Last summer I took a job working on a small company's website. At first I just added some pages they wanted, but by the end of the summer, I rebuilt it from the ground up. The original version looked like something from the nineties, complete with scrolling text and a table-based layout. The new version was made using valid strict XHTML and CSS.
The website has sixteen main pages, and all but four of them are fairly static. The non-static pages are updated in diverse ways. One contains links to PDF files that are overwritten with new information. Another is a table that my supervisor (who has very little web tech experience) updated manually by editing the XHTML file. Another is updated in a similar manner, and the last is a regular XHMTL page that is updated by just adding new divs. The last two hadn't been updated since last summer when I returned to the job last month.
To remedy the painful updating (on my supervisor's part), I started dabbling in PHP, and now I have a system to update the two table-based pages by uploading a CSV file to the server. I'm handling the other two pages a little differently, but the concept is the same. I'd like to eventually get a database backend and an AJAX frontend to make updating even easier and less error prone. In any case, I now have two PHP-driven pages, and two more will be up soon.
I've been considering the usefulness of making the entire site PHP-driven. Most of the content is static, but PHP would potentially open the door for more frequently updated pages. However, I'm not sure whether the time invested in revamping the entire site to use PHP would be worth the outcome. The individual pages I've been changing have definitely been worth it, but I'm not convinced of the benefits of making static pages PHP-driven.
I suppose my question is, should I invest the time and effort into making a largely static website PHP-based? My idea is to create a simple template system, whereby common elements of the page (header, sidebar, footer, etc.) are stored in separate files and placed on the requested page via include() calls. A similar effect is currently achieved using Dreamweaver templates, but that system has a few annoying aspects that I don't like.