Web Design ChoicesThere are two main types of website – static and dynamic.
Static v Dynamic
A static site, that still looks good and function fine, is one that is usually written in plain HTML and CSS code. It is not styled or structured by a CMS (Content Management System), WordPress for example is a CMS. What is in the code of the page is what is displayed to the user. Basically, a series of pages in which the content is fixed once designed. It would require the designer to add new content over time. Simply, an everyday website.
A dynamic site is one that is written using a server-side scripting language such as PHP, used in WordPress for example. In such a site, the content, pages and posts, are held within a database. So basically, the designer can set up the site and the user (the business client) can simply add fresh content simply whenever they like with no coding knowledge needed. The client can simply add information to the database, from the ‘front end’ of the site, without any coding knowledge. They can also share this fresh content to Facebook and Twitter for example.
Static sites – advantages
A static site, that still looks good and function fine, is one that is usually written in plain HTML and CSS code. It is not styled or structured by a CMS (Content Management System), WordPress for example is a CMS. What is in the code of the page is what is displayed to the user. Basically, a series of pages in which the content is fixed once designed. It would require the designer to add new content over time. Simply, it is an everyday basic website.
Static sites – disadvantages
The main problem with any static site appears when you wish to update the content. Unless you are conversant with HTML and the design methods used in the site then you have to go back to the designer to have any content changes made. This may be perfectly ok when a new page is required which needs design input, but if all you want to do is change some text then it can be a nuisance for both client and designer.
The second main problem is scalability. If you wish to sell products on your site and you have a lot of them then you may have to construct individual pages for each one, which can take considerable time, effort and cost.
Costs – there are ongoing costs for updating the content.
Dynamic sites – advantages
The main advantages of dynamic sites are that by connecting them to databases you can easily pull in information in an organised and structured way to create product pages or categories of related products sorted in a variety of different ways depending on how the user wants to view them.
This ability to connect to a database means that you can also create a content management system, e.g. WordPress – an interface that allows the client to input and manage data via a web-based series of administration pages. That content can be text for their pages and images to go along with the text, or items in their product range with categories, specifications, short and long descriptions, images, etc. In both these cases, it can be as simple or as complex as the client requires.
There are little or no ongoing costs unless there is a change in the basic design or an extra capability added.
Dynamic sites – disadvantages
The design of a dynamic site is more fixed than a static one because many of the pages are essentially a template into which data and content is poured to create multiple pages of a similar type. So for instance, all your product pages will be essentially the same page layout with different data being displayed. Individual layout changes to particular pages are not usually possible, unless done by the web designer.
Costs are higher initially than for a static site, and additional functionality may cost more, particularly if it is something that was not envisaged originally and requires re-writing of the core code or database.
The Benefits of WordPress
WordPress is the best platform in the world to build your website on. It’s 100% customisable and 100% scalable.
WordPress is the most popular website design platform in the world. In fact, more than 29% of all websites in the entire world are built on WordPress. It’s so popular because it makes updating and growing your website a breeze.
- Save thousands of £s by using WordPress
- WordPress is 100% customisable
- Easily add new functionality and more pages
- It’s the most SEO-friendly website design platform
Why I don’t build from scratch anymore
I have learnt to write web pages using HTML and CSS over the years, and have built many web pages using it. I still use my knowledge of these codes when adapting WordPress, but the framework that WordPress offers saves me time and saves you money. I think of it like building a house, if someone has dug the foundations and started the brickwork it saves me time and allows me to decorate and add the fixtures and fittings. WordPress doesn’t do everything for a web designer, and I have to do my bit, but I wouldn’t use anything else now.