From a website management perspective websites come in two general forms. Those governed by a Content Management System, and, well, those that are not. Each type of website can provide remarkably varied and rich content. The real difference is in the way they are managed
Content Management Systems
The chances are that your ISP will have provided a simple website that is managed by a content management system. This site, for example, uses Google Sites basic CMS. The real advantage of using it is that it is easy to update, is more sophisticated than many that are supplied free by ISPs, and it can leverage Googles other services. Other CMSs, such as the free Joomla and Drupal CMSs are highly customisable and have a large range of extensions to meet your requirements. All CMSs require a server side scripting language and a server side database.
The advantages of using a content management system are that:
Static Web Sites and Custom Designed Websites
Static web sites do not require server side scripting or a back end database. Web pages are created using a web authoring program that could be as simple as a text editor, or as sophisticated as Adobe's Dreamweaver. The completed web pages are uploaded to the web site when they are complete. The design of static web sites are only constrained by the skills of the website designer. More sophisticated sites can add customised database back ends and server side scripting. Apart from the most simple sites, it usually pays to hire a professional website designer to create your website.
The advantages of using static web sites are: