When people start a website for their business, they must choose one from several website options to present their services. For ease of use, coupled with general utility, many will use either a WordPress site or a few static HTML pages. Here’s a look at both static HTML and WordPress to help you figure out which option may work best for you and your business.
The Difference Between Static HTML and WordPress
Before getting into it, you should have a basic understanding of what these two things are. If you’re new to this, here’s a refresher.
Static HTML – This implies webpages that consist of HTML and CSS mostly or exclusively. A static webpage won’t change and will look identical to everyone who visits the page. It’s possible to add dynamic content. However, a static page is usually an HTML document that sits on a server, nothing more.
WordPress – WordPress is a CMS, or Content Management System. While many people consider it as strictly a blogging application, it’s very much a full system for managing a website. It’s ubiquitous as well, as it’s the most popular CMS in use. WordPress requires little to no knowledge of HTML, and many web hosts have one-click installs for WordPress.
Why and When You Should Consider Static HTML
Even to this day, with all the available options for dynamic websites, you can still find several sites using fully static HTML pages. Because it’s been around so long, many people have a high level of familiarity with HTML and CSS.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of HTML editors and WYSIWYG HTML creation programs and sites. These all make creating a static HTML page absurdly easy. And it’s important to remember a static HTML page doesn’t mean a boring webpage.
There’s a lot you can do with HTML, especially the current HTML5 iteration. But then again, maybe your particular business can benefit from a boring page. There’s nothing wrong with that. Here’s why.
Static HTML is reliable – Static HTML isn’t going to change, or even mess up in anyway. There are usually no moving parts, so to speak. A user will only see what’s hardcoded into the HTML document.
Static HTML is usually more secure – Since there aren’t any extra applications, protocols, or scripting, there’s not much for someone to exploit.
Static HTML doesn’t require many resources – There’s nothing extra needed for a static website, or even a series of static websites. That is to say, the websites won’t need to check with a server for extra content. They won’t need to run scripts. They won’t need to constantly check a database. All of these things lower overhead and make your websites load faster.
Here are some good reasons why you might want to consider static HTML for your website:
- You only need to display contact information
- You only need a page with pertinent information
- You’re running your own server and want to lower overhead and bandwidth usage
- You don’t have much bandwidth to work with, or want to save costs with cheaper hosting options
There’s also little need for site maintenance or regular updates. Once the code is in place, and live, you won’t have to make any changes or do anything extra to keep your content static and available to those who need it.
Static HTML caveats
Static HTML requires a separate HTML file for each page. While you may find this convenient, it can become a hassle if you must update a single element.
For example, if you have to update a header, then you must do it on each page individually. If you hired someone to put together your static pages, you must also hire someone to make those small changes if you’re not sure how to do it yourself.
Why and When You Should Consider a WordPress Installation
WordPress is a CMS, and while it’s not the only means of creating dynamic websites, it’s one of the easiest and most popular.
What is a CMS?
A CMS allows users to manage a website from an administrative backend. These software solutions allow you to manage, maintain, and change a website with no real webmaster knowledge.
Usually, you don’t need to know any coding, including HTML. Most CMS software works by keeping information in a database on a server. When someone visiting your site loads a page in their browser, a request goes to the server for the information that should show up.
What you need to know about WordPress
As a CMS, WordPress really is a good choice for businesses of any size. It has a mostly user-friendly interface. You can use it to modify your site and content with templates and plugins.
You’ll want the self-hosted version of WordPress. That’s in contrast to the wordpress.com blogging platform. Although, you can use that as well, it’s extremely limited and not the best option for a business.
There are many reasons WordPress can make an ideal choice for your business.
- Easy to use and easy to update
- Thousands of templates you can use immediately
- The ability to fully customize templates to match the tenor of your business
- WordPress is free
In general, WordPress comes with all the benefits that come with having a dynamic website in general. For example, if you have a lot of content that needs even semi-frequent updates, then a dynamic site will likely work better for you.
If you want to make a design change, then WordPress will allow you to do it quickly and easily without having to mess around with HTML or hire somebody. WordPress uses databases to hold each element of your page and content. This makes it easier to make smaller modifications that will show on every page of your site.
For anything extra you want to do with your site, there’s likely a plugin available for free, subscription, or a flat fee that will allow you do it. However, look below to see why WordPress isn’t all fun and games.
Some WordPress caveats
WordPress comes with a learning curve. It can become quite complicated if you want to go beyond surface level features. It uses PHP scripting, and having some understanding of that can help you a lot.
If there’s a problem with your WordPress installation, then it can become a time-consuming issue you may not have the ability to solve on your own. Luckily, because WordPress is so widespread, there are hundreds of websites and forums dedicated to it, so it’s possible to get free or paid support.
WordPress vs Static HTML: Choosing One or the Other
In short, if you don’t need to make frequent updates, then static HTML can work just fine. If you have dynamic content or need to make frequent updates, then a CMS like WordPress may work better for you.
It’s possible for static HTML and a WordPress installation to work in conjunction. There are several options at your disposal. You can have a static front page with a WordPress backend. You can have links from a WordPress install point to a static page. There’s no one way to go about it. You can start with one and convert to the other.
There are Other Options
While the Internet is chock full of static HTML pages and WordPress sites, these aren’t the only options available. There are solutions out there that can combine the reliability of static HTML with the modular and dynamic nature of a CMS.
For example, Pagestead makes use of blocks of HTML. You can use these individual blocks of code to customize your business site. This allows you to have modules you can manipulate individually while still allowing you to use static HTML.