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Static sites

by Daniel Schildt

English ~1 min reading time

$250 million USD website

Good history lessons on why pre-generated static sites matter a lot.

Fundraising website of the Obama 2012 campaign run on top of a static HTML pages. It was pre-generated using Jekyll static site generator. Site gathered ~81 million pageviews, with ~17,8 million unique visitors. ~4,2 million donations amounted to a $250 million USD, a large part of the campaign funding.

Previous SaaS fundraising platform had the features bundled together. Centralized system architecture was a too big risk for a national campaign.

New site used JavaScript to do REST API calls to a payment system to handle the campaign donations. Site had ~4,000 lines of JavaScript. This allowed the team to split UI design & optimization away from the payment backend.

Compared to the previous platform, site had 60% faster time to paint. (Time it takes for a page content to get displayed on a web browser of a visitor.) Speed increase resulted a 14% increase in donation conversions. Improvement came partly from the static content served served by Akamai CDN infrastructure. Amazon S3 storage buckets hosted the origin content.

240 A/B tests helped to create a 49% increase in donation conversion rate, according to the case study. Project had a 6 month life span with 1,101 frontend deployments.

More details on the original case study: