A small trend in web publishing.. 'static site generators'

13 replies
Hey,

Just wondering what peoples thoughts are on this...

We're *all* (pretty much!) now publishing with WordPress... and
with us being 'marketers' we're all trying out the latest SEO plugins
and what not to give us a bump up the Google SERP'S.

You've got all these fancy frameworks e.g. Genesis, Thesis, Catylst.. etc

Some of which, in my opinion, are now being given 'negative points'
by Google because of there wide use.

To spot someone with 'SEO' advice Google just has to look for SEO
plugins and one of those recommended frameworks..

What I think will become popular over the next few months in the
'underground' SEO scene is 'static site generators'..

Yep! Taking it back to the old school!

People will use software generators to create there site offline, the
software will generate all the HTML files 'offline' so to speak, and
then with the click of a button upload any additional changes/pages.

First of all there's no code processed on the server which means pages
will load up faster.

Security issues are reduced immensely. A hacker's eyes light up
sometimes when they see an old version of WordPress installed let
alone plugins such as Tim Thumb (remember that drama!).

Moving your website is a piece of cake!

You'll always have a back up of your site (albeit on your hard drive
or in the cloud on your GDrive or DropBox).

And forget technologies... wow you don't have CURL.. it doesn't
matter.. wow you don't have the newest shiny PHP version. It doesn't
matter one bit. All you need is basic web hosting!

The site generator creates the page in clean html, it creates the
nice clean permalinks, sets up site titles, meta tags and clean links etc..

Of course, this doesn't come without a few disadvantages - to
implement the super important 'comments' features you'd need
some code that gets generated server side - perhaps there is an
opportunity for a third party solution. You could even include the
Facebook comments plugin. This part needs work!

Anyway - a bit of a brain dump above anyway - if it's given you an
ideas then great!
#generators #publishing #site #small #tatic #trend #web
  • Profile picture of the author brentb
    In your dreams... unless your site is strictly informational and has ZERO functionality, this would never work. Period. Did you forget what the internet used to look like? It was so boring and bland (except when javascript effects became popular ugh) and every site to people today looked like a middle school kid made it. Sorry no thanks!
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Motion
      Originally Posted by brentb View Post

      In your dreams... unless your site is strictly informational and has ZERO functionality, this would never work. Period. Did you forget what the internet used to look like? It was so boring and bland (except when javascript effects became popular ugh) and every site to people today looked like a middle school kid made it. Sorry no thanks!
      You don't need fancy JavaScript's to make a site look and work well. Look at Wikipedia for example. Most people search Google for information not silly effects.

      Originally Posted by brentb View Post

      Google doesn't read it different. What SEO plugins do is change the variables attached to the URL ie. ?v=34&post=5 to more "Google friendly" so like ?v=work-from-home&post=top-10-money-making-methods. So really your post makes no sense, it has zero effect on SEO ranking. Wordpress may effect SEO ranking but server side language has ZERO effect on SEO, only the implementation of it ie wordpress.
      It does! This is why certain WordPress frameworks are getting penalized. Some of the top guys (and girls!) in the SEO industry have been saying this - why do you think people recommend one framework over the other?

      It's also a reason why people are starting to say Drupal hits the search engines quicker.

      You don't think a huge company like Google can see what CMS you're using!

      If anything I think Google would penalize a static site over a dynamic one just because anything static today probably isn't worth going to
      How you can say 'any static website' today probably isn't worth going to makes completely no sense at all. You do realize the website you're essentially reading now is 'static'. It's just information. Whether it has fancy JavaScript or pop up CSS stuff doesn't matter.

      I recommend you read 'Dont make me think' by Steve Krug.

      Also, I'll list one of the best current static site generators:
      https://github.com/mojombo/jekyll

      And here is another being developed by the co-founder of Tumblr, and creator of Instapaper:
      http://www.marco.org/secondcrack

      I'm not saying WordPress isn't the way to go - damn, I make hundreds of dollars a week with sites based on WP (and do so whilst travelling the world) - I just think top level SEO guru's will start using static site generators alongside top quality outsourced content writers.

