Frequently Asked Questions

How will my site benefit from hand coded XHTML/CSS?

We believe every website deserves to be hand coded from scratch. Using a visual editor (as opposed to hand coding) or using a template only leads to clutter. Unnecessary code resulting from anything but an original hand coded site will result in poor search engine performance and difficult/costly maintenance down the road.

What is cross browser compatibility?

There are dozens of Internet browser available from Internet Explorer 6 (and below) to the latest issue of Firefox. Any developer will beg you to consider upgrading to Firefox as it supports today's most recent advances in web developer via automatic updates. Contrarily, Internet Explorer only offers issues every few years that become increasingly dated as IT continues to evolve. What displays perfectly in Internet Explorer 7 may look completely different and/or broken in its predecessor Internet Explorer 6...unless, of course, Spartan built your web site.

What is W3C compliance?

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has provided guidelines by which websites and web pages should be structured and created. The rules they outline are based on the "best practices" and while websites don't have to comply to be viewed correctly, there are many benefits to making sure your site complies including search engine visibility, accessibility for disabled site viewers and proper rendering across mediums other than the web (i.e. mobile devices).

What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization (or SEO) is a term used to describe how visible your website is to search engines SEO is an ever-evolving science that keeps pace with Google and Yahoo! As they continue to develop their search algorithms. A website that is built to be as optimized for search engines as possible does - in no way - guarantee your site to be high amongst your desired search results. There are many other factors that play into your page rank including linking strategies, Ad Words and general competition for your specific search terms.

How do I position my web site at the top of search engine results?

Getting your web site at the top of your desired search terms' query results is a huge challenge. If your site is built with SEO best practices in mind, you are off to a good start. Other tactics include linking strategies. A successful linking strategy will include links to your web site from other equally well built web sites. Think of it this way: if dozens or hundreds of people out there think your site's content is valuable enough to tell their audience about, so too will people searching Google for search terms found on your site. Other tactics include purchasing premium placement within search engine results such as Google AdWords.

How do Google AdWords and similar programs work?

You may also consider purchasing premium search engine result placement via a service such as Google AdWords. Search Google for something common; let's go with "Honda, CT". You'll see search results at the top that are placed against a faint background color. These organizations are at the top of your search results because they have established a bucket of money in their Google AdWords account and have "bid" on the specific search terms that you just entered. If Honda's official site came before a local dealership, it's because Google is taking more money out of Honda's bucket each time their link is clicked than that of the local dealership's bucket.

What is fully semantic markup?

Semantic markup is a difficult concept even for experienced developers to understand. One way to describe it would be that a site featuring fully semantic markup displays your site's data in a manner that can be easily comprehended by your site visitors if it were void of any design elements. For instance, a browser wants to naturally render a headline in a certain way, a paragraph of text in a certain way and a list item in a certain way. It's your design and layout that changes this black and white rendering into something beautiful. Usability is enhanced and maintenance is a snap when you keep all design elements (such as CSS and JavaScript) separate from your HTML data.

What is the benefit of using CSS-based, table-less layouts?

Tables are relatively inflexible HTML elements that do have their place in today's websites. When your page content contains "tabular data" (think of an Excel worksheet), tables are appropriately used. Web page layouts should always be built with CSS telling the HTML how to appear as opposed to a table-based layout. Table-based layouts add clutter to HTML page making it more difficult for search engines to view your content and making maintenance much more difficult/costly.

Are there advantages to using Flash on my site?

While there is certainly more than one school of thought on how Flash can fit into your website, Spartan is of the mind that it should be used sparingly. It should contribute to a user experience as opposed to having your user experience be based entirely on Flash. Flash cannot be indexed by search engines so any content that is contained within the Flash won't be featured in search results. Furthermore, you can't easily navigate to any are of your Flash-based website. Rather than giving your audience a specific URL in which they are interested, you would have to tell them to go to your web site, click here, click there, etc. Flash should be used as an element within your HTML-based site that brings intricate animations or movies to life.