While stuck inside, I tried to think of ways to be productive. I originally thought about learning to juggle, but I decided instead to learn about static site builders.
In 2019, I made the decision to build two websites wth WordPress. I learned a lot about the platform and was happy with how my sites looked, but I grew tired of keeping them maintained. Every week it was the same chore… look at WordFence, see how many hack attempts were made on my domain, ensure plugins get updated, ensure WordPress is up to date. I also couldn’t get my sites to be as quick and lightweight as I wanted, even using some popular plugins. I can now appriciate WordPress and see why it is as popular as it is, but it just wasn’t ideal for small, personal sites like mine.
Manual Transmission Enthusiests Angry
While in quarantine, I started to do research on reddit to learn how others were building smaller sites. I had originally planned to write something extremely simple in HTML5 and CCS3.0, but I wasn’t sure on best practices or how to get blogs to work. Someone mentioned static site builders and recommended Jekyll or Hugo. After reviewing both, I decided to learn Hugo.
As of today, all three of my sites have their Hugo source code and final code in their own repositories on GitHub (2 repositories for each site). Using GitHub on my PC, I am able to edit the Hugo source and push changes back to their source repositories.
All changes to my sites are made and demoed on my computer in real time with Hugo by entering ‘hugo server’ in terminal. This spins up a local version of the site for my browser to view. It also automatically refreshed every time I save my changes.
Finally, once my code changes look good, I kick off a deploy script in terminal which generates the static site for me and automatically pushed the code to the public site’s directory on GitHub. This is where Hugo feels magical. For sites with multiple pages of blog posts and a “Recent Posts” section, I don’t have to manually shit all of the posts in HTML or manually update my recent blogs section of my site. Huge regenerates all of that for me and builds the static html. All I have to do is write my blog and kick off the deploy script.
My Theoretical Build
Overall, I am extremely happy moving away from WordPress and onto Hugo. I have much more control over my sites, I no longer have to worry about constantly updating WordPress or the plugins, and I was able to cancel my paid host and save $100+ a year. Switching to Hugo ended up being a big win for me. It gave me the opportunity to save money and spend less time managing my sites.