I Thought Static Site Generators Were Fast — Here’s How Mine Slowed Me Down

When I first decided to host my blog on GitHub Pages using Next.js, I was thrilled. The allure of new technology and the promise of a sleek, fast-loading site had me hooked. It felt like stepping into the future of web development—until it didn’t.

The Allure of New Tech

Using a static site generator (SSG) appealed to my tech-savvy side. The setup was fun, and I enjoyed the challenge. However, the honeymoon phase ended as soon as I started dealing with day-to-day operations. Writing and managing content, especially media, became a significant hurdle. For every blog post, I found myself wrestling with layouts and struggling to embed images and videos efficiently.

Exploring Headless CMS Options

In an attempt to tackle the media management issues, I considered integrating a headless CMS, like StaticCMS. It promised to simplify how I handled content, potentially solving one of my biggest pain points. However, this solution brought its own set of challenges. While it could help with managing media, other aspects of my site, like adding a contact form, still needed separate solutions. Each new feature seemed to require additional configurations or plugins. The more I delved into these solutions, the more the complexity grew, turning what were supposed to be straightforward tasks into time-consuming projects.

A Nostalgic Solution with a Modern Twist

Reluctantly, I began exploring more traditional platforms and settled on WordPress. Known for its ease of use and vast plugin ecosystem, it promised to reduce the friction I experienced with Next.js. Yet, I didn’t want to abandon the unique style of my original site like the interactive retro terminal that visitors first saw on the homepage.

Enter ReactPress, a bridge that allowed me to integrate React components within WordPress. This tool enabled me to migrate my beloved interactive terminal seamlessly. Now, my site retains its original charm while gaining the functionality that WordPress offers.

Finding Balance

This journey taught me an invaluable lesson about balancing innovation with practicality. While it’s tempting to chase the latest tech trends, it’s essential to focus on your primary goals. For me, that’s writing and engaging with my readers. No amount of cutting-edge technology should stand in the way of that.

In the end, using a static site generator was an enriching experience—it taught me about my needs and limits. It also reminded me that sometimes, traditional options like WordPress can be exactly what you need to focus on what truly matters.

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