The choice between static and CMS websites should be shaped by a number of factors. The objectives of your business are key to the decision, as is the industry in which you operate, and as always businesses decisions are constrained by the available budget. By working with an experienced team of website developers, you will receive the balanced advice you need to choose the right website for your business.
A static website is one in which the content (copy and images) is fixed. At the time the website is developed the content is placed into a static web page by the developers. As a result, if you would like to change those pages you will likely have to go back to your website development team.
Dynamic Websites (CMS)
A dynamic website is one which displays content (copy and images) that has been stored in a database or data files (e.g. XML files) and is fetched from that database every time a web page is viewed by a visitor. Dynamic pages are essential for websites which require regular content changes e.g. ecommerce websites. If you have a fully dynamic website you will be able to make content changes yourself, without having to contact your website development team.
Pros and cons of static websites
Pro: Static websites use pages which have already been loaded, ensuring an instant response to the search engines. A rapid response to search engine bots has become increasingly important over the years for a number of reasons including website SEO, and is now considered an essential element of successful websites.
Pro: Static websites tend to benefit from clean code and rarely cause issues for search engine bots.
Pro: If you require a bespoke, high-end website, a static site will be cheaper than a bespoke, dynamic website.
Con: Future modifications which need to be made to static websites will usually need to be made by your website development team. Over time you may pay more for a static website as you are unable to make modifications yourself.
Con: Search engines like to see frequent, fresh content on websites. Static websites can become a bit stale, which in turn might affect your search engine rankings.
Pros and cons of dynamic websites
Pro: Dynamic websites can be easily updated in-house - changes can be made quickly and cheaply.
Pro: Dynamic websites are often developed using a pre-built CMS, which means they can be relatively simple, quick and inexpensive to create. However, if your dynamic site uses a bespoke CMS then it will be considerably more expensive than a static site. A bespoke CMS will significantly out-perform a generic CMS, although it may take more time to develop. If you’re looking to hit the market quickly then a pre-built, cheap and cheerful CMS might be the answer, but this is not something Designer Websites would recommend or provide.
Pro: CMS websites are essential for businesses that have frequently changing content, for example, ecommerce websites with products and prices that change daily/weekly. A dynamic website will allow you to quickly incorporate changes to products, prices and delivery options.
Con: Dynamic websites are slower to load than static websites and can take longer to be indexed in the search engines as a result. If you have a bespoke ecommerce website then you will benefit from static pages as well as dynamic pages. This can counteract the fact that fully dynamic sites may not rank so highly in the search engines, dependent upon your business, products, competition etc.
Con: Dynamic CMS driven websites can become rigid over time, particularly when you need your website to carry out a specific task which it is not currently set up to deal with. You might find the change cannot be made or that it can, but only at great expense. In this instance bespoke CMS websites can claw back your initial investment as they can be changed so simply.
Con: There are hundreds of website development teams out there who will tell you they are the best thing since sliced bread, without even evaluating your business requirements. This one-size-fits-all approach to website design is the fastest and easiest way for web companies to make money, but rarely represents the best solution for your business. There are a huge number of old and poorly developed CMS systems out there and as time goes by the code and methods used become outdated, much to the detriment of your business website.
If your business requires a website that can be frequently updated then a CMS might be just what you are looking for. Before making any decisions your business should be analysed by an experienced website development team, who can make recommendations based on the level of competition in your market, the products or services on offer, the reputation your business already has online and much more besides. The decision to have a dynamic or static website should not be taken lightly.
So what would we recommend? Well it’s tough to say without examining your business. Here are some examples to help you understand:
Example 1: You are a website development company (like us)
Analysis: Competition is high; content changes – infrequent except maybe news posts;
Recommendation: A static website and fully integrated blog for the news posts
Example 2: You are a quirky (unique) products company and want to sell online
Analysis: Competition is low; content changes – frequent;
Recommendation: Definitely a simple dynamic CMS driven website and possibly an integrated blog
Example 3: You are an online gadgets retailer
Analysis: Competition is extremely high; content changes – daily;
Recommendation: You require a more complex dynamic CMS website with as many static pages included as possible; you should also have at least one fully integrated blog
Over the years we have met many business owners who insist on a CMS, even though in some cases their websites haven’t undergone any changes in over 12 months!
At Designer Websites we have all the skills required to develop static, dynamic or hybrid websites. We would not try to sell you a CMS site when it simply isn’t required. Such practice could have a significant impact on your SEO, with grave consequences for your business. Similarly, if you need an ecommerce website and therefore a CMS, we would develop a bespoke ecommerce website, as well as possibly a set of static pages. We care more about developing the right website for your business than simply selling you something because it’s the easiest option for us!
Don’t be tricked into buying a website which is unsuitable for your business; seek independent expert advice. If you’d like further information from an experienced website development team, give us a call here at Designer Websites on 0845 272 6813.