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Under the Hood - Static Websites

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Sarah Lee Parker

Four Reasons Why A Static Website Might be What You Need

These days, websites will typically come in two different flavours – static or dynamic. We’re going to have more of a look at dynamic websites later, but today we’ll look at what is means when someone says static site.

A static website is one where the files are provided in a typically “flat” format to the browser, and there's are a number of reasons why a static site may be the right choice for you.

What is a Static Website?

A static website is a type of site that stores its information on one central server. When a visitor comes to the site, the server sends all of the website's files to their computer so they can view them. This makes them easy to update because you only need to make changes in the one location. A static website is a little bit like just sharing a folder full of files and documents, where each page on the site is a different document.

And when we say that a website is static, that doesn’t mean it has to change the same, you can still make changes to the content, there’s just usually a build step that happens between a change getting made and it appearing on the website. Most of the time this will still be automated, and will only take a couple of minutes to happen, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Why would I choose a Static Website?

Easier to Maintain

This type of website is popular because it's simple to set up and maintain, and there’s less moving parts. If you get confused by the buffet of options available on websites, or unsure what exactly you need your website to do, then narrowing the field of competition can be a help.

Relaxed dog resting his chin on the window of a car driving through an area with lots of trees.
getting away from complexity can help reduce stress and increase happiness.

Faster Websites

A speedy page is a key aspect of your customer's experience, and is a metric Google uses to calculate your ranking.

A static website can be fast, and if you keep in mind the size of your images and videos, this can also ensure fast, efficient delivery. Static websites are great if your content doesn't change often, or you don't need a users being able to login or an online store. They can also be great for SEO if you want to play the dark arts, because the static content is really easy for the search engine bots to look at (there’s no server involved which can mess with things), and as we said the pages load faster, which is a key metric for Google to determine site experience value.

More Affordable

Most of the time static websites are cheaper to build, and because it’s essentially just a folder of files they’re also cheaper to host which is why they’re more popular amongst new website owners.

There’s even a lot of easy to use, free website hosts like Netlify which allow you to upload your website files, link up your domain name and you’re good to go. These services also give you access to other cool features that make your static website better like SSL certificates and caching to make your website run faster.

https://unsplash.com/photos/1fzyz-bmKBw

Better for Security and Maintenance

Static websites are easy to update because you only need to make changes in one place and if you’ve set up the hosting well it’s harder for people to get access to your files (less moving parts gives them less chances to break in). Maintenance is still required for static web sites, but it’s much easier and not required as often. As the technologies and code used for a static website tends to do very simple actions, there is less scope for security or hacking issues.

Do I need to know how to code for a static website?

Depending on how your static website is setup, you may need to know how to edit some of the code to make changes to the content. This could be fairly easy to do as HTML as been around for a while so there are a heap of fantastic resources on how to do this, as well as some cheat sheets.

You can also still hook the website up with a CMS (Content Management System) to make content updates easier (as we said at the start, this will add a small build step, but once it’s setup it should happen automatically) and allow you to make changes without having to touch any of the code. This means that you can take advantage of all the static website benefits, as well as have an easy to use content updating experience.

A black cut out of a browser with HTML in the centre with a yellow background
HTML is actually a lot of fun, and you can play with it without even using the internet!

Where to from here?

Static websites are one of AimHigher Web’s area of specialty and we can help you setup a static website that’s fast, secure and easy for you to make content changes when you need to (in fact this website is actually a static website, with a CMS to allow easier changes of things like blog posts).

You should always investigate a variety of options before making decisions about your online presence. A great website is your face on the internet, and knowing your needs and requirements before investing your time, money and energy will save you frustration and stress down the track.

For example, you might not need an online store now so could get a static website website built, but if there’s a chance that in a year’s time you’re going to add an online store, it’s better to invest in setting up a solution that allows adding that later rather than having to start from scratch when the time comes.

If you think a static webpage might be right for you, have a chat with us today to discuss it further!

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