One of the top benefits of learning what is Next.js, is the knowledge of how flexible you can become in building, and adapting to online reality.
Internally as the provider of Next js development services, we think it’s the single most important advantage in a hyper-growing digital world, as we can quickly try and test our ideas. If we succeed, we can easily add new features and react to rapid changes much faster than ever before to stay competitive. If not, it’s easier to rebuild the entire strategy and adapt accordingly.
Another thing is the way we buy today. That also went crazy.
We became much more demanding when it comes to page loading speed (in milliseconds!) and the user experience from using websites or web shops.
It allows you to build both simple and complex web applications much faster, and easier, and thanks to many great frameworks that have grown upon it, you can now build blazingly fast websites to achieve a much better UX and SEO efficiency.
Let’s have a look at one of those frameworks – Next.js, which enjoys growing popularity and quickly became the first choice for many big names and companies.
What is Next.js?
In fact, thanks to Automatic Static Optimization, “static” and “dynamic” become one now.
This feature allows Next.js to build hybrid applications that contain both server-side rendered and statically generated pages.
In other words,
Statically generated pages are still reactive: Next.js will hydrate your application client-side to give it full interactivity.
This opens us many advantages like:
- Rich User Experience (easier and faster)
- Great performance (also easier and faster)
- Rapid feature development
Next.js is widely used by the biggest and most popular companies all over the world like Netflix, Uber, Starbucks, or Twitch. It’s also considered as one of the fastest-growing React frameworks, perfect to work with static sites – which was the hottest topic in the web development world lately.
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What is Next.js – A 2024 Perspective
In recent years, Next.js has witnessed a huge rise in popularity.
According to the Stack Overflow survey of 2023, it ascended from the 11th to the 6th most popular framework among web developers. This rapid growth underscores its increasing acceptance and effectiveness in the developer community.
Over the years, Next.js has continually evolved, introducing features that address the ever-changing landscape of web development. Its updates have consistently focused on enhancing performance, improving developer experience, and providing robust SEO capabilities.
Next.js 14 – A Leap Forward
Next.js 14, introduced by Lee Robinson and Tim Neutkens, marked a significant advancement in the framework’s capabilities, building upon the foundations laid by Next.js 13:
- Turbopack: Replaces Webpack for faster builds, offering significantly quicker server start-up and refresh rates. This enhancement leads to improved developer productivity and faster iteration cycles, crucial for large-scale applications.
- Server Actions (Stable): Streamlines server-side logic, allowing functions to run securely on the server. This simplifies data mutation workflows and enhances application security, particularly vital for handling sensitive data and complex state management scenarios.
- Partial Prerendering (Preview): Merges the benefits of SSR, SSG, and ISR, enabling rapid initial static loading with dynamic content streaming. This is key for applications requiring both fast loading times and dynamic content rendering, enhancing both user experience and SEO.
- Metadata Improvements: Automates the inclusion of essential metadata in the initial page load, ensuring a seamless user experience across devices and themes. This improvement is especially important for responsive design and accessibility.
Next.js 14 brought some game-changing features. Turbopack, for instance, has significantly sped up server startup and code refresh times. Then there’s Server Actions, making mutations more efficient and integrated. And let’s not forget Partial Prerendering, which is still in preview but looks promising for dynamic content handling.Rafal Dabrowski, Next.js Expert at Pagepro
Best from Next.js 13
- React Server Components (RSC): Reduces the client-side bundle size by rendering components server-side, directly accessing the backend. It’s a game-changer for performance optimization, reducing initial load times and improving SEO.
- Middleware: Provides granular control over the request-response lifecycle, enabling sophisticated server-side logic like A/B testing and request manipulation. This feature is vital for customizing user experience and implementing complex server-side logic efficiently.
- Edge Functions: By running server-side code at the network’s edge, Edge Functions minimize latency, offering a serverless experience. This is crucial for applications requiring high performance and low response times, particularly for global user bases.
- App Router: Revamps the routing system in Next.js, supporting advanced features like nested routes and layouts. This introduces a more flexible and powerful way to structure applications, crucial for large-scale and complex web projects.
