Static vs. dynamic webpages and websites

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For many people, the goal of a web presence is the website itself. Once a useable website is up, perhaps outlining a service, cause or personal philosophy, their work is done and focus shifts back to the "real" world.

What's left on the Web is a static set of pages that arguably do serve a purpose, but in reality are unlikely to be noticed by anyone. This is a real pity because the owners of such sites have come close to tapping a vast resource without being in any danger of actually benefiting...

The problem with static pages (incidentally, I define a static website as one that doesn't change much over time; a dynamic site adds new content, or integrates with other sites and applications regularly) in a small website is not that they don't do their job of explaining what someone does or doesn't do, provide contact information, or even a map and some pictures, it's that they don't do anything more. It's like playing basketball without realizing there's a hoop to shoot for. You're in the game, but you're not in the game.

The effort required to put a website up in the first place, is far greater than the effort required to make the site more dynamic and integrated during development.

Now that i think about it, "development" is no longer the correct term to use anymore. Gone are the days when sites had to be developed - now they can be configured, because entire frameworks are ready to be deployed at a moment's notice by anyone, regardless of their knowledge or skill level.

So why should people bother to convert their static webpages into a more dynamic web environment? The answer is difficult to explain in one go - it's like asking what the point of having friends is? I think one of the best answers is simply that it lifts a website out of the milllions of static pages (a mass of Internet white noise), and gives it a larger footprint, more visibility and more appeal. This will ultimately generate far more interest in whatever it is you took the trouble to put online in the first place.

How does one convert to a dynamic site? Easy, do a bit of research into what platforms are available to create new sites - I use Drupal. Create a professional new site (it's easier than you think, just stick to it and get some online help), copy and paste your old material across to the new site, and begin adding new material, linking to other sites, getting others to link to you, blog, start a forum and so on.

Having an online presence for your organization, business or personal satisfaction can be rewarding in all the right ways if you take the trouble to make it worthwhile for people to visit. It's not that much work either - half an hour a day to add something new and the benefits will, at some point, outweigh the effort.