Is Google the new Internet Explorer?

More and more, Google is dictating how websites are designed because everyone cares about SEO. But let’s face it, SEO is just code for trying to make Google happy.

It used to be that 50% of the time required to design a website’s was taken up with trying to get it to look right on the variations needed for Internet Explorer. IE now follows most of the standards, so the main problem is people that refuse to (or can’t) upgrade their browsers.

Google, however is starting to add a lot of requirements. I’m not talking about Chrome, but about what it takes to get SEO points. Structured Data was the first thing that really caused me some philosophical grief. It was also when I realized that my time was starting to be spent customizing sites for Google instead of Microsoft.

First it was the markup

Once upon a time, website HTML code was littered with content that changed the way the page looked. Things like FONT tags and using tables to position the content. We were told that doing that was Bad Thing, and it was, and eventually CSS took over. At that point sites were penalized for not using CSS. That was a good thing, although Continue reading

How many browsers is too many?

Which browsers do you want your website to work on? All of them, of course.

Let me ask it a different way. After I make a website that follows all of the current standards and works perfectly on browsers that follow them, how much are you willing to pay to get it to work on browsers that don’t follow those standards and to check that it really does? How many phones and tablets (they use browsers, too) do you want checked?

There comes a point where you’ll decide that it isn’t worth checking how your site works on a browser that came out in 2001. (That may sound silly until you realize that I’m describing Internet Explorer 6. Please see the sidebar, How old is too old?)

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The two website types

Websites can be broadly divided into two types: static and dynamic. The definition of these terms varies depending on who you ask, and unfortunately it is often misleading.

The most important differentiation between the two types is if a site’s content is generated by a database or not. This key difference is critical because it causes major changes in the way the a is designed, modified and maintained. When creating a new site, this is one of the first decisions that should be made.

A site can have both static and dynamic pages. For instance, this might have happened if an older site is updated by adding a blog. A dynamic site can generate what looks like static pages, but if the content comes from a database, they should be considered dynamic pages.  Continue reading

The three website essentials

What basic things do you need for a website?

  • Design: the design is the code that creates the page’s content and appearance.
  • Hosting: a place to put the code.
  • Domain name: a name to help people remember how to find the site.

To help you have a starting point of what is involved in getting a site, here is an overview of what the these pieces are. Let’s talk about the last two first: web hosting and domain names.  Continue reading

Your website: where to start?

Could you use some help getting started figuring out what you your site should or shouldn’t have? Here are a few things to think about that may help you refine your needs.

Look and feel

What are some websites that you like and why do you like them? Is it just the look or colors? Is it features? Try to list things you like or find things common to the sites that attract you.

What is the purpose of your website? What message are you trying to convey about yourself or your company?

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