you need help, remind you to partner with DashDevs for performance optimization and a seamless user experience.

Wrapping Up

I hope that after reading this article, you realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to website creation and technology selection. It all depends on your specific needs and business objectives.

One thing is sure: if you require a fast, secure, and easily scalable website builder, opt for SSG. Don’t complicate matters with dynamic websites unless your business demands it.

Furthermore, consider combining SSG with a headless CMS for added flexibility in content management. Don’t overlook SEO, either — it’s a key benefit of static site generation that can significantly boost your brand’s visibility.

For any inquiries or project needs, contact DashDevs specialists. With our extensive experience in developing SSG-based websites, we’ll help you choose the technology that best suits your requirements!

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Table of contents
What is a static site?
A static site is a website presenting fixed content to all visitors, devoid of dynamic vs static updates or database interactions. It relies solely on pre-built HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to deliver content without server-side processing.
What is difference between static and dynamic site?
A dynamic vs static website generates content on-the-fly, tailored to each user, while a static site delivers the same content to all visitors.
How to build a static site?
To build a static site, use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create static pages. Unlike dynamic websites, static sites do not require server-side processing or databases. Instead, they consist of pre-designed files that are served directly to users' browsers.
What is a static site generator?
A static site generator is a tool that automates the creation of a static webpage, typically from templates and content stored in files. Among these static site generator examples are Netlify, Gatsby, Hugo, Jekyll, and VuePress.
Why use a static site generator?
Static site generators offer speed, security, and scalability by pre-rendering web pages into static HTML files compared to dynamic website vs static website. Static website definition is all about simplified development, enhanced performance, and minimized server-side vulnerabilities, making them an efficient choice for building fast, secure websites.