Next.js and Jamstack
Next.js is now one of the most popular React frameworks for building superfast, and super SEO-friendly Jamstack websites.
It can be perfectly combined with headless CMSes, or eCommerce platforms to drive extraordinary performance and SEO results.
Jamstack’s rise in web development has been remarkable, and Next.js is a big part of that story. Its architecture, focusing on speed, security, and scalability, really aligns with what we need in modern web development. As more businesses and developers adopt it, Jamstack’s role in web development is only getting stronger.Jakub Dakowicz, CTO at Pagepro
If you want to learn more, we always recommend starting with our guide – What is Jamstack?
On top of that, we made a short video that may help you decide whether you should use Jamstack architecture for your project, or not:
What can you build with Next.js?
With Next.js you can build a number of digital products and interfaces such as:
- Web Platform
- Jamstack websites
- MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
- Static websites
- Single web pages
- SaaS products
- eCommerce and retail websites
- Complex and demanding web applications
- Interactive user interfaces
And we love to use it in various projects since it gives us so many possibilities. Check out how it improved the e-learning platform we were recently launching for our customer – Learn Squared:
LEARN SQUARED CASE STUDY
How to migrate an outdated e-learning platform from Drupal to JamstackREAD CASE STUDY
Our Choice: Why We Chose Next.js for Our Website
At the heart of our decision to use Next.js for our website lies a combination of strategic factors and practical benefits that we not only advocate to our clients but also confidently apply to our digital presence.
SEO Optimization stands out as a primary reason – we work on SEO improvements daily, as organic is our main source of traffic. Next.js’s powerful SEO capabilities significantly boost organic traffic, a key metric for online visibility and success.
Equally crucial is Page Speed for us. This framework’s exceptional efficiency in loading times not only elevates the user experience but also, again, fortifies our SEO efforts.
In the realm of Content Management, leveraging the Jamstack architecture with Next.js has afforded us unparalleled flexibility, allowing our marketing team to harness tools like Storybook for dynamic content management.
This aligns perfectly with our approach to content strategy, ensuring that we can adapt and respond swiftly to market trends and user feedback.
Lastly, the Developer Affinity for Next.js within our team is noteworthy. Our developers prize its efficiency and scalability, making it a pleasure to work with, while the robust support community around Next.js provides an added layer of assurance and continuous learning.
By adopting Next.js for our own website, we’re not just advocating its benefits to our clients; we’re living proof of its effectiveness and adaptability in the ever-evolving digital world.
Next.js and User Experience
User experience plays a key role in the success (or failure) of digital businesses.
For example, if you have an online shop and you don’t take care of UX properly, it will result in:
- Losing customers
- Abandoned carts
- High bounce rate
The design is also important – if you are using themes or templates, the chances are someone out there has a similar-looking layout. It also means that you can’t build a unique customer experience and improve it over time. Even if this means changing one simple thing like adding a button to the product page or deleting one.
Luckily – thanks to Next.js – you can build a fully customized user experience. Let’s see what it really means.
- UX Freedom: Next.js allows developers to bypass the constraints of plugins, templates, or other limitations typically imposed by CMS platforms. Technically, this is facilitated by Next.js’s flexible file-system routing and its support for various CSS-in-JS libraries, enabling a high degree of customization in the frontend design.
- Adaptability and Responsiveness: The framework’s built-in features such as automatic image optimization and responsive loading contribute significantly to creating web applications that are adaptable to any screen size or resolution. This adaptability is bolstered by the framework’s seamless integration with modern CSS frameworks, enhancing the responsive design capabilities.
- Short Page Load Time: Next.js’s capability for static site generation (SSG) and incremental static regeneration (ISR) plays a crucial role in achieving faster page load times. These features enable serving pre-rendered pages to users, significantly reducing the time to first byte (TTFB) and improving the overall site speed.
- Data Security: In the context of static websites built with Next.js, the absence of a direct database connection enhances security. This architectural choice minimizes the exposure of sensitive data and dependencies, making these sites inherently more secure against common web vulnerabilities.
All of these things mentioned above make the user experience as great as it can possibly be.
But the benefits of using Next.js don’t end there.
