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We Built Our Website with Ghost and a Static Site Generator


TL;DR – We are the expend of Eleventy and Gulp to generate particular person HTML pages from Nunjucks templates. The bid material is saved as Markdown recordsdata and JSON collections for repeating styles. For blog and podcast bid material, we’re the expend of a Ghost self-hosted instance as our CMS API. E-newsletter is handled by AWS SES and at final AWS Lambda serverless functions to handle our backend magic. All in all, pattern took approximately 13 plump industry days to complete this mission.

Why will we care?

Every technical choice is a necessary choice. As phenomenal as we all preach “shifting swiftly and breaking things”, we level-headed must set in ideas the volume of technical debt we’re slowly increasing with every choice. That being mentioned, there is a definite sweet space the set you optimize for future flexibility whereas concurrently allowing you to pass like a flash to form your product.

Some builds are higher than others. Let’s take a SaaS product esteem Basecamp to illustrate. You’d additionally hold to form your main product off a higher monolithic depraved equivalent to Ruby on Rails or to separate every fragment into more than one objects to give you more flexibility. Either manner, it be vital to set in ideas the steadiness between trudge and flexibility. For Dignified, we decided to take a more fragmented micro-provider capability and separate projects into smaller objects to protect away from increasing too phenomenal technical debt.

Once you might perchance additionally very correctly be inquisitive about a breakdown comparison of a micro-provider capability over a monolithic capability, send me a tweet @karlclement!

How we Made up our minds

All of our picks were in step with about a guiding ideas:

  • Any individual can on a fashioned basis add new bid material
  • Now we comprise more than one bid material forms with quite loads of visual representations
  • Now we comprise a custom plot
  • The online space must render as swiftly as imaginable whereas completely enforcing web page positioning ways
  • Gentle-weight server footprint with minimal repairs

These objects allowed us to take hold of and hold the tools we wanted that match the components. We can with out disclose relief a steadiness between trudge and flexibility with out diminishing the person’s skills.

The Breakdown

Here is the set it get’s a small bit technical, be at liberty to skip in the event you usually are not inquisitive concerning the implementation.

We started by separating our backend operations from our frontend rendering. This permits us to take profit of web page positioning advantages and faster web page hundreds whereas the expend of more than one some distance away sources of bid material. This might perchance also require static pages generated for every web page on the positioning. Whenever we change our bid material, every new web page ought to be generated and deployed.

There are more than one libraries to enable you to generate static web sites. Some of essentially the most valuable candidates are Jekyll, Hugo, Hexo, Eleventy, Gatsby and Nextjs. Gatsby and NextJs are carefully dependant on ReactJs to your component library. Jekyll, Hugo and Hexo comprise declare templating patterns to generate bid material, corresponding to WordPress.

At final we decided to make expend of Eleventy. Eleventy helps you to create any selection of template, with the templating language you might perchance additionally very correctly be attempting to comprise. It also helps you to pull bid material from locally readily accessible recordsdata and even hosted REST APIs.

The Sing material

Since Eleventy helps you to pull bid material from exterior sources, we decided to make expend of a truly standard blogging platform is called Ghost. Other accurate candidates for exterior CMS platforms are Netlify CMS, Strapi, Forestry, Prismic, Contently and loads more.

The fully bid material we decided to pull from Ghost were blog posts and podcast abstract posts. Since these two submit forms seem to expend a ragged blog submit sample, it became as soon as straightforward to create a template for every of these forms in Eleventy.

Initiatives are then generated from a JSON bid material file with vital aspects and descriptions of every mission we comprise got worked on. This involves pictures, callouts, and calls to action. We vital to create a custom template with Eleventy for the mission bid material form.


Eleventy is incredibly versatile when increasing templates. You’ve got the selection to make expend of Nunjucks, EJS, Handlebars, Mustache, Haml and loads others. We decided to make expend of the Nunjucks templating library because it allowed us to embed more advanced Javascript operations and macros in our templates.

With Nunjucks, we created particular person templates to make expend of every of the facts forms described above. Nunjucks also helps you to create partials and macros to be embeded in more than one locations on the positioning corresponding to React or Angular plot. These reusable objects will even be extinct to structure templates extinct to produce a visual depraved to your template. In our case, we comprise got three forms of structure: a darker theme, lighter theme, and the sidebar theme.

To compile the Javascript, SCSS (Sass CSS) and HTML together, we extinct GulpJs. This allowed us to create a form script with instructions to compile, convert, and compress our Javascript and SCSS in browser correctly fine code. We might perchance additionally additionally expend these instructions to prepare recordsdata for deploy to a producing atmosphere.

Information superhighway web hosting

Since we separated our platform into three main plot, our frontend might perchance be hosted on an fully static platform (no need for a database or facts processing). You’ve got a decision of alternate choices for static web hosting including Netlify, AWS S3,, Render, and so forth. Since we already savor Render, we chose their static web hosting resolution. A big profit to Render is the deploy webhook that helps you to trigger a new compile and deploy when bid material adjustments.

Now to host our bid material for the blog and podcast posts, we’re self web hosting an instance of Ghost on a Digital Ocean droplet. Once you might perchance additionally very correctly be overjoyed with DevOps, that you just can with out disclose stagger up a one-click on Ghost droplet and even a Linux Ubuntu instance to put in your Ghost CMS. Once you’ve got your CMS prepared, that you just can expend it to govern your bid material and present that facts via a REST API. Ghost also helps you to send out a POST to a webhook when bid material is updated.

At final, all processing esteem our electronic mail newsletter subscriptions and marketing and marketing campaigns are handled by NodeJs systems hosted on AWS Lambda. It be a truly orderly and scalable manner to handle exterior operations that customarily are not readily accessible on static web space web hosting platforms.

Once you might perchance additionally very correctly be attempting to comprise me to factor the steps to web hosting our space, or any of the steps above, tweet me at @karlclement and I will fragment that with you.

The Leisure

The final objects are mainly marketing and marketing tools for analytics and electronic mail communications. In converse to form things as scalable as imaginable, we decided to make expend of AWS SES (Straightforward Electronic mail Provider) alongside with EmailOctopus to handle our electronic mail newsletter. EmailOctopus has an infinite feature that helps you to form your newsletter marketing and marketing campaign within their admin interface and send the emails alongside with your possess AWS account (which is free up to 62Good enough emails per month).

AWS Lambda functions take care of our newsletter subscriptions and segmentation. We might perchance additionally additionally strengthen these tools to later consist of more A/B attempting out and customer provider. Analytics are saved and monitored the expend of Google Analytics, Plausible, and Hotjar. This offers us an infinite look for of how our company are the expend of our web space and what bid material they hold to search out.

This concludes the list of the total tools we comprise got extinct to deploy our most modern form of If there might perchance be the rest you might perchance additionally very correctly be attempting to comprise me to enter deeper factor or completely different topics I will comprise to level-headed conceal, please be at liberty to tweet me @karlclement

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