Two Paths

There are basically two popular approaches On Dav to take when you decide to build a website. You can go to a static HTML website or a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla. If you are new to building and managing websites, you might wonder about the big difference between these two approaches. They both make websites, but there is a world of difference in how you get to the result. Read on to find out the difference between them, and which one is really the best for you.


HTML – CSS – JavaScript

A static HTML website is one that you build with HTML and CSS. The reason it’s called a static website is because nothing can change about the website, or at least not unless you go back and change the code. Up until recent years, this was really the only way to make a website. There is no dynamic content, nor is there any real user interaction.

The only thing you get is what you enter into the HTML. What does that mean? Put, once you are done with the design and install the website, it will only do what you asked it to. You can make beautiful sites that allow the users to read content, purchase products, access free offers, sign up for newsletters and build your list. Just about anything you desire, you can do with a static HTML website. Though it’s called an HTML website, there are actually several different coding languages typically used to build an HTML website.

HTML provides the structure or the core, but CSS is used to set the look and feel for the visuals and make it look pretty. You can set the size, colors, fonts, backgrounds… etc. JavaScript can add special effects to the website and even a little dynamic interaction with the user. As you can imagine, though, if you choose to go this route to create your website, you’ll need to know at least the basics of each of the languages used.

A Content Management System (CMS) is much more user-friendly because you do not need to know any code to use it. CMS is more of a “drag and drop” or “point and click” type system. You log into the “admin” portion of the website, make the changes you desire, and update. The changes you make to the appearance or functionality of your website take effect immediately after you save and update. One of the other nice things about CMS is the variety of themes available, but we’ll talk about that later.

Most CMS sites are referred to as Blog sites, primarily because they were originally used for blogging and not much else. In recent years CMS has become so much more and is now one of the most widely used programs for building a website today. Built using PHP, CMS sites have a database attached to save all core and dynamic content. So once again, the biggest differences between CMS and static HTML are dynamic content (change it on the fly) and no coding required.

WordPress or Joomla?

This is really a matter of choice. Both are excellent platforms, and for the most part, one is as easy to use as the other. The biggest difference between them is this: WordPress has been around since 2003 and is very popular. As a result, they get a huge amount of support from other programmers when it comes to Plugins (we’ll talk about this in a minute) and SEO, and there are a kazillion themes available for WordPress, too, thus making it a trendy choice for both newbies and pros alike.

Joomla has not been around as long (2005) but has become very popular in its own right over the years. It is second only to WordPress, and with over 30 million downloads, and now with WordPress integration, it’s no slouch. Both allow users to leave comments to posts and or pages, stream new content from sources like social media or news sites, and you can also quickly add new posts to your blog without having to worry about modifying your navigation bar (it’s automatic) or structuring your pages, thanks to built-in templates.


Pros and Cons

Static HTML: Pros – A static HTML website is easy to set up (especially if you know code). You have complete control of the layout, look and feel. HTML websites also tend to load faster because they usually have fewer files and data to download. As stated earlier, a big benefit of HTML is that you have total control over the website’s appearance. You can also change the visuals of a WordPress or Joomla site, but you are limited by the number of choices or flexibility available with the theme or template you are using. If you know CSS, a fairly simple language, you can easily change the way your HTML website looks.

Static HTML: Cons – The cons of static HTML deal with its lack of interactivity and its complex structure with larger websites. An HTML page has absolutely no interactivity, and it only includes what you code. For example, if you code a Web page with an article, then that’s all you will get. There will be nothing else on the page except for that article. There will be no user content, no dynamic content that generates while away, and the website will remain static.

On the other hand, if you program it to include a database so that users can access information, I guess in a sense you could call that a limited form of interactivity. The same holds with a shopping cart. A user comes to your website to purchase a product or service you offer, so in the same sense, they can interact with your website in a limited form.

If you want to make changes to your site, like adding a new post (write a new article) or page, you will need to create it first and then upload the HTML file to your server and then change the navigation bar (menu) before it is visible to the user. This takes up a lot of time, especially if you add one or more pages a day. Another consideration is that if you don’t have a good CSS structure in place, changing parts of your website can be cumbersome.

For example, you want to change the background color for all of your pages on your site. If you have the background color programmed with CSS and have it called out in the HTML for all of the pages, then changing the color in the CSS will change the color on all of the pages on your website. This is huge for a website that might have 100 pages or more. Otherwise, you’ll need to change all 100 pages individually. As you can see, static HTML sites are easy

for the guy who understands the code requirements, but not so for those with little to no coding knowledge. Finally, SEO! You will need to code all of the SEO into your static website yourself. Considering SEO is a somewhat dynamic process, you will find yourself always having to go back and tweak or change your site to keep it current.


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Student. Typical social media nerd. Analyst. Zombie guru. Gamer. Award-winning thinker. Set new standards for analyzing wooden horses with no outside help. What gets me going now is promoting xylophones in the government sector. Uniquely-equipped for working on ice cream in the aftermarket. Spent 2001-2008 creating marketing channels for trumpets with no outside help. Had some great experience testing the market for puppets in Deltona, FL. Spent 2001-2007 importing psoriasis in the aftermarket.