Deciding on which type of website your business can be complicated but before we delve into which one your business needs, let’s have a brief look at what the basic differences are between them.
A static website normally has a fixed number of pages with pre-set layouts and the content is static. This basically means that when these pages are viewed the content and information will remain exactly the same for each user regardless of who they are or where they are from.
In other words, the user’s interactions with the site have no impact on what information is displayed. The only way the content would change is if it was manually updated by the webmaster.
These are the easiest sites to create and can be built by creating a few HTML pages and publishing them to a web server.
Dynamic websites are also referred to as data-driven sites and require web programming and database designs. As the name implies, the content and information are dynamic and change according to various predetermined factors for example, who is viewing the site, the time zone, and the language of the country the viewer resides in.
These sites are more complex to create but are easier to maintain. Static pages will need to be manually opened, edited, and published whenever changes need to be made. Dynamic pages access all their information from a database and the webmaster will therefore only need to update the database as opposed to each page.
Advantages of a static website
Quick and easy to build
Static websites take less time to build and get up and running as they don’t require complex software and technical skills. They are also significantly cheaper to build than dynamic sites.
These types of sites generally load a lot faster than dynamic sites – this is an added benefit from an SEO perspective as search engines take the page loading speed into account.
Static websites are considered to be more secure, and it is also easier to restore a static site after a crash by simply redeploying the codebase.
Disadvantages of a static website
The main disadvantages are around updating and making changes to your site as they can be challenging and time-consuming as they need to be done manually. These types of sites often land up with stagnant content due to the effort required to update or implement changes.
However, a key disadvantage is the inability to interact or create a personalised experience for your users.
Advantages of a dynamic website
Improved user experience
These websites are generally designed with the user in mind, allowing them to make changes to the site depending on their needs. The user’s experience is enhanced through intuitive navigation allowing them to be more involved when engaging with the site’s content, offering them a more personal experience.
The site is managed through a content management system that has a database for all the specific elements of the site including content. This makes it far easier to implement changes through the use of scripting languages it is possible to make changes across your site without needing to implement changes one by one. Editing design elements and uploading content can also be implemented efficiently and timeously.
A key benefit to a dynamic website is the capability to easily update information and content quickly without having serious technical knowledge. Template files allow you to make a single change which will automatically update all the pages accordingly.
Disadvantages of a dynamic website
These types of sites tend to be more expensive because of the various functions like building the site foundation or creating database connections to name a few.
As we mentioned earlier speed can also be an issue. This is because the content on dynamic sites needs to pass through different application layers before it is downloaded from the server whereas the content for static sites comes directly from the server.
Which one do you need?
These days many websites contain a combination of both static and dynamic website pages. This provides a lot more flexibility in terms of the layout of the site, the user experience, and the ability to implement changes easily and update content seamlessly.
Static websites are perfect for smaller businesses that only require a few pages. These types of sites are often more informative sites and don’t require users to log in to gain additional information. If you are looking to build a landing page that only needs to contain some basic information about your company or products, then a static site will be perfect for you.
Dynamic sites are ideal for eCommerce businesses or any business where you need to interact with your user on a deeper level. Dynamic sites will for example allow you to make recommendations to your users based on their previous purchases or if a client doesn’t complete their check-out process, you can send reminders.
When it comes down to that all-important decision of which type of site to go for, your first step is to sit down and understand what your current needs are. Ask yourself the following key questions:
- What is the purpose of your website?
- Is your site purely an information provider?
- How do you want your customers to interact with you?
- How complex does your site need to be?
- How quickly do you need to get your site up and running?
- What are your budget constraints?
As you can see, each type of site has its advantages and disadvantages. It all boils down to what you need and what you are hoping to achieve through your site, so taking the time to answer the above questions will go a long way to helping you make that all-important decision.
If you need help choosing which type of website will work best for your business, get in touch with us.