      Anyway, it's just a thought on how I can see a few people doing things many months down the line - we'll see how it pans out!

      Oh, and by the way.. even the New York Times has experimented with static sites..
      http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2025611
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      • Profile picture of the author brentb
        Originally Posted by Joe Motion View Post

        You don't need fancy JavaScript's to make a site look and work well. Look at Wikipedia for example. Most people search Google for information not silly effects.
        Wikipedia is not a static site. Do you enjoy search functionality? Imagine if you couldn't search Wikipedia?

        Originally Posted by Joe Motion View Post

        How you can say 'any static website' today probably isn't worth going to makes completely no sense at all. You do realize the website you're essentially reading now is 'static'. It's just information.
        This site is completely php based. Just move your mouse over the link for posting a new reply, see the .php in it?
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        • Profile picture of the author Joe Motion
          Originally Posted by brentb View Post

          Wikipedia is not a static site. Do you enjoy search functionality? Imagine if you couldn't search Wikipedia?

          This site is completely php based. Just move your mouse over the link for posting a new reply, see the .php in it?
          Of course this site is PHP based - I'm just stating a static site can contain information that a site created server site can. The most important example here is WordPress (my initial example). Simple sites that want to display content and perhaps daily updates (blogs!).

          I also know Wikipedia isn't static.

          You're missing the point.

          It could be a static site - now imagine it was.

          I can still search Wikipedia - I'll show you how:

          Say we want to search Wikipedia for 'economies of scale' (just an example).

          1/ Go to Google.
          2/ Type in wikipedia economies of scale
          3/ Click the "I'm feeling lucky" button.



          As I said, this is just a prediction for months down the line for basic content sites (the majority of sites on the web!), for a small group of advanced SEO'ers - it won't be wide spread. The fact that the co-founder of Tumblr and Instapaper is working on this shows something

          Just a side question brentb, what scripts do you use for blogging? (if you do)
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      • Profile picture of the author brentb
        Originally Posted by Joe Motion View Post

        Oh, and by the way.. even the New York Times has experimented with static sites..
        Using Flat Files So Elections Don
        This actually has nothing to do with SEO, its a scaling issue for when every performance increase cuts back on your loadbalanced server farm and they are using server side scripting to create HTML on the fly, by no means a static site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Originally Posted by Joe Motion View Post

    Hey,

    Just wondering what peoples thoughts are on this...

    We're *all* (pretty much!) now publishing with WordPress... and
    with us being 'marketers' we're all trying out the latest SEO plugins
    and what not to give us a bump up the Google SERP'S.

    You've got all these fancy frameworks e.g. Genesis, Thesis, Catylst.. etc

    Some of which, in my opinion, are now being given 'negative points'
    by Google because of there wide use.

    To spot someone with 'SEO' advice Google just has to look for SEO
    plugins and one of those recommended frameworks..

    What I think will become popular over the next few months in the
    'underground' SEO scene is 'static site generators'..

    Yep! Taking it back to the old school!

    People will use software generators to create there site offline, the
    software will generate all the HTML files 'offline' so to speak, and
    then with the click of a button upload any additional changes/pages.

    First of all there's no code processed on the server which means pages
    will load up faster.

    Security issues are reduced immensely. A hacker's eyes light up
    sometimes when they see an old version of WordPress installed let
    alone plugins such as Tim Thumb (remember that drama!).

    Moving your website is a piece of cake!

    You'll always have a back up of your site (albeit on your hard drive
    or in the cloud on your GDrive or DropBox).

    And forget technologies... wow you don't have CURL.. it doesn't
    matter.. wow you don't have the newest shiny PHP version. It doesn't
    matter one bit. All you need is basic web hosting!

    The site generator creates the page in clean html, it creates the
    nice clean permalinks, sets up site titles, meta tags and clean links etc..

    Of course, this doesn't come without a few disadvantages - to
    implement the super important 'comments' features you'd need
    some code that gets generated server side - perhaps there is an
    opportunity for a third party solution. You could even include the
    Facebook comments plugin. This part needs work!

