Olai Blog

A flexible but powerful hosted static blog generator

How to combine flexibility of Wordpress with performance of Static Sites?

Posted: Apr 28, 2015 Tags: performance | security | blogging |

What is the cost effective way for a startup to build its brand? Undoubtedly the answer is content marketing. Even within content marketing, blogging comes out on the top as the best content marketing strategy.

Tools for blogging falls under three broad categories:
1. Content management system (CMS) like Wordpress, which can be hosted on your own server;
2. Hosted systems like Medium and Tumblr;
3. Static site generators like Jekyll, installed on your laptop, which generate HTML files that can be transferred to your server.

When you are a startup, all traffic should be channeled to your site and not to third party sites. So the choice is really between self-hosted CMSes and static site generators. CMS, especially Wordpress, has been the choice of blogging tool for startups. I have been running a Wordpress installation ever since it came out with its first version. Among the self-hosted CMSes it is still the best tool. It boasts of installing under 5 minutes. Faster installation isn’t the only advantage of Wordpress. You can post via email or via one of the countless desktop or mobile clients. But all of these flexibility comes with a cost. It is not a “set it, forget it” tool. You need to constantly upgrade it. Also if one of your post hits the front-page of Hackernews, which every startup secretly covets, there is a possibility of your site going down.

The alternative is a geeky solution of static site generators like Jekyll. These static site generators generate plain HTML files which can be hosted on any web-servers. There can be no security breaches because there is nothing to hack. Since there are no dynamic parts like database queries, it can handle higher load pretty well, even without special tweaking. For this performance and security gain, you loose the benefits of CMSes, especially blogging from anywhere.

What if there was a third alternative that combined the flexibility of Wordpress but gave you the performance of static site generators?

To be honest, this was a personal itch for which I searched for a solution. I didn’t find any good solution. So like any good developer (more as a jugaad hacker), I developed one. Today I’m excited to release it for everyone’s use.

At its core, Olai is a server component with integration on both sides of the blogging process. It integrates with existing desktop clients on the ‘writing’ side and integrates with different ‘hosts’ on the ‘publish’ side. Olai already integrates with MarsEdit, a popular Mac desktop blogging client and Github pages on the hosting side. I have already planned further integrations on both sides of the process.

I have been dog-fooding Olai for few weeks now and it is stable. I invite you to signup for it and start using it. There is only one gotcha you need to be aware of if you are integrating with an existing Github page. Olai can’t import existing posts. You need to take a backup and include them freshly in Olai. If you are just starting with a fresh Github page, you should be fine.

May be you want to know the sites which I’ve been generating with Olai. You can have a look at Certainties & Serendipities, finally{}, Tech Snippets at Github

Try it out and let me know how it goes.

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