Understanding dynamic websites

One of the notable characteristics of dynamic websites is that they change or support the capability to change website content with minimum amount of effort. Don't assume dynamic websites will change or adapt to your changing business needs. Remember what we said in the first line of this post about dynamic websites: they let the website's administrators easily change the site content. This of course is not possible with static websites. Updates to static websites require help from a web development agency.

Keep in mind, however, a dynamic website, regardless of who sells it or builds it does not do everything to replace a professional web development team. With a dynamic website, your staff can perform activities such as:

  • Update content: images, text, videos, etc. So the web audience sees the latest information about your business.
  • Change the "look” of the site to some extent. Among other things, your staff may change fonts, site colors, and other system supported cosmetics.
  • Disable visibility of specific content. For instance, if some content is outdated, it can be removed or deleted.
  • Allow more than one employee update your website. If you are in the news business, a dynamic system will let your reporters add the content to your website without the involvement of any web developers.
  • Site content can be archived, for future reference.

Now you should have a better idea of what dynamic websites do. Notice, our list above does not say your dynamic website will let you or your staff:

  • Optimize the website content for search engines. The truth is the average person may know how to add a post to a website but does not fully understand how search engines work. So while a dynamic site lets you and your staff add or change site content, it does not automatically optimize the content, especially for the latest search engine algorithms.
  • Easily overcome the limitations imposed by the dynamic website. Assume the dynamic website lets your staff add only up to three images per page to keep the page downloadable within reasonable amount of time. How about if your particular page must have four images; you will need a web development agency to make the change to your system. So understand while you may always have valid business reasons for imposing certain limitations on your system, the limitations may one day become a barrier to your legitimate use of the system. Again, overcoming any shortfalls of your dynamic website will require involvement from a web development agency.
  • Provide support for troubleshooting problems with the website. Naturally, dynamic are large and complex because they grow and change overtime. This means the staff that makes changes to the site on daily basis won't have the necessary technical knowledge to fix problems. How about if the database server containing the entire site content crashes? When this happens the site is down (meaning the customers cannot see your website) and your staff does not know how to fix the problem.

Hopefully, this discussion helps you better understand why we suggest a dynamic website only lets you or your staff change the site content and not do any more than that. In practical terms, if you wanted a very complex dynamic website system for your business with more control options, understand it will require its user to have greater technical knowledge. So don't expect a complex system to be user-friendly. For the most part, small businesses need just a basic dynamic system that lets their staff make regular updates to the site while reserving complex web tasks for a third-party.

This discussion would not be complete without discussing the pros and cons of dynamic sites.

Advantages of dynamic sites

Here are some of the advantages of a dynamic site:

  • Easy updates. The site can be easily updated with clicks opposed to programming or scripting.
  • The small business has control over what and when is displayed on the website. A press release, for instance, could be scheduled to become live on a certain date. The business does not need to rely on third parties to make updates to the site, which often happens with static websites.
  • Some control over the look and feel of the website. The cosmetics of the site can be changed without the involvement of a web development agency.

Before you sign-on a dynamic website for your business, make sure you know and understand all the benefits and the limitations. If you are not told of the limitations just ask. Then, determine whether or not the system is a right fit for your business. The point is don't just look at what the system does (or will do) but also know what it does not and won't do!

Disadvantages of dynamic sites

We believe all technical systems have limitations and dynamic sites are not in any way an exception to that. Here are some of the limitations (or cons) you are likely to find with any dynamic system:

  • High development costs. Building of dynamic sites is a costly proposition. The costs can easily reach thousands of dollars depending on the desired functionalities.
  • It takes time to build the system. Depending on the system complexity, it could take from a few weeks to over a month to build a customized dynamic website system.
  • High hosting costs. Web hosting is like your cellular phone plan. You need it for your phone to function. You need web hosting for your website to work. A dynamic website has high web hosting costs because of the extra hardware, software, and database resources required to run the website.
  • Training. You or your staff needs to understand how to (efficiently and productively) use the system. If you or staff is not ready for the training, a dynamic system probably is the right solution for your business.
  • Your staff won't be able to overcome the limitations imposed by the system. Certain business constraints may make sense today for your dynamic website system to address but they may become ineffective in the future. When this happens, your system will need to be updated according to the satisfaction of the new constraints.

Determining if you need a dynamic website for your business

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether or not you need a dynamic website:

  • Does your business need to communicate the latest information with your web audience?
  • Do you want to play a larger role in controlling of what is presented on your website?
  • Do you want your website to be updated immediately after a change is observed?
  • Do you have a number of people who need to regularly add content to the website?

If you have answered yes to all or most of these questions, you are likely in need of a dynamic website. Your web needs will determine the exact dynamic web system you and your staff will need. Your web agency can go over the different options available to you based on your business needs.

Please let us know if we can answer any of your questions regarding dynamic web development systems. We build custom dynamic web system in ASP, ASP.net, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XML, and other web technologies. Don't worry if the last sentence does not make sense because it's intended for those clients who have a specific preference for such technologies.

Posted on 7/1/2011 9:53:40 PM