Web Site Considerations

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by WebMan, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    Just a few comments son some things I have seen here:
    Someone asked about FrontPage vs. Dreamweaver. FrontPage can build great web sites but to do so requires more than the "simple" way presented by the program. It is also no longer being sold and is being replaced by a new generation of software called Expressions I imagine will be more like Dreamweaver BUT they have delayed the release date 10 times or so now like Vista (and it still has bugs) BTW if you are thinking of a new computer you should know XP sales have skyrocketed because of unhappiness with Vista. Stores like Circuit City have had so many complaints they are replacing the Vista systems on their shelves with XP... It was 2 years late, still has many bugs, and is very slow and will do nothing XP will unless you have a "business" version, then only things you probably don't need, - requirements $300-$500 video card, minimum 2GB RAM and a fast processor (fast 64X2 minimum) plus a day spent "tweaking" Vista. There is talk of a class-action suit against MS because it was discovered the features people pay extra for in "ultimate" can be added to Premium or Business by free download from Microsoft, So "Ultimate" is a total rip-off but accounts for 30% of sales. ;)

    Dreamweaver is about the most popular but has a very high learning curve.

    Many of the site builders from hosts have gotten very good. Used to if you changed hosts you lost the site, now for a small fee some of them are actually "portable".

    Contact any web host you are considering by phone and talk to them about what they offer. If they don't sound"right" for you or obviously speak poor English you might want to think again.

    SEO (search engine) results are not that hard and not worth paying a ton for, there are a million rip-off "we will get you top rank" companies. Google has a page on their site that explains what they look for and there is an SEO toolbar you can download free for Firefox that helps make sure your pages look "right" to the search engines. One mistake many people make is not having a meta tag on the home page for "robots" content="all" and "robots="index-follow" then make sure even if they are small all pages have text links to all other pages. Sometimes the search engines get confused depending on how those "cool" navigation buttons were created and a text link makes sure they will do what the tag says and "follow". You can also insert a special tag just for googlebot if you want although I haven't noticed it providing a lot of difference unless you have a Google site map.

    MANY SEO tips are as close as a couple of hours spent searching on the Internet although like most people I or other legitimate firms will make sure you have your basic bases covered for a low cost if you just don't have the time or desire to mess with it.

    The main thing is there is no "best" solution when it comes to web sites. Each "best" depends on what you want yours to be and do, your budget, whether you wabt to do it yourself of have it done. And what features are important to you. Example we are not a "cheapo" host considering all hosts in general. BUT since we have 98% business customers we have a very high-end anti-spam - anti-virus program to protect e-mails and 4 levels of backup. All that may be overkill if you are not going to use the e-mail that comes with your hosting or the possibility of data loss and/or long recovery times doesn't mean that much to you.

    One thing that does get me about people choosing hosts is they will choose a $5.95 over a $8.95 "because of my budget" or to save money, while when you think about all you spend on your business what's $36 a year to get what you want? On some host forums I have actually seen people requesting a host for a business and they want a laundry list of advanced features plus good support and great dependability -- all good so far -- then they say they have a budget of $3 a month (and I am serious)

    Happy hunting, hope a few of these tips help.
    There are also lots of forums for web design and forums for every different program (like FrontPage, Dreamweaver, GoLive etc.) to "surf" for.
  2. Turf Troll

    Turf Troll LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    The saying goes you can have two of the following three --

    service, quality, cheap price,
  3. taaz

    taaz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    FrontPage is a total waste as it throws in 100's of useless characters, which causes sites to never validate per W3C standards -- Dreamweaver does the same thing, unless you're highly proficient at hand-coding and know what to remove before uploading.
  4. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    Since FrontPage is EOL it really doesn't matter but it's worth noting 2003 had a "code cleaning" feature that removed a lot of the garbage and didn't leave so much to do by hand but cleaning garbage doesn't make you compliant.
    Also W3C compliance is a good thing but it really doesn't influence search results and there's no real penalty for it (just like how many millions of sites have graphics with no alt-text) and there are lots of free validation checkers that ill show you the errors if you know enough code to correct them, some are impossible to correct and still get the effect you want. But I don't know of any "program" that generates W3C compliant code, they all throw in something that has to be fixed. :dizzy:
  5. taaz

    taaz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Personally, I've been hand-coding ever since 1998 and have seen so much crappy site code put out by MicroSTOOPID FP, I don't think much has changed even with their 2003 edition -- a good site designer who knows hand-coding will see the errors and fix them immediately.

    I agree -- W3C compliance has never been touted to claim it influences search results ... it's only in place for those gawd-awful sites created in MicroSTOOPID IE -- then, the site doesn't display properly in any other browser.

    But, if you want me to display the code warnings pertaining to your site, let me know -- I've already seen them. :)
  6. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    Taaz I don;t know why a travel agent (by your site) is so interested but if anybody wants to see my errors they can go to http://validator.w3.org to validate mine, theirs, or any site.
    I don't worry much about my site, too many other irons in the fire, I have 5 sites personally and that is a hosting site; few people care if it's compliant or not. A recent survey showed 78% of people don't care what a web host's site looks like when making a choice & that site is a quickie about 4 or 5 years old so I never took the trouble to validate it.

    Here is something important
    I came across awhile ago that I thought I'd mention that I left out of my "considerations" (actually was reading something else doing research but it jogged my brain on this).
    There has been much talk here about search engines but being on the first page is no good unless people click to your site. What the search engine displays is the contents of the title tag (the top line in the search engine) and the description tag which is the short sentence underneath. I have seen sites (one by a major web design firm ...at least they said they were)... the other day that literally said:

    Company Name - Home
    Joomla - the dynamic portal engine and content management system.

    which is the default for that free site builder - Joomla (it did have the company name where I put company name but to save them embarrassment I left it out).
    But that is an example of a no-click listing no matter where it ranked, nobody knows what that company does.
    Those 2 lines MUST catch somebody's attention and make them want to click to see more or a great position brings little or no sales, and after all, sales is the only thing that counts in any advertising; web or otherwise ;)
  7. taaz

    taaz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    If so many of you run a successful lawn / landscape business, why not show the same professionalism in your site(s)?

    No; like I said in the other post, the W3C validator is not what I use because it doesn't display all of the errors, nor does it tell you how to fix them -- totally worthless in my book.

    Yes; I'm acutely aware your site is about hosting, and I don't really care about any survey's -- too many hosting sites out there anyway.

    We could get into the SE theory in-depth I'm sure -- but, then that would lead me into asking alot of SEO questions, which I'm sure you nor anyone else cares about; much less could answer anyway.

    So - go back to your lawn-care and I'll continue helping those who want help with their websites.

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