    Anyway - a bit of a brain dump above anyway - if it's given you an
    ideas then great!
    It's been 8-9 years since I created a desktop "commentz tuel" that uses a PHP script server side to store new comments, but processes and moderates them to static html pages client side (on the PC) and FTPs them to the site.
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  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    Originally Posted by Joe Motion View Post

    What I think will become popular over the next few months in the
    'underground' SEO scene is 'static site generators'..

    Yep! Taking it back to the old school!
    Well well well.

    When the automobile was a couple years old people would say the same... we will soon get back to horses... .

    I do not think that the internet will "develop" backwards.

    There might be room for an easier or simpler publishing platform than WordPress. Possibly something that that fully uses html5.
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    • Profile picture of the author brentb
      I think people are missing something... Google bot, your browser, anything that that renders a server side scripted page (dynamic, php, whatever you want to call it) only sees the output, which is just html (or any client side script). So in reality, if you removed the serverside scripting you would have the exact same looking website, minus the functionality. Google doesn't read it different. What SEO plugins do is change the variables attached to the URL ie. ?v=34&post=5 to more "Google friendly" so like ?v=work-from-home&post=top-10-money-making-methods. So really your post makes no sense, it has zero effect on SEO ranking. Wordpress may effect SEO ranking but server side language has ZERO effect on SEO, only the implementation of it ie wordpress.

      If anything I think Google would penalize a static site over a dynamic one just because anything static today probably isn't worth going to.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    Anybody who uses Wordpress along with one of the popular caching plugins that saves Wordpress pages to static files is already essentially using a static site generator. When you're doing it that way, PHP is not even used when a visitor accesses a cached file. You can even disable PHP on your server and your site will still work.

    If it's the case that Google was penalizing Wordpress sites, and if I was a Wordpress user, I'd probably focus on hiding the fact that I'm running Wordpress (e.g. remove all clues from HTML source, change path to images & css, and other stuff) rather than use a different site generator.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Motion
      Originally Posted by mojojuju View Post

      Anybody who uses Wordpress along with one of the popular caching plugins that saves Wordpress pages to static files is already essentially using a static site generator. When you're doing it that way, PHP is not even used when a visitor accesses a cached file. You can even disable PHP on your server and your site will still work.

      If it's the case that Google was penalizing Wordpress sites, and if I was a Wordpress user, I'd probably focus on hiding the fact that I'm running Wordpress (e.g. remove all clues from HTML source, change path to images & css, and other stuff) rather than use a different site generator.
      Caching is essential for busy WordPress sites, I'd also recommend the free service that CloudFlare offer (they have a WP plugin etc..).
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  • Profile picture of the author ashloren
    I actually like HTML better because it seems easier to quickly edit than the PHP files for a Wordpress theme. I use Wordpress because it makes blogging simpler I guess, but I would much rather have more control over a site and to me that means being able to fine tune the HTML until it's exactly how I want things.
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  • Profile picture of the author Amandasimmons
    Could you please explain the Tim Thumb Drama part?
    I know a friend of mine whose website broke due to Tim Thumb and her entire theme was spoiled after a year working perfectly.

    Originally Posted by Joe Motion View Post



    Security issues are reduced immensely. A hacker's eyes light up
    sometimes when they see an old version of WordPress installed let
    alone plugins such as Tim Thumb (remember that drama!)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7510605].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Joe Motion
      Originally Posted by Amandasimmons View Post

      Could you please explain the Tim Thumb Drama part?
      I know a friend of mine whose website broke due to Tim Thumb and her entire theme was spoiled after a year working perfectly.
      If you don't keep your WordPress installation updated you run the risk of having your site hacked into. The worst part about this is the hackers will simply inject your website with code that gives there website SEO juice - you won't even know your sites been accessed.

      The Tim Thumb exploit is documented here:
      http://www.exploit-db.com/wordpress-...-exploitation/

      This plugin here will scan your WP installation to see if your vulnerable:
      WordPress › Timthumb Vulnerability Scanner « WordPress Plugins
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