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Dynamic sites: everything you need to know

Gillian Mays

In an age of mobile apps, tablets, social media platforms, and an ever-growing number of digital channels, having a website is still as crucial as ever. However, these websites must be optimized for viewing on different devices and the technological advancements that are yet to come. Over 90% of the active internet users worldwide access it using mobile devices. If your website isn’t already optimized for these types of devices, then there are countless potential visitors you’re already missing out on.

With the ever-changing needs of customers, modern websites must also evolve to cope with different customer requirements and enable personalization. Dynamic sites can provide these features and more.

What is a dynamic site?

A dynamic site displays content that changes every time a user visits it. The changes can vary depending on the time of day, time zone, geographic location, language, how many times the user visited, and more. Dynamic sites can achieve this with two types of dynamic site scripting:

  • Client-side scripting. Refers to code executed by the visitor’s browser with JavaScript. Client-side scripting renders changes to the page in response to items that the user inputs with their mouse or keyboard.
  • Server-side scripting. Refers to code executed by the server before content gets delivered to the browser. Server-side scripting appears during page loading. Content is generated when the user visits the page, for example, submission forms and login pages.

Long story short, dynamic sites use client-side JavaScript for managing user functionality and other elements while server-side coding is used to store, manage and retrieve data.

What is dynamic site acceleration?

Dynamic site acceleration is an essential component of the dynamic site experience. With a combination of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and application delivery controllers, the user experience of a dynamic site can be vastly improved.

A standard CDN caches static files closer to the end-user so that the content can be delivered faster. However, with dynamic content constantly changing based on user behavior, caching files in that way isn’t possible. Instead, a number of different techniques are used to optimize a CDN for dynamic content. Examples include route optimization, TCP optimizations, full-page caching, and prefetching.

Benefits of dynamic sites

Dynamic sites provide numerous advantages for your business and site visitors.

Added personalization

Dynamic sites enable you to create a personalized experience for your visitors. The content displayed on the page can be adjusted dynamically depending on where a visitor is located. For example, you can display your website in a different language based on demographics or personalize offers and product suggestions based on previous browsing history.

A green banner with toys on it with small gray box linking to Amazon's Germany-specific site.

Amazon offers personalization such as localizing items to specific regions.

Easier maintenance

Unlike static sites that require manual updates page by page, dynamic sites are much easier to maintain. Site-wide changes can be made quite easily, such as changing a piece of information in the navigation bar or footer, without having to edit each page individually.

Better user experience

Dynamic sites positively impact the user experience as the added functionality you can include enables organizations to tailor the experience to an individual user. Interactive elements such as the ability to comment on pages or search the website for specific information help improve the digital experience.

Improved collaboration

For most organizations, the alternative to dynamic sites is static sites that require technical knowledge of HTML and CSS to be updated. Dynamic sites typically rely on templates or a connected CMS to function, meaning that marketers, content authors, and other non-technical users can collaborate and make updates.

5 features of dynamic sites (what can you build?)

The added functionality available for dynamic sites means that developers can include more features to enhance the user experience.

  1. Page management. A dynamic site uses a CMS to enable users to manage the page as they see fit. Users can edit the content on a dynamic site by leveraging templates, authoring interfaces, and other tools.
  2. Search functionality. Another feature that can be added to a dynamic site is a search bar to enable quick browsing of the content on different pages.
  3. Comments: Dynamic sites are all about interactivity. Developers can easily add a comments section to any page on a dynamic site, allowing users to post reactions, ask questions, and more directly on the page.
  4. Contact forms. Contact forms can be added to a dynamic website to gather user information
  5. Dynamic visuals & animations. Banners, animated gifs, and other dynamic content that changes frequently are other examples of the visual elements that can be included on a dynamic site.

None of these features need to be static like on other websites, so the page will be updated based on user interactions.

Storyblok: Building dynamic sites with a headless CMS

Customers nowadays expect a tailored experience based on their location, past experiences, and more. A dynamic site enables your business to add all of this functionality to enhance the user experience.

Storyblok is a headless CMS that makes it easy for you to build dynamic sites with tons of functionality. Developers can easily reuse structured content across multiple pages using a component-based approach. Plus, marketers don’t need to call on developers every time they want to edit the website. New pages can be launched in minutes, enabling custom landing pages, product detail pages, and more to be built using reusable content blocks.

Dynamic sites are also essential for an omnichannel environment where content gets delivered to various channels, including smartphones, digital kiosks, and tablets. Storyblok’s headless capabilities support content delivery to these different channels and enable marketers to create, edit and even preview the content for the channels, using the same Visual Editor they do for the website.

An image of a website on the left surrounded by small boxes with editing options and a column with several text-entry boxes on the right.

Storyblok's visual editor makes content creation easy – even if you don't have a background in tech!

The ability to add personalization is a huge benefit of dynamic sites, and Storyblok makes it incredibly easy thanks to our internalization features which support content in multiple languages.

If you’re ready to start building dynamic sites and populating them with dynamic features like personalization, comments, and forms, check out how Storyblok does it by reading How to create simple dynamic forms using Storyblok as a Form Builder.