Advantages for Using FrontPage... maybe this HTML editor has some hidden advantages
by: Robin Nobles
Ever since I've been doing SEO work, I've always griped and complained about FrontPage and all the extraneous code it puts in the section of the page, etc.
Then recently, I had the opportunity to visit with a group of advanced search engine optimizers, and I was shocked to find that many of them use FrontPage and love it.
The first thing I learned is that there are ways to keep out the extraneous code! With FrontPage, you can remove the code, but it keeps comes back again and again and again. But, there’s a way to get rid of it forever.
How to Get Rid of Extraneous Code and Headers
Dave Barry, Webmaster of SmartCertify Direct (http://www.smartcertify.com), explains how:
FrontPage 97 or 98 users:
Click on Start, then Find, then Files or Folders. Search your hard drive (generally your C drive) for a file named frontpg.ini. Click on the file.
When it opens, look for a line that says, “Version 3.0.”
Add this line under Version 3.0:
The next time you use FrontPage, remove the extraneous code and headers, and they won’t come back.
FrontPage 2000, 2002, or XP users:
Look at the menu bar at the top of the Open Web. Click on Tools, then Page Options.
You’ll see an option box. Under HTML Source, at the top of the page under General, you’ll have this choice:
When saving file(s):
Preserve existing HTML or Reformat using the rules below
If you choose Preserve existing HTML, and if you delete any extraneous code and headers, you won’t see the code or headers on your pages again.
(To view an example screen shot showing the above, click here: http://www.academywebspecialists.com/newsletters/fp2.gif)
“To disable the HTML changing of FrontPage 2000, a registry entry is also needed. This registry file (http://www.academywebspecialists.com/newsletters/noreformat.zip) will do it automatically. Just open the file with Notepad to verify its authenticity before using it.
“The attachment and registry entry must occur on the server.
“Or, if you want to edit the registry manually, here is the code:
Tools\Web Server Extensions\All Ports]
Add-In that Generates META Tags
FrontPage also has an Add-in that will delete META tags without going into the source view. It’s called META Tag Maker 2002, and it will create and manage META tags through one dialogue box, without having to go into source view.
In fact, the FrontPage site has an amazing number of Add-ins for FrontPage that are free for the taking. http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage/downloads/addin/def ault.asp
Some of the more popular Add-ins include:
Multimedia/Special FX, Windows Media Add-in, that will easily embed audio and visual into your Web pages;
Clear Teal Template, that is a 16-page easy-to-use Web template that lets you easily create a Web site;
Other Advantages for Using FrontPage
* Server side includes are easy with FrontPage. Before we go on, let me explain what “server side includes” are.
Server side includes (SSI’s) generate parts of Web pages dynamically on the “server side.” They allow you to add customization features to your Web pages, such as an e-mail form. Unlike other forms of dynamic content, or content that’s created on the fly, server side includes have a normal URL that’s easy for users to remember and doesn’t create problems for the engines.
In other words, SSI’s embed special commands into an HTML document that tells the server to perform specific actions when a user requests the page. The server then creates the Web page on the fly by merging files or inserting requested information.
How might you use SSI’s on your Web page? Let’s say you want to add a form to your Web site for your users to complete to sign up for your newsletter. You could create the form using SSI’s.
For more information on creating SSI’s with FrontPage, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage/using/default.htm and click on FrontPage Server Extensions.
* Dave Barry, who recently created two major sections of the Dell Web site using FrontPage, manages 40 to 50 Web sites at SmartCertify, and he easily moves back and forth between those sites using FP. With that many sites, there is a lot of duplicity, and he can effortlessly share objects with FP or edit multiple Web sites. With FrontPage, you can cut and paste between the sites, use shared borders, and easily drag and drop files, thus saving a lot of time versus handling each site separately.
If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), FrontPage also makes using them a breeze. You can even create DHTML using FrontPage.
Dave created a video on how to copy and paste, how to use Cascading Style Sheets, and how to use shared borders with Front Page:
(Author Note: When viewing these videos, make sure you have the latest version of Microsoft Windows Media Player. To download the latest version (7.1), click here (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q299321). Also, I found that I was unable to view the videos if my firewall (Zone Alarm) was running.)
* Another benefit to using FrontPage is being able to create virtual directories with ease. As you know, when you specify a home directory, all of the subdirectories beneath than home directory automatically become subdirectories of the Web site as well. However, you can also designate a folder located elsewhere on the system as a subdirectory of the site by creating a virtual directory out of it. A virtual directory is a directory or folder on a server that is not in the actual server directory structure.
