Should Small Businesses Use HTML Or CMS For Their Web Design?

Should Small Businesses Use HTML Or CMS For Their Web Design?

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) has long been the standard for website design. The powerful programming language forms the building blocks of all webpages, and it is used to code the structure, content and design of websites. Although a Content Management System (CMS) still uses HTML, the software platform is a much more streamlined and automated way to create and edit website content. A CMS provides users with an interface so they can easily create, publish and edit website content without having to code in HTML. HTML and CMS are very different methods of web design, and new start-up companies should carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of both practices before choosing one to create their new small business websites.

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CMS Advantage: No-Fuss Installation

Using a CMS, businesses can launch a new website in a matter of minutes. The server-side installation typically only requires the user to copy an installation package to their new website directory and the CMS takes care of the rest. Some web hosts even have the most popular CMS platforms, such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, pre-installed and ready to use. Once a CMS is installed, small business websites can immediately start adding content and customising their design. Although coding in HTML technically does not require an installation, webpages, images and graphics all need to be created and organised properly in the server’s web directory. This takes time and requires someone experienced with HTML.

CMS Advantage: No Technical Knowledge Required

Not only is the installation of a CMS quick and hassle free, but the software interface is user friendly and requires almost no training or technical knowledge. Many CMS platforms have been developed with easy website content creation and publishing in mind, and their graphical user interfaces (GUI) are similar to word processing software. Creating new content for a website with HTML, however, requires numerous lines of code, tags and parameters. Adding something as simple as an image or paragraph of text to a webpage requires extensive HTML knowledge and experience.

HTML Advantage: Customisation

There are thousands of design themes available for some of the most popular CMS platforms, and in just a few clicks users can completely transform the look of their website. The beauty of CMS themes and plugins is that users can make changes to their entire website simply by loading a new theme. The structure and content will remain the same, but the headers, colours and other graphic elements can all be changed. However, coding with HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) gives users unparalleled control over the design of a website. Users might find a CMS theme that is close to the design they have in mind, but with HTML they can be assured that their exact aesthetic and design specifications can be met.

CMS Advantages: Collaborative Content

One of the main benefits of using a CMS for a small business website is that all employees can contribute to creating and publishing content. Authorised users simply need to login to the CMS to write a new article or product description and it will appear within seconds on the website. If managers want to have a final approval of all drafts, employees can submit content to be approved and the manager will see it ‘pending’ when they next login as an admin. The manager can then make changes if necessary and publish the content on the website. If a business is relying on a web developer to maintain the HTML of their website, employees will have to send new content to the developer so that they and code it and upload it to the server. This can be a lengthy process and lacks the immediacy and simplicity of a CMS.

HTML Advantage: Flexible SEO For Small Business

HTML has much better SEO for small business potential. Effective HTML coders are able to fully optimize a website from scratch so it can better perform in search engine rankings. Although new websites created with a CMS will still have effective SEO functionality, new businesses unfamiliar with the concept will not fare as well as a HTML web developer who knows every method and technique for optimizing a website.

Although CMS has become an increasingly popular solution for website design, many websites still start out as a few lines of HTML code. New start-up companies looking to create a website are advised to sit down with an experienced web developer to discuss what approach is most appropriate for their business.

Post By Ross Davis (1 Posts)

Ross Davies writes about SEO and small business website design. He is a regular blogger on technology and web development topics.

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26 Comments

  • avatar
    Avijit Sarkar 

    on 

    I have used WordPress already. At the beginning, it was very easy and cool to create new web pages and do the customization. But later it turns out to be a nightmare after changing small things. I encountered lots of issue regarding the performance of my website. So I decided to go with HTML again. I know some of the HTML coding, although I am not an expert. But I can manage that. I am not using WordPress any further for my newer projects.

  • avatar

    We picked HTML since we needed our site to be straight forward and genuinely static. Be that as it may, everything relies upon the item or administration whether you need coordinated effort to be all inclusive or not. Furthermore, similar to the article says, HTML does gives substantially more adaptability.

  • avatar

    Honestly, I always used to use pure HTML for all sites. But then over the years, clients kept on requesting that they wanted to make changes to their website.
    In the end, I decided to learn how to custom code WordPress themes. So I can still code, but they can also still edit. Best of both worlds 🙂

  • avatar

    Learn to do both! Learning how to code will help you understand how the WP site will work. Plus you can really customize your WP website and make it more what you want. Both have their pros and cons. I like HTML more since I can really tweak things how I want them. I like WP because it speeds up the building process and you get a website in a pretty short about of time.

  • avatar

    This is really an awesome post for CMS and HTML advantages.
    HTML based website is good in the case if you want to include the highland for apps. CMS easiest Because it’s easy and convenient and user-friendly compared to HTML.

  • avatar

    Its all down to what a client actually needs. CMS allows them to alter things sure but at the end of the day, all CMS ‘s create HTML and CSS. If you have the skills required for writing code. That’s the way to go.

