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Hi, I'm Nico, I work on a Wordpress to static site service


#1

Hello,

my name is Nico and I live in Cologne, Germany. In the past year I worked on different products, but as you all know launching is tough and finding customers is even tougher. I think I did all the mistakes, including lack of focus, building before validating, shiny new object syndrom, not talking with actual customers etc.

Finally I launched decoupled.de with a partner and we are currently validating the product.
The idea is, that you build your website with wordpress and then you push a static html version to your (or your clients) server.

In my past life I worked as a seo consultant, frontend developer and freelance webdesigner. I also worked in an venture backed company as a frontend developer, when I decided that I never want to do that. If you have any questions feel free to ask me.

Nico


Introducing Olai - Hosted Static Blog Engine
#2

Not sure I understand the offering. Who is the ideal customer for a Wordpress to static site service?


#3

Interesting product. What’s the advantage of this compared to just creating client websites using a static site generator?


#4

thanks @pjc @Oliver for looking at the site.

We had the problem, that we would build a lot of wordpress websites for clients that only needed some static sites. There was a lot of overhead to just build a 5 pages site.

Deployment of wordpress sites is a pain, you develop locally and then have to push it to your client server via ftp. On the client server, you need to manually replicate the settings for all the plugins. If you want to make updates to a theme, you have to login again, search for the changed files manually and overwrite them on the server.
Additionally we had to upgrade wordpress and the plugins, just to stay on the safe side.

Our Service is aimed towards agencies and freelancers that build small websites and still want to have all the advantages of the wordpress ecosystem.

Most of the other static website generators are just to complicated to set up and don’t offer the ecosystem of themes and plugins.


#5

Additionally we had to upgrade wordpress and the plugins, just to stay on the safe side.

Why don’t you use wordpress multisite? It’s ideal for such a clients you describing.


#6

Nice! I actually have a use case for this :smile:

I’ve got this Wordpress site I’ve setup a couple years ago for my dad’s business and it is painful to keep up to date with the code updates. The Wordpress itself is updated by the hosting provider, but I have to do it manually for plugins and templates. I actually don’t want all that flexibility anymore so I would love to take a static snapshot of the site and just have that.

I know that can be probably done in a really easy way, but I don’t mind sparing some quid on that if it’s done well.


#7

@atlet thank you for your comment. Multisite has still the same problems, you have to update and maintain the sites. And really don’t want to host my clients.

@mobiplayer That is great! That is exactly what we mean, sometimes you just don’t need all the options and flexibility. Sometimes you just wan’t to set it and forget it.


#8

Ok, i agree, but it’s a good option if you have multiple clients and like to have only one entry point to maintain all the sites. And what if client demands to change some text or picture on the site? You must change by hand? Also, as I understand from your site, you must install wordpres and create a website, and than from that website you generate a static website? By uploading to server you have same amount of work and that isn’t ok for end client…it’s easier for him to login in admin area and change some text…


#9

@Nico I’ve signed up and can’t wait to try it :wink:


#10

I like this idea too. I’ve been building websites for quite a while now (mostly on other platforms), and content editors just love that WP admin.

The WP upgrade requirements (even though it’s easy for software people to do) are a huge liability since a lot of these end customers are small businesses, nonprofits, etc without the interest, ability, or budget to keep WP up to date. The site gets created and just left on basic hosting somewhere forever. Decoupled makes that safe.

Do you have a plan to handle some of the more common dynamic features? (e.g., contact form – requires PHP or something). Seems like a bit of a rabbit hole, but also opens up a lot more potential customers.


#11

How could you have all the benefits (or virtually any benefits at all) of the wordpress ecosystem in a purely static site?


#14

@atlet I agree, one central entry point is very nice, but I don’t host any of my clients myself. That means, at least for me, multisites are not an option. I use infinitewp for that purpose.

Regarding changes, at the moment we plan that you just do the changes in your local environment. Our service would then regenerate the static files and push it to the client server.

Most of my clients don’t want to login to wordpress and change the text. They just call me and I change it for them.

@mobiplayer Thanks man, I hope our service will help you!

@coreysnipes Dynamic features are a problem at the moment. We haven’t thought about it at the moment.

@kalenjordan What I mean is, you can have all the themes, customizing features and cms features that help you to build websites. As I mentioned above, we haven’t really thought about the dynamic features that require server interaction.


#15

@Nico - that’s OK, if you can offer workarounds (“You should embed a Wufoo form” or whatever) that should be enough for loads of people. You don’t need to figure out the whole “how to handle dynamic code” problem.

How are you thinking about pricing this?

And here’s a (likely) scenario that occurred to me last night. It doesn’t need an answer, but something to think about as you take this project forward…

When someone uses Decoupled to generate a static site, then it sits on the customer’s hosting for 3 years without any changes, and then suddenly they want to change it… how does that work? Does that “master” Decoupled site need to be kept around the whole time?


#16

@nico nice love the idea, been looking for something like this. There is a plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/really-static/ but it’s not that elegant. It’s had over 120,000 downloads so that should help validate. Will this be a plugin or a service?


#17

I like this idea. Some benefits I would see:

  1. Less security vulnerabilities in prod, since there’s no real exposure to the server-side from static files
  2. Better performance, since static files are hugely faster to respond with than dynamic sites. Never see the famous Wordpress cannot connect to database error message
  3. Wordpress becomes the “admin and preview”, hopefully something a customer/client can click around to generate a site and update it, then submit its current form for static generation (I’m not 100% sure that’s the service, but that’s where I’d try to take it)

Any WordPress hosting recommendations?
#18

Hi Nico - I’m very interested in your project. Would like to discuss with you.
Can you please contact me at support @ sitepixel.com ?


#19

So a slightly more sophisticated version of this?
wget -r http://someclientwebsite.com

I could actually see some real demand for this for non-technical people (which encompasses most small businesses).

With marketing I could see how you could make some money doing that. That said, you have to convince people of the need. If you’re a small business owner you likely aren’t concerned with your wordpress site getting hacked, and then when it does it is likely too late to use your service unless they have backups.

EDIT: I am also not sure why you wouldn’t want to do hosting. You could partner with a hosting company (maybe even just as an affiliate) and get recurring revenue. Perhaps that would be a phase 2 exercise.


#20

I could see this being useful for people who want fast sites once they have it established. Wordpress is a beast, huge resource hog and constantly the target of attacks. Have you done tests before and after a site transition to show that you’re making the site more efficient (and secure?)


#21

FYI @Nico some people are literally asking for your product on HN right now:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8966812


#22

This is a good idea and I think you might have some luck with it. My feeling is that there is a space for a good usable CMS that builds totally static sites instead of totally dynamic sites (or even some hybrid approach might work).

It would certainly change some of the cost dynamics of things like hosting for sure.