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Author Topic: Is SEO worth the trouble?  (Read 3382 times)
superboyac
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« on: January 25, 2011, 09:55:39 AM »

SEO has become one of those words that are thrown around a lot these days as if people know what it means, but frankly, what is it?  It sounds like a bunch of BS to me.  I mean, I get it...search engine optimization.  That's a nice term and all, but how does it work?  Whenever I come across terms or ideas like this (especially in a corporate sense) my BS radar starts going off, and I'm usually right.  For example, when you go to a enterprise software website and there's a bunch of vague descriptions, but no screenshots and no price that's easy to find, that's the same kind of thing.  They want you to call them to send a salesman to your company.
I think SEO is the same thing.  No?  How do you optimize your website?  If you are using a Wordpress site, all the code is setup already.  It's not like a guy like me is going to change wordpress code.  So then what?  There are themes that are "SEO friendly"...yet another term that doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me.  I've seen the theme code.  It's nice and clean.  Does that mean it's SEO friendly?  I don't know.  So then I think maybe SEO has to do with strategically worded paragraphs in your content?  Or banners and ads that make you more attractive to google?  What does SEO actually mean, without the corporate jargon?!

And here's what I don't understand.  If I don't "get" something, I'll avoid it completely.  So when I started my website, I didn't want to deal with SEO, so I didn't do anything.  So I didn't do anything special for SEO, and I didn't put any banners or ads or anything like that either.  I don't make a cent on it.  But even with all that said, my engineering articles got relatively popular in the engineering community, and now if you do certain searches, my website is at the top of the list.  Sometimes, it's first before the website of the actual authors of the books I mention, which I find interesting.  So my website climbed up to the top without me having to do SEO or ads or anything.  So what does SEO actually do for me?  I don't get it.  To me it kind of confirms that content really is king, but I'm not convinced quite yet.
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40hz
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 10:10:32 AM »

Content is king.

But when in doubt, hedge your bets by going with something that is SEO friendly right out of the box. No point in getting dropped in rank or blacklisted just because you inadvertantly did something to piss off a web spider.

Rule of thumb: Don't reinvent the wheel until/unless you have to. When in doubt, go with Wordpress or a modern CMS for a biz site until you get things sorted out.

Stripped of jargon, SEO basically means setting up your website so that it's as easy as possible for a search engine to index it completely and accurately without raising any warning flags as to it's overall legitimacy. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details - and that's where it gets hairy enough that an entire sub-industry has grown up to deal with it.

smiley
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 10:23:41 AM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2011, 10:19:20 AM »

I am the first to say I do NOT speak from experience.  It is strictly from what I read on the subject when looking into it myself.  That said, my knowledge of the subject suggests you are asking 2 different questions.  1) What is SEO - what does it do?  2) What does it do for me.  I will answer your second question first, because it is easier - in your particular case, not much.  Content has already let your articles rise to the top and you are getting hits for them without any shenanigans associated with websites and SEO these days.

Now for question 1 - SEO uses metatags and other techniques to make your web page more friendly to the crawlers that Search companies employ to categorize and list sites in the first place.  It allows you to "target" your audience and provides more concise information to index so that searches for specific topics will target your articles over articles that are not as specific.  Here, specific is measured (in part) by the number of non-trivial matching terms are present in the code and/or content of the page.  It is then augmented by the number of hits the page has that conforms to a signature that implies it was useful to the consumer - as compared to one they just click through or click back - as well as how often the page is updated.  There is actually quite a lot that goes into the mix to determine page rankings and these features and the math behind it are proprietary business secrets of the search company, but those are some of the most common metrics.  In your case, a combination of no other (or very few other) articles related to the search, combined with regular updates, and clean code as well as longevity (which plays into how many times your site is crawled and new content is found), work together to place you at or near the top of all searches without any special SEO.  In other words, your regular work is actually hitting several SEO metrics naturally and that is helping get you to the top without extra SEO operations.

At least that is my take.  Anyone who really knows what is going on...tongue
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2011, 10:57:31 AM »

Quote
What does SEO actually mean, without the corporate jargon?!

