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An Intro to Headless WordPress

headless wordpress gatsby web development

At Jambaree, we are Gatsby and NextJS developers who are in a unique position to combine the familiarity of a WordPress backend with the speed, stability, and flexibility of Gatsby/NextJS statically built front-end. 

But first – what is Gatsby and NextJS?

Gatsby and NextJS are ReactJS front end frameworks. When we use Gatsby or NextJS to build Jamstack website, we pre-generate the pages using a build server like Netlify, Gatsby Cloud or Vercel. Pre-generating those static pages (basic HTML/CSS and some JavaScript) in advance allows visitors to view website content immediately when they land on the site. Traditional sites built on platforms like WordPress fetch and build the web page each time it’s viewed, even if you’re the same user browsing multiple pages. They use slow PHP scripts to build the page, while at the same time pulling text from the database and render images at run time, causing more of a lag. Because Jamstack 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!

Headless WordPress – What is it?

Headless WordPress is like it sounds. We essentially cut the head off WordPress (I know that sounds gory, but please bear with us), where we only use the WordPress backend as the content management system (i.e. the admin dashboard where you make updates to the site). We do not the WordPress front end (what your users see). In our case, we’ve pioneered a way to combine the familiarity of the WordPress backend with a React-based Jamstack front end. There are various headless CMS 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 front-end built in Jamstack.

In 2022, over 810 million websites use WordPress as a host. That’s over 43.2% 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 Jamstack 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 our Gatsby and NextJS development. 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 (Web2Lead)
  • Gravity Forms to HubSpot

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 and NextJS website of your dreams – contact us now for a free consultation.

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