Dec
19
2008
1

How NOT To Build A Successful Website: Frames

No Frames, Please

No Frames, Please

A little while ago I posted about How NOT to Build a Successful Website using Adobe Flash.  Long story short, Adobe Flash websites are extremely unfriendly to both website visitors and businesses who own the websites. [1]

The second worst way to create a website is to build it totally out of frames.  There are several workers’ compensation defense firms who have websites built out of frames – and they’re terrible.

In the early days of the internet frames were an easy way to enable navigation throughout a website.  Since then easy-to-use intelligent server-side languages[2] and client-side languages[3] have made building website navigation tools a breeze.  More importantly, these other technologies and techniques do everything frames do – only better.

Here are some of the problems with websites created using frames:

  • Un-bookmark-able. Just as with Adobe Flash, users can’t bookmark specific pages within a website built using frames.  This means your website visitors can’t come back to visit that specific page and, more importantly, can’t send a meaningful link to their friends.
  • Un-navigable.  Depending on how someone links to your frame based website, its very possible that they will link directly to an internal frame.  This means a website visitor getting to your website from a search engine might never see your website’s name or logo!
  • Printing. Frame based websites don’t always interact properly with web browsers.  When you go to print, you might end up printing the wrong frame.  Make it easy for your clients to make a hard copy of the information they see on your website and don’t use frames.
  • Search Engine Optimization.  Search engines are designed to be smart.  Even so, search engines still have trouble untangling a website made out of frames.  If people cannot reach your website by searching for exactly what you’re about, your website is a failure.

I know why there some web developers sell frame-based websites.  From a development standpoint, they’re very very easy to write.  Frames are little more than HTML, so they’re if you can create a Word document, you can create an frames-based website.  I suppose it would be relatively easy to also recyle parts of that website in a new website.  These websites are also deceptively good-looking.  When the web developer is showing you a frame based website, you’re going to see exactly what you expect.  The “danger” of a frame-based website, as indicated above, is that its so easy for it to be shown to your potential clients in the wrong way or out of context.

I think I also know why businesses invest in frame-based websites.   They require so little skill to create that a business can just have one of their file clerks or some high school kid build the website cheaply.  The website would be, for all intents and purposes, free.

A website is essentially the 21st century equivalent of a resume.  You’re using it to tell your clients about you before you ever get a chance to meet them.  These days everyone considers Google to be a verb.  If your potential clients are already looking for you through the internet, shouldn’t you try to put your best foot forward?  A cheap temporary website is fine … as long as its temporary.  As soon as you can afford to do so hire someone to put togther something better.

Website Development Tips:

  • Never build a site out of frames.
  • Other web technologies and techniques do everything frames do, only better.
  • Think of your website as your business’s resume, since that’s what potential clients may see first.
  • Think of your website like a business suit.  If it doesn’t look good on a first impression, a potential client may never even speak to you.
  1. Original photo courtesy of eriwst []
  2. Such as PHP and MySQL. []
  3. Such as Javascript. []
Nov
03
2008
0

Best of October 2008

Obama and McCain on heathcare

Obama and McCain on heathcare

October was another pretty good month for PDRater.com. During the month of October, the traffic for this website increased by about 25%, I added a few new calculator features, I completely changed the look of the website, and we passed the 200 registered users mark.[1]

In no particular order, I’m including my favorite “photoshopped” pictures from October on the right side.  The footnotes below link to the original photographers.  None of them are to blame for the photoediting. [2][3][4][5]

Top Posts Awards:

Obama vs McCain: Round 3

Obama vs McCain: Round 3

2008 Presidential Election Coverage:

2008 Economic Turmoil Coverage:

*PDRater up, the Dow down

PDRater up, the Dow down

I added on to my “Road Warrior Checklists”:

In case you’re interested, here’s the best of September 2008.

  1. At the time of this post, 227 registered users! []
  2. Special thanks to the kind people who use Flickr for making their photos available for use. []
  3. Photos courtesy of richardmasoner, C_Dave, and mikewade. []
  4. Photo courtesy of DaveHogg. []
  5. Photo courtesy of Daniel Martini. []
Sep
29
2008
0

Another Three New EAMS Calculators!

EAMS Logo

EAMS Logo

As you know, last Monday I brought you two new EAMS calculators / search engines which were basically an improved search engine for the EAMS ADJ number lookups and EAMS office lookups.

The IT guy for my law firm wrote an e-mail to me on Friday suggesting:

Hey, how about a body part search function on your website? That might be useful sometime.

First off, thank you for the suggestion TK!  Secondly, I was actually in the process of building such a calculator on Sunday September 21, 2008 when my laptop stopped working.  My laptop was fixed on Friday (more tomorrow) and I was able to finish the EAMS body part to body part code search function.

Calculator

Calculator

I was so happy to get my laptop back I built a whole new EAMS search engine and a better way to access forms.  After having a hell of a time trying to locate the proper document type and document title on Friday I decided to make this my next project.

With the new EAMS forms on the DWC forms page, you now have a bewilderingly large number of forms to search through in order to find the one you need. Not only do you have to look through the 136 different forms offered by the page, but the EAMS forms are not easily distinguishable from the non-EAMS forms.

  • What I’ve done is create an EAMS and DWC forms search engine which scans through the DWC’s lists of forms by the form type, form name, and form number, and generates a list of just the forms which fit your search.  On my forms search engine, the EAMS forms will be highlighted so you know its an EAMS form at a glance.

And THAT is how I squandered my weekend.

Sep
26
2008
0

Blog Bigtime!

Wednesday afternoon I received an e-mail “Link Exchange Request” from another website.  That website is for legally related services, but really has nothing to do with what this website is about:  California workers’ compensation, nerdy technobabble, and random silliness.

This other website proposed that I put up a link to their website here.  Incoming website links are one of the primary tools search engines use to rank web pages, which is why people are always offering link exchanges.  Google’s PageRank system ranks a website on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the best.  Like the Richter scale for earthquakes, PageRank scores require exponentially more energy to reach the next level.

Bad Link Exchange Offer

Bad Link Exchange Offer

These links to my site can be “high quality” because they are from a website that also deals with California workers’ compensation, nerdy technobabble, or random silliness.  Or, they can be “low quality” because they have nothing to do with what my site is about.

In order to find out whether they were offering a high quality linkback, I checked out their website.  On the right is a screenshot of their website.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with workers’ compensation.  The green circle is where they had the link to their “resources” page.  The green box at the top is the only part of their page that’s visible when you go to their page.

So, not only were they offering me a low quality link, but they were offering me a low quality link that no one would ever look for, let alone find.

While they were clearly making a terrible offer, the idea that they looked up my website in order to solicit a link was amusing.  My website’s gotten so big people want links from me!  Blog bigtime, baby!

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