Next.js and SEO
Another big reason to choose Next.js is its SEO efficiency, and here’s why:
- Server-Side Rendering (SSR): One of the most significant benefits of Next.js is its use of SSR. This approach ensures that the full content of your page is rendered on the server before it reaches the user’s browser. For search engines, this means they can crawl and index your site content more effectively, boosting your visibility in search results.
- Static Site Generation (SSG): Next.js excels in generating static sites, which are inherently faster and more reliable. Static sites load quicker, offering an enhanced user experience, a factor that search engines, particularly Google, prioritize highly. This directly contributes to better SEO rankings.
- Speed and Performance: Next.js websites are known for their exceptional speed, a direct result of static generation and optimized code. Fast-loading sites reduce bounce rates, keep users engaged longer, and are favored by search engines, all contributing to higher SEO rankings.
- Organic Traffic and High-Intent Keywords: By optimizing for speed and user experience, Next.js helps in growing organic traffic faster. Its ability to rank high-intent keywords higher than competitors makes it a preferred choice for businesses aiming to be more visible to potential customers.
- Competitive Edge: The SEO efficiency of Next.js gives websites a significant advantage over competitors. Its capabilities in speed, performance, and content visibility help sites outperform others in search engine results.
In both cases, it will help you a lot with:
- Growing organic traffic faster
- Ranking your high-intent keywords higher
- Outperforming competitors easier
- Be more visible to potential customers
Next.js websites are super-fast, easy to scan, and provide a great user experience and that’s why Google will favour them above others and rank them higher.
Ready to experience the benefits of Next.js for yourself?
Consult with our experts and discover how it can supercharge your website’s performance and user experience.
Pros and cons of Next.js
As with any other framework, some great options come with a price. Let’s have a look at the most popular pros and cons of using Next.js.
Main Advantages of Next.js for CTOs
Future-Proof Technology: With regular updates and support from a vibrant community and industry leaders, Next.js represents a future-proof solution in web development. Its alignment with the latest web standards makes it a strategic asset for long-term business goals and technology roadmaps.
Easy Scalability: Next.js supports scalability through features like automatic code splitting, flexible rendering options, and optimized image handling. These features ensure efficient resource utilization and performance under high traffic, crucial for rapidly growing businesses.
High Security: Offering robust tools for building secure web applications, Next.js addresses critical areas like authentication and data validation. This focus on security is vital for maintaining user trust and data integrity in the face of sophisticated cyber threats.
Performance Optimization: Key features like lazy loading, image optimization, code splitting, and route prefetching in Next.js enhance site performance. These optimizations are essential for high user engagement and efficient resource utilization, impacting the success and growth of web applications.
SEO Optimization: Next.js enhances SEO through server-side rendering, static generation, and incremental static regeneration. These features ensure that content is fully accessible to search engine crawlers, improving site visibility and user traffic, which are crucial for business growth.
Benefits of Next.js for online businesses
How Next.js can positively impact your business results and help you push your ideas further?
Faster time to market: many ready-to-use components and compatibility that come with it make building MVP much faster. Thanks to it, you can get feedback from real users quickly and make proper changes without wasting time and budget.
Enhanced User Experience: you have total freedom to create a front-end that fully aligns with your business goals and design vision. Thanks to it, the user experience is great and unique.
Increased organic traffic: Google loves static sites as they are fast, light, and easy to scan. This translates into higher positions of these websites in search results.
Fully omnichannel: Next.js websites and web apps work on any device, so they are accessible to everyone.
Support on demand: since Next.js is a React-based framework, it won’t be difficult to find another frontend developer without a need of building everything from scratch once again.
Increased conversion rate: fast loading speed, better user experience and high accessibility convert into a higher conversion. If the users are happy with the customer experience they got, they are more likely to buy and come back later for more.
Community support: as Next.js is becoming a number one framework for many big brands, it’s becoming more famous, and naturally, so the number of its contributors. That means, even if you face any issue, there will be probably a solution for that already.
The universal compatibility of Next.js ensures web solutions function flawlessly across all devices, broadening customer reach and accessibility.
We’ve integrated Next.js on our own website and we’ve seen a direct impact on our conversion rates, with improved site performance and user satisfaction.
