Content, they say, is the king. It is the most important part of your web-site - primary reason why customers visit it. Look, appearance, presentation all are important - but what finally matters is the quality of content.
Just as packaging alone can not make a product winner without quality - web-site design and presentation becomes ineffective in the absence of quality content.
What is 'Good' Content ?
No matter if it's a business web-site or a personal page, you have to give people a reason to stay on your site - the first question the visitor is going to ask - "what's in it for me?"
That doesn't mean you have to give away freebies - programs, books, tickets, holidays etc. etc. - it does mean that you have to offer something. That "something" could be:
How to Manage Web Site Content
Once you decide kind, extent and format of information that qualifies as content for your web-site - the next step is to look at the technical side of it. There are several ways of rendering this content over your web-space and accordingly, you web-site could be :
As the name implies - the content of a static web-site remains static and does not change unless you replace it manually with fresh one. Created mainly through html pages - this kind of web-site was prevalent during early days of Internet.
Apart from simplicity - static web pages are search engine friendly and less demanding on server resources. As a result, they load faster and are easy to locate. Such a web-site can be developed comparatively faster and at lower cost as it does not require high degree of technical skill.
However, the major drawback of static web-site is its maintenance. Any change in content means updating concerned web pages off-line and then loading these to remote server using FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
Content of a dynamic web-site is stored in a database and rendered as web-pages whenever demanded by web-site visitors. Apart from easy management of content - design of a web page can be customized as per visitor requirement.
Such database-driven dynamic web-sites are very useful for applications where content changes very frequently and require high degree of customization.
Development of such web-site requires high degree of technical skill and server resources. One may opt for special software called Content Management System (CMS) for developing such a web-site or employ programmers and designers - development cost will significantly higher than static web-site in either case.
Apart from resource-hungry and slow - biggest drawback of dynamic web-site is its incompatibility with search engines. Unlike static web-sites where content is present in the form of physical web-pages - dynamic web-sites have only virtual pages in the form of database records.
As a result, while search engine robots happily index millions of static pages with convenience and ease - they find databases almost impenetrable and hence out of reach for search engines.
So, where does the debate end ? Do I go for static web-site or dynamic ?
Well, the answer lies in your requirements. If high search engine ranking is important for your business (as it is with most SME manufacturers and exporters) - kiss goodbye to dynamic web-sites.
If content management as well as high search engine ranking both are critical for your business - make your web-site a mix of both. You can achieve this by segregating the content in two parts - static and dynamic.
Another solution is to have best of both worlds - keep your content in database and generate static web pages through software. This way, you can manage content and achieve high search engine ranking, but last minute customization will take a back seat. Finally - it is your requirement and budget that decide the shape of your web-site.
Happy and Productive Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 6, Issue 13
; September 30' 2005