Link to home
Start Free TrialLog in
Avatar of flowergarden
flowergarden

asked on

Best Application/Method to Manage Long Table of Links

Hi there,

We have a small site that is growing.  Everytime we add content, we have to cut and paste a link table that we have to the right of the content.  As the pages grow, even adding one link means updating all the existing pages.  Woe to us if we change our minds or make a mistake = start over.

Is there any application, FPage, DreamWeaver etc (we have Frontpage) that will allow one to update just a single file and have the links column update itself?  THE CAVEAT: no includes.  Real links, written into the code and existing on individual pages.

The caveat is for Search Engineering.  Spiders don't like includes, or links they cannot see.  Therefore, how to manage so many pages with TRUE links on each page?  Does updating ones links mean republishing every page with an updated links table?  IS there an easier way?  IS there an application that does this?

Thanks in advance,

Lin
Avatar of humeniuk
humeniuk
Flag of Canada image

Hi Lin,

Seeing the page in question would be helpful in giving a more specific answer.

In general, though, it appears that there are two problems here.  The first is that by using an inflexible, table-based layout, even adding one more link makes everything fall apart and each page has to be reworked.  The better approach is a flexible css-based layout that looks good in different browsers, resolutions, etc. and can accommodate dynamic content and frequent updating.  Part of this relates to FrontPage, which writes notoriously bad code.  And speaking of search engines, they certainly don't like code-heavy pages that are a chore to index - ie. FP-generated table-based designs with their inherently low content-to-code ratio.  FWIW, Dreamweaver is better than FP, but all WYSIWYG editors have limitations in this regard.

For a great starting CSS tutorial, see www.w3schools.com/css.  You can see a bit more about CSS positioning here: www.brainjar.com/css/positioning.  If you're doubtful, take a look at some examples of CSS layouts at www.csszengarden.com - each example there uses the same html page, but a different style sheet.

Secondly, you may want to look at a content-management system that makes regular updating simple.  Using a server-side scripting language like PHP or ASP and a database, you can make all of the content on your site dynamic or just one specific part, ie. the links.  The content for the list of links would be provided by the database, which could be updated and managed from a secure admin section.  When you want to add a link, you fill out and submit an 'add link' form and it appears instantly on all relevant pages, easily handled by your now-flexible layout (back to SEO for a second - remember, keep the links per page under 100).

I'm not completely sure what you mean by "Spiders don't like includes, or links they cannot see".  Spiders ignore anything they cannot see because they don't know it's there - ie. javascript links.  However, search engines have no trouble with dynamic content or server-side includes.  A search engine crawler sees basically what a text-based browser would see.  Dynamic content and server-side includes simply provide a more flexible way for the server/website to serve content, including text content.  I have several sites set up this way and all have been thoroughly indexed.

From an SEO perspective, you may want to take a look at www.seo-guy.com/tutorial.html and http://earthskater.com/library/seo.asp.  Better yet, post your URL in the Online Marketing TA and you will get a lot of very specific SEO guidance.
Avatar of flowergarden
flowergarden

ASKER

Hello humeniuk!,

What a W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L answer.  We just joined today, and you have made that investment VERY well worth it.  THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing with us!!

Please can we ask some more details?

You wrote:

"Secondly, you may want to look at a content-management system that makes regular updating simple."

Which ones would you reccommend?

Also, when you say:

"Spiders ignore anything they cannot see because they don't know it's there - ie. javascript links.  However, search engines have no trouble with dynamic content or server-side includes."

Is it that the spiders actually ENGAGE the pages wholly?  That is, call them up as a browser would and then read them?  We always assumed they just pulled the pages qua pages ~ that is just right from the server location without executing what may be within the pages, and reading only what is ON the pages themselves.  If this is not right,  please can you help us to understand HOW the spiders read.

Many thanks!,

Lin

ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
Avatar of humeniuk
humeniuk
Flag of Canada image

Link to home
membership
This solution is only available to members.
To access this solution, you must be a member of Experts Exchange.
Start Free Trial
Hello Humeniuk,

Thanks AGAIN for your fabulous and super-insightful answer.  You have DEFINITELY put the E in Expert!! :)  From a programming standpoint, how difficult is such a management system to put together?  IS it VERY chalenging?  We have some people locally who do custom programming, or does it require extensive specified expertise specifically and over a long time in developing such applications?

Thanks,

Lin
Glad to be able to help and thanks for the A  :)

"From a programming standpoint, how difficult is such a management system to put together?"
That depends on the experience of the designer.  Designer's tend to come from different backgrounds, from graphic design to programming.  Sever-side languages like the ones I mentioned tend to be more on the programming side.  Sometimes, people will use a design team, ie. a graphic designer and a programmer.  I've had projects that involved putting a database back end on a static website and making the content dynamic, for example.  On the whole, it's a fairly straightforward task for a designer who is proficient with a speciific scripting language, otherwise it's like reading Greek (to someone who doesn't know any).  However, that also depends on the website - some are more complex than others.