When we’re the client (we have a new appreciation)

For huntgathercreate.co, we used static rendering and a synthesis of Javascript and React to deliver rapid load speeds, even with data-heavy video and high-res images (we know, we always tell you not to do that). But since showing off our work with low-res images and in storyboard form isn’t an option, that’s kind of a big deal. So, we figured it out.

Makers and doers, making and doing

Yes, we could have just used a WordPress template, but there are some really good reasons we chose not to. With WordPress, retrieval goes like this: request, pull it from the database, the server compiles the information, and then sends it back to the user requesting said information. This isn’t particularly fast. Also, using a template just isn’t our style—we’re Makers and Doers, not Eh, This Seems Good Enough-ers.

With our approach, files are ready to go and stored on a CDN (Content Delivery Network), meaning the file doesn’t have to go through a database. So unlike a WordPress template, our site requests don’t have to communicate with a database, there’s no parsing of templates, no buildout markup, no generation of html and sending it to the client getting in the way of delivering content to you, the user, who we’d love to do business with.

It turns out that for our site’s needs, static isn’t a grudging compromise, it’s actually preferable. We aren’t switching out content constantly because we’re busy making and doing for others, so static actually confers special advantages. By using Gatsby, a static site generator, we’re also able to use React, a modern tool that opens up the ability to build top-quality, front-facing user experiences that Javascript alone isn’t capable of. You can use your own API, you can use your own CMS—it’s up to you. You just say where you’re pulling data from, and how you want to use it.

What it all means and why that matters to you

Basically, we have the expertise to leave “off the shelf” WordPress templates in the dust. Getting a user/customer to your site is only half the battle—if load times are slow or if the user experience is clunky in any way, users will often ditch the site in seconds. That’s a big problem, particularly for e-commerce businesses.

Our custom builds deliver dramatically superior UX, are easy to maintain, and far more flexible than WordPress template sites. These advantages add up to lower long-term costs and higher conversion rates. We think that’s a pretty terrific outcome. But for now, we’re going to go back to being makers and doers, and leave the clienting to our clients.