html pages versus css

40 replies
Is anyone still using pure html to build their webpages? If so are they still ranking well? Learning css is happening really slow for me. It is hard trying to teach an old dogs new tricks.
#css #html #pages #versus
  • Profile picture of the author CarloD.
    Hey,

    Why wouldn't a site work with just HTML?

    Css is for styling and aesthetics. positioning things.

    HTML and some great Content is fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Wrong starting point. HTML and CSS are not opposed notions: it's not an "either... or" situation.

    You create your web pages using the HTML language. If you don't use an external stylesheet and you have a web site with 956 pages... in case you want to modify the background colour - you have to edit all the 956 files.

    With a CSS file that is called by all the HTML files - you edit one single file.

    Other than that - we all use the good old HTML to build web sites: that's the language invented for this purpose
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    • Profile picture of the author Flipfilter
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      Wrong starting point. HTML and CSS are not opposed notions: it's not an "either... or" situation.
      Didnt mean to duplicate your wise words Istvan

      Guess we were both posting simultaneously!
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      • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
        Originally Posted by Flipfilter View Post

        Guess we were both posting simultaneously!
        It happens often (great minds think alike?)

        Just to add something more: even in the old "table based" design the CSS was there - it just was inline CSS.

        Lines like this:
        HTML Code:
        <table border=0 style="border-collapse: collapse;" border="0" bordercolor="#0000FF" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" width="592">
        are full of CSS, even if you didn't know it...

        You can take it all out and place it:
        a) in the head section of a html file
        b) in an external XXXX.css file

        You put all those style definitions in a stylesheet as a class
        Code:
        .defaulttable {
        order: ...
        width: ...
        etc.
        }
        and make your html
        <table class="defaulttable">

        That's it.
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        • Profile picture of the author RedMatrix
          Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

          Just to add something more: even in the old "table based" design the CSS was there - it just was inline CSS.
          I love the "C" part of the CSS term. It stands for cascading. There is a hierarchy of style, and whenever there are conflicting style commands, the command closest to the object being styled, is used. (unless you force a given style command with the "!important" qualifier, but that's a little much for this argument)

          Before CSS, styles were applied using the <FONT> tag. Very ugly, and yes, bloated. But that's the 90's way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Flipfilter
    Its not really an either or equation. The two go together - HTML is effectively the engine and CSS the bodywork.

    It took me a while to move away from table centered design, but it's certainly worth the effort.

    Try one of the free Stylehsout templates (Free CSS Website Templates | Styleshout.com ) to begin, and merely change bits as you progress like the logos and colours / fonts. This is much easier than starting from scratch.

    JG
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  • Profile picture of the author lonniewa2
    ok let me rephrase that question. Do a website that is made of pure html with no csss still rank? I heard that pure html and table designs loads slower in web browsers because of the bloated code and theefore affects your ranking.
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    • Profile picture of the author AdZaz
      I do not believe they rank any differently, and I would think if they did an argument could easily be made both ways...
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      • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
        I feel that html used to store data with CSS to style it is the best way. It looks best in the most browsers, and search engines have less clutter to go through to spider them. I've been doing it this way for many many years.

        Using CSS will benefit you far more than it will harm you so it's worth learning.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gary King
      Originally Posted by lonniewa2 View Post

      ok let me rephrase that question. Do a website that is made of pure html with no csss still rank? I heard that pure html and table designs loads slower in web browsers because of the bloated code and theefore affects your ranking.
      Yes. Yes they do rank.

      Table-based designs *typically* have a larger file size, simply because there are more characters in the html code to lay one out vs. using div tags and css to position/format. It doesn't HAVE to be bloated, but everything is relative, right?

      I think the O/P was referring to using table-less design with CSS for formatting/layout vs suggesting not using HTML.

      Generally, table-less design leads to the use of XHTML which loosely speaking is just an updated version of HTML.

      The other posters are correct - it's not an either/or and you have to have some form of html to display a page in a browser...
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    • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
      Originally Posted by auris View Post

      Google will also favor a fast loading site over a slower one.
      Originally Posted by lonniewa2 View Post

      I heard that pure html and table designs loads slower in web browsers because of the bloated code and theefore affects your ranking.

      I've read that too. Not sure how much difference it makes though. Even tables are speedy to load compared to wordpress, and everyone says that it ranks well.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    There is NO way to make a webbrowser work without HTML. Anyone that tells you differently is *****************WRONG****************! PHP can NOT control a browser. PERL can't control a browser. ASP really can't control a browser. XML can't control a browser! Etc..... So HOW do they work? They put out HTML! And CSS is merely a method to tweak and parameterize HTML. So CSS can't directly control a browser either.

