Getting back to website building basics again


Why moving away from WordPress might be the path forward

Building websites

Building website has become a bit overwhelming.

Plugin this, update that, web server adjust, plugin pop-up ... the list goes on.

Sometimes you guy want to getting to writing the content, not trying to figure out what a navigation system is not working on mobile the way you want it.

Some history

When we first started building websites back in 1998 (lol!), it was done by hand.

Pick any text editor and start writing HTML code.

  Put website here ...

Connect some images and inline some styles and off your go.

Then came writing simple websites with databases attached to them for managing content. In this case, we used PHP. Connect to database, get records, render to page.

Enter CMS

In come open-source content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, MODx and others and now we're talking about setting up a web server, managing plugins, training users, updating and more.

This was fun too as many people were crafting really cool plugins/add-ons that you could tinker with. Keep in mind, add this to your learning curve as well.

This was the basics


Building websites

If you're building websites for your clients, you have to make multiple choices:

  • Which platform to house the content (in most cases it's WordPress)
  • Do you use Gutenberg in WordPress or venture out with a page builder bolted on to WordPress
  • Which page builder plugin to choose
  • Where to host the website
  • How big will the website be? Do you need a CDN or external storage for media?
  • How much time do you have to invest in updates to WordPress and your chosen page builder.

And the questions go on and on.

WordPress Page Builders - the micro-economy

Bottom line, there is a whole eco-system and micro-economy around these builders.

Depending on your needs, there are many to choose from. Quite amazing what they can produce and some are quite pixel perfect ... until you look at the code.

This area is highly debatable ... many will say simply to use a caching plugin or get the right web server to handle this.

Yes - agree.

Now you adding more just to your pile to manage.

Pick One Only - WordPress Page Builders

Make a decision and stick with it. For each of these, there is a learning curve too.

Quick list in no particular order of preference:

  • Avada
  • Bricks Builder
  • Divi
  • Elementor
  • Gutenberg
  • Oxygen Builder + Breakdance
  • Beaver Builder

and more.

What's even more interesting, try porting content from a Divi built website over to Elementor - fun times!

Here comes the why!

The quick and easy bullet points

  • Easier to maintain
  • No 3rd party plugins
  • Better control of code
  • Tools such as WordPress becoming cumbersome to maintain
  • Write your website or blog postings in straight text editor or Markdown files
  • Focus on content, rather than managing updates

What's cool with 11ty

As there are a tons on static site generators out there, we've currently chose to work with 11ty.

Super fast, can chunk out HTML files, adds some Gulp directives, work with SCSS/SASS files and produce a 'public' folder (or call it whatever you like) for publishing to the web.

Interesting 11ty finds

Here are some interesting plugins

Not done ...

Not lost

This page is not quite done, it's a starting placeholder for on-going notes on this new enlightened path.

Ramble + rant /done


Image by Jordy Meow from Pixabay

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash