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HTML vs CMS

I've recently started in a marketing role at a new business and am in discussions with our head office to get a new website built for our retail business.

I have requested that the new site has a fully editable CMS (I've used EpiServer and Joomla in the past), however the head developer at Head Office has said he want's to build the new site in HTML without a CMS and load content direct from a database.

Instinctively, I'm fairly certain this is the wrong choice from a design and SEO point of view but I'm not sure of the benefits of a HTML site vs CMS aside from the editability point of view.

Does anybody have any thoughts on how a site should be built or the advantages of a HTML based site over CMS?

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Best Answer

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So here is how that works

There is a database with content, a place to manage the content and then a window to view that content. So we have three things that need to be addressed.

1. Database

It sounds like your head office already has the database in place.

2. Content Management

How does the content currently get into the database? There must be some form of editor/CMS or do the developers manually add that?

3. View Content

They are proposing to use HTML and some server-side language to display the content. While this will get the job done, you correctly pointed out that a CMS usually provides additional functionality other than just content management. It provides a user-interface for content presentation, SEO, search, caching, multimedia uploading, social media integration, etc, so there are definitely many, many benefits. I don't think your head office would take the time to emulate all those features, so a CMS would be in the best interest.

To address the database perspective, it's perfectly feasible to build a plugin that retrieves the data from the original database and store it in the CMS' database. This could be securely setup and you'd get their database content, plus all the additional functionality a CMS provides.

~Sovereign

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Thanks - a little more info just to clarify!

Thanks Sovereign, that'll give me something very useful to go on when getting back to head office. Just to clarify (and incase this changes any of your advice...)

1. Database
It sounds like your head office already has the database in place.
- There is *a* database (although I haven't seen this yet) which contains manually loaded content by developers. In order to create the site we need all content will need to be manually loaded to the database which will then pull through content to the website. There will be a lot of content (100 + pages at least and growing constantly)

2. Content Management
How does the content currently get into the
database? There must be some form of editor/CMS or do the developers
manually add that?
- A developer codes all content in, which is fine assuming you have plenty of time to schedule work into a developers schedule but in an ecommerce environment which we will be moving into, reactivity is key and I'm concerned a HTML site will be slow to add content to.

3. View Content
- You're spot on with every point as far as I can see!

Thanks for your insight!

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In that case

I'd press for a CMS even more, simply because manually populating a database and needing a developer to do it is not how new websites should be planned in 2012.

Since it sounds like the database is specifically created for this project, you won't need to import their database into your CMS. You can just import the content directly into the CMS and that's where it will be managed from here on out.

~Sovereign

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Thanks!

Perfect - really appreciate your insight and help.

If I don't get the CMS I'll probably be back on this forum asking for help finding tutorials in HTML!

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