Search engine optimization means you're making your content noticeable to search engine by following search queries (keywords optimization), relevant content(to the keyword), high quality(no spun or robot content,spam). SEO is done to site in order to let it go higher in the search engine results.

Quote
Is SEO worth the trouble?


Yes and NO.

For YES - If you want to make money online (and don't want to listen to crap of your boss) then do whatever SEO methods out there to make money. It's against ethics and character stuff but things do pay off. To be honest Superboy, i'm against black hat SEO and i'm starving to make money, whereas any newbie kid who learns B-SEO (black hat) after me is making hundreds of dollars. So it's upto you to judge what's right and wrong in SEO.

For No - You're adding a lot of junk and garbage, rehash content on the web if you choose black hat SEO. You're not adding any value to user search queries and their time.

Few things to clarify - Meta-tags are dead and are ignored by almost every modern SE. Links from relevant sites matters a lot in order to take you at higher position in SERPs. Keep quoting(quotes tag) to limited amount.

Okay, keeping the rant aside. My suggestions are - install wordpress, get a good theme like thesis, genesis or headway which are SEO optimized (on-page SEO) with tags and ability to dofollow and nofollow links in themes. If you're on white-hat SEO side then just use a good SEO optimized theme and forget about rest of the SEO stuff, just write natural content with keywords as you go. If you're not in this for money then don't bother about SEO. Just care about traffic, feedback and social media which you can do with on-page SE optimized themes, twitter, Facebook widgets. Your content will be noticed by search engine with social signals or backlinks factor.
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app103
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 03:39:56 PM »

You might want to take a look at my article How can you rank well on search engines, without fussing with SEO?

This has been my approach to SEO for awhile, and I have had no problems with it. My ebook directory is the top result in Google for the keywords "programming ebooks" and has been for a number of years, despite site design changes, domain name changes, and being a victim of content theft (a lot of people with high PR blogs copied the original one page site and shoved it into a single blog post, never even bothering to link back to me as the source of their info).

I also do not have problems with any of my other sites when I follow my own rules.
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superboyac
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 03:49:03 PM »

You might want to take a look at my article How can you rank well on search engines, without fussing with SEO?

This has been my approach to SEO for awhile, and I have had no problems with it. My ebook directory is the top result in Google for the keywords "programming ebooks" and has been for a number of years, despite site design changes, domain name changes, and being a victim of content theft (a lot of people with high PR blogs copied the original one page site and shoved it into a single blog post, never even bothering to link back to me as the source of their info).

I also do not have problems with any of my other sites when I follow my own rules.
Thanks app!  That's a very well written article, I'll definitely be using that.  To all interested, I think App's article is excellent and addresses the intent of this thread I started.
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app103
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 05:34:15 PM »

Thanks app!  That's a very well written article, I'll definitely be using that.  To all interested, I think App's article is excellent and addresses the intent of this thread I started.

Thank you. It was written as a response to the exact question in the title of the article. If one person wants to know, others are bound to want the same, so I turned my response into a blog article, to benefit all asking the same question.
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Renegade
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2011, 05:43:43 PM »

YES!

It is absolutely worth it.

But I wouldn't believe everything you read about it. A lot is just conjecture.

I do things that "gurus" say don't work, but I get results.

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superboyac
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 05:45:30 PM »

Thanks app!  That's a very well written article, I'll definitely be using that.  To all interested, I think App's article is excellent and addresses the intent of this thread I started.

Thank you. It was written as a response to the exact question in the title of the article. If one person wants to know, others are bound to want the same, so I turned my response into a blog article, to benefit all asking the same question.
i love that.  Those are the kinds of websites that are worth finding through the sludge of the google crap.
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superboyac
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 05:46:15 PM »

But I wouldn't believe everything you read about it. A lot is just conjecture.
I do things that "gurus" say don't work, but I get results.
What is it you do that gurus say doesn't work?  And how do you get results?
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Renegade
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2011, 06:23:02 PM »

But I wouldn't believe everything you read about it. A lot is just conjecture.
I do things that "gurus" say don't work, but I get results.
What is it you do that gurus say doesn't work?  And how do you get results?