In essence, Next.js isn’t just a tool for us; it’s a cornerstone of our web development strategy, driving both our business growth and our commitment to delivering cutting-edge web solutions.
Jakub Dakowicz, CTO at Pagepro
Pros of Next.js for developers
Regardless of whether you are looking for benefits from a business perspective or a technical one, you will find some reasons to seriously consider choosing Next.js.
If you want to build a complex and demanding application, React development nature of Next.js allows for saving a lot of time. Developers especially favour features like:
- Zero Config – Next allows you to focus on the business logic of your application instead of the application logic. And to help you, it provides automatic compilation and bundling. In other words, Next is optimized for production right from the start.
- Incremental Static Regeneration – it allows you to update the pages by re-rendering them in the background as traffic comes in. So in other words, static content can become dynamic.
- A hybrid of server-side rendering SSR and static site generation SSG – prerender pages at build time or request time in a single project.
- TypeScript support – automatic TypeScript configuration and compilation.
- Fast Refresh – fast, live-editing experience – edits made on React components are live within seconds. It works analogically to Hot Module Replacement (HMR).
- Built-in Image Component and Automatic Image Optimization – this feature automatically optimizes images
- Automatic code splitting – automatically reduces the size of the page by splitting the code and serving components only when needed. Modules can be automatically imported too, thanks to the dynamic import option.
- Data fetching – this option allows rendering the content in different ways, accordingly to the app’s use case. It can be done by pre-rendering with server-side rendering SSR or static site generation and by updating or creating content with ISR.
Release of Next.js 13: even more promising future
The list of Next.js benefits is growing with every release. In October 2022, Next.js 13 was introduced, together with a bunch of new features. The most important among them are:
- Turbopack, the new Rust-based successor to Webpack brings: 700x faster updates than Webpack, 10x faster updates than Vite and 4x faster cold starts than Webpack
- New brand font system that automatically optimizes fonts, removes network requests for improved privacy and performance, offers built-in self-hosting for any font file, and ensures zero layout shift using the CSS size-adjust property.
- And of course, Next.js App router – this new paradigm of building apps was released at the beginning of May 2023 [earlier was available as a beta testing version]. We can say it opens the doors to upgraded developer experience, rendering performance, and the mental model. This update brought new benefits, like:
- Streaming app elements to the user – thanks to using React Server Components, app elements can be streamed to the customers in a blink of an eye, so they can interact with an app without waiting for the full load
- Rapid render of the application using static rendering
- Enhanced development efficiency thanks to the server-centring routing
To learn more about the new Next.js, visit the Next.js official website.
Cons of using Next.js
The number of Next benefits is huge and clearly outweighs its cons. However, let’s write them down to be as objective as it’s possible.
- Development and management – the flexibility, given by Next, has its cost – continuous management. To make all desired changes properly, you will need a dedicated person with proper knowledge. The good news is that this person doesn’t have to be a developer.
- Ongoing cost – since Next.js does not provide many built-in front pages, you have to create your own front-end, which will require changes from time to time. It means that you will have to pay a frontend developer to get the job done.
- Lack of built-in state manager – so if you need a state manager in your app, you have to add Redux, MobX or something else.
- Low on plug-ins – you cannot use much of easy-to-adapt plugins.
Examples of Next.js Websites
Here are just three of the great examples of websites build in Next.js.
You can also check out their official showcase for even more inspiration.
It doesn’t matter if you are planning to build a huge and demanding app to serve millions of users, nor if you are a growing web shop on Shopify. In both cases, you can use the advantages of modern web technology to make your business more efficient online.
Uplift your page speed, SEO, and UX, and remember that technologies such as Next.js are making the web a better, cleaner, and more user-centric place. And that will always be favourable, not only to Google but, most importantly, to users.
Not sure if Next.js is the right fit for your project?
Learn more about our Next.js development services and see how we can help your online business thrive.
Hopefully, some of these articles will help you decide:
- How can Next.js Improve UX in eCommerce?
- Benefits of Next JS for Building Websites and Apps
- What is Jamstack? A Guide For Business People
- How To Use Next.js as a Static Site Generator
- Next JS vs Gatsby – Which One To Choose?
- Create React App vs Next.js: A Quick Comparison