Can a website be more than just a pretty page?
Extra, Extra read all about it! While millions of people still rely on the good old black and white every day, it is the perfect example of a static media. Once it is printed a newspaper can no longer be changed, its type has been set and one will simply have to wait until the next edition to recieve the quote unquote latest news even if it has broken minutes after the paper has been delivered to your doorstep. Similarly, once a static website has been published it too will not change until the next edition; whenever the webmaster or someone familiar with HTML, or flash edits the content.
A dynamic website on the other hand uses programming in addition to the layout to not only allow the the flow of data in and out of the site but to make meaningful relationships with the data. For example an online business directory may allow local businesses to sign up and create profiles for their businesses. Visitors to the site may then search the directory based on their needs for example one may conduct a search for a laywer in their zip code who speaks Spanish or for a dance school in the area that offers tap dancing classes.
Dynamic websites empower their owners with the ability to upload information on their own, preferably through password protected administrative interfaces. One does not require knowledge about HTML or websites design to update or maintain such a site.
In addition to the budget there are several other factors that will determine if you need a static or dynamic site. What purpose will your site serve? If you are a relatively small business or the services and products that your provide are few and/or simple to explain then a static website could suffice your needs. On the other hand if you have a large inventory of products and/or services then you may wish to empower your customers with the ability to search through your inventory based on their selected criteria with a dynamic website.
If you were renting a small villa on a beach in the Caribbean and you simply needed to show a few pictures, provide rates and contact info, a static site would do. If you were a real estate broker in a competitive market and you needed to update your listings frequently, a dynamic website would be your solution.
Dynamic websites are not without their challenges: good programmers are harder to find than good designers often requiring one or more people to be involved in the design of a dynamic site. When considering a programmer or developer as they are often referred to as, ask to see examples of previous work and for sample code. Experience is critical.
While a dynamic website typically cost more because of its complexity, it can be a more cost effective solution in the long run. A dynamic website is the most effective solution for sites with content requring frequent updates and/or interaction with the visitors.
Brad Tafa Hemmings