See this post. That's a start.

Other things include:

* Writing properly
* Linking intelligently
* On-page SEO that is designed to work with off-page SEO
* Meta tags. Yes. Meta tags.

While content is king, you can either dress your king in the emperor's new clothes, that nobody wants to see, or you can dress you king like a king. That means authoring a document properly, and that includes meta tags, as well as a lot of other things.

Too many people are simply sloppy and lazy with their markup. Their documents are simply crap as documents. (I'm guilty of this as well.)

The point there is to use the available markup as it was intended to be used. If you do that, you've got your on-page SEO partially nailed down. The rest is having good content.

It's like building a house. Having good lumber is important, but you also need nails. The nails are a very small part, but they're important.

So, for example, simply using tags like strong, b, i, em, abbr, and acronym, as well as properties like title, makes a difference. It's not spammy. It's simply authoring a document that is well done.

I get lazy in a lot of places too. But, I always take the time to have something relevant in the title property for images, and often for links.

Search engines love good documents. They're tasty. tongue

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app103
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2011, 07:38:36 PM »

Yes, you should use both title and alt for images, since not all browsers support alt to show a tooltip description. Also, using title on links make sense for reasons other than SEO, like the links on my ebook blog are URL's that can be copied & pasted by those viewing the content in plain text, and also can know what content it links to with the title attribute, when viewing it as HTML. (also serves a purpose for me, with click tracking, that I am not going to go into)

But this is part of building for people, which is good for SEO.

Meta tags are not really used by Google, but they are used by other search engines, so they should be used on your pages when possible. And each page should have its own meta tags. Don't just repeat a block of the same meta tags on every page.
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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2011, 01:38:26 PM »

You should always sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and whatever MS has, Bing Webmaster something. Yahoo Site Explorer is dead or dying. Everything can look great but not much use if bots can only see half the site - for whatever weird reason. Also quite a bit of SEO related info there.

Might be stating the obvious but when you see "Clean code" attached to a theme it only means that a default out the box setup is clean. Once you add content and plugins, perhaps via plugins, hell can break lose. Selecting best plugins is the trick - and theme of course. And what Renegade said about markups.

For SEO plugin some are more useful than others but I think this is cool Wordpress SEO Plugin http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/ by a WP-guru who can afford to share Wink Notice the almost official title, he know this will be popular. His name Yoast is almost a brand. Site has most SEO info a normal person needs to know btw. Plugin like his is what people use if not theme is "SEO ready". I especially like snippet preview, don't think many pay attention to that. Is what people see in search engine so important. You do it already but may be not optimal for the end user experience - and willingness to click, click.

SEO ready means some features, not all, of a typical SEO plugin are build in the editor page. So you can attach meta tags for example, change title. 8There will be more like how theme loads css, js. easy way of attaching Google Analytics/Adsense code and what not. More important is you use something that is updated and supported, not likely to go out of business any time soon. Now WP 3.1 is close, so does all your handpicked stuff work, will it be fixed/updated? Quality more valuable than pretty colors of course. Can always use plugins, not must have feature. Actually I don't know what SEO ready means but this covers some of it. Can be whatever, "optimized code" is also an SEO feature if that means speed.

Does not really matter if theme is SEO ready or not because it can be dumb to use theme for this. If you later change theme all info is most likely gone, seo content is in themes datatables. The plugin I mentioned has import functions for this reason, one of the first with this I think. May be there is one which let you import/export among the most popular tools, don't remember. But some have learned the hard way, as in strange drops at Google =  game over! If plugin is used theme SEO-stuff must be disabled and the other way around.

