We just jumped from Wordpress to Hugo and we’d encourage startups to do the same

Jan 22, 2020

The latest - I think this must be the 4th - version of the Cambridge Software website has recently gone live and it represents not only a change in approach but also a change in underlying platform. We’d recommend that other businesses take a look at the path we’ve chosen and here I’d like to explain why.

For the past 5 years we’ve been based on some form of Wordpress website. We applied a different theme when we needed a revision and, of course, we did occasional content additions and rewrites. I think it’s fair to say that the Wordpress website has served us reasonably well.

Because of the ease of use, popularity and integration, Wordpress continues to be one of the top website platforms. Roughly 1 in 5 websites run on the platform and nothing I’m going to say here is intended to dent that success nor will stop us recommending it to clients in the future. Go Wordpress!

That said, we still saw some clear benefit in moving to a new platform. We chose Hugo. And no, you probably haven’t heard of it before so don’t worry. It’s still worth you understanding how it works because as an alternative to Wordpress and as a first website it’s just got to be on your shortlist.

So Hugo describes itself as The world’s fastest framework for building websites and that’s true in two ways: It’s fast to render and it’s also fast to create and update. Just like Wordpress, you can tap into a world of ready made templates and then configure or customise as you see fit.

The main benefit of Hugo is the speed that the website delivers once it is deployed. Search engines use web page speed as a very positive ranking signal and this is where the benefits over Wordpress are achieved. Because all of the content is delivered through standard web pages that are pre-compiled you forego the wait while Wordpress generates each page on demand.

Great wins even for our first deployment

Hugo is also relatively easy to update, with the content driven mainly through markdown (md) files. We were very much in the middle of the negative feedback Wordpress got to it’s new editor upgrade and so being able to edit content cleanly and easily in simple text files is nothing short of a relief.

We’ve got a raft of updates planned for the site and we’re confident Hugo will be a tool that delivers even more for us in the future.

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