A friend of mine owns and operates a number of websites – all of which run on ASP/.NET/MS-SQL servers. He knows what he’s talking about, but he’s fairly dismissive of WordPress, PHP, and MySQL.
All this time I’ve been raving about WordPress, telling him that you can basically do anything with it. I’ve mentioned how easy it is to use, how easy it is to maintain, its open source, how many global corporations use WordPress to build their websites, how its the tool of choice for so many designers, and how huge the WordPress community is.
In the meantime, he’s referring to his millions of rows in his “real-SQL, MicroSoft SQL” database. I believe he’s been stuck thinking of PHP and MySQL as “kiddie” stuff, just not ready for big time.
That is, he’s been dismissive of WordPress until about two months ago. In the last two months other people (SEO consultants, professional designers) have been raving about WordPress to him too.
I’m out of the office for one lousy day and what happens? A record number of visitors to PDRater.com, that’s what.1 I suppose I should spend more time up at the Santa Rosa WCAB, eh?
On Wednesday February 18, 2009 this website had a record number of individual visitors. On that day I 234 unique visitors. 2 In the grand scheme of things, this is a fairly low number of unique visitors to a website.
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 languages2 and client-side languages3 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.