I was speaking to a friend yesterday who wondered which was best: a static site or one based on a CMS (e.g. WordPress, Joomla or Drupal).

The real answer is that there is no “best”, there is only the best fit.

Look at your business. Is it something that a) needs constant updates to the content of your website and b) will have you excited enough to write constant updates?

Let’s say you’re a carpet cleaner. Does your area warrant anything more than a simple static site which gives your customers the information they need to pick up the phone and call you? It’s unlikely. You get the business anyway.

But now let’s say you make pottery. It starts to makes sense to have an easy way to add each new creation to your site without having to bother with writing HTML. Without having to FTP. Without having to manually update links between pages. That’s where a CMS comes into play to make your life easier. People need to know the new pot has been made before they can buy it.

Content Management Systems allow people without web skills to update and change the content of a website. So if you can use a word processor, you can use a CMS.

They’re quick to install. They have a wide variety of plug-ins available for everything from Twitter feeds to shopping carts to quote-of-the-day engines. And best of all, many of them are free.

When should you consider a CMS based website?
1) Your business is dynamic (life coaches, health, fashion).
2) You are excited enough to create new content (e.g. articles, newsletters) on a regular basis.
3) You create new products which need to be added to your site
4) You need additional functionality. Integration with shopping carts, Twitter feeds etc.

And there is nothing stopping a mix of the two. For example, techtock.com.au is built on a very simple static HTML base with links through to a CMS for dynamic content.