In 2022, the most popular ways to build and publish a website are:

  1. static HTML websites
  2. content management systems such as Joomla or WordPress
  3. software as a service options such as Squarespace, Wix and Weebly

Options 1 and 2, where you can choose your own hosting provider, make the most sense to me because you stay in control of your website and your investment is protected. CMS suppliers, template suppliers or hosting companies can go out of business but you can quickly restore your website from a backup to alternative hosting if necessary and continue business as usual.

With option 3, the service provider can implement changes at any time with little or no or warning and changes may not suit your particular requirements. If you are not happy with the direction the service provider is heading or if the service provider goes out of business, there is often no easy way to export or migrate your website to a format that can easily be restored elsewhere. Relying on one particular service provider risks the future of your business and the risk increases with the amount invested.

Given that I only recommend and provide options 1 and 2 (static HTML websites and content management systems), these are the two options which I compare below.

 Static HTML WebsiteContent Management System
Typical initial cost AU$750 to AU$1250 AU$750 to AU$3500
Annual maintenance cost nil from AU$390 per year
Annual hosting and domain name registration cost
from AU$50 per year from AU$100 per year
Page load performance Fastest Fast
Updates Requires basic understanding of HTML and FTP  Easy
Responsive template Yes Yes
SSL certificate Yes Yes
Analytics Yes Yes
Basic search engine optimisation such as search engine friendly urls, unique page titles, page headings and meta descriptions for each page Yes Yes
Basic features such as contact forms, slideshows and galleries Yes Yes
Advanced features such as booking systems, directories, e-commerce, custom forms, surveys, member only section of website, forums, event management and so on No Yes

In summary:

Static HTML websites are best suited for simple websites where the website might only be updated a few times a year. Ongoing maintenance fees cost little or nothing.

Content management systems such as Joomla and WordPress are best suited for websites requiring more advanced features or for websites that are updated regularly such as every week or every month. Ongoing maintenance fees start at around AU$39 per month.

Remember to allow around $100 per year for website hosting and domain registration which you will need with a static website or CMS.