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All too often businesses choose a static web site because it is easy to find a designer to create the site; static sites are generally quite cheap; and turn around time for creating a static site is usually quite short. Often the new start-up company doesn’t even need to pay much for a tailored design because the standard designs offered by the static site developers are usually quite good. So you add a logo, choose some colours and away you go.

So why are static sites cheap and why are there so many vendors out there? On of the primary factors is the software available to people for creating static sites. Most of the available software packages are extremely powerful and are easy to use. The user can quickly learn to create a site with little or now knowledge of programming or of the web building blocks like HTML and CSS not to mention programming languages like PHP or JavaScript etc. So to become a static site designer, the person only has to purchase the software or find some free software (like Netobjects Fusion 10) and go on a short 1-2 day course. Then a bit of trial and error and yet another static site developer can offer their services at a very good rate.

As a customer, this has to sound great, cheap, quick off the mark and a site looks good. So everyone is happy, what could be the problem?

To answer this, first you need to consider what the purpose of a web site is. There are many answers to this, but some of the main reasons must be: to advertise your business on the internet; to be found on search engines; and to communicate product information, company news etc. to customers or prospective customers. So far so good, the static site looks great on day 1 and meets all these criteria. However, ‘static’ means you can’t change the content on the site without going back to the developer. So every time you want to make a change you need to pay the developer. Usually this is the same developer who created the site because the developer wants to hold onto your business and ties you in by keeping the code, so you can’t get someone else to update the site for you. The developer effectively owns your site, you are stuck with your developer and you have to pay for any changes.

Next you discover that you aren’t featuring very well in searches (i.e. your site does not appear on the first page of the main search engines). When you explore this further you discover the art of SEO (search engine optimisation) and the importance of relevant content, good keywords and appropriate meta data. You discover that content needs to be up to date and that you need to continually make small changes the information on your pages. You will no doubt come across software like CreatorSEO (https://creatorseo.com) that point you in the right SEO direction and identify changes to the meta data and to the keywords. Also, this software analyse your competitors to find out why they rank better on the search engines and the changes you need to make to your content to compete better. So you have to go to the developer again. You then find that the changes will be delayed because the developer has to maintain hundreds of these cheap sites to break even. So your changes are in a queue and you are at the mercy of the developer. Of course you may be able to pay to get a quicker turn-around on any changes or to jump the queue.

I think that you may be getting the picture now… the cheap static site is not so cheap anymore and more importantly, it does not serve your needs as well as it should unless of course you want a site that is no more than a static advertising board for your business.

A solution presents itself in the form of a dynamic site, also known as a content management systems (or CMS). In it’s simplest form, a content management system allows you easily and quickly to manage the content of your web pages. The developer is needed only in the initial implementation of the site to create the overall structure, layout and style. Thereafter you are in control. You can make changes directly by logging in to the site mad making changes that will be immediately visible to anyone visiting the site. There are a large number of content management systems available like Joomla, Drupel and CreatorWWW (http://www.creatorwww.com) that can be configured to meet any site design.

The creation and implementation of the site will be relatively more expensive than a static site because the developer has to do more work. There are database tables to set up on the host computer and the developer needs to have a good understanding of the building block of the web, like HTML, style Sheets (CSS). The developer also needs to have a knowledge of the programming language used to drive the content management system if he or she is to be able to configure the site to meet your needs. However, the good news is that once the site is in place, you can take ownership of the site and the content and can influence the effectiveness of your web for reaching your customers.

In short, my advice to you is that think twice before paying for a static site. It is always better to pay a little more initially for a dynamic site and then take control of your site.

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