Cash for Links, Refactoring & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


"Hey Rad Man!" began an email I received last week. "I'll pay $100 for a link on your Downloads page." Of course, there's no way of knowing if such offers are legit .. until the cash arrives.

 BenjaminI've researched Search Engine Optimization (SEO) enough to know I don't much care for it.

Programming I enjoy, but SEO contains a seemingly endless amount of info to digest, some of which conflicts from site to site.

And the suggested techniques are often time-consuming, with dubious results that demand the patience of a saint before you start to see results. Rather focus my energies on generating original content.

Moreover, some of the techniques used to 'optimize' web pages (for higher search engine rankings) seem manipulative, if not downright dishonest. Many of the SEO sites I've visited have a 'slimy' feel to them » detailing how to trick search engines into ranking your pages higher.

I learned that links from 'ranked' pages will (in turn) yield greater 'importance' to the pages that those links aim at (point to). This is (I assume) what this person had in mind when she contacted me.

The email seemed both professional and specific. (Not slimy.) The girl was clear about what she wanted. And best of all, her proposal could be implemented minutes. (Simple.)

The problem was .. that the page they wanted a link on was created back when I knew squat about web standards (XHTML & CSS). The underlying mark-up (code) was a rat's nest of deprecated tags and coding no-no's.

Downright embarrassing .. from a webmaster's point-of-view. Miracle the page would render at all (.. even in 'quirks' mode).

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I was busy playing Rad dad at the time, but responded by saying I could get to it on the weekend. Seeing how the page would (might) generate income, I started feeling obligated to update it .. to current web standards .. now that I possess such skillz.

Several months ago I did a similar thing .. with the Archives page (which now has pristine underlying mark-up). So I know the process. I can vouch that it ain't much fun. Seems harder than creating a brand new page from scratch. Cuz you have to decide which parts to keep, and where to elaborate or clarify. You do all this work .. just to return, basically, to the same place where you began.

Refractoring KandinskyIt's sorta like a spring cleaning » where you tear apart your whole house, making it much worse .. before it gets better (cleaner). And after all that effort, you're merely back at your starting point ( .. with the same house).

Anyway, this process of updating code (or mark-up) is commonly referred to as » REFACTORING .. a buzz-word I've been hearing lots of lately. So yesterday, I inserted the earphones, put on some high-energy trance and went for it.

Originally planned to layout another LIQUID-ELASTIC hybrid page .. like I did with/for the home page. But it quickly became apparent that such a design wouldn't work for the Downloads page. So I changed (mid-stream) to a FIXED-width design .. something I usually never do/use. But the layout of the Downloads page is like no other » sporting fat 'sidebars' with a skinny center. (Used to date a girl like that.)

If you peek at the underlying mark-up (View » Source), you'll notice the BODY tag still has the following class applied » threeColLiqElastic (3 column liquid elastic). Might change that later to something more representative, such as » threeColFixed. But for now, it doesn't matter. Cuz me-n-you are the only ones who know. (And I'm the only one who really cares.)

Worked past midnight. Pleased with the result, tho. Page weight dropped by half (32 KB down to 14). In other words, more than half the page was muck.

Proud of what I was able to accomplish .. given that I'm not a professional web designer. My CSS skills have improved to a point where I'd be confident attemping any design I might imagine. All these different projects have helped hone my skills.

LAYOUT (I've learned) is a particularly interesting part of web design .. because it's where you use CSS (which is normally associated with PRESENTATION, or 'style') .. to control a page's STRUCTURE, which is normally the domain of XHTML. So LAYOUT it kinda like a middle ground between two worlds .. that both depend on. As such, it seems key (important).

When I woke this morning, an email was waiting, titled » You've got money! The funds had been deposited in my account (Whoohoo! Hello, Benjamin.) .. with a note from Jessica saying she was pleased with the result.

Called eDawg (who lives up in Santa Barbara). He's an SEO guru. eDawg claims I should've negotiated for more. "If they offered $100," he argued, "that means they would've paid $150. Maybe more."

eDawg claims Radified has "eleven thousand" incoming links. "That's incredible," he commented, "for a single-author site like yours."

Anyway, I'm tired today. Doing design-related work seems to tax different parts of my brain .. than what I'm normally used to. Either way, both require deep concentration for extended periods. (Couldn't even recall if I took a dang shower yesterday.)

Rewarded myself this morning by splurging on a triple-espresso, and a toasted bagle with cream cheese. Yummy. Maybe I'll treat the Bug to In-n-Out later this week. He loves that place. (We've been riding all over creation the last few weeks.)

Much of the site was done when I knew nada about web standards. The question now is .. "how much time am I willing to invest refactoring?" Even for pages that still see heathy traffic, the answer seems to be %

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on October 19, 2009 2:22 PM.

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