By David Large
So you’re pitching a Jamstack project uphill — to a prospective client, perhaps a manager, or an entire marketing team. What are they worried about? And how can you help convince them that static sites are the way of the future? You already know static is faster and more reliable, with a better developer experience, but let’s put their questions to rest, with questions a (stereotypical) client might ask.
‘Static sites’? Isn’t that the way the web used to work? It sounds like it’s not exactly, well… dynamic.
The difference between a static site and a dynamic site is a little technical, but worth understanding. With a dynamic site, the server gets the content from a database and builds the page for every single visitor. Static sites, by contrast, are pre-built, so when a visitor loads a page, the server simply returns a file. This is why static websites appear near-instantly, while a typical dynamic site can take seconds to appear.
It sounds complicated. Do you have to be a developer to update the content?
Not at all. There’s a growing range of modern and user-friendly Jamstack content management systems built specifically for content editors and non-technical folks. (And if content marketing teams are uploading and editing their own work, it frees me up to develop more efficiently and keep improving their sites!)
In fact, with a CMS like CloudCannon, editors can even see their on-page changes as they’re editing. You’ll have no more guesswork about how the preview page will look! And the editing interface will be familiar to anyone who’s used even a basic text editor before, with intuitive additions like page components that even let you make new pages, completely independently.
What about SEO and analytics? Can I track everything I currently do in Google Analytics?
Absolutely! Google Analytics works with static sites just as easily as it does with a legacy CMS like WordPress. (And static sites typically load faster than dynamic sites which leads to better ranking on search engines.) High Lighthouse scores — on Performance, Accessibility, Best Practice and SEO — greatly impact search rankings, and static sites typically have higher Lighthouse scores. All of this means a better user experience, optimized capacity for your customers, and ultimately increased conversions for you.
It’s worth pointing out that all of your current marketing tools can continue to work, as well — Crazy Egg, Clarity, Matomo, Hotjar and more. Compare these and more Jamstack-compatible analytics tools here.
But will it cost more money?
It depends how much you want to pay me! Seriously, setting up a Jamstack site is no more expensive than setting up a new site with a legacy CMS. With the developer efficiencies that Jamstack CMSs like CloudCannon bring, we can spend more time on the frontend polish that you and your users will actually see, rather than behind-the-scenes boilerplate code.
How secure would this be?
Static sites are inherently more secure, because they’re not running code on every single page load. To put a finer point on it, there’s simply less surface area for a hacker to exploit — a user’s browser is doing the work of rendering the page, not a server halfway across the country (or the world).
How much choice do I have, in terms of the look and feel of the site?
Static sites have the same fully flexible design and functionality options as any dynamic website. In fact, given that developers can be more efficient with our time and the fact that we don’t need to worry about incompatible WordPress plugins affecting our sites, we have more scope than ever before.
When it comes to how the site is built, we can work together to choose the most suitable static site generator from those offered by CloudCannon. Sites with thousands of pages and multiple images would benefit from using Hugo, for example, while Jekyll remains a popular choice for corporate websites, blogs and product documentation. Newer static site generators like Eleventy, Next.js, and SvelteKit are also becoming increasingly popular for websites and web applications alike, due to their lightweight and efficient structure.
What about search? Or contact forms? Oh, and e-commerce? Can we set up an online shop?
Of course! The Jamstack ecosystem includes a wide range of customizable services, plugins and tools, from analytics to community tools, e-commerce services, search functions and more. If it’s possible anywhere on the web, it’s possible with CloudCannon.
What if we want to change the site in the future? Or move to a new CMS?
All of your content is managed by Git, and lives in your repository. It remains yours, and isn’t locked away by CloudCannon or another third party. Actually, your data is more portable in Git than it would be in large database backup files.
Content changes are easy, too. CloudCannon allows content editors like you to see all of their on-page changes instantly, using the most intuitive and configurable interface out there. We can choose from a range of editing controls to enable, according to each site’s use case, and can even give each content team a personalized interface.
