Cliqued Media the leading web designing company Ireland, spends much of its time advising customers on the issue of static versus dynamic website formats. And if you are in the process of deciding on a new website, then there is a lot to consider before making any decisions on what format is best.
As consumers migrate to making most of their purchases on the Internet, so online business continues to proliferate. In keeping with this, thousands of corporate and ecommerce sites continue to spring up. Business has been forced to quickly re-think traditional business models, and the corporate website has become most company’s primary touchpoint for its customers.
Most larger organizations have realized the need to invest in more sophisticated websites, but for many smaller businesses, budget remains a restrictive factor. One of the confusing issues for smaller businesses when developing a new website is the matter of format. Does one develop a more sophisticated dynamic site, or would a less expensive and more traditional static website be appropriate?
WHAT IS A STATIC WEBSITE?
Being static, is defined as being stationery or fixed. Static websites in essence reflect this definition. Static sites are the most basic form of website and use website technology that was first developed when the worldwide web came into being.
Each separate page of a static website is made up of an individual HTML file. Often, they are referred to as stationary pages because they never change, no matter who views them.
Even if the content on one page looks identical to that on another page, it is actually a completely separate version. Both pages of identical copy would need to be changed individually, every time an update was done.
WHAT IS A DYNAMIC WEBSITE?
Dynamic websites are just what they claim to be, namely capable of action and change. They are far more advanced in terms of website technology, and are also called data-based sites, because content is stored on a database or on a CMS.
They make use of server technology that helps to build a page in real time. When someone visits a page and enters an address, the server instantly pulls information from different sources into one complete page, as viewed by the user. The website changes as new data is loaded onto the database.
In essence the website page is said to be built “on the fly”.
WHICH FORMAT IS BEST?
Whether you require a static or a dynamic website, very much depends on the purpose of the site and its objectives. The starting point would be to define your business and target market and then to decide which of the two formats would better serve the needs of your customers.
You would use a static website when:
If the site comprises a page or two, and is required for a limited time only, then a static site is cheaper and better. An example would be using the site for a short-lived sales promotion, after which it would be taken down.
Speed is The Focus
If speed is of the essence, then a static site is fastest. Static sites require no external support from a server, while dynamic sites require processing a request from a file or database. This makes dynamic sites slower to load than a static site.
External Support is Not Needed
A static site requires less system resources, for instance a database. And because it demands less support from a server, it can serve more visitors, while performing a lot faster than a dynamic site.
Portability is Key
Portability entails the ability of software to be transferred from one system to another. No matter where it is accessed, a static site will open and work anywhere. The user can move around from place to place, and the site can be downloaded, even offline. This is because the page requires no external resources like a database, to operate. If so required, it can even be cached on different servers.
You would use a dynamic website when:
Frequent Updates Are Required
In order to provide visitors with a quality onsite experience, website content needs to be of high quality, and also relevant. The way to keep information relevant and fresh, is to ensure frequent and regular updates.
Dynamic sites allow for regular and easy publishing of new content, which can be updated quickly and by different sources. This requires no editing of an HTML page, as with a static site.
When External Access is Important
If the website is more comprehensive in nature and requires access to information from external sources, for instance a database, then the site needs to be dynamic. An example would be a server based at a company branch in one region, needing to load information from the head office server.
When Customer Interaction is Important
Modern online customers want instant gratification and the ability to interact with companies and brands when they want to. If you are going to design a website or ecommerce platform that will be used for customer interaction and engagement, then a dynamic website is the only way to go. If you only want a site that focuses purely on providing information, then a static site can be considered.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF EACH FORMAT?
Quick and Easy Development
Being less complex in nature, static sites are easier and faster to develop. Anyone with knowledge of HTML will be able to design and develop a static website. This makes them perfect for small businesses.
Lower Development Costs
The upfront costs for developing a static website are low because they only require designing and coding for the front-end. This of course saves on both time and money. Hosting costs are also lower due to the use of only HTML and CSS languages.
In the long run however, costs can actually be higher, if regular updating is required.
Static websites are cheaper to host because of the basic HTML files that they use, which in turn require fewer spaces. This allows for savings to be used in other areas of the website’s development.
Dynamic websites rely on a database to operate, which makes them vulnerable to security attacks that can cripple a site. Their content can also be altered. Static website on the other hand, are more secure, because they do not operate off a database, rendering attacks impotent. Their data cannot be altered by anyone, without access to the backend of the site.
Dynamic websites advantages result in:
Better User Experiences
Providing users with a high-quality experience is the main goal of a website. A dynamic website achieves this because it is extremely user-friendly and interactive in nature.
Easier Design Updates
Consider site navigation as an example.
On a static website, if you wanted to update the navigation architecture, you would have to systematically edit each individual page. A tedious and repetitive job indeed.
With a dynamic site, by simply editing the navigation file, you would automatically update all of the navigation pages linked to the same file. Simple as that.
Dynamic websites work seamlessly with most content management systems (CMS). This allows even unqualified people to post, update and even edit content, without having to understand HTML.
Your marketing team can therefore focus on populating the website with quality content, and the site will automatically place content where it belongs.
More Flexible Data
Dynamic sites make data more flexible, because content can be stored in a central database, making it easy to access and edit when required. If you have multiple brands, then you are even able to load similar content across multiple websites.
Having a central database also makes it easier to search, categorise and load content as well as back it up. Having a static site, would make all of this impossible.
WHICH IS MORE EXPENSIVE?
While a static website is initially cheaper to build, the immediate cost-saving needs to be weighed against the longer-term cost implications. These are dependent on specific requirements.
If one is developing a once-off site for a specific task, then the static site is cheapest. However, if the site will require regular updates, then the additional costs in time and effort required to update the static site, will make it more expensive.
THE BENEFIT OF USING WEBSITE DESIGN SPECIALISTS
For many, the decision about what format of website to choose, can be a bit daunting. It can also end up being very costly for your business. Making the wrong choice can lead to lost customers and added expense in the long term. We suggest that you don’t sweat these decisions on your own.
Website design specialists like cliquedmedia.com, Ireland, are certified web wizards. They will assist you in choosing the right path that suite your businesses, whether this be static or dynamic. Cliqued Media will design a bespoke website that aims to increase your website traffic, improves sales conversion, and grows your online business.