The Joys of a Simple Site

Keeping Simple So It Doesn't Become a Burden


A , I switched from a hosted Wordpress site to a static site, built first by Jekyll and then by Hugo.

In that time, I’ve enjoyed updating and modifying my site. I’ve written scripts to help me manage and enhance my site.

In crafting my own site, I’ve gained a deeper insight into Hypertext Markup Language (HTML 📖) and Cascading Stylesheet (CSS 📖). I’ve used the accessibility tools from Google, Firefox, Safari, and Wave by WebAIM to verify (as best I can) my site’s accessibility.

And today, Adrian posted on Mastodon the following excerpt:

It’s all too easy for a development team to chase after shiny features — I know because it tempts me, too. But sooner or later the chickens come home to roost, and you have a giant single-page application downloading a megabyte of JavaScript and pinning a CPU for several seconds before the page is useful (if scrolling at 3 FPS can be considered useful).

…There is a lot of developer attention on improving the performance of the status quo, but to earn the order-of-magnitude performance improvements SourceHut has, you need to make order-of-magnitude reductions in complexity.

I cannot agree more.

Code Costs

Every line of code I write, every abstraction I rely on, every tool I use, comes with its own costs.

Right now, when you go to, my site asks your browser to download two files: index.html and fav.ico. In total, on this request, you transfered about 10 KiloByte (kB 📖) of data to your browser. The browser unzipped those 10 kB into 42 kB of data. The page loaded in 163 Milliseconds (ms 📖).

At my previous Wordpress hosted version of, the site asked your browser to download 26 files: index.html, stylesheet files,, scripts and lots of image files. In total, on this request, you transfered about 756 kB of data to your browser. The browser unzipped those 756 kB into 1.46 Megabyte (MB 📖) of data. The page then processed the CSS, image rendering, and javascript. Loading the page in 1.5 seconds.

All of those files require energy to make, transfer, and extract on your computer.

Removing Those Costs

Wordpress made it easy to publish blog posts. Except, when I wanted to make custom tables. Or wanted to do bulk updates. Or wanted to have low level access to my site’s code and data.

The layers of abstraction helped, until they didn’t, and then the costs compounded.

I have Hugo shortcodes that render custom tables from Comma Separated Values (CSVs 📖) or Javascript Object Notation (JSON 📖) documents. Or automatically add ABBR HTML tags to my abbreviations. I have rake tasks to fetch Webmentions and push out my posts to different platforms.

In moving to a simple site, I’ve been able to focus on improving the small tools I use instead of maintaining a complex and large beast that I made from the tools. And instead of fighting the beast, I’m finding other people using simple tools to make things.