I'd love to know about a WYSIWYG editor that didn't make crazy code from an SEO point of view. In order to get consistent cross-browser layout, they all seem to resort to needlessly nested tables. That's usually a big no-no for top ranking.
More recently, I've seen lots of CSS and absolutely positioned divs -- which can be very wasteful in the code to content ratio for a page. Because of absolute positioning, they can even enter entire paragraphs out of sequence, which affects keyword prominence.
WYSIWYG editors are focused on ease of use -- appearance and browser compatibility at any price. That brings efficiency to intranets, but it's not so good for global marketing. So I stick with HomeSite or even EditPad. Still seems right to me. As of 6 months ago, head-hunters in Boston were still requiring hand coding skills for their HTML jobs.
Just opening an HTML file in (shudder) Composer adds crap to the code -- and I have a business partner who tends to do just that. Net Objects Fusion loves to nest tables, and so does FP. Dreamweaver is a bit better, to my memory, but I still get better results when I control the code directly.
I'd say WYSIWYG editing and SEO don't work hand in hand. They're just not coming from the same place.
I use Claris Home Page to build the site template.
I then copy the code and paste it into Simple Text. Any Word Processing software will work.
I them "clean up the code" and save.
To build the remaining pages of the site I just build the *parts* in Claris
and copy code to the Simple Text where it belongs.
Reference points like <!--start text here--> and <!------------------nav menu------------------->
help to keep me straight.
I'm very LOW TECH = no java, no nothing
I'm not familiar with Claris, but this sounds like a reasonable work flow. What advantage do you get from Claris plus cleanup over straight coding from the start?
For quick and clean code you can't beat Dreamweaver, it is simply a joy to work with. The best way to take advantage of it's capabilities is to use Win 98's [me and Bill go back along way!] support for multiple screens, simply slot in a cheapo graphics card and plug in the extra monitor.
The advantage this gives is that you can have DW on the main screen and the code editor on the other, switching between the two as and when. Go wild and have three, display ACD SEE on the other, just drag the graphics onto the page.
The main problem I have found with DW is that if you swap things about visually it has a tendency to leave remnants of the old code, you still need to dip into the HTML now and again to tidy up.
The site wide search and replace function is excellent as is the ability to drag files from one directory to another and have DW update the links.
If you are looking for something that writes absolutely clean HTML, HotMetalPro does. Plus it has a view option called "Tags on" which is very practical. You can see where your tags are without going into source view. And for the fainthearted, there is even a WYSIWYG viewing option.
Otherwise there are lots of things to hate. Try to import a page written by another program and the orthodox fundamentalist syntax control will protest until you simply give up. And import of other documents (e.g. Word or .txt) is clearly underdeveloped. But it does write clean code.
We use HotMetalPro. I don't know for how much longer though. I have two concerns. The first is that I don't think HotMetal will be around in two years or so. Their market share is dropping to next to nothing. Second is the importing problem. Since most of the world uses something other than HotMetal, it makes it difficult when you are picking up site maintenance of an existing site. HMP does not work and play well with its competitors. It particularly doesn't like FrontPage. We are starting to use DW 3.0. The biggest problem I have is that I know I can do something quicker in Hot Metal. Until I get over the learning curve......
Another vote for Dreamweaver here. I second all of NFFC's comments (except I never had the luxury of dual monitors and am a bit envious!) It won't give you any surprises like nested tables or butchered HTML when switching from WYSIWYG view to code view and doesn't do much of anything you don't tell it to do except the code remnants NFFC mentioned. It also includes several code clean up and formatting tools we discussed in another thread. Highly recommended!
We tried DW through a couple of upgrades, but then dropped it when it became too expensive for us. Back to plain text design as people that just run 4 sites, but which include around 20 page updates a day. When just doing a few sites, you should be working from templates anyway if optimization is any concern.. just zip in the new text within the common page content.
DW was the best, but of a very bad WYSIWIG lot. Last time we looked it still did quite a few surprises with the raw code, though you can configure a lot of these surprises out - that is a plus.
For us its text editing.. specifically NoteTab Pro with some custommized add ons and our own "clipBooks". Starts up in 1 second and is a HTML purists delight.