    Google tries to parse the page as a human would see it. In THEORY, if they LOOK identical, google will rank them identically(if solely on their own merits). BTW ranking limits have historically been controlled by the SIZE of the page, and not how long it takes to load.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      There is NO way to make a webbrowser work without HTML. Anyone that tells you differently is *****************WRONG****************! PHP can NOT control a browser. PERL can't control a browser. ASP really can't control a browser. XML can't control a browser! Etc..... So HOW do they work? They put out HTML! And CSS is merely a method to tweak and parameterize HTML. So CSS can't directly control a browser either.

      Google tries to parse the page as a human would see it. In THEORY, if they LOOK identical, google will rank them identically(if solely on their own merits). BTW ranking limits have historically been controlled by the SIZE of the page, and not how long it takes to load.

      Steve
      I'm not saying you can't have html. I'm saying you should separate content from presentation. HTML should be used to display your text and put it in containers. Without CSS your site should just be a long listing of unformatted text. Use the CSS to make it pretty and build your layout. This works better in more browsers, and improves load times. Also the search engine has less garbage to sift through to find your content.

      Here is a good argument for what I'm talking about it's really a matter of style, not what's correct or incorrect. I try to follow this strategy as much as I can, and it's worked well for me so far.
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by Jeremy Morgan View Post

        I'm not saying you can't have html. I'm saying you should separate content from presentation. HTML should be used to display your text and put it in containers. Without CSS your site should just be a long listing of unformatted text. Use the CSS to make it pretty and build your layout. This works better in more browsers, and improves load times. Also the search engine has less garbage to sift through to find your content.

        Here is a good argument for what I'm talking about it's really a matter of style, not what's correct or incorrect. I try to follow this strategy as much as I can, and it's worked well for me so far.
        I wasn't speaking against ANYONE here. Yeah, it is nice to use other things to CREATE the HTML, and CSS can make it easier to have a site that can look good and parse well. But STILL, the search engine, or whatever, will see HTML.

        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author espresso
          I build all my sites using a basic HTML pages
          I use CSS to style it but as said they are part of the same thing
          Personally I use Dreamweaver which makes CSS a breeze

          And yes they rank fine

          Google and SEO isnt about how stylish your site is in fact they say the more stylish it is the harder it is rank.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    OK, just to annoy the "purist" designers: you can have tables AND external CSS :p
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    • Profile picture of the author redfan
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      OK, just to annoy the "purist" designers: you can have tables AND external CSS :p
      LOL

      Best quote I've seen today
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      OK, just to annoy the "purist" designers: you can have tables AND external CSS :p
      Sure you can, there is no rule against it. You can even do that and remain W3C compliant. But why put that extra code in?

      Personally I loved doing layouts with tables, it was far easier than CSS at first, but change is the one constant of this industry we all have to live with. Everything changes overnight, and you either have to roll with it or stay still.
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  • Profile picture of the author auris
    Like some previous posts have said the Html is for structure & the Css file/s for styling.

    For SEO a website that is properly designed & has an external Css file will probably have less code bloat & will load a lot quicker than a purely Html site with all the Html table code etc. & therefore could rank better in the serps.

    A seperate Css file also makes changing site wide fonts, colors and so on much easier.

    Besides your site visitors, Google will also favor a fast loading site over a slower one.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
    Since I really seen nobody really answer the OP .....

    OP: Your ranking has nothing to do with your site being html, php, xhtml, pl, or any other language.. Your ranking has to do with onsite seo, offsite seo, backlinks, marketing your site, and etc...

    An pure html site can rank just the same as a wordpress site (php)...

    James
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    • Profile picture of the author John Hocking
      I think you are referring to table layout vs CSS layout.

      CSS layout gives you more flexibity. Google scans you page from top to bottom and left to right.

      Google is most likely to find your nav menu before your content.

      With CSS you can put your content first in the page source but display in a different position on the screen.

      You can also use CSS to test if right ot left menus work better on your site.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
      Originally Posted by TheRichJerksNet View Post

      Since I really seen nobody really answer the OP .....

      OP: Your ranking has nothing to do with your site being html, php, xhtml, pl, or any other language.. Your ranking has to do with onsite seo, offsite seo, backlinks, marketing your site, and etc...

      An pure html site can rank just the same as a wordpress site (php)...

      James
      php/asp/perl or whatever is irrelevant because they output pure html, you're right about that. What the browser sees is html, regardless of what generates it. You can even use C++ to build webpages if you choose, but it's still outputting html.

