Building Static Websites Using Jekyll

The open-source, blog-aware, static website generator written in Ruby.

Jekyll is an open-source, blog-aware, static website generator written in Ruby. It was released in 2014 by the co-founder of Github Tom Preston-Werner.

Jekyll works by rendering Markdown, Textile and Liquid templates in to static files without the need for databases. Removing the need for databases and generating websites which use static files has a number of benefits.

Static websites are SUPER quick

When you remove the need to look up information from a database and process information on the server before rendering your page, you can save a lot of time and resource. Ultimately, this means your site can be rendered in the browser, to your visitor much, much faster. As we all know, website speed is becoming an even more important factor in Google’s ranking algorithms this year as well as being a key ingredient to a positive user experience on the web.

Foundry’s own website was built on top of the Jekyll platform and we’ve been taking advantage of the speed benefits ever since.

Jekyll is really flexible

Check out this quote from Jekyll’s Readme file.

“Jekyll does what you tell it to do — no more, no less. It doesn’t try to outsmart users by making bold assumptions, nor does it burden them with needless complexity and configuration. Put simply, Jekyll gets out of your way and allows you to concentrate on what truly matters: your content.”

As Jekyll focuses on content over configuration you’re free to integrate anything you like in to your website. It’s completely up to you.

Jekyll’s underlying file and directory structure allows you to keep your website code well organised and separated in to clean, reusable components which are compiled in to static files during the build process.

But what if I want a blog?

Jekyll is blog-aware software. This allows you to maintain a well structured, SEO friendly blog whilst maintaining the speed benefits and simplicity of a static website. You simply write your content in Markdown or plain HTML and let the Jekyll magic organise this content in to a directory structure comprised of years, months and days all using static files. You can even save draft posts to be published at a later date.

You don’t always need WordPress

Due to the popularity of WordPress as a CMS, many people automatically think, if you need a website then you need WordPress. Especially if you need to manage content on that website.

It’s important to know that WordPress isn’t always the answer. For many smaller websites the benefits WordPress can bring to a website can also brings potential issues. WordPress is often mis-configured or not kept up to date which can bring potential security issues and performance problems to your website.

If you’re looking for a new super fast, easy to manage website and think Jekyll would work for you, get in touch with us today.