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Headless WordPress: What is it, and why is it such a big deal?

headless wordpress gatsby web development

At Jambaree, we are JAMstack developers who are in a unique position to combine the familiarity of a WordPress backend with the speed, stability, and flexibility of Gatsby’s static front-end. 

But first – what is Gatsby?

Gatsby is a static-site generator. When we build a Gatsby website, the pages are generated in advance then served to visitors immediately when they land on the site. Traditional (dynamic) sites, like those traditionally built on WordPress, rebuild the web page each time it’s viewed, even if you’re the same user browsing multiple/same pages. They use slow scripts to build the page, while at the same time pull text from the database, causing more of a lag. Because Gatsby pages are pre-built, the user experience is exponentially faster because pages don’t need to be pulled together on command – they’re already there. To learn more about why we use Gatsby as our platform of choice, go here.

Headless WordPress – What is it and why we use it.

Headless WordPress refers to the combining of a WordPress backend (the admin dashboard – how you update the site), with a separate front end (the website your users see). In our case, we’ve pioneered a way to combine the familiarity of the WordPress backend with a React-based Gatsby front end. There are various headless CMS (content management system) platforms you can use, but with WordPress being the leading CMS in the world, it’s the obvious choice for a seamless upgrade to a Gatsby front-end.

In 2020, over 455 million websites use WordPress as a host. That’s over 35% of all websites on the internet. People are comfortable with the familiarity of a WordPress backend when it comes to managing their content, including blog and site updates – but they’re slower and less reliable in the front end. Building sites using Headless WordPress allows us to reap the benefits of the Gatsby front end and build beautiful, lightning-fast, secure websites, while maintaining the ease of use of the WordPress back end. 

Our secret web design weapon (and yours, too)

At Jambaree we’ve adapted many of the world’s most popular WordPress plugins to work with Gatsby. This is part of our secret sauce. Some of the plugins include:

  • Yoast SEO
  • Polylang Pro (support multiple languages)
  • WooCommerce (e-commerce website)
  • Advanced Custom Fields Pro
  • Gravity Forms
  • Gravity Forms to Zoho
  • Gravity Forms to Salesforce

We are constantly adapting new plugins and adding to our repository. If there’s a specific plugin or functionality you’re looking for,  or you’re ready to learn more about how we can build you the lightning-fast, beautiful Gatsby website of your dreams – contact us now for a free consultation.