Static vs. Dynamic Websites: How to Differentiate Between Them?
There’s more than one way to design a site, and different layouts will encourage different user behaviors. Achieving peak user-friendliness starts with deciding between two basic website types: static and dynamic.
Static and dynamic websites come with their distinct advantages and they can both be leveraged to achieve a desired result.
Let’s explore the reasons why website owners might favor one over the other.
What is a Static Website?
What is the meaning of a static website and how do you create a static website?
Without getting too into the technical weeds, a static website is one whose pages are pre-generated.
Static sites are great for those in search of faster page speeds. Because everything is pre-rendered as lightweight HTML files, there is less work involved when each user loads the site.
Static websites are handed to each user exactly the way the site was originally stored. No elements on the page will change barring a site redesign.
As far as determining whether your business should use a static website, there are a few factors to consider.
Do I Need to Change Content Often?
If your site requires constant design alterations and changes in content, then a static layout is probably not the best option.
Static designs are great for local business websites and sites with very specific conversion points. Let’s take a local plumber’s site for an example.
Plumbers usually have very straightforward conversion needs. They want their site visitors to either call them or submit a form for their next appointment, which requires a very basic site design.
There are few design changes needed on a local site, as long as the conversion goals remain the same.
What is a Dynamic Website?
In contrast, a dynamic website changes its formatting like a chameleon based on specific user needs. This includes screen size adjustments, language changes, and even custom recommendations based on previous browsing behaviors.
Building a dynamic website requires specific client-side and server-side scripting. These actions are enacted within the user’s browser as a reaction to their inputs, like commenting or subscribing.
Dynamic websites keep all data stored in backend databases or content management systems (CMS). Changes are made based on interactivity. Content is adjusted based on inputs by the user, and updates can be made across multiple pages rather than just one page at a time.
Building dynamic websites means needing to dedicate more time and resources to the overall design project, but the results from these efforts can be very beneficial.
Maintenance is much easier when you can have multiple users enter your database at a given time without needing to interfere with the site’s structural or design elements.
One of the more typical dynamic website examples is an E-commerce business. These sites need to display products and categories based on user interests, drawing heavily from remarketing ad campaigns on Facebook and elsewhere. Dynamic website designers need to be skilled enough to create databases and servers from scratch while understanding the needs of their users.
Scalability is another huge advantage of a dynamic website. Since these sites are easier to expand and update, they are the ideal format for burgeoning E-commerce brands who are looking to showcase more products over time. Dynamic pages have unlimited functionality, which means there are endless possibilities for your brand.
Dynamic content for a website can be applied to multiple pages at once, making the updating process rather simplistic.
Is a Dynamic Website More Work to Set Up?
The short answer is yes, but don’t let a longer set up time deter you from going dynamic. These websites can become quite automated once the initial infrastructure is in place.
There will be some elevated expenses in the beginning, but the site’s adaptability will pay for itself in the long run.
With so many device types and screen sizes used today, it’s important that site owners make sure their website is conducive to users regardless of access point.
Social Media and Other Third-Party Integrations
Dynamic websites also make it easier to combine data from other channels into your site. Social media data can easily be added via plugin integrations or by a proprietarily designed widget.
Dynamic designs can utilize slideshows of images or videos as well as other animations to make the site come to life. This is especially common on digital media websites where snazzy visuals lead to more sales.
Take a real estate video marketing business as an example. Their homepage would likely include clips of drone footage and virtual tours to intrigue potential clients.
Social proof can go a long way towards attracting customers, but it also helps appease Google’s algorithm. Ever since the E-A-T update, Google has favored websites that express a high level of authority in their niche. Reviews, social media ratings, and a positive reputation on third-party sites helps websites improve their rankings and boost trust.
Dynamic Website with WordPress
WordPress is the most popular website platform around thanks to its adaptability and ease of use. It’s a go-to choice for many businesses looking for a straightforward way to build out a dynamic website.
Thanks to a library of over 100,000 plugins (almost 60,000 are free), WordPress is an easy choice for those who like having options.
E-commerce businesses will especially love WordPress thanks to its integration with WooCommerce. This affordable plugin helps businesses set up their store with customers in mind.
WooCommerce lets you take control of your online store and display the information your customers need to make an informed purchasing decision. Dynamically show ratings and reviews based on specific products your customers are likely to buy, encouraging them to click and purchase.
A WordPress dynamic website is built for mobile responsiveness. Your visitors will have a smooth experience across desktop, tablet, and phones. They can find what they’re looking for more easily than a static website since dynamic content adjusts to their interests.
It’s possible to combine the bells and whistles of a dynamic website with the simplicity of a static site. Hybrid websites contain some elements that don’t need to change, and can remain static, while also having certain components that adjust based on their users’ behavior.
Oftentimes a site will start out as entirely static but will end up becoming dynamic over time. A great example is a local realtor’s site.
A new realtor might only have 1 or 2 listings to display. As their team expands, their site will expand too. They will have to adopt a more dynamic design to accommodate more listings. They may reach a point where listings are shown based on each user’s location to ensure the most targeted content.
Realtors will also want to “feature” certain apartments on their website. Dynamic websites make it simple to add pages of inventory, in this case housing options, and frequently update content.
A WordPress site might use a combination of plugins to make this dynamic goal a reality. Plugins like Findeo or Aquentro enable webmasters to simply plug in (no pun intended) their address details and add each listing in minutes.
The clear advantage of having static elements on a site is the load factor. Site speed can improve significantly when items aren’t constantly changing. Static items will reduce the time needed to fetch content for every user thanks to fewer resources being spent. Even if you have other items on your site that need to load dynamically, a hybrid design will accommodate static elements where it can.
How a CMS Can Help
Dynamic websites are excellent when it comes to personalization, and WordPress can make this a reality thanks to a series of plugins that can respond accordingly to user inputs.
Choosing Between Static and Dynamic
Choosing between a static or dynamic website can mean the difference between gaining or losing customers. It’s not that one design choice is necessarily better than the other, it’s that each design has its advantages for your particular business goals and objectives.
If your business is largely app-based and you require user inputs, a dynamic design is most ideal. Think Netflix, where users are fed content recommendations based on their previously entered recommendations and watch history. If your business demands user interactivity, you’ll need a dynamic design to accommodate them.
On the flip side, if your business is web-based and does not require any unique user inputs, it could be more efficient to go with a static website.
Competitive analysis is key. Check out the competition before committing to any long-term design choice. You don’t want to invest in something that hasn’t been proven to work for other companies in your industry.
Do you have any questions? Blue Laser Digital is here to help. We’ve advised brands all over the U.S. on whether a static or dynamic website design is right for them. Find out which variety suits your brand best and we can build it for you.