Two Paths

There are two popular approaches On Dav to take when you build a website. You can use a static HTML website or a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla. If you are new to building and managing sites, you might wonder about the big difference between these approaches. They both make websites, but there is a world of difference in how you get the results. Read on to find out the difference between them and which one is 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. Until recently, this was 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? But, once you finish the design and install the website, it will only do what you asked. You can make beautiful sites that allow 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 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 of the visuals and make them look pretty. You can select 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 language 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 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 called 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 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, with over 30 million downloads, and with WordPress integration, it’s no slouch. Both allow users to leave comments on posts and or pages, stream new content from sources like social media or news sites, and you can also quickly add recent 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 the code). You have complete control of the layout, look and feel. HTML websites also 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 use. If you know CSS, a fairly simple language, you can easily change how your HTML website looks.

Static HTML: Cons – The cons of fixed HTML deal with its lack of interactivity and 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, 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 users can access information, 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 recent article) or page, you will need to create it first, upload the HTML file to your server, and then change the navigation bar (menu) before it is visible to the user. This takes much time, especially if you add one or more pages daily. 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 the pages, then changing the color in the CSS will change the color on all 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 for those with little to no coding knowledge. Finally, SEO! You must code all of the SEO into your static website yourself. Considering SEO is a somewhat dynamic process, you will always have to go back and tweak or change your site to keep it current.


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Antonio Peters
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.