Out of Date or Out of Touch? I hired a ( :mad: craig's list) company to design my ecommerce website in 07.I had just invented a new automobile security product geared towards commercial/industrial/government use and I knew my product and customer base would be evolving. Therefore, I requested a website that I could fully customize and update, even with basic knowledge like myself. I was happy with the initial design and layout but it is very difficult to add any menus and pages or make any dramatic layout changes, the menus have been static all this time. When the shopping cart renders products, the menu headings fall apart. etc, etc. I am also unhappy with the interface with Miva Merchant and would like ideas on a more customizable shopping cart.
Although I am somewhat computer literate and have some ability to add content and pics & links etc, I am afraid this website has been built on outdated platform and have no knowledge to think otherwise. I am at that point where I need to decide if the architecture is solid and I just need to hire a webdesign and SEO company to increase my web presence and ranking or do I scrap the layout and start over.
Basically I need to know what I currently dont know about the nuts and bolts of the website so I can hire the right firm to either update or start from scratch and give them technical details I am looking for in the design. Thx!
I would definitely advise scrapping the layout and starting over. The site is built on old technology (tables for layout etc.) and thus is very inflexible. I'm sure you should be able to find a local web designer who will sit down with you and firstly go through what your site needs to do and what you need to present, and then build an appropriate layout based on those criteria. You will need a CMS (content management system) of some kind, so make sure the designer is happy to use one of those.
Considering it was created in 07 it is probably in your best interest to invest in new development work. I'm always weary of craigs list but a lot of things have changed since 07. Considering the site has suited your needs for 5 years I don't think the company who developed it necessarily did anything wrong. Like anything over time requirements change and while some developers will attempt to anticipate those changes and program for them it is by no means a requirement. The term "customizable" without specific requirements means many different things to many people. Any person you consult with will probably tell you to rebuild the site using a more recent technology and practices. Though apparently Miva Merchant still exists and it is very likely much has changed with newer versions. Considering your familiar with that perhaps the best option is to migrate to a newer version. What that would entail I have no clue but it *might be an option. There are also other eCommerce systems that significantly reduce costs like Magento so long as your happy with the default feature list. I'm sure any reputable company which you consult will go over several options. Best thing to do is probably contact a company/individual and see where it goes.
Thx Everybody & Ralph & Oddz, I'm sure if I read into new html standards, I would realize the dated technology. Every (hired) designer will have their own opinions; I just want to make sure I am asking the right questions and demands. I pretty much thought of the "tables" problem because not many sites I view have this "layout" so thank you for reiteration.
My concern is if I hire another (local this time) company, I want to make sure I am getting the newest and best technology and up-gradable for the future. Not so much concerned about shopping cart as long as they dont require high priced modules to customize; for example, shipping or product features.
BTW, my competitors websites in similar keywords look so outdated, I just wanted to spend the minimum amount to "beat them" in search engine results. I think I can! That's why I was trying to save money and just slight redesign with SEO in mind. Leaning to a complete change as I want to secure a position at the top.
Running on...but I am open to comments on content, logo, and product design as well.
Using tables for layout and semantic mark-up on a whole actually have a very small impact on SEO. This is especially true with advent of the newer Google search algorithm. So if that is the only reason for redeveloping the site it is probably not worth the investment. A lot of people have a misconception about SEO and a magical way of moving to the top. Google is always changing their algorithms and such so there is no way for anyone to guarantee you a spot in Google rankings. Unless they use techniques which would eventually bite you in the @ss and result in a ban of your site from Google entirely. Anyone who promises you otherwise is just blowing smoke out their @sses. The most significant factor is the content. Google will choose the site with the best content based on search criteria and put it at the top. Which makes sense considering sites that are less relevant should be farther down the page. Perhaps it would be more beneficial to invest in some solid copy writing in any case. Design (look and feel) has no direct on SEO. It only provides an indirect one based on a more useable site which *may generate more traffic. Directly though look and feel has no affect on SEO – quality unique content does.
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