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HTML Template or From Scratch - And SEO Considerations When Redesigning Websites


I recently landed my first unpaid client, started working on their website… Yesterday, this client referred me to another client, who is going to pay, while I am still not finished with the first site. I have feelings of being in way "over my head", with a full time job, not new to programming but new to the web stack, etc., but I am learning as I go. I completed your foundation courses recently... 

HTML Template or From Scratch
In order to save time I decided I did not want to start these sites from scratch so I chose an HTML5 template. At times I feel like it is getting in the way of what I want to do, because I don't know the template very well. For example, I modify an element and it misaligns an element next to it, its made me regret going with a HTML template. Couldn't get the header to look the way I wanted so I was forced to cut out the existing header and make my own using flex box. Is this typical of what you hear from developers using HTML templates? Is it a bad idea to learn a specific template well or should I be starting from scratch on my next gig, too late for this one…What do the pros do?

SEO Considerations When Redesigning Websites
Lastly, SEO. The client with an existing website came to me a few days ago really concerned over losing their current organic search rankings. Its really stressing me out because the firm makes a lot of money from it according to them. I want to keep or improve their rankings. I read I have to keep the site structure in tact, keep all of the pages, and keywords. Update the robots.txt file, is there other things I need to do so I don't mess up their rankings?


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Hey Brandon,

I started my first template roughly 3 weeks? (If i remember correctly) after writing my first line of code Holy crap! It was so confusing. There was a vast amount of code that I didn't understand, I often ran into the same problem as you're having, which I assume is totally normal for a noob. I learned a decent amount from it but more mainly, it instilled me with confidence, I was like damn...a month in and I can make something this decent...where will I be in a year!? 

The problem isn't you don't know the template very well, it's that you don't know the basics that well (no one does this early on). I'd suggest finishing a template and then doing what Time Ferriss calls "no stakes learning". That would be a free site, or a project etc. If a company expects a site to be pixel perfect and you're giving it to them for free...well, moving on. You can always update the site in the future when your skills improve. There were times in the past where I stopped working on a template, just studied/practices raw HTML/CSS and came back to the template and just knew how to fix it. Curious, how are you doing? Would like to hear an update and how things went.  BTW check out bootstrap studio and other WYSISYG's.

And yes good templates are coded with SEO in mind, something you probably won't do well as a new developer. 

Edited by Brian
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