Again, Dave created a video on how to create virtual directories using Front Page:
* If you want to create a database, it’s no problem with FrontPage. It will virtually create a database for you and import data without any database knowledge at all. The program works with Access, SQL, Oracle, and ODBC, and you can set up an SEC-compliant database within 30 seconds and begin working with asp pages with no prior knowledge whatsoever.
Click here for Dave’s video on how to create a database using FrontPage:
* To Lee Davies of #1 Internet Marketing (http://www.1-internet-marketing.co.nz), the main advantage to FrontPage is that you can so easily manage all your html pages from the folders section.
For example, “If you were to rename an image, which is something that needs to be done when optimizing, it will rename the links to the images from every page,” he explains.
* What I kept hearing again and again as I interviewed users of FrontPage is that FrontPage saves you time in creating Web pages, because it’s so easy to use. Don Hammond with DonOMite (http://www.donomite.com) explains,
“Straight HTML pages are a breeze with FP. I know a lot of programmers scoff at using it, but it means I can crank out a basic HTML page in seconds rather than minutes. And when I get paid by the job, it means more $/hr to me.”
* Dawn Rowlett with Web Submission Services (http://www.internetmarketingwebsites.com) explains further:
“From the first day that I was introduced to FrontPage, I was instantly able to catch on to some of the many features because it was so easy to use. I think the most beneficial factor to the program for me was that I was able to go in and design a page, knowing nothing at all about HTML. I could include hyperlinks, tables, images, change colors, backgrounds, insert text, create paragraphs, etc. with absolutely no background in coding. I was able to do all of this on my first day with the program!
“I remember one time in the beginning when I was involved in a discussion with a designer who was using another HTML editor and was completely stuck on the coding of how to create a simple table. My first thought at the time was, using Front Page, that is such a simple task.”
* Many professional SEO’s also like to use FrontPage because it’s a program that’s simple enough for their clients to use. So, when the SEO turns the site back over to the client, the client can easily make changes with FrontPage without having to know HTML. As Tom Altman with RSM McGladrey, Inc. (http://www.rsmmcgladrey.com) explains,
“Most of the folks already have the office suite, so they are used to using Word and the like. FrontPage is not that much different, and it lets them maintain their own site.”
Make FrontPage Work the way YOU Want it to!
At the Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions Resource Kit, you’ll find links to all of the possible ways to make FrontPage work for you, instead of the default values after installation.
Take a Free Course in using FrontPage!
Dave Barry at SmartCertify Direct (http://www.smartcertify.com) created a free course in using FrontPage. Simply register at the following URL, and take the free course:
As you’ve seen, some very experienced Web designers and search engine optimizers use FrontPage as their “editor of choice.” Its ease of use and variety of ready-made templates make it a program that’s easy for beginners yet has the functionality that advanced designers need.
It also allows the designer or SEO to get a page designed quickly and easily, and time adds up to money for a busy SEO.
As Nancy Nelson with Search by Design! (http://www.search-by-design.com) said,
“Is it a perfect tool? Certainly not, but FrontPage combined with minor HTML knowledge can take you a long way...”
So FrontPage users, don’t be ashamed to admit that you use FrontPage! Some of the best Web designers in the industry use it, with good reason.
Special Thanks to Dave Barry
Dave Barry with SmartCertify created the videos, screen shots, and free tutorial available in this article. Plus, he gave me the work arounds for getting rid of extraneous code, and he verified the accuracy of the content. Thank you Dave – there’s no way I could have created this article without your help.
Copyright 2002 Robin Nobles and Dave Barry. All rights reserved.
About The Author
Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists, (http://www.academywebspecialists.com) has trained several thousand people in her online search engine marketing courses (http://www.onlinewebtraining.com) and is the content provider for (GRSeo) Search Engine Optimizer software (http://www.se-optimizer.com). She also teaches 4-day hands on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe with Search Engine Workshops (http://www.searchengineworkshops.com).
Dave Barry is a professional Webmaster, Web designer, programmer, and search engine optimizer, all rolled up into one amazingly talented man who works for SmartCertify Direct. (http://www.smartcertify.com) He has also begun working with Search Engine Workshops to put on “hands on” training workshops at locations across the globe. (http://www.searchengineworkshops.com).