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Site Redesign

     
1:19 am on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a website that I've been working on for a few years and it's starting to generate some real traffic and I wanted to work on it as a part time job.

What I want to do is do a site redesign and I am wondering if I should have someone else do it or just do it myself.

I want a new template to surround all my old content basically, and I want to be able to change/edit my old content as well as add new content to the site (including adding new links on the template).

If I make a new template will I have to cut and paste each page into the new outline (dreamweaver, I use), or can I somehow just put the new template on the old content (I have around 800 pages).

If so, is there anyone with experience in buying a template for their website and could you pm me any suggestions?

Or... should I have someone do it for me. I posted an ad on craig and have been getting some shoddy replies really.

Thanks!

7:04 am on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator httpwebwitch is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Once you have a nice HTML template built, hack it into a couple of include files that can be reused site-wide. If you are good with Regular Expressions and/or have a consistent layout on your existing site, you can probably fit the new look around your content with a careful search-and-replace.

a typical templated page can look like:

<!--#include virtual="/header.htm" -->
// your formatted content here //
<!--#include virtual="/footer.htm" -->

It's bad form to open and close tags in different include files, but in a case like yours you can probably get away with it wihtout confusion.

Personally I'm a big fan of dynamic contextual navigation menus and home-grown CMS solutions; it takes some savvy with databases and server programming, but on a large site it's worthwhile. If you don't have databases handy, there are ways to do it using PHP/ASP and an XML sitemap.

Whatever way you approach this, it's difficult to maintain a large content site with just Dreamweaver. I once inherited a large (2000+ pages) site that was stuck in FrontPage. It was painful; not only using FrontPage, but customizing the navigation in different sections of the site was really arduous as pages were being added daily. I slowly converted that to a dynamic template using the method described above. The sitemap and Page contents were all stored in a DB, and from that point on maintenance was a breeze.

Whether to hire someone or do it yourself depends on your budget, skill, and sense of adventure.

8:20 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you httpwebwitch, I am indeed a person with a sense of adventure and no rush to get this done, I think I'll do it alone and see what happens.

I know there are many popular open source CMS programs and I'll look into those, and start learning about CSS - do you have any advice on where to start with CSS?

Thanks again,

LAN

4:59 am on May 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have recently been learning some CSS myself. I would check out the tutorial at www.w3schools.com
CSS is pretty simple (at least at first) and the present it very well. God Bless