Checking all what has been mentioned about alt, meta something is easy with SEO-doctor http://www.prelovac.com/v...browser-addons/seo-doctor real-time and by another (smaller) guru. They know how to build a business those 2 smiley Firebug + extensions for Firebug, Google Page Speed http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/ can do the same and more. Select right tools with "Don't waste my time, I do not think it is that interesting, thank you!" as one of the parameters and there is close to no work involved. If you always forget to use alt info for image then just install a plugin which does it automatically, like SEO Friendly Images http://www.prelovac.com/v...ugins/seo-friendly-images

As Renegade said most is simply technical things any site admin should know anyway, Google Webmaster pretty much cover what is important as far as technical SEO goes. Not much need for extras but you could be missing out! Can be difficult to select but go after popularity and check homepage, some are made by pros and even WP employees. Others by 16 year olds with more ambition than experience. You can tell. They don't review pluigins that closely, just poor them out so it is a supermarket. Close to 13000 to pick from. Lots of buggy outdated stuff and potential for conflicts with both themes and other plugins. Where it can go wrong, look at any WP forum - once you start tinkering door is wide open for "problems". KISS principle apply here as well. Less is often better with WP. Not always easy to remember when it stinks so much with some features smiley Still true, the more you add the more you must know and to some degree maintain.

If you want max. number of visitors fastest way possible I suggest pixel boobs not SEO.
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2011, 02:06:17 PM »

About the term SEO you should probably look at it the way most look at ADS! Sometimes crap and waste of space, other times hmm, interesting. There are SEO services with sales letter type websites who try to make you an expert if only you... others try to complicate the topic to make you believe you need them. Some might move your business to new heights and are worth every cent smiley Those who are real pros know more than technicalities about WP and Google - or some stupid program which can spit out what keywords to use. Market analysis, competitor analysis, other off-page stuff like dear Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. And they can implement it. They are almost coaching your business. So I think there are different classes of SEO people/businesses. Not sure it is fair to go zzzzzz I will not pay you, get away from google when I search "SEO". Normal people trying to make money with their whatever they do have no time and ability to know these things. Invitation to scams is another way of looking at it but if an SEO dude (web expert sounds better) is fair and know what not to do it can be a legit way of making money. Exchanging money via internet will grow and grow and grow. Get used to SEO Wink
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2011, 03:11:11 AM »

Quote
Does not really matter if theme is SEO ready or not because it can be dumb to use theme for this. If you later change theme all info is most likely gone, seo content is in themes datatables.

Not true. I guess you're yet to play with themes like thesis and genesis. They use framework feature so using child-parent structure you can keep all the SEO tweaks to framework and do the design changes to child. This way you don't lose any SEO-settings of parent framework. Thesis and genesis also come up with setting of SEO which can be exported and imported to multiple blogs. Do take a look at these themes, it's way above joost's plugin or anyone's plugin on SEO.
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2011, 03:47:47 AM »

Because there is so big difference on how to implement? A select few know how, rest do not? I don't think so but recognize the idea of promoting stuff - from this very thread Wink There are many many options in WP world which is good. But these rather expensive frameworks have nothing to do with the typical user or the typical theme you see on WP site claiming to be "SEO Ready" or even the typical payware theme. They can set up own rules as they please. Kind of the idea with a framework. Selecting right stuff for the task is the big trick with WP so useful to be aware of this hidden and potentially very annoying problem.

There are tools for this like SEO Data Transporter (Genesis dude is co-author with StudioPress Framework) but is whatever you use supported?, migration tools always work perfectly? Today?, in 1 year?

Naturally there are some interest (and big egos) at stake, those who sell pricy frameworks might not be so friendly to annoying "3rd party" plugins. Those who make plugins might not love the fact better themes have main features build in already! Problem is still relevant. They seem to get along just fine though, after initial debate since this is also a business... Should Themes or Plugins do your SEO?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 04:05:21 AM by Bamse » Logged
mahesh2k
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2011, 04:16:41 AM »

Quote
They can set up own rules as they please.
No. If they do that then they'll branch out of wordpress policies and will get sued. WP foundation keeps eye on who is locking people on framework. Chris pearson attempted that with thesis theme and got sued by wordpress foundation. Framework based shortcodes are allowed and are not annoying and with themes like genesis, hybrid and thematic it's very easy to switch themes with minor modifications in shortcodes.

