Most businesses need a simple website for customers to discover and contact their business. With an average maintenance cost of $600 to $3,600 a year, you are overpaying for your business WordPress website. Wouldn’t it be nice to put that money elsewhere in your business?
Is your web designer using the right tool for the right job?
An estimated 455 million websites use WordPress. With WordPress’s growing popularity, it is no wonder that most web designers use it when building websites for their clients.
But are they using a jackhammer to hammer in a nail?
WordPress is a powerful content management system (CMS) software for building complex and advanced sites. So, yes, they are, especially if you have a simple homepage with a simple contact form and some details about your services. WordPress requires a database to store all the pages and website configurations. If you’re not storing user data or have user logins, why do you need to pay for something you don’t need? In addition, WordPress is a prime target for hackers. So, you must apply many security patches and updates regularly, doing it yourself or paying someone, or risk damaging your brand and bottom line.
Removing unnecessary complexity and choosing the right tool for the job can save you money and headaches in the long run.
Hugo is an excellent fit for simple websites with few pages and no need to store user data and could save you hundreds if not thousands a year.
What is Hugo?
Hugo is an open-source static website generator. Unlike WordPress, which creates the HTML for a page when the user visits that page, Hugo prebuilds the raw HTML files before you upload them to a server. In addition, Hugo does not need or use any databases to store the website’s content or theme.
By not using a database and building the entire website beforehand, sites built with Hugo have more and cheaper hosting options than WordPress. Hugo sites are also considerably faster than WordPress, leading to a better user experience.
How you can save money with Hugo
When it comes to the continued operation of a website, many costs can add up, including yearly expenses for domain name registration, SSL certificates for HTTPS, hosting, marketing and landing pages, SEO, redesigns, and maintenance. Most of these costs are fixed and unavoidable. However, there are two main areas where using Hugo will save you money: hosting and maintenance.
Let’s look at WordPress first. The average hosting cost for a simple commercial WordPress site is $24 to $936 yearly, with an average maintenance cost of $600 to $3,600 yearly; a total of $624 to $4,536 a year.
With a site built using Hugo, hosting a small commercial website—the average small business website only gets an average of 400 monthly users —hosting is free in most cases— Netfily’s free plan is 100 GB a month in bandwidth. Because there is no database or plugins, there is no maintenance cost giving you a potential annual cost savings of $624 to $4,536 yearly with the priceless cost savings of not having to worry about someone hacking into your site through vulnerabilities in WordPress, a WordPress theme, or a WordPress plugin.
The pros to using Hugo
Besides the cost savings of hosting a static generated website, there are two big pros to using Hugo for your website: performance and security.
Why should you care about the performance of your website? The simple answer comes down to mobile. If your site takes too long or doesn’t load, potential clients in a hurry will not stay on your site and will move on to a competitor’s website. With Hugo, you can fully optimize your website and achieve a website that loads in under a second on mobile; see how your website performs for free with Google’s Page Speed Insights.
The second big reason for switching to Hugo is reducing your cyber security liability. WordPress makes up 90% of all the hacks for websites that use a CMS solution. Since sites built with Hugo do not use a database there is no vulnerability to exploit to rewrite code stored in a database. In addition, there is no admin interface packaged with the website, so there are no insecure passwords to exploit. There are also no database backups to worry about; your site code can be hosted on services like GitHub for free (large media files over 50 MB will need to be handled differently and cost $60 annually to host).
How to know if your site is a good fit to make the switch
As any good tradesman knows, you should use the right tool for the right job, and building websites is no different.
First, you should ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you need to store any user or client data?
- Do you have blogs?
- How often do you post a blog?
- Who will be adding the blog to your website?
- Do you need comments for your blog?
- Do you have a photo or project gallery?
- How often do you update the gallery?
- Who will be adding to the gallery?
- Do you have a contact form?
If you don’t plan on updating the content yourself and it is not updated daily, Hugo is an excellent fit for your website. Contact forms, newsletter subscriptions, and comment sections can be incorporated into your website using third-party services.
However, Hugo is not a great fit if you need to store any user or client data or if you would like to modify the website content rather than a web developer. Unlike a CMS like WordPress, you don’t have a user interface to edit content directly. All content is managed in raw files and compiled to generate your website. Y ou will need to be comfortable editing HTML template files and Markdown files for the site content; Hugo also uses the programing language Go to embed logic into the site templates.
The cons of switching to Hugo
Like any solution to a problem, there are pros and cons, and Hugo is no different.
Some things to consider before switching to Hugo or any site generated by a static site generator:
- Files are edited manually locally and only updated on the server once you upload the changes.
- A third-party tool and service are required if you want to back up your files, such as GitHub.
- Have to learn Markdown, a lightweight text syntax converted to HTML, for most of its content.
- Be comfortable with the GO language, as many of the functions and logic in the templates mirror the syntax.
- Third-party services are needed to incorporate form submissions, such as a contact me form and comments on a blog post.
Hugo is an excellent option for smaller sites requiring little to no changes or updates to the site’s content. Switching from WordPress to Hugo could save hundreds to thousands on hosting and maintenance costs a year, money you can reallocate to your business.