What is a static site CMS?

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    The popularity of web development approaches like Jamstack and the reemergence of static sites has led to many developers searching for the best ways to launch their websites and publish content.

    While all of that can be done from scratch, if you’re a developer at an enterprise company where there are several other tasks to get through and a marketing team that needs the freedom to publish content as well, then you need an alternative.That’s where a static site CMS comes into play. In this article we’ll explain what a static site CMS is, why you need one, and why a headless CMS makes the best option.

    What is a static site CMS?

    A static site CMS is a content management system that allows you to create, manage and publish content for static sites. To recap, a static site is a pre-built website created using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The website gets delivered to a browser exactly as the files are stored on a server and usually delivered via a content delivery network (CDN).

    Static sites come with a variety of benefits, including improved performance, security and scalability. However, when it comes time to update them it can be a difficult task for marketers as they require knowledge of HTML and CSS. As a result, many companies turn to a static site CMS to help less technical users manage that content.

    Types of static site CMSs

    There are two primary CMS options that work best with static sites, flat file and headless CMSs.

    • Flat file CMS: Since static sites consist of a set of HTML and .txt files, many developers opt for a flat file CMS to manage content. A flat file CMS doesn’t include a database and instead simply pulls files from a server. Unfortunately, this isn’t sufficient for every situation, particularly large businesses with tons of content to manage and multiple people using the CMS.

    • Headless CMS: Developers can also choose to create and manage content for their static sites using a headless CMS. A headless CMS separates the frontend presentation layer from the backend content repository. This allows you to build a static site using a static site generator (SSG) and connect it to the headless CMS using APIs. The result is a host of benefits not available with simply a flat file CMS or an SSG alone.

    Why choose a headless CMS as your static site CMS

    There are several reasons why developers should choose a headless CMS as their static site CMS.

    1. Static site generators and headless CMS make a perfect pair

    Static site generators are used to quickly launch static sites. They also allow you to edit content all at once rather than having to edit each page one by one. Unfortunately, SSGs have a steep learning curve and require some coding knowledge.

    However, by pairing that SSG with a headless CMS through APIs, developers can gain access to the best of both worlds. This means the ability to launch sites quickly and easily, include more dynamic features as well as embrace modern web development approaches like Jamstack which require both tools.

    2. Provide developers with more freedom and flexibility

    Using a headless CMS as a static site CMS provides developers more freedom and flexibility. Removing the frontend layer means that developers can choose the frontend frameworks and programming languages that they prefer. In addition, static sites can be very limited on their own.

    A headless CMS allows developers to connect additional tools to improve the content on their static site. For example, they can connect an eCommerce platform or a shopping cart tool to the backend and integrate it with the static site. The speed and performance benefits of a static site remain but now it can be more than just a simple blog or microsite.

    3. Give marketers more content editing options

    The problem with static sites is that they can be difficult for marketers who typically create and manage content for a website to work with. Without coding expertise including knowledge of HTML and CSS static sites can’t be updated. By using a headless CMS as a static site CMS marketers can access features like WYSIWYG editing, drag and drop tools, previews and more to help them edit content.

    4. Include more dynamic content

    Building a static site from scratch or using a flat file CMS makes it difficult to add dynamic features down the road as need arises. With a headless CMS adding more dynamic functionality such as personalization and localization becomes easier with a headless CMS.

    5. Introduce additional enterprise-level features

    For enterprise-level organizations in particular there are other features such as single sign on (SSO) and workflows that may be required. A headless CMS can easily provide these features, for both developers and marketers.

    Using Storyblok as a static site CMS

    Enterprises on the hunt for a static site CMS to give them more freedom and flexibility than a static site generator alone should look no further than a headless CMS. When it comes time to choose that headless CMS then one of the best options for the job is Storyblok.

    With Storyblok it’s easy for developers to build static sites as Storyblok uses JSON and can easily be combined with the static site generator of your choice. However, in addition you can provide marketers and developers with the additional features they require to perform at their best.

    Developers can take advantage of Storyblok’s component-based approach and easily reuse them to make content management easy, even when dealing with complex layouts. In addition, Storyblok includes APIs to not only deliver content to various channels, but also to easily integrate additional tools and extend Stroyblok’s functionality.

    Marketers can use Storyblok to create, edit and publish content to numerous channels. Plus, with the visual editor to preview changes made on static sites even before they go live. With Storyblok it’s also possible to set up content workflows to ensure that only approved content gets published. For larger enterprises that require additional security, support and internalization features Storyblok has everything to empower teams to success.

    A static site CMS is crucial for effectively managing content, particularly if those static sites are going to be used with Jamstack. Discover more about static sites and their importance to the Jamstack approach by reading: State of Jamstack 2021: The pros, cons, and future of Jamstack.