Quote
Kind of the idea with a framework.
Almost every wordpress theme these days can have child-parent relationship, so in turn a theme framework. Nothing wrong with that.  Framework locking and shortcodes documentation is usually restricted to make business, hybrid theme is already into this and i'm sure like me even you'll find it annoying to offer something free then locking people for getting things done.

Quote
but is whatever you use supported?, migration tools always work perfectly? Today?, in 1 year?
For thesis and genesis, answer is YES. Themes like thesis and genesis have no issues for migration, even after 1 year. Obviously small sites and blog benefit from plugins instead of theme framework because that way they can change the design going out of routes of frameworks or on their own.
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2011, 04:38:31 AM »

You really like frameworks I think Wink But most blogs/websites are not build on frameworks so whatever is possible and max. ease of use within those tiny worlds is of no importance to the huge majority who do not use them. Framework standards for migration does not apply to every theme or every plugin. There are no universal standards so problem will not go away, Transporter plugin fix this provided what you use is supported and it works flawlessly of course. I would not count on that just because they say so.

With own rules I did not mean breaking policies but that frameworks have no obligation or even interest in seeking compatibility with anything else but them self.
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2011, 04:47:12 AM »

Quote
But most blogs/websites are not build on frameworks

???

Huh? I think the vast majority of them are built on frameworks or use a CMS, which is just a specialized framework.

Some include:

WordPress
Joomla
Drupal
DotNetNuke
etc. etc.

It's a huge list.
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2011, 04:49:20 AM »

Yes of course. But these are Wordpress frameworks, like those mahesh2k have mentioned. Example StudioPress http://www.studiopress.com/themes/genesis

The transporter plugin, made by framework people, is to migrate SEO data between supported WP plugins/themes. You need a tool to migrate! Which points to the problem I mentioned. mahesh2k find it hard to see there is a problem because as long as you use a framework you can switch to something else just like that. Yeees, but within that framework smiley
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 04:59:20 AM by Bamse » Logged
mahesh2k
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2011, 05:01:47 AM »

 cheesy I like theme frameworks because i'm a theme developer and i find working with frameworks fun. I do agree that not all sites are made for the frameworks for example, personal blogs, small static sites and squeeze pages.

But once blog becomes too big to manage or with multiple authors, too many plugins, ads and other tracking fuss, it's better to put all those eggs in framework basket. That's the point when framework performs better with modular approach.

Agree there are no standards because that's what keeps themes different else it'll be again like single framework and multiple childs within WP, which we already have and we're just reinventing the wheels by creating forks. So that's the reason, they try to detach from the core and create small tribe around their own framework or shrotcodes etc.

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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2011, 05:07:19 AM »

Yes of course. But these are Wordpress frameworks, like those mahesh2k have mentioned. Example StudioPress http://www.studiopress.com/themes/genesis

The transporter plugin, made by framework people, is to migrate SEO data between supported WP plugins/themes. You need a tool to migrate! Which points to the problem I mentioned. mahesh2k find it hard to see there is a problem because as long as you use a framework you can switch to something else just like that. Yeees, but within that framework smiley

Duh... That'll teach me to skim...  ohmy
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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2011, 05:23:50 AM »

I knew there had to be some connection with you and the frameworks, heh. Can always tell. Why not promote your self and link to your site or company?

In your shoes I might also be so positive towards them. Like Photoshop, learn that and go BAH to the rest, they suck! Solution has been found and I will stick to it. Logic should be appealing to all who have messed up with WP, 30+ plugins and what follows... But I have seen many people using frameworks (with too much money) doing crappy sites with little to no modification - and often also problems using "whatever" plugin they find cool. Frameworks are a bit exclu$ive, to people like you - with customers. There are exceptions and free frameworks but still. High level stuff it is.