  • avatar

    People say that a CMS is vulnerable, but I think people blow this out of proportion. Yes a CMS is open source, but I have never been hacked. One advantage is that with a CMS like WordPress you can install free security plugins. With HTML you will not have this fast and easy option. The people who say choosing a CMS is asking for your site to get hacked are usually people who have never used it. A CMS definitely tramples HTML and it has revolutionized the internet and it is not slowing down.

  • avatar

    Very good summary . I would not like to claim working knowledge of HTML , whereas most of use u CMS even without knowing

  • avatar
    best web design company 

    on 

    Great post !

  • avatar

    New cms is coming which will automatically add a cms to any html website, add sliders, text blocks, images and more via a drag and drop menu, would you like to know more about this.

  • avatar

    The biggest drawback of a CMS site is security and vulnerability issues.
    You need to spend a monthly fee to keep it updated with the latest patches, keep an eye on the list of non-safe addons, make users change their passwords often using non dictionary phrases, maintain a healthy and tested backup schedule, and there is always the possibility that you might get hacked even if you do all these things.
    A non static site IMHO should be used only when you need some dynamic business functionality. Like a hotel booking system.
    Plain article CMS sites tend to end up poorly maintained, begging to be hacked.

  • avatar

    Great article, my friend!

  • avatar

    Whether you choose to go CMS or stay HTML, be sure that you have a system in place to measure site traffic and performance. Metrics will be paramount in measuring the growth of your site and catching any issues before they become big problems. Thanks!

  • avatar

    Sheeple just follow the trend without critically thinking about it. CMS is a big con, and will eventually end up in the IT history’s trash bin. HTML is not only completely flexible, but it actually works with any other technology (CSS, Java, PHP, Databases .. etc). With CMS you need to restrict yourself to a (usually useless) template, and if you wanted to modify it you’d spend so much time and effort trying to do so. Surely that time and effort would be much better spent (invested) designing/building your website with total freedom from the outset.

  • avatar

    For anyone without the best knowledge and experience about website development, getting a wonderful small business web design might seem to be a rather daunting task to achieve. However, this is pretty important as it is the only way that you can be assured of success in the fierce online small business environment. If you are thinking about having, a website designed for your small business there are a few steps that you need to consider so that your business can be successful.

  • avatar

    I can code with HTML but I like the CMS option. The reason is you can see what you’re getting before you build it, the build is quick and is efficient.
    With some CMS platforms, you can get under the hood, so-to-speak and play with the HTML if you want to.
    I think there a re a lot of factors which will effect search engine rankings, I’m not sure how significant code source is in all of this mix.

  • avatar

    We chose HTML because we wanted our site to be straight forward and fairly static. But it all depends on the product or service whether you want collaboration to be universal or not. And like the article says, HTML does gives much more flexibility.

  • avatar

    I know just enough HTML, CSS and PHP to be dangerous to myself. Thank goodness for WordPress & Joomla! For us non-coders and technically challenged, these CMS’s have been lifesavers. I have bought premium themes and plugins that were worth twenty times what I paid for them, and built sites that looked custom-made, and professional. And I am always amazed at the generosity of those who share free themes and free plugins in the repositories. Simply awesome!

  • avatar

    I tend to lean on the side with Vanessa and Beniston in that CMS is easier and more cost effective for basic users. WordPress, Joomla, etc. have free installations, tons of plug-ins for social integration, SEO, mailing lists, and pretty much anything else needed to engage users.
    Of course HTML5 is outrageously customizable if you know how to play with the code. In many cases I like to start with a WordPress installation and tweak the themes and plugins directly through the PHP files, as needed.

  • avatar

    @Breakfree HTML is easy but need a techie to update if there is a change of even a word in the html page. Where as CMS helps a non-technical person to do this job by himself/herself. And CMS do have good SEO plugins.

  • avatar

    @Vanessa Yes I am. And I know Who and who not to use CMS and why. Just from usability point of view CMS is easy. But CMS is too much for some sites for which just HTML is more than enough. So CMS should be used only if the site requires of it.

  • avatar

    I think it would be better to get a CMS like WordPress and then just install plugins for the All-in-One-SEO plugin, plus additional plugins like google-xml-sitemap, w3cache and a few others and install a theme. After that you are all set, just post away! Even if the small business owner didn’t know how to install and configure all of that, they could hire someone to do it and take it from there.

  • avatar
    John Mexico 

    on 

    CMS websites cost more upfront, the ability to make all site content updates yourself mean you save yourself having to pay us to do that for you once the site is built.And yes, I also lack the technical knowledge and I can still use it

  • avatar

    From the hosting point of view, as CMS like WordPress requires a webserver (Say Apache) which runs server side scripting language(Say, PHP), it takes more time to execute than just loading the HTML page. But that can be overcome by using Cache to some extent.

  • avatar

    I think everyone should use HTML because it is much much easier to use and you have a lot more options for seo.

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