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Why You Don't Need a CMS


I taught myself how to build websites back in the golden days of the internet when blogs still reigned supreme. The year was 2009 and I used a content management system (CMS) called Joomla to build local marketing websites for small businesses.

At the time Joomla was the most popular CMS on the market but soon WordPress would take over the top spot in the CMS wars...And leave Joomla in it's dust.

Today WordPress owns about 64% of the CMS market and powers more than 43% of all websites. Joomla powers a measly 2.6% of all websites. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Over the years WordPress faced and overcame growing pains including community conflict and tech debt as it tried to adapt and evolve with web. One of the key reasons WP still dominates the web is the commitment by Automattic (the publisher of WordPress) to maintain backwards compatibility.

You see, WordPress is open source software. And powering this behemoth is one of the largest open source developer communities on the internet.

Behind WordPress is a company called Autommatic. Autommatic has been one of my favorite companies to watch grow over the past decade. In fact I modeled my first digital agency after their organizational structure, ditributed company model, and developed my own internal knowledge management system called Oxygen based on their ideas. You could even say I'm a huge fan of Matt Mullenwig—I'd rank him as a top 10 founder of the last decade.

Last year I decided to relaunch my blog on Ghost, a modern publishing platform with Node.js under the hood and a headless, API driven architecture. I set up a the self-hosted, open source version of Ghost and started writing. But I didn't like it. Sure, it was faster and simpler than WordPress. But it was missing features. Features that I need to implement basic SEO and information architecture. Frustrated by the lack of back features I stopped building.

Why I Prefer Writing in Markdown and SSGs Today I'm writing this article in a text editor. Over the years I've

What's required to maintain the tech stack?

How much will my total monthly investment be?

How much time does it take to manage the general blog?

What's the technology stack, am I familiar with it?

  1. Digital Ocean droplet running the latest version of Ghost, JawsDB, Nginx, Node.js, etc.
  2. Set up A Record for subdomain
  3. This is where you'll manage all of your content. This is the back end of your site, just an admin panel.
  4. Ghost Gatsby Scaffolding — create a Git repo
  5. Connect Git repo to netlify
  6. Configure Netlify to serve static site
  7. Configure CloudFlare DNS to work with Netlify
  8. Connect Netlify instance w/ Digital Ocean
  9. You can now work locally w/ your Ghost Theme + live content
  10. Any updates made to your Git repo will be automagically deployed via Netlify
  11. Digital Ocean will handle weekly backups for $1
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