Whether you are building your company’s first website or thinking about moving your website, there are many choices you should consider. And although it is common to get wrapped up in the design elements, making decisions about web hosting and what type of content generator you will use are equally important. There are dozens of Content Management Systems (CMS) that business owners use to conveniently manage their website’s pages, blogs, and themes. Chief among them is WordPress. WordPress is known for its versatility, design options, and wealth of available plugins that improve the design, SEO, and user experience. However, some companies are using static site generators like Hugo to create their website. Static site generators boast quicker load times and allow companies to quickly add new content.
Differences Between Static Site Generators And Content Managements Systems
WordPress and Other CMS’s
Pros: Content management systems have grown steadily in popularity over the last few decades. Before the implementation of CMS’s, a web developer would need to create the entire website on the backend and code by hand. A CMS takes out most of the coding for you and is accessible to users who have little to no experience coding websites. Although some base knowledge of programming languages can be helpful, it is not required. WordPress also offers a variety of great plugins that have been generated by thousands of users. These plugins allow you to build complex websites. CMS’s provides a convenient dashboard where it is easy to edit and view your website’s backend. There are also thousands of theme options that give variety to websites.
Cons: Not everything can be accessed or edited on WordPress. A web developer will still need to access FTP hosting to fix issues with a website. Although WordPress is very convenient, for an experienced programmer it can be very limiting. WordPress and other CMS programs can actually make it more difficult to edit specific CSS files.
Hugo & Static Site Generators
Pros: The first primary benefit of Hugo and other static site generators is that many of them are free. Unlike CMS programs, programmers do not need to pay to code a website through Hugo. Hugo also allows programmers to code offline. Websites built with static site generators are also much quicker than CMS websites. They are also more secure. Dynamic websites are much more vulnerable to hacking than static sites. This is because every active plugin is technically a possible entry point for hackers and because code is processed on the server level, that code can be hacked online. Although it is not safe to say that a Hugo or static site is unhackable, it definitely more challenging.
Cons: There is a steep learning curve for static site generators. There is no dashboard and you need to have an operating knowledge of coding to use these services. Although there are communities around these systems, these communities are not as large or old as the CMS communities and customer services that exist. For companies that want to use Hugo, they will need to be proficient and comfortable programming a website the old fashioned way.
SEO Factors & Conclusion
As for SEO, there are benefits to both methods. Obviously, faster websites can rank better on search engines, so Hugo and static site generators have an edge there. But, WordPress and other CMS’s have plugins that allow you to easily manage SEO factors like metadata, alt text, and other important factors. For website designers, it comes down to what they will be most comfortable with and what the website needs. If complex plugins would benefit your website and dynamic themes would improve user experience, use a CMS. But if you value speed and do not need a complex website, a static site generator may be for you.