As a small business, your website is the key to your success. It often serves as potential customers’ first impression of your company, and visitors will come to your site to learn about your business, products, and services. So, what kind of website is best for a small-to-midsized business (SMB)?
One decision you’ll have to make is whether to build a static or dynamic website. In this post, we’ll compare static vs. dynamic websites and discuss which is better for SMBs to help you decide which type of site your business should use.
Table of contents
- How websites work
- Static website definition
- Dynamic website definition
- Static vs. dynamic comparison
- Static websites pros
- Static websites cons
- Dynamic websites pros
- Dynamic websites cons
- Should you build a dynamic or static site?
How websites work
To understand the difference between static vs. dynamic websites, it’s helpful to understand how websites work — namely how they get delivered to your web browser. Here’s a very brief overview of how that works. When someone visits a web page, their browser sends a request to the server where the website’s content is stored.
The server responds to the request by delivering the code for the page, which the browser uses to display the page.
Static website definition: What is a static website?
The browser then displays the page based on the HTML and other code. With static pages, the page looks the same for every user. Sites that don’t change much or can display the same pages to each user are good candidates for the static website method.
Sites such as company websites, blogs, and other informational sites may be static.
Dynamic website definition: What is a dynamic website?
Dynamic websites use server-side processing to generate pages in real time when a browser requests them. The page that the user sees is not based on an exact HTML document you uploaded to your server.
Instead, the site pulls data from a data source, loads it into a template, and creates the HTML code in real time. Sites in which content changes frequently and sites where you want to show unique pages to each user are good candidates for the dynamic approach. Sites where users can log in and access their unique profile, such as ecommerce and social media sites, may be dynamic.
The web developer doesn’t hard-code each user’s profile page. Instead, the site dynamically generates these pages based on the information the user entered when they created their account.
Some disclaimers about comparing static vs. dynamic websites
Comparing static vs. dynamic websites can sometimes be confusing. The lines between dynamic and static are somewhat blurred, and you can blend the two approaches. Some sites may be mostly static but have a few dynamic elements, for example.
If a page is static, that also doesn’t mean that users can’t interact with it. You can include forms, buttons, and other elements that users can interact with on static web pages. Some people may refer to these types of elements as “dynamic” elements.
In this post, when we say “dynamic,” though, we’re referring to pages that are generated dynamically using server-side processing in real time when a user visits a page.
Static vs. dynamic websites: Which is better for SMBs?
So, which is better for SMBs? Static or dynamic websites?
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.
Static website pros
The advantages of static websites include:
Simple to create
Static websites are simpler than their dynamic counterparts. You can create a static web page with only HTML, while with dynamic sites, you’ll need to work with the languages you’ll use to pull the data and generate the pages.
Less expensive to build and host
Because static websites are simpler, it’s often less expensive to build and host them.
Because you build each page ahead of time, it’s often easier to change elements from page to page or use completely different designs on different pages.
Fast load time
Load time tends to be fast with static sites since the pages are already made. Load time depends on numerous factors, however, and with modern technology, dynamic sites can load quickly as well.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is typically simpler with static sites as well. With static sites, the pages already exist, and search engine crawlers can see them the same way users do. With dynamic sites, you’ll need to include some static elements on your page if you want them to rank in search or create optimized static pages for your dynamic site.
Static websites cons
Some of the cons of static websites include:
Updates require more manual work
One disadvantage of static sites is that updating your pages requires more manual work. That’s why if your content updates frequently, dynamic may be a better choice.
Harder to scale due to manual updates
The need to update your pages manually means it harder to scale your site, although there are various tools that can help with this.
Dynamic website pros
Let’s look at the pros of dynamic websites.
Allows for user login
Dynamic sites are useful if you want visitors to be able to log in. You can dynamically generate pages such as users’ profile pages based on their account information.
Good for personalization
Dynamic sites also lend themselves well to personalizing content for different users. If your site is based on a lot of personalization, dynamic may be the way to go.
Good for frequent updates
If you frequently update your site, consider using the dynamic approach, as it allows you to avoid some of the manual work that comes with updating static pages.
Along those same lines, it’s often easier to scale a dynamic site than a static one.
Dynamic website cons
Some of the cons of dynamic websites include:
More complex to build
Can be more expensive to build and host
Because dynamic sites are more complex, it can be more expensive to build and host them. Collaboration is in our DNA at WebFX and your web design project benefits from dozens of subject matter experts working together on your site.
Team of Experts
Crafting Dazzling Designs
Collaboration is in our DNA at WebFX and your web design project benefits from dozens of subject matter experts working together on your site.
Should you build a dynamic or static site?
A dynamic site is likely the best choice if you:
- Want users to be able to log in on your site
- Want to personalize a lot of your site’s content for users
- Have content that updates frequently
However, you can opt to use a static site if you:
- Don’t need login, large-scale personalization, or frequent updates
- Want a simpler site setup
Also, keep in mind that you can blend some dynamic and static functionality on your site using various tools.
Create the perfect website for your business
The best type of website varies from business to business, and you certainly have lots of options when it comes to building your site. It’s vital to take the time to get your website right since it’s integral to your online brand and marketing. Want help deciding what type of website is right for your business?