Website Design for Small Businesses: Should You Use HTML or CMS?

Website Design for Small Businesses: Should You Use HTML or CMS?

HTML, also known as HyperText Mark-up Language and CMS, also known as Content Management System, are both language and program/software, respectively used to design a web page. Before going into its pros, cons and everything in between, we need to understand what they are.

HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language)

HTML is the standard mark-up language for creating web pages. It is a platform-independent language and can be used on various platforms like Windows, Linux, and Macintosh. It consists of a series of elements, which tells the browser how to display the content on the page. 

With HTML, we can mark-up different elements such as headings, paragraphs, tables and more. It allows the user to create and structure sections, paragraphs, headings, links, and blockquotes for web pages and applications. In order to view a mark-up, it has to be opened in a browser because a browser can understand and interpret the HTML tags. 

HTML helps to structure the webpage. For example, elements label pieces of content such as "this is a heading," "this is a paragraph," "this is a link," etc. 

CMS (Content Management System)

A Content Management System is an application that lets its users create, edit, archive, collaborate, report, publish, distribute and inform. It provides its users with an easy to use/user-friendly interface to create and maintain a website. 

The user does not need to learn or understand computer language to create a webpage using a CMS. The most common CMS’ include Tumblr, WordPress, Joomla, Wix, and Drupal.

HTML and CMS are very different web design methods. New businesses should carefully consider the pros and cons of both options before choosing one to create their new business websites.

Advantages & Disadvantages: A Comparison

  • The ‘Know-How’

As mentioned above, HTML is a computer language, and therefore, the user or business should learn how to code or understand HTML to create a web page successfully. Unlike HTML, CMS is user-friendly and quick to use. The highlight is that the user or business requires almost no training or technical knowledge. Many CMS platforms have been developed with easy website content creation and publishing in mind, and their user interfaces are similar to word processing software. However, creating new content for a website with HTML 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.

  • User-Friendly Interface

HTML is not user-friendly, as the user will have to learn the language. Whereas with CMS, the user will have the ability to add or edit pages themselves. With CMS themes and plugins, users can make changes to their entire website simply by loading a new theme.

  • Customisation

HTML enables web developers/users unparalleled control over the design of a website and to bring a design that they have in mind to its exact points. But, a small business user would need to write a lot of code to make a simple HTML webpage. 

With a CMS, there are many design themes available on some of the most popular CMS platforms, and in just a few clicks, users can completely transform the look of their website. The structure and content will remain the same, but the headers, colours and other graphic elements can be changed. Users might find a CMS theme close to the design they have in mind, but with HTML, they can assure that their exact aesthetic and design specifications can be met.

  • Flexible SEO For Small Businesses

HTML has a much better SEO potential for small businesses. Experienced HTML web developers can fully optimize a website to ensure that it performs better in search engine rankings. Although new websites created with CMS will still have effective SEO functionality, new businesses unfamiliar with the concept will not fare well as they would with HTML. With HTML, a web developer understands the methods and techniques for optimizing a website. Although CMS has become an increasingly popular solution for website design, many websites still start as a few lines of HTML code. New start-ups looking to create a website are recommended to hire experienced web developers to discuss the most appropriate solution for their businesses. 

  • Widespread Usage

Although there are many simple CMS software and platforms available, the most widely used by web developers is HTML. The reason being, once you learn the language, you can tweak up your webpage in any outlook and specification you want it to be. As stated above, with CMS, you will have access to several designs provided in the software, but if you have a specific design or outlook in your mind, then HTML is the answer. 

  • Costs & Software Purchase

There is no requirement for downloading and installing software with HTML since it is automatically rendered in all browsers. Whereas with CMS, you will have to install software, of which some are free, and some are paid. And sometimes, the paid versions will have more designs than that of the free version, which will limit your vision for the perfect specifications for your website. With HTML, all that is required is your knowledge of the language or a web developer who can do regular updates.  

  •  Accessibility &Collaborative Content-

One of the main benefits of using a CMS for a small business website is that all employees can create and publish content. Authorized 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 employers want to have final approval of all drafts, employees can submit content to be approved, and the employer will see it ‘pending’ when they next login as an admin. The employers can then make changes if necessary and publish the content on the website. 

If a business relies on a web developer to maintain the HTML of their website, employees will have to send new content to the developer to code it and upload it to the server. This can be a lengthy process and lacks the immediacy and simplicity of a CMS.

  • Control of Account & Avoiding Duplication

With CMS, systems need to be maintained. Someone must be delegated to administer and manage the database, the web interface, upgrades/patches and user administration. Businesses with lots of guest-created content will have to find a way to manage that and make sure it gets into the CMS, maintain version control and avoid duplicate data. Companies must establish rules to ensure all content is delivered into the system. Especially during your business launch, as you may not know where all of your content is. 

As stated above, with HTML, web developers will be tasked with maintaining and updating the website and keep everything in check.


From the above, it can be gathered that both HTML and CMS have their own pros and cons. But to choose the better of both, we would suggest you select which one is best suited to your needs. 

If you are looking to create a website for your small business with a more optimized, specific outlook with high functionality, it would be better to go for HTML by either learning the language yourself or hiring a web developer. 

Whereas if you are happy with a simple variety design with good functionality, you will be best suited to opt for CMS.

If you're unsure which option is best for your business needs, contact our team at TechWyse. Our experienced team of website developers, SEO's and digital marketers can help you achieve your goals.

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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