Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 25, 2008
So, here’s the follow up to my post on having to try to fix a client’s website when he created it from Microsoft Publisher.
I did indeed have the beginnings of a workable template. However, the menu was problematic. MS Publisher had created the menu as an image also, and the client had put both a heading at the top of the menu, then this little picture under that, followed by the menu. He had told me he wasn’t crazy about the menu because he’d wanted this blend of colors, but the menu broke them all out so that everything looked choppy, plus he couldn’t get the same size and effect on every page. By the way, I hate WYSIWYG products because they throw so much code in on their own and don’t ever quite allow people to get everything balanced properly.
The first thing I tried was just cropping the picture out of there, then typing his heading and adding the picture, then the menu. It looked okay, but all the links suddenly wouldn’t work. That wasn’t going to do, so I decided to eliminate the menu he had and fill each area with a color that was in the middle of all the colors he’d chosen, and then darken the menu headings so that he’d have all his menu items and all would be great with the world once again. That way, I could make everything uniform, which would look smoother, and it’s what he really wanted in the end.
After that, I tried typing in his little heading and adding his image, but for some reason everything wouldn’t stay aligned the way it was before. The image kept wanting to go to the top; that wasn’t going to do. I’d tried to separate the heading and the picture by using the < tr> and < td > tags, but instead I decided to put them in the same tag, and use < br > to drop the picture lower. That worked perfectly; whew!
The final big piece was that he’d created all his pages with generic names; well, he didn’t, Publisher did. So, after the index page it was page2.html, page3.html, etc. I changed all the page titles to what each page was supposed to be about, within reason of course, so that it would at least give me a change to optimize the pages. So, each page has its own wording in the links that comes close to matching the title; that was good stuff, but I have to admit that I thought about it last minute. I was looking to just get done after all the trouble with the first page, then realized that wouldn’t help me any.
After that, I went back to each page, changed the title headings, put in a different description and meta tags, then formatted his bottom menu so it was centered, and decided to make his email address a link that will open up a person’s email client; hey, that’s not a bad way to go. The only minor problem I felt I had was that, since he’d written all the copy and wanted it that way, I found it hard to optimize so that it would help him in the search engines. It’s not a traditional business model, but I did what I could with it. He had already bolded certain phrases, so I went with those.
At this point, the job is done; the only thing left is for him to tell me which hosting package he’s purchased and where I can upload it so that he’ll be good to go. For testing, I uploaded it all onto one of my sites, obviously having to change the link for his index page because I have my own index page on that site, but it was only for testing anyway.
I’m proud of myself for figuring it all out, and keeping it at 10 hours, which was my goal. He’s happy also; whew! There is one page where I didn’t change any of the coding, because he wanted everything in a particular format, and I just wasn’t interested in trying to figure out how to change it all; plus, it was only text, so it was smarter to leave it alone. It’s ugly, but it works just fine.