Choose a website type

1. Define your goals

Write down the goals you want to accomplish with your website.

For example

2. Define your users’ needs

Put yourself in your user’s shoes and write down your user’s needs.

  • Why are they coming to your website?
  • What do they want to do?
  • What are they looking for?

For example

3. Define your content

Match your goals and the users’ needs.
Define what content you want to provide to serve both needs – yours and the users’.

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What’s a dynamic website?

Dynamic websites use more complex code than static websites. The layout and the page content are created separately. The content is stored in a database. Words, numbers, and images are stored as unique elements in the database and put together to be displayed on a page only if asked. This allows you to provide individual information to the user and let them personalize the content according to their preferences.

Users will be able so search through your site inventory, create a user account, or pay by credit card.

A dynamic website can also be controlled by a web application such as a Web Content Management System (CMS). The content management system modifies the stored information directly in the database. You will be able to make updates without needing any knowledge of HTML, or any website software.

Dynamic websites are usually difficult to develop. This tutorial is not about dynamic websites due to the fact that every Content Management System would need its own tutorial. Nonetheless I will explain to you briefly how dynamic websites work.

Go with a dynamic website when:

  • You want to sell products or services online.
  • You want to interact with your users and offer them some online-services such as user-accounts, user rating and communities.
  • You want to provide different content to different users.
  • You want to let users personalize the content or the layout.
  • You want to give access to more people who can edit the website with different permissions.

Advantages

  • Efficient website management with a Content Management System.
  • Easy update content without HTML knowledge.
  • The layout can be changed independently of the content.
  • Content can be personalized by the users or be presented in different ways.
  • The community develops new features (if open source).
  • Complex websites with lots of pages can be handled.
  • Provides services such as online-shops, paying by credit card and so forth.
  • More people can edit the website.

Disadvantages

  • Dynamic content is less visible for search engines.
  • Setting-up the Content Management System is time-consuming.
  • Slower than static websites.
  • Expensive to develop and to host.

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How to provide information on a website

Information about yourself or your business can be delivered on the web by static or dynamic websites. Static websites are easy and cheap to create. They allow you to provide some text and images in an eye-pleasing manner. It’s also possible to create a small online-shop or a blog.

What’s a static website?

Static websites deliver information without any bells and whistles. The layout and the page content are created together. The website is composed of different HTML documents that are stored on a web server.

Words and instructions for how they should appear on the web are stored in the HTML document, which has to be uploaded to a web server. This means that the content does not change until the next edition.

Many website builders use static publishing to deliver web content. You create and modify your pages in a web-editing interface based on a database and the pages are published as static pages.

Go with a static website when:

  • You want to create a small website.
  • You objective is to provide basic information about you or your business.
  • You do not plan to update the content daily.
  • You are quite sure that you will not need to add some dynamic functionality such as user-login in the future.
  • You can live with a fixed layout that cannot be changed dynamically.
  • You will provide the same content to all your users.

Advantages

  • Quick and easy to create.
  • Free online website builders with dynamic web-editing interface are available.
  • Many ready to use templates to choose from.
  • Less prone to technology errors.
  • Cheap to host.
  • Static content is easily visible for search engines.

Disadvantages

  • Complex designs are difficult to realize with website builders.
  • Software or online application required for creating and updating the content.
  • Less flexibility and less control over the look and feel.
  • Cannot handle complex websites with lots of pages.
  • The content or layout only changes when you manually update the pages.

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