ThemeFrame http://forum.bytesforall.com/showthread.php?t=9163 check video, what does mahesh2k think? Is it a danger to your job? Semi-framework with ease of use. Such plug&play production thingys exist already but future will bring more. WP is not easy to use when you start to tinker. The most simple things can go wrong and solution require knowledge and experience. Worse than Windows and why so many sites have errors. "Don't touch" is also boring, 13000 plugins to chose from is not a bad thing. Pros can troubleshoot, transform and modify provided they get paid!, amateurs often get stuck. Frameworks are supposed to give a more peaceful environment to be productive in. Should be a huge market for ThemeFrame stuff. There is a satisfaction in doing own website, own domain, own whatever. Is for people who won't join blogger, tumblr, weebly and all that. "I have a FB page, and Flickr" is irrelevant. I think it will be huge in not so far future.

A better link to ThemeFrame intro http://wordpress.bytesforall.com/?p=95

Quote
ThemeFrame is a very visual WordPress Theme Creation tool that runs on your desktop, in a browser. It creates unlimited standalone, white-label WP themes that you can use on unlimited sites for an unlimited time, you can even distribute/sell/give away the themes you create with ThemeFrame.ThemeFrame is not a WP theme itself, it does not install inside Wordpress and does not require Wordpress to run. Themes created with ThemeFrame don’t need ThemeFrame to run, they are standalone Themes in their own right.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 05:41:01 AM by Bamse » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2011, 07:58:41 AM »

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I knew there had to be some connection with you and the frameworks, heh. Can always tell. Why not promote your self and link to your site or company?
That is because i'm freelancer on that side and work with many theme frameworks. (Genesis, thesis, hybrid, thematic etc but i do small projects using thematic for clients because it's free and if not me then any other developer can pick up from where i left). I'm planning to promote my work with donation model and not in terms of subscription or upfront payment :-)

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what does mahesh2k think? Is it a danger to your job? Semi-framework with ease of use. Such plug&play production thingys exist already but future will bring more.
Artisteer, ithemes theme builder, themeframe and many other tools exist for making themes. But still people pay for designer because they want custom design which these tools can't create effectively (as of now). Like writers job even designers will keep their work ticking even if any bot starts to do work of content writing or designing. *Hint* - many small and big businesses are using developers who can code using X/Y/Z frameworks, don't you think they can use artisteer or themeframe to do that ? Wink They can, but they don't. For now i don't have answer about what stops people from using bots instead of humans ? be it design or written content.But my personal observation is that when you do stuff automated way then you create a pattern to which humans respond with less interest. On the other hand when you involve humans into task, they take interest into it. It's similar to automated backlinks to page or organic link to page. Just my view, not sure i'm right with that.
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Bamse
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2011, 08:39:29 AM »

More personal pages was actually my point of linking to ThemeFrame. If you look at forum of his main theme Atahualpa and the long threads about "See my site" then some obviously use it to full extend but most are not that interesting. Same goes for most themes which does allow heavy modification. When Thesis debate was on I checked many sites of those who used it (via comments) and went zzzzzzzz. Just not easy to do so there seems to be a market for easier ways of modifying appearance. I have read posts in ThemeFrame forum and it is clear many see it as a way out so to speak. Like other tools much output is decided by interface, does not matter everything is possible if only few can figure it out. Area will develop and for personal pages I think future is bright with "mod-tools".

May be you get more competition for cheap solutions to smaller businesses but should not be difficult to argue why it is worth paying up to those with money to spend. What you use is established and well supported.  Compare with Themeforest http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress Not that many can do such pretty designs. Some themes might be bargains compared to hiring you as they are perfect out of the box, tons of features - more than you will ever need!, but what happens when it breaks with WP 3.1? or they want some weird mod/plugin? or they simply screw up in massive control panel? Many of these webdevs only have an email address as support. As you say if you get run over by Drupal it will be easy to find someone who can pick up Genesis. Low risk will appeal to serious businesses - more so if they become aware of danger Wink They will not just go oh well, we better find another 40$ then. I don't see much point for private users to use frameworks but understand your motives, think I would do the same. There is always a risk of things breaking and if business are actively using site, like 24/7 problems are not accepted for long. 





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