      What people should be concerned with is the kind of html being put out. Things like font tags, bold, colors etc all are unnecessary to search engines and are ignored anyway. Take a look at this example:


      HTML Formatting:

      HTML Code:
      <table bgcolor="#000000" border="1"  cellspacing="10">
      <tr>
      <td bgcolor="#ccccff">
      <p><font color="red" face="verdana" size="+2"><b>This is our title!</b></font></p>
      <br><p><font color="blue" face="verdana" size="+1"><b>
      This is text that we're trying to display.
       blah blah blah</b></font></p>
      </td>
      </tr>
      </table>
      
      

      Or, the CSS styled version:

      HTML Code:
      <div class="bluebox">
      <p class="title">This is our title!</p>
      <p>This is text that we're trying to display. blah blah blah</p>
      </div>

      And with a full webpage, the overall size is much smaller. And the theory behind the SEO advantage is, the page loads faster, and the crawler can more easily crawl your actual content of the page. Also more of your actual content and text is indexed rather than all the formatting garbage. If you have very large pages, the CSS versions can be 20% the size of a full html page.

      I can't tell you definitively that there is an SEO advantage to doing this, but there is certainly a design advantage, and that's the biggest reason you should separate it. I do believe there is a slight SEO advantage, but am unable to prove it, and if there is one it is very small. However it doesn't hurt to make your pages as clean and crawlable as possible in my opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gary King
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      OK, just to annoy the "purist" designers: you can have tables AND external CSS :p
      True... and funny too!


      Originally Posted by TheRichJerksNet View Post

      Since I really seen nobody really answer the OP .....

      OP: Your ranking has nothing to do with your site being html, php, xhtml, pl, or any other language.. Your ranking has to do with onsite seo, offsite seo, backlinks, marketing your site, and etc...

      An pure html site can rank just the same as a wordpress site (php)...

      James
      I did in post #12, but agreed with your statement on ranking.

      Only exception is that if you have a zillion nested tables and therefore tons of characters on the page, it's been my experience that the page will rank lower, even if only a little. The theories are that the balance of overall "noise" characters vs. "good stuff" (keywords, etc) is out of whack and that the page loads slower so the big G doesn't like it as much.

      Again, I have both standard html using tables (some with css too) and XHTML (table-less) with CSS ranking well.
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      • Profile picture of the author RedMatrix
        Originally Posted by Gary King View Post

        Only exception is that if you have a zillion nested tables and therefore tons of characters on the page, it's been my experience that the page will rank lower, even if only a little. The theories are that the balance of overall "noise" characters vs. "good stuff" (keywords, etc) is out of whack and that the page loads slower so the big G doesn't like it as much.
        Use to be a formula for "code" versus "content" with google. That is why it was always better to move your styles to an external sheet when everything was ready for launching.

        I always code inline, then move to header, then finally, external.


        EDIT: sorry for the double post
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      • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
        Originally Posted by Gary King View Post

        True... and funny too!

        I did in post #12, but agreed with your statement on ranking.

        Only exception is that if you have a zillion nested tables and therefore tons of characters on the page, it's been my experience that the page will rank lower, even if only a little. The theories are that the balance of overall "noise" characters vs. "good stuff" (keywords, etc) is out of whack and that the page loads slower so the big G doesn't like it as much.

        Again, I have both standard html using tables (some with css too) and XHTML (table-less) with CSS ranking well.
        Gary,
        Ok sorry missed that on #12... Good point also, the load of the site does factor into rankings these days also. So faster it loads the better. 0 tables means faster loading...

        My God man a zillion nested tables you would never get the site loaded ...LOL!!

        James
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        • Profile picture of the author Gary King
          Originally Posted by TheRichJerksNet View Post

          My God man a zillion nested tables you would never get the site loaded ...LOL!!

          James
          < sarcasm >
          Guarantees future revenue since:

          a) the client won't edit it
          b) no other designer would take over

          < / end sarcasm >
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  • Profile picture of the author bluefoot
    Originally Posted by lonniewa2 View Post

    Learning css is happening really slow for me. It is hard trying to teach an old dogs new tricks.
    To address part two of your post, even though it's not a question....
    If you're going to code your own pages, you should get fairly proficient with CSS.

    I learned it by installing the Web Developer Add-on for Firefox (I think there's one for IE also). There is a CSS button that allows you to tinker with the CSS styles that are loaded for the current page.

    You are not changing the CSS on your server, it's just the cached CSS that the browser is using for that page.

    The beauty of it is the changes appear instantly on the web page, so you can quickly see how your change affected the page with out having to constantly edit files and refresh.

