New Site Vs. Cleaning Up A Site

Are you a professional? Do you have a website? Does your website represent you as a professional?

Many professionals decide to create their own website using products such as MS Publisher, Frontpage, Word, etc. The thing about programs like these are that they use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) technology, which makes it easy for them to use because they don’t have to learn code, but also creates many issues that don’t help them get the professional look they’re hoping for. Now, if you’re only creating one page, you can probably do a fairly competent job with things like this and move on with life. But almost every time, if you want to add more than the one page, things start going haywire.


coding example, modified

I recently had conversations with a couple of friends who do a lot of what I do. I asked one question; if you had your choice, would you rather create a new page from scratch or would you rather fix up a page someone created using WYSIWYG. Both said they’d must rather create from scratch, and that it would cost the client less to do so most of the time.

See, there’s the caveat… MOST of the time. Let me explain. Back in 2008 I wrote a post after I had finished working on a client’s site. He had used MS Publisher to create his site, and if he’d only stayed with the main page it wouldn’t have looked so bad. But every succeeding page looked different. The menu kept changing colors, the background moved around, he had a picture on one page that totally threw off the spacing, multiple fonts, sometimes multiple colored fonts… it was a mess. He did the best he could, but when he couldn’t get things looking right, he contacted me.

What I did for about 3 hours was try to remove code. He only had 10 pages, but there was so much code that it took me all that time to take care of 3 pages. That was ugly, and I was irritated. And I noticed that as I was removing code, his menu really wasn’t working anymore. It was totally skewed by Publisher because it had decided to create the menu on each page as an image, which means I couldn’t make it standard. Eventually what I decided to do was recreate his first page cleanly, figuring out his colors and changing a few, and that included his menu. It took a couple of hours, but once I got it done I then had a template that worked for all of the rest of his pages except one.

That was the one page with the image, and it took me a couple of hours trying to figure out how to get everything on that page to balance with all the other pages based on the new template. Eventually I got it figured out, moved all the other content, uploaded to his new host and all was right with the world. That took 10 hours to do, but would have taken much longer if I hadn’t been able to just create the template.

Recently I did another similar project. This one wasn’t as simple; more pages, more pages that were designed differently than the other pages. This was going to involve removing code, but also adding code. WYSIWYG allows for some formatting things that it doesn’t necessarily add code for, such as numbering and listing items, and it sometimes does some funky things with images. If you’ve ever noticed how some blogs have images that sit above or below the content instead of having the content wrap around images, like mine, you can bet those sites are most probably set up for WYSIWYG, although depending on the theme sometimes you’ll need to add some code to get those images to look right (I do).

Anyway, I had to remove a lot of code. Because of some tables on some pages, I couldn’t just create a template page for everything. However, I’ve learned some lessons over the years, and one is that when you can, copy newly cleaned code from one page to the other, always making sure to put it in the same place. That helped greatly when it came to the business name and the menus , and probably saved at least 3 hours of coding; many pages on the site, as I said. I found a few other places where I was able to do something similar, all saving time, and the final thing I did was to create a CSS file so that colors and fonts and other specialty things could be handled from one place.


color chart example

Of course, there’s still the little bit of extra coding one does when fixing things, and it’s always wise to make a copy of a page so that you remember what things looked like before you started so you can try to put them back where they belong. But it’s always important to make sure a website has some type of balance. If your site has a title, the title should always be in the same place. If it has a menu, the menu should always be in the same place. Think of it this way; if you were looking for someone to take care of you and went online to search, unless you knew them wouldn’t you potentially gauge their competence by how smooth their website was? No one needs to be perfect; you just look for some things to be standard so you can navigate through a site easily enough.

Oh, by the way; it only took me 13 hours to do more than 3 times the pages of the first site. We’re always learning more efficient ways to do our work so that we can hopefully save clients money and ourselves time and frustration. When you can, it’s probably better to allow the person working on your website to redesign certain things that will still look good but save you money. When you can’t, just acknowledge that it’s going to take time, that time costs money, and either bite the bullet or make changes one step at a time. That’s harder to do when you want a professional looking site, but you can only pay for what you can pay for. Yes, I meant to say that. 🙂

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Another Blog? Another Website?

So there I was, minding my own business while reading Garry Conn’s post where he Adsense questions from his commenters, who were asking about placement and such on their sites, when he said something to one of them that got me thinking again.

Rising Into the Sun
Dave Edens via Compfight

Actually, he said two things. The first thing he said to someone is that he felt it was better to have three different blogs with one post a day than one blog with three posts a day. The second thing he said was that there are some blog niches that just won’t draw the types of visitors needed to make money on either Adsense or any other product, and one of those niches was internet marketing.

His thought was that anyone in internet marketing already knows a bunch of stuff, and probably owns a lot of stuff, and also is already hosted somewhere and selling something, so if you give them a tip, they’re less likely to buy what you’re selling, but definitely not going to click on your Adsense ads.

My head has been hurting ever since, because there are a lot of truths in his statement. As I wrote in my post on rethinking Adsense, I’d been thinking that having more than one Adsense block on the side of my blog was a bad thing, especially since the blog generated almost no income from Adsense, and that I was thinking about replacing one of those blocks, which, for those of you who stop by often, I’ve done up there at the top left. The first two wouldn’t necessarily be common to the thrust of this blog, although the first one is an affiliate program of it’s own.

I started thinking, and I’ve been thinking about it all day, even while reading and commenting on a lot of blogs. It’s not the concept that’s bothering me, mind you. It would be easy enough to start another blog, or even another website, as I do have plans for that, especially as I’m seeing the kind of success that my site Medical Billing Answers gets with Adsense.

The problem is what else could I write about, that interests me, that would keep people coming back for more. Not only that, but just how many things are there that I could consistently write about? I go back to my own blogging tips, where I say that one should think ahead about picking a niche that they won’t run out of anything to say, and thus far, I’ve already picked the two niches that I know something about, even if I’m not overly successful in one of them (but I’m going to get there).

I figure it has to be about me if I’m going to write the blog. I could do what some people recommend, that being go to article submission sites and use someone else’s content, but that’s not my style.

I could set up a scraper site; nope, not happening. I could pick a niche that’s popular, then spend my days researching different stories on those topics and write about it, but if it’s something I really don’t care about, where would my credibility be? And y’all know I’m all about credibility.

A website would be much easier. I don’t think there’s a topic in this world I couldn’t do some research on and write a 20,000 page paper on it. That would give me 20 initial pages for a website, all credible information that’s been researched, and I could put it up and then go away, worrying about adding one new page a month, and it would probably be fine. But do I really want to do that?

Consternation is my friend right now, because obviously I have three choices. One, create a new website. Two, create another blog. Or three; stay right here and keep working on it only, adding more and more content and working towards becoming an authority on so many things that people will finally realize they absolutely must come here to learn what they need to learn, buy whatever they need to buy, and generally just have fun. What say you? Will a little bit of fun, courtesy of the Muppets, help you help me out? 🙂


https://youtu.be/szcLd2y1hME

 

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