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Static HTML Pages vs CMS Generated Sites

Web development is an essential aspect of the internet industry, being directly responsible for the origin of user-friendly interfaces that we enjoy on a daily basis. There are many ways to design a site, from advanced programming platforms to simple site builders that are included with eCommerce hosting plans, each one accommodating the needs of various webmaster skill levels. A type of web development that has become incredibly popular in the last few years has been CMS site creation.

A CMS (Content Management System) is essentially a web based application included with most hosting plans that let you design, organize, and manage your web sites with ease. In essence, webmasters that use CMS to create their sites are considered new school, while those that still utilize static HTML pages are considered to be old school. In this articles we’ll discuss some of the differences between the two so that you can make an informed decision for your own web sites.

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As a developer, using static HTML pages gives you limited functionality unless you’re highly proficient with various programming languages that can be utilized within certain frameworks. Basically, it is much more difficult to express yourself as a developer using static HTML pages because it requires a great amount of skill to match the quality of a CMS generated page. With a CMS you can utilize templates that give you a head start in the development process, and you can also add, delete, or edit content on your pages through the convenient user interface. Creating a web site consisting of HTML pages requires you to create each page individually, whereas CMS templates apply to the entire web site.

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Content management systems can be improved and expanded upon infinitely because they are open source software. As a result, there are hundreds of plugins available for popular CMS like WordPress, all of which enhance the functionality of the software allowing you to perform tasks that were previously impossible, or simplifying tasks that are currently mundane. Some content management systems even have SEO plugins that will improve your search engine ranking. Instead of designing a page from scratch you use predesigned templates, and then simply edit the CSS/Style sheet of the template to change colors, font, borders, and various other aspects of the site’s formatting.

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If you want to continuously maintain your page without having to edit HTML coding repeatedly then you should strongly considered the superior functionality of a good content management system. On the other hand, if you want to improve your skills as a developer and create completely original pages from scratch then it may be advantageous to learn some HTML. Learning HTML is certainly beneficial for most web developers, as it enhances their ability to edit or even create new CMS themes. However, if you decide to use content management system templates then the only programming language that you really need to understand is CSS.

  1. Jerry Nordstrom
    Jerry Nordstrom
    October 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Art, I’m not sure how you are defining “static HTML” however I don’t believe a truly static HTML website exists today. Most all are either PHP or ASP. For the purpose of this post I’ll just call those sites “dynamic” websites. They have a scripting language and are supported with a database.

    With that said ASP and PHP sites absolutely offer the ability to use design templates, you can update and change themes, design and layouts across the entire website with ease. Through a combination of templates, CSS, SSI, and database driven content you have complete global control over your website. I can develop a new series of web pages and create a custom sales funnel in a matter of minutes. I can make global changes to virtually any element of the website in minutes. In addition the advantage to a “dynamic” platform is that you can easily customize individual pages when and where needed. You have a high degree of control over design and you need not be a CMS or HTML guru.

    CMS opens up great content management opportunities,however I see far too many companies use CMS without understanding why they are using it. If you don’t have content to manage, why use a content management system?

  2. I love wordpress
    I love wordpress
    August 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Great article, I love WordPress but sometimes convincing a client to go to WP because their friend says to use “HTML” can be difficult, going to pass this link along their way.


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