    Phil
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  • Profile picture of the author Britt Malka
    Personally, I prefer the look of a CSS site to one made with tables, and it's much easier to change the content in a CSS styled site.

    I really hate to get a template with font codes and other old-fashioned stuff inside it. Makes editing really difficult and boring.

    If you want to learn about CSS, I can recommend a book from SitePoint. Hm, couldn't find it on my book shelf, so I've probably used it and not put it back ;-) But it's something about CSS Anthology and 101 tips. Great book that I have used again and again. Things are very well explained in there.
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  • Profile picture of the author aa411853
    I've built sites with both static html and css tableless layouts, and I don't think there's any real difference. If the content is decent that's most important.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
      Originally Posted by aa411853 View Post

      I've built sites with both static html and css tableless layouts, and I don't think there's any real difference. If the content is decent that's most important.
      Content is way more important. But crawlable code is that 1% change that I always insist on.
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  • It all outputs as html. CSS is just a way of organizing your styles. You can style your tables with CSS. Sometimes tables are more convenient.

    These days, W3C compliance is important to your rankings, and CSS is compliant where bloated old HTML tags aren't.
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  • Profile picture of the author JonMills
    css is sweet, lets you change across the board. Well worth learning
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
      Originally Posted by ccmusicman View Post

      Guys, I have learned a TON in this thread.

      My weakest ability is creating web pages. I used to use plain ol' html because CSS confused the heck out of me.

      And all the books on the subject are boring as snot.

      I'm going to go get that plugin and play around with it!

      Rob
      I was in the same boat as you and I've been a web developer for 15 years. It is super boring, and can be frustrating but it's worth it in the end. For some inspiration check out this site:

      css Zen Garden: The Beauty in CSS Design

      It uses the exact same html and the only thing that changes is the CSS. It shows what kind of power CSS layouts have.
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      • Profile picture of the author lonniewa2
        Ok so I have decided to go with "Expression web ver. 3" to create css layouts for my websites. Thank to all who replied. I learned a lot.
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgR.
    Originally Posted by lonniewa2 View Post

    Is anyone still using pure html to build their webpages? If so are they still ranking well? Learning css is happening really slow for me. It is hard trying to teach an old dogs new tricks.
    i agree, i know HTML and a little CSS, no way around it...but that's the main reason i make almost all sites based on wordpress now
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  • Profile picture of the author Darlene Isberg
    Sounds like you guys are going to run around the table F O R E V E R

    I changed my webpages from using Front Page - html to xhtml/css. Why?

    I copies this out for you -

    Copied from WestCiv.com
    "Most people agree that HTML documents should work well across different browsers and platforms. Achieving interoperability lowers costs to content providers since they must develop only one version of a document. If the effort is not made, there is much greater risk that the Web will devolve into a proprietary world of incompatible formats, ultimately reducing the Web's commercial potential for all participants. Each version of HTML has attempted to reflect greater consensus among industry players so that the investment made by content providers will not be wasted and that their documents will not become unreadable in a short period of time. HTML has been developed with the vision that all manner of devices should be able to use information on the Web: PCs with graphics displays of varying resolution and color depths, cellular telephones, hand held devices, devices for speech for output and input, computers with high or low bandwidth, and so on."
    In short the benefits of using standards, and approaching web development in the way recommended by the HTML specification are
    interoperability
    accessibility
    forward compatibility
    backwards compatibility
    significant savings in time and resources for web developers and their organizations
    which means we are looking to the future of the web, while ensuring backwards compatibility."
    Don't buy into their software as there is no support and the software craps out.
    They have 3 courses, 1 converting from html to xhtml and one for CSS 1 an CSS 2 for about $100.
    Between those and "About" - which offers a course - Jennifer is the brains there
    and W3 School I have been able to update 2 of my websites.

    I changed from html to xhtml/css. And yes, CSS is a pain but cheat.
    Get templates that suit your design and then modify the code. I have reduced the size of my pages by almost half so that certainly speeds up things and lowered the bandwidth significantly.
    Changing has nothing to do with ranking but whether or not mobiles and such like can get your website on their hand helds.

    Hope that helps

    Darlene
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    • Profile picture of the author hometutor
      CSS just gives your static html page style, this can be done with just html, but I'd be happy to send you a css file and web page for you to play around with and figure out. CSS comes in very handy if you wish to change the style of multiple html pages at one time. I'm glad you're looking at html. I'm getting tired of Wordpress problems for simple one or two page websites. No Mysql or worrying about updates and security breaches with static html.

      Rick
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