Websites, the never ending Forth bridge

With more and more companies accepting the fact that a website offers the opportunity to market themselves more effectively the ever before, the website has moved on from its static roots.

In today’s age of Twitter and Facebook, is it possible to finish your website, or should you even try?

Airwaves full of static
It is well known that the first few websites were just formatted text documents linked together, and in fact HTML is still the driving force behind the web today.

HTML for though not familiar stands for Hyper Text Mark-up Language, and it does what it says, that is to format / present text. These days the web has moved on from just text documents, and included images, animation and interactivity.

But what is also true is that all these ‘eye candy’ elements still relies on the HTML that form the foundation of each website.

Weaving the web
Prior to a few years ago the thrust was to create a kick ass website that would rank well on Google and would make money while you slept. And many companies still believe this, and is not helped by the adverts promising this dream as well.

Article upon article on the web was devoted to maximising the SEO on your on page copy, linking strategies that would magically help your SEO efforts.

But trouble was on the horizon, by the good ship PHP driven by that well known pirate captain CMS.

Burning down the house
Content Management Systems works by separating data and presentation, or by saying it another way ‘if you want to add a new page, it will take care of things like navigation etc….’. In a static website every time you wanted to add new content, you had to update all the existing pages with the link to the new page. In other words each new page cost more and more money or time to produce.

With the promise of easy content adding, websites stated appearing with more and more content. The upshot being that Google saw these sites as being more important (due to the amount of copy and related copy) and therefore ranked them better.

Look at any of the top Sites listed on Google, nearly all are CMS based.

The true cost of CMS
But like all ‘free’ technologies, there always a but, and with CMS it’s no exception. CMS’s use technologies like PHP to drive them and there lies the problem. With a normal Static HTML website each time someone view it , the web server grabs the page and displays it character for character, a bit like teletext or a photocopier. But with CMS based technologies, each page is constructed on the fly and requires a lot more processing power to do the same thing, in addition by its very nature will also be slower than the equivalent static HTML site.

A CMS based site will always cost more to develop and although there are free solutions out there, it’s usually at the expense of carrying someone else advertising.

If it’s hard enough for you to get customers, do you really want to potentially give them to someone else?

Static in a dynamic world
Static sites are becoming less common as changes that affect business become more rapid. We are all told that we should try and be in tune and interact with our customer as much as possible and this is just likely to increase.

But this statement has really just one effect and that is to add and change content as often as possible online, making effective use with as many tools as available.

But although the technology is often free, to use it often isn’t. For a small business they may not either have the talent in-hose to do it or simply do not have the time.

Many companies mistake their website as a direct one off cost.

For many companies they expect the website to take the role of a salesman.

How much work would you expect a salesman to bring in for £300?

So why do you expect a website costing £300 to do the same work as a full time sales person?

If you’re serious about marketing your business online, make sure you invest in the website that will make it happen.