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The difference between static and interactive websites

Fairy Blog Mother: blogging help

Fairy Blog Mother

Websites are not the same throughout the world. Apparently in Europe they are mainly what we call ‘static’ websites, online business brochures, somewhere the visitor can confirm a business after a networking experience or a referral. They do not interact with their visitors, and many are on the way to becoming obsolete because they do not compete with the whizz-bang websites from the States.

America has taken on the interactive website by storm. There are so many different kinds of CMS (content management systems) that allow the owners to update the contents themselves without having to rely on a webmaster to do it for them, and also allow the visitors to contribute their comments and ideas to the website with immediate publishing effect.

Blogs are a form of CMS website. They are extremely easy to maintain, and positively encourage visitors to interact with them. Their programming is extremely enticing to search engine spiders, who crawl the internet looking for new material to feast on, and blogs are a plentiful supply of fresh content. They are designed to be updated on a regular basis (from several times a day to once a week), and even the visitors who comment on them are considered to be fresh spider meat.

This constant new content is exaggerated by the social sharing sites (Digg, Mixx, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc) who rely on computer techies who have nothing better to do than to read tonnes of blogs and share them with their pals. The more interaction you get from these sites, the more visitors, comments, spider interaction and ultimately higher indexing by the search engines. And the sharing concept is continued on ordinary social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), with retweeting and feeding galore, all with a ready supply of new content to spread across the internet.

Static websites do absolutely nothing for the businesses they represent, apart from looking pretty with out-of-date material, and only visited when someone types in their URL and bothers to get past the first page. Blogs and other CMS websites are perfectly tuned towards getting passing search engine traffic, continuously being updated with new stuff that is worthwhile reading, interacting with their readers and social media – actually being a presence on the internet that surpasses their expenditure and actually gets in business without having to try really hard.

Now which one would you prefer to represent you business?

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.
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  • Carolyne Wahlen says:

    That makes so much sense Alice! It is like the slow trend in TV to have audience participation and “on demand” TV rather than us passively sitting and watching/reading what is on offer.

    • Thanks Carolyne, maybe on this side of the pond we haven’t yet woken up to the possibilities on offer and need to have our mind-sets changed or educated to. Sometimes it can be such an up-hill struggle – but once accomplished, this think of what could happen!

  • Derek says:

    Static websites are remarkably fast compared to CMS-powered websites.

    Scaling them is easy. No need to worry about object caching, load balancers, database optimizations, and so on.

    They can be hosted for free on Github Pages, or for cheap on Amazon s3.

    And they’re not vulnerable to the countless security threats that plague traditional CMS systems. People can’t SQL inject your site when you don’t have a database. WordPress released a huge security update yesterday. Updating is pretty much mandatory. This stuff just doesn’t happen with static sites!

    You can use version control software like git to keep a record of every change that is ever made to your site. If something breaks, you just type git revert to fix it.

    And best of all, you can have all the dynamic features of a CMS-driven site while remaining completely static.

    Tools like Jekyll, Prose, Disqus, Firebase, AngularJS, and a multitude of third-party APIs make it easy to have any feature your CMS gives you without the complexity, slowness, and lack of security.

    The downside is that a competent developer is needed to put this system together. But once it’s there, you have the best of both worlds.

    • Ah Derek, for a terribly techie person like you who is a whizz-bang at creating websites, especially static ones, you are perfect for very large corporates who would not be eligible for a simple CMS system. But for a very small business or a one-person band, having the ability to make your own changes is vital if the business is to expand to keep up. They don’t have to rely on a committee’s decision and the results can be instantaneous. And I know that WordPress is subject to security-problems, but there are plenty of plugins and other procedures available to combat hackers, not to mention back up systems regularly used.

  • Derek says:

    Here’s some more information about what I just described:

    http://developmentseed.org/blog/2012/07/27/build-cms-free-websites/

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