Once you and your designer have a rapport, the process becomes very fluid. Pages can be added or subtracted, slideshows widened, pictures edited – the list goes on. The only firm decision to be made at the beginning of any project is this: will the website be static, or will it use a CMS (content management system)? In simpler terms, will you need to edit the website yourself?
A static website is built entirely by the designer at your behest. It is written in code – HTML5, CSS3, PHP and jQuery being the most common – and unless you are feeling tech-savvy, you will not touch it. Your requests are sent, the designer fulfils them, and out pops your website.
Static websites are built from the ground up, so there aren’t any bulky scripts, files or frameworks slowing them down. The lack of recurring templates means you have more freedom in designing adventurous layouts; each aspect of every page can be tweaked individually, allowing greater precision in your design. As they don’t involve any databases or large frameworks, static websites are also much faster to build, reducing the designer’s workload, thus making them more affordable.
The obvious drawback of a static website is in the name; it is uneditable. Any changes must be made via the designer. That said, the growth of social media allows businesses to maintain a lively presence while their website remains unchanged. That is worth bearing in mind.
Who Are Static Websites For?
Static websites are best suited to small, ‘showroom’ websites in the 1-10 page range. They are for those who make infrequent updates, and happier leaving future edits in the designer’s hands. Besides, you might not need to write extensively; many websites are effective enough as attractive signposts. Examples include musicians, independent films, tutors/teachers, private galleries and small businesses whose services remain fixed.
Content management allows you to write blogs, add image galleries and have greater control over the running of the website. When we begin creating a dynamic website, I’ll ask you what you’re going to be writing. Will you be adding articles, portfolio items, film productions or recipes? What kind of information would recur every time you submit a new ‘post’? Once I’ve better understood your business, I’ll create the site around these specs so that you simply log in, click ‘new’ and begin typing.
Of course, all this requires a little more work. The website is built around a MySQL database and the WordPress framework, and costs are a little higher. Some know-how is also required from the client. In my case, I leave you with written or verbal support showing how to edit various aspects of the website.
Who Needs Dynamic Websites?
Who needs a CMS website? Clients who want regular, fresh content: larger businesses, bloggers or those whose services regular adapt and change. Alternatively, creative artists might opt for a dynamic website so that they can regularly upload new portfolio items.
It boils down to what you think you’ll do with the website after it has launched. If a web design project is trial enough, you might be happier with a static website and its caretaker. If you’re the hands-on type that envisages an ever-changing page, then opt for the CMS. There is no right or wrong answer – only what’s most convenient. If in any doubts, just ask!