Web Design: Static or Dynamic Content?
The two ends of the site development spectrum are static and dynamic content, and these spark off numerous debates between specialists on which is better. Both have their pros and cons, so website developers must take the individual circumstances of their clients when choosing. Furthermore, it is counterproductive to think that a website must be wholly dynamic or completely static, as a combination of both could offer the best solution.
To start off, dynamic websites can have their content or data changed more easily and more quickly than static ones. They utilize a database and a content management system (CMS) in order to enable easier data changes. When a user opens the page, the layout (or template) is merged on request with the content, which means that each view can be individualized to fit the user, demographic group, geographic location, or even purchasing power. For example, if your business spans a number of regions, dynamic websites can redirect the users without asking questions. Furthermore, the CMS lets the website owner update and upload his content without the need for professional help.
Dynamic websites can be altered and enriched by the user as well. These functions include message boards, discussion forums, user galleries, and others, where users add their own content, whether it’s text, image, video, music etc. As a result, dynamic websites have greater functionality. They can be gathering points, content repositories, online shops and others. Thanks to the data server, users can access greater search options, such as product year, model number, color, functionality, etc. This will be vital to websites with catalogues and a wide range of product models. Finally, dynamic websites allow users to be divided into groups with different levels of access to the functions and the content.
Naturally, dynamic websites have their disadvantages. They are more expensive to develop and maintain due to their increased functionality, and their requirements for content storage. These also take more time to develop and may not be appropriate for a short-cycle project or business. Unfortunately, dynamic websites also take more time to load due to their content-rich nature; try it out for yourself1. It can be concluded, then, that dynamic websites are perfect for long-lived businesses and campaigns where user interaction and content freshness are important, and where development costs are not an issue.
On the other hand, static content websites offer a cheaper and faster solution for businesses. These can feature limited, or even no, user interaction, and have mainly text and video content. Although perfect for informing, static websites are difficult to update as this requires a developer to alter the content. The website is much easier and faster to develop than a dynamic one as it has fewer functions and fewer pages to populate, and as a result it loads much faster. Therefore, static websites are perfect for short-cycle campaigns. As there is less content to save, the hosting cost falls as well. Unfortunately, static websites quickly become out of date and the cost of frequent updates can soon outweigh the initial savings.
Finally, some companies may find it easier to first build a static website in order to start their presence online and gain SEO authority for the company name. However, after some time, they may decide to add a dynamic CMS for regular content updates as an addition to their offline marketing efforts. This will enable the vital company-info pages to load faster and be available on all browsers and machines, while advanced users can quickly access the up-to-date company content. This strategy will give the firm some experience before a full investment into dynamic content.