Monday, February 11, 2008

Grouse/Rant on over-built websites - user-friendly SEO

Just tried to update my "home page" on one of these interesting sites which are all javascripted/ajax'd to death.

Problem, problem, problem.

It's the old scene where just because you're sitting on a corporate T-3 or have a personal T-1 beneath your desk, you figure that anyone with at least a 56K cable connection can read your stuff just fine.

Let me tell you this - eat your own dogfood by testing with a dial-up connection.

The sites I design use tables and that's about it. Very little CSS, if any. Reason? KISS - Keeping It Stupidly Simple, so idiot browsers can navigate it with little difficulty. Did I say "idiot browsers?" More that some "power users" like me will load up their browser with all sorts of niceties which pull traffic in the background. So it makes pages compete with overhead and then you simply are stuck to a crawl.

Add in some site that has to constantly "phone home" whenever you change something and you have a real mess...

I am happiest with simply designing my pages with an idiot-simple wysiwyg composer (like NVU) and then upload with FTP.

Of course, I'm also happy with Blogger, which has an idiot-simple interface and nice, fast javascript in the background. Sometimes it hangs, but not often.

What does this have to do with your SEO? Plenty. User-navigation is still the key to getting click-throughs. This is why landing pages and opt-in pages are usually no more than a table with some bullet points and a fill-in post form. Two choices - fill in the form, or hit your "back button". Back will take you to that page you started from, unless it was started as a new tab/new window.

Stay away from some of these uber-convenient ajax thingies unless you thoroughly test them first before you bring them online for all your users. Sure, you want links to social networks, but these usually open in a new window/tab and run simply. Otherwise, only link to you own products or affiliate products - unless, like Blogger, you don't have control over "no-follow" links and so would be just using your blog for promotion. (Or venting, or a combination, like this...)

Unfortunately, that first page I was talking about is one of my bookstores, so I'm stuck with their slow/forever updates. They do a great job otherwise... So I can live with it.

But that reminds me to get my products up on an affiliate host like Clickbank - so I can see all throughput and tweak better. Plus get others to sell my books and stuff. Right now, I've been too busy catching up with all these new business ideas I have floating around my head and little time to do much else.

At least my rants can give me some throughput to my sites...

Thanks for listening.

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