React site vs Wordpress site

22.12.2016
2 min read

All of us at Seophant have years of experience working with Wordpress and consider ourselves experts building SEO optimized sites with Wordpress. However we decided to ditch Wordpress for this project and build a site with React as we fell in love with it after seeing sites that are build with React. Of course there are ways to implement React with Wordpress but for a blog site that our site essentially is this seemed like an overkill (If you’re interested to read more how to implement React with WP check the notes at bottom of this post).

How to build a site with React?

React is just a JavaScript library whereas Wordpress is a full blown CMS so obviously you need a bit more to start building a site with React compared to Wordpress so where to start.

Gatsbyjs

After doing some re-search we found Gatsbyjs. A static site generator that uses React, excellent. Fast setup and fast to start writing blog posts with markdown. Not a lot of components so easy to deploy pretty much wherever.

With Gatsby the project is really easy to kickstart and setup the local environment. Many people have shared their own versions with the community so there are few live sites that you can check out. Community is obviously not as great as Wordpress community that is massive. There is a link at the notes how to get started with Gatsbyjs if you’re interested in learning more about Gatsbyjs.

Why choose React and Gatsbyjs - React site vs Wordpress site

Here are the things that we were thinking before launching our project.

Gatsbyjs

Pros

  • UX is something that is just way ahead on sites build with React compared to tradiotinal sites. The key component in great UX is page speed (not some fancy buttons). Page loads fast and navigation between pages is quick. Single Page Applications kick Wordpress and other old school sites to the ground in this.
  • Low Maintenance compared to Wordpress. Of course having a static site without any database helps in this not just that the site is build with React. As we all have many projects going on and full time jobs we really don’t want to spend time just keeping the site alive.
  • Fast Setup and Development compared to Wordpress as there are less things to take care of. And yes, I’m aware that there are modern workflows for Wordpress like the one Roots have provided but I dare to claim that I’m always faster with Gatsbyjs 😃

Cons

  • SEO with single page applications?!?
  • Plugins not really existing in a similar fashion as with Wordpress

Wordpress

Pros

  • Experience as we have much more experience working with Wordpress than anything else
  • Plugis work well with Wordpress. Easy to add new features etc.
  • SEO friendly site with Wordpress is easy.
  • Large Community

Cons

  • High maintenance as unlike Apple, it just does not work in the long run.
  • Slow as navigation is a pain. Yeah there’s AMP but still.
  • More work compared to React. Install this, install that and yes it easy but it still consumes time.
  • Ancient Workflow

Notes

  • Mika Kujapelto -
react
wordpress
javascript
reactjs
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Seophant

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