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Louise

A Question Regarding web Pages.

It has been Pointed out to me that having a Welcome/Web Page On your Forum as I have, stops you from getting recognised by Search engines.

Is This the case?
myff admin

It will be damaging, as it is a content free page at the top of your page hierarchy.

It is also in the top 10 list of bad web design anyway.... another barrier people need to get through to see your pages.
Louise

So, Can i ask.

If It's considered bad web Design,Then Why is it Offered as a hack here?

I would Think that most Admins would see your List of hacks as a way to potentially IMPROVE their Forums, Not Harm them.
myff admin

We give tons of good advice that is ignored by people who want things their way...

We can't take the stance that if it is not a good thing to do, then we will always be snotty about it and not help people do it.

But I think in this case we should have given a "standard lecture". Sorry about that.
Louise

Thanks for Your Reply Admin.

Now I just have to consider whether I want to stick with it or Not, as Personally I do feel it Looks Much Nicer and More Professional to see a welcome page . . . I describe it as Our Front Door, That You have to Knock to enter.
Bravo

My personal opinion is welcome pages are a pain in the backside...especially those that have Flash movies on, I mean come on, does anybody actually like those flash movies except a: the people that made them and b: the people they were made for....horrible.  Only useful if it is on a news type page and gives the latest on whatever that particular site is for.

Just my opinion though
myff admin

Like almost all rules there are valid exceptions, like keyword loaded intro pages that actually help with search engines, but these are tricky to make good for search engines and good for humans.
Louise

Thanks Bravo - Ours Doesn't have anything annoying Like that On It But I am interested in hearing as many opinions as possible while I have possible  re think.

Can I ask Other Admins that HAVE Welcome Pages WHY they chose to have one?
symon

Going back to louises questions about why have a hack on it.

HOWTODOIT and here are full of guides for hacks of all kinds, now if you follow the simple rule of, A forum is only as good as its post, then you could argue you the fact that near all hacks are bad for a forum.

But as admin says we provide a service, if people want and we can provide, then who are we to stop them, but i will update the guides with a warning.

However i have posted a few posts on search engines and front pages.

The biggest sin and i see that you have done it is to not have anything in the alt tags....

Quote:
As you can see we've added the ALT attribute with the value that corresponds to what the image tells your visitors. Initially, the "alt" attribute was meant to provide alternative text for an image that for some reason could not be shown by the visitor's browser. Nowadays it has acquired one more function - to bring the same message to the search engines that the image itself brings to human Web surfers.


Read my post

http://forum.myfreeforum.org/about14677.html
Louise

Thank Symon, So Given That This is The Code used For our Web Page.

Code:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<style type="text/css">
/* This is the border line & background colour round the entire page */
.bodyline {background-image: url(../bg.png) ;  background-color: #4E647F; border:8px #000044 solid; }
--></style>
<!-- BEGIN switch_enable_pm_popup -->
<!-- END switch_enable_pm_popup -->
<body bgcolor="{T_BODY_BGCOLOR}" text="{T_BODY_TEXT}"
link="{T_BODY_LINK}" vlink="{T_BODY_VLINK}"
topmargin=0 bottommargin=0 leftmargin=0 rightmargin=0 />
<table width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="10" border="0" align="center">
<tr>
<td class="bodyline">
</br>
<p align="center"><a href="http://lazylounge.myfastforum.org"><img src="http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o200/LOU716/Welcome9.png" /></a></p><br/>


What could I add to that and where . . . To make it readable to search engines?

Key words being Lazy Lounge & Chat!

So That if someone was to Just Search Lazy Lounge Chat, we would be more Findable.
symon

Quote:
..img_src=".../images/sale_new_phones.png" width="250" height="100" class="image"...

As you see there's nothing in the code which could tell the search robots that the content relates to "phones", "Sale", or "new". The situation will change if we rewrite the code like this:

...img_src="/images/sale_new_phones.png" width="250" height="100" alt="Sale of new phones" class="image" ...


Alt="here is the key to the question"
Louise

So . . .

Code:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<style type="text/css">
/* This is the border line & background colour round the entire page */
.bodyline {background-image: url(../bg.png) ;  background-color: #4E647F; border:8px #000044 solid; }
--></style>
<!-- BEGIN switch_enable_pm_popup -->
<!-- END switch_enable_pm_popup -->
<body bgcolor="{T_BODY_BGCOLOR}" text="{T_BODY_TEXT}"
link="{T_BODY_LINK}" vlink="{T_BODY_VLINK}"
topmargin=0 bottommargin=0 leftmargin=0 rightmargin=0 />
<table width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="10" border="0" align="center">
<tr>
<td class="bodyline">
</br>
<p align="center"><a href="http://lazylounge.myfastforum.org"><img src=   "http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o200/LOU716/Welcome9.png" alt="The Lazy Lounge Chat"  class="http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o200/LOU716/Welcome9.png "/></a></p><br/>
symon

seems at a quick glance to work.
Louise

Thanks Symon, I'll go and edit it Now . . . I don't really want to Loose the Welcome page But I don't want us to Not be Searchable either..x
Zudane

Louise, as I was the one that first said this... I do have a little experience with both forums and websites, though I'm just getting back into the swing of it.  You know how to get ahold of me, if you would like some help with it, but since you were asking for opinions here...

The alt tag will help some for searchability, but the main point that was trying to be made, though it will not fit for everybody is this...  A main welcome page should be more than just a single clickable image.  That makes it only one more thing to click to get in every time, and personally, I'd bookmark to go right past it.

The best way to make a welcome page would be to make some portals on it, do 2-3 columns including global announcements, announcements, recently posted-on stickies, the last active posts, top posters, top threads, recently online list, login portal, etc.  Make the welcome page have some real content.  Then people can have something to see rather than just an image.  This also will add some more links from a top page to help with searchability, as that is the first page the bots will look through.

That is just my opinion though, personally I prefer just going directly to the forums, though eventually I may add a portaled welcome page with any important news, important posts, anything I want people to see right away.

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