Jamstack or Wordpress?

Its 2020, and website are still one of the best ways to market your business. Its a way to setup your home base for your business and own your content. There are many ways to build your website, but I want to look at two ways of building. There's the traditional route of building your site with Wordpress. It currently powers approximately 35% of the internet, has a huge community and many resources for theming and functionality. Then there's the future-focused route of a Jamstack website. It's a new way of building a faster, cost-efficient and more secure website. Let's learn about each website building method.

Wordpress

Wordpress is a content management system built on PHP that started out for blogs. PHP is a coding language that handles the templates, logic and data for your website. The server generates the pages when you load the website. Styling and functionality such as e-Commerce can be custom built, but driven by themes and plugins developed by third parties. With this in mind, Wordpress sites tend to suffer from heavy bloat, security issues and back user experience on the front-end and back-end.

Jamstack

Jamstack, which stands for Javascript, API, Markdown Stack, is a new way of building websites and apps. The focus here is a faster, more secure, cost efficient website. Instead of generating webpages on the server like Wordpress, the pages are pre-built and uploaded to a CDN after an update. Great for marketing websites and blogs. Still getting there for content driven sites like Yelp and task driven apps like Gmail.

Both Jamstack and Wordpress can be useful for certain needs. Lets look at how both methods stack up based on speed, cost, development and security when it comes to your business needs.

Speed & Performance

Story

Your target audience uses mobile devices more than desktop devices. So your website needs to be fast to decrease bounce rates.

Jamstack

Pages are pre-built and served over a CDN network. When people load up your website, they fetch the data from the closest CDN server. This makes your website load up fast.

Wordpress

The server generates pages on site load, which takes time. Wordpress is also notorious for plugins. The more plugins you install, the longer it takes for your website to load. This could increase bounce rate.

Verdict

Jamstack is great if you care about performance. Load times are quicker which will lead to lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates.

Hosting & Functionality Costs

Story

You have some capital to work with, but you need to figure out how to divide that capital.

Jamstack

Since Jamstack generate static files on build, CDN hosting them tend to be cheap to free. Jamstack hosting, such as Netlify, distributes your site to multiple CDN servers to handle spikes in traffic. So you load the site from the closer server. For functionality, you'll incur extra costs. This comes in the form of content management, email marketing, or automation,

Wordpress

Wordpress sites are hosted on traditional server, which have to build pages on site load. This cost money, so the average server cost about $20/mo. If your site grows, you'll need to pay for more space and bandwidth. Also, you'll need to think about plugins. If you want the best version of the plugin, you'll need to pay for the premium version of it. Shopify has a similar model when it comes to plugins. You could end up paying $100+/mo for hosting and functionality.

Verdict

Jamstack is great if you want to save money in the long run with hosting. There's up-front costs for getting the site up and running. After that, you can put that hosting money into marketing or improving your business.

Wordpress is great if you want handle updating the site yourself. Getting the site up is cheap since you can buy a theme and get things going. It will be a bit more costly in the long-run with hosting and plugins.

Development Costs & Experience

Story

You need to get website up and running, but you don't have much time to get it done because you'll need to also run your business.

Jamstack

Jamstack is still at its beginnings, so most Jamstack sites will need to be custom built to your needs. This could have higher upfront costs for development. If the Jamstack site is connected to a headless CMS, updating content can be easy. A developer will be needed if you're looking to add new pages, sections or features.

Wordpress

Wordpress is the veteran of the pack. Because of that, there's many themes already available at your fingertips. You'll just need to install the theme, customize the branding, add content, and you're up quickly. Updating a Wordpress site is pretty simple depending on the theme you've chosen. The CMS is great at adding new pages and content. Themes add style builders so you can add your own customizations and sections easily. Even an entry-level developer can help save you time without little hand-holding.

Verdict

If you're looking to get something up quickly, then Wordpress if your best bet. If you need to get your website built right, then Jamstack is your best bet.

Security

Story

Let say a hacker is trying to get into your website to steal passwords and data. You're capturing customer data, you have your own data, and you have a years worth of content.

Jamstack

With the client-side (design and structure) separate from the server-side (functionality), you reduce the chance of hackers screwing you over. If a hacker has access to content, they won't have access to your other data. The hackers would need to hack multiple accounts.

Wordpress

With everything handled on one server, a hacker has access to everything. All the hackers have to do is figure out your password, which is probably 'abcd1234', and there goes your content and data to other platforms.

Verdict

If you care about security, then Jamstack is your jam. You can make your Wordpress site more secure, but it will take some custom code or a plugin, which will slow down your site.

Conclusion

Both ways of getting your website up and running has their pros and cons. It depends on your approach: the short-term or long-term. If you're looking to quickly prove a business model, then use Wordpress (or even Squarespace or Shopify). If you've proven that your business model works and you're ready to set your website up for growth, then Jamstack is the way to go.

There's even ways to marry the Jamstack model with Wordpress. Wordpress has a API plugin If you have any questions on which way to go about building your website, you can reach me via Twitter for help. In need of in-depth consulting, you can schedule time to talk 1x1 with me to figure out whats the best route for you.

References & Resources

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