task Blog for ATTIC Relaunched Using Next.js


Several years ago we launched a simple WordPress-based blog for ATTIC, a tool to help people shop local from small businesses. (See also our ATTIC case study.) We've developed upwards of 100 WordPress-based websites for both simple and large, complex sites, so choosing it as our platform was an easy decision at the time. But we're tinkerers by nature and when we came across Next.js, we needed a place to give it a try. The ATTIC Blog seemed like a perfect candidate given its relatively straight-forward needs and the fact that it could benefit from a super simple workflow. The posts use a simple layout, mostly text with a few photos; it doesn't except comments (right now); and we've found ourselves rarely needing all the bells and whistles of WordPress. On top of that, given the clean and simple layout were using for typography and media, we could take advantage of writing all of our copy in Markdown.

To be clear, we didn't just ditch our the old blog. Instead we scripted a migration all of its content from their home in a WordPress database to new stand-alone markdown files. Our Next.js application handles converting the markdown content to formatted html (backed by Tailwind CSS). The result is a super fast, SPA-like (single page application) feel. Navigating between posts is lightning fast, so fast that in some cases you won't notice that you've changed locations. This is good for users and good for search engine optimzation as well. 

In addition to our old migrated posts, we've pushed out a few new posts. For example, The Best Midcentury Modern Furniture Stores of Washington DC shows the simplicity, yet clean look of a post. If you click on the ATTIC logo and then click on the title of another post, such as Stores with Unique, Affordable, and High Quality Furniture in Washington DC, you'll get a sense for the speed.

The old workflow for adding a new post was fairly typical. We'd log into WordPress and use the GUI to compose and format our content. Click publish and done. Now, we write all of our posts as individual markdown files, commit our changes with git and push to our repo. Our GitLab CI/CD pipeline takes care of the rest. There's no huge savings (or cost) in regards to the level effort. The benefits come purely from the snappier, speedier blog and the fun we got to have playing with a newer technology.