There are a lot of different Content Management Systems available for publishing websites these days. Gone are the days when you had to learn Hypertext Markup Language to create a simple web page, or craft a comprehensive set of Cascading Style Sheets to redesign your website look and feel. A Content Management System provides a powerful environment to help you to build and maintain your website, regardless of size.
Unfortunately, all that power comes at a cost. The CMS itself becomes another component you are required to power and maintain. The tool you selected to help you build your website can get in the way of you focusing on the task it was meant to help with. Worse yet, a CMS usually creates overhead when displaying your website to visitors, which can lead to scaling issues and possible downtime in the event of a traffic surge.
An alternative method for publishing your website.
Enter the Static Site Generator – a system that combines your content with a chosen theme to produce static web components and publish them to your hosting provider as a complete website. Whether you want to create a simple single web page, a brochure product site, or a content rich ‘blog, a Static Site Generator can provide the tools you need without the overhead or headaches of a traditional Content Management System.
What’s the catch?
Static Site Generators are not the right tool for every website. They were created as a way to streamline content publication and create websites that look professionally styled without getting in the way. Unfortunately, that low-profile means there is some work that needs to be done up front to get everything configured properly.
Step 1: Create Content, Step 2: ???, Step 3: Publish!
Some of you might be wondering how a Static Site Generator could possibly know how to make your content look like something more than blobs of text on a screen and you would be right to be skeptical. Lightweight markup languages are used to provide guidelines for how content should be styled in the finished product. This allows you to create content in your preferred text editor offline without brushing up on your HTML5 knowledge.
Is Static right for you?
Depending on what you want your website to do, static content may not be the right solution. Interacting with users, dynamically updating content based on the visitor, or allowing users to interact with one another require you to build a site the can connect the dots, as it were. In these cases, static web content may not be the right way to go.
Most of the Static Site Generators available today have gone to great lengths to simplify the process and workflow of creating a website and there are a few services out there to run your Static Site Generator should you want to have a more turn-key experience, but with that said, this method is not as simple as signing up for a template hosting site and using the online tools to edit content.
But if you want to be able to control how your website looks and be able to edit content from anywhere without having to be online to edit your ‘blog or brochure website, a Static Site Generator might be the right tool for you.