Should Your Web Site Be Data-driven?
The Benefits Range from Improved Flexibility to Greater Control. If you’re considering creating a new website, or redesigning the one you have, there are two questions you should answer before any work begins:
How often will the content change?
Who should do the updating?
For a basic marketing website (brochure site) that provides general information has one or two pages and won’t change often, it’s probably best to go with a "static" website – one that your developer can update on an as-needed basis, perhaps once or twice a year. A static website is less expensive to produce, and may fit your needs.
However, if you anticipate information on your site changing at any time – roof pictures, new product info, testimonials, job locations etc... – then you should strongly consider going with what's known as a data driven Web site. A data-driven website has many advantages over a static site. The most important is that it allows you, the Web site owner; to make changes any time you want – all without having to rely on a developer or knowing HTML programming.
Here’s a list of the key advantages of going with a data-driven Web site. Before you decide if this is the way to go for your business, you should sit down with your developer to analyze the options and determine if this is the right solution for you.
A static website requires a programmer to make updates. This adds an unnecessary layer of communication between you and your web content, which can lead to misunderstandings and slow turnarounds for desired changes.
You should have direct control over your site’s content. A well-structured, data driven website will enable you to take control of updating your site with little or no training. By using password-protected, content management tools, you can quickly and easily update your Web site’s content.
The RooferPro data driven site allows information to pass back and forth between your roofing site and RooferPro on-demand software. With our web site you can direct new roof prospects to visit your site and fill out the free estimate and all of that information is passed to your RooferPro account for sales processing in real time.
Once a customers job has been completed the customers information is sent back to your data driven web site to update the past job mapping system. This system allows the prospect to see how many past jobs you have completed in a graphical interface.
Minimizing Human Error:
Even the most competent programmer charged with the task of maintaining many pages by hand will overlook things and make mistakes. This will lead to bugs and inconsistencies that can be time consuming and expensive to track down and fix. Unfortunately, users who come across these bugs will likely become irritated and may leave your site. A well designed, data-driven Web site will have "error trapping" mechanisms to ensure that required information is filled out correctly, and that content is entered and displayed in its correct format.
Cutting Production and Update Costs:
A data-driven website can be updated and "published" by any competent data entry or administrative person. In addition to being convenient and more affordable (since you will be able to make most common changes yourself), changes and updates will take a fraction of the time than they would with a static site. While training a competent programmer can take months or even years, training a data entry person can be done in 30-60 minutes.
Data-Driven Is More Efficient:
By their very nature, computers are excellent at keeping volumes of information intact. With a data-driven solution, the system keeps track of the templates, so that you don't have to. Global changes to layout, navigation or site structure would only need to be programmed once, in one place, and the site itself will take care of propagating those changes to the appropriate pages and areas. A data-driven infrastructure will improve the reliability and stability of your Web site, while greatly reducing the chance of "breaking" some part of the site when adding new areas.
Any programmer who has to update a website from "static" templates must be very organized to keep track of all the source files. If a programmer leaves unexpectedly, it could involve recreating existing work if those source files can't be found. Plus, if there were any changes to the templates, the new programmer must be careful to only use the newest version. With a data driven website, you get peace of mind, knowing your content is not lost - even if your programmer is.