It’s not just about swapping in text and images, though. We can create complex layouts with prebuilt nestable components, and share full component libraries with editors. Even non-technical editors are empowered to build new pages using components. Using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface you can shuffle, copy, and reorder them on the page; and update the components’ content each time, if you’d like.
But if we rely on open-source tools and software, who will support them? What about maintenance costs?
These are legitimate concerns for many businesses, and also the reason why so many choose more expensive software options. But here’s why you don’t need to worry. Thousands of developers contribute their time to open-source software projects (like SSGs), many of which have received ongoing financial support from companies and independent developers who believe in the respective projects. And CloudCannon’s CMS is, of course, a service. Their support team helps agency developers like me with any issues relating to the site behind the scenes. Agency devs help set up clients like you with the design and constrained page elements you need. And you’ll have access to easily change the site’s content, layout, and everything your users will see.
Besides, with a CMS like CloudCannon, there’s no ongoing maintenance. Where a normal WordPress site might rely on juggling plugins and additional services — each with its own insecurities, risks and compatibility issues — CloudCannon is a very lean stack.
This means sites are more stable no matter how often the content is updated, and clients don’t need to spend their money on basic maintenance requests. Developers like me, for our part, can spend more of our time doing what we do best — making the best sites, more efficiently.
This … actually sounds great? When can we start?
As soon as you want! In fact, I can sign up for a 14-day trial with CloudCannon right now.
Or, you can browse ready-made templates here. It’s even possible for me to deploy a sample portfolio site, or a product / SaaS business site, in a single click.
So let’s say we do it. We save money, our team works more efficiently — so far, so good. But what about our customers? No one likes change.
A faster and more responsive site is always a better user experience. If you run a transaction-driven site, then giving your users a fast experience is a key way to differentiate from your competition. But if you think you have to convince anyone on this point, just look at the stats:
- Website performance has a huge influence on how customers perceive a brand — a one-second delay in website load time reduces customer satisfaction by 16%. 
- Every 100ms delay in site load time can reduce conversion rates by 7%. 
- When mobile page load times balloon from 1s to 3s, bounce rates increase by 32%. (If your site takes 5s to load, you’d be looking at a 90% bounce rate!) 
- Google’s search algorithm privileges sites that load faster than average. (CloudCannon’s median page load time is 6x faster than the web’s average.)
What about downtime? Will my website stay online?
Yes. With a content delivery network (CDN) of over 250 data centers around the world, CloudCannon has maintained 99.999% uptime in the last 48 months to date.
What’s the catch? What’s in it for you?
There’s really no catch. I’m still designing and developing; you’ll still receive a beautiful and future-proofed website. But in this case, with CloudCannon it’s a site that you’ll actually enjoy editing.
You’re closer to your content than anyone else could be. It’s your content editors who should see the final product on the page in those last few seconds before it goes live — they’re the ones who will catch any last-minute corrections!
Ok, but who else actually uses Jamstack sites? I don’t want to do it if bigger companies or successful brands haven’t already used this approach.
Where should I start?
Netflix uses Jamstack (via CloudCannon) to create an extensive network of international sites to maintain and manage relationships with its customers and partners.
Twitch uses Jamstack (via CloudCannon) to deliver sites to their 30 million daily active users.
CloudCannon’s marketing site itself uses Jamstack, created of course with their own CMS.
Other prominent businesses, blogs and public foundations using the Jamstack approach include:
- Bang & Olufsen
- Louis Vuitton
- Pan Macmillan
- LEGO for kids
- Starbucks Reserve
- National Geographic
- Smashing Magazine
- University of Bristol
- Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (Re:wild)
The list goes on, of course, but it’s clear that there’s really no upper limit on Jamstack’s capabilities, from publishing to ecommerce. Static sites scale easily from small marketing sites through to services with millions of users, provide a consistent user experience, and best of all — for developers like me and companies like you — are incredibly efficient to develop.
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