I’ve been thinking about creating a social networking site for web pros in my region. Ning is the platform that I like the best so far because it seems to have the most put-together appearance and out-of-the-box functionality – I don’t have time to develop another site just for fun right now!

I did find a nice article comparing a few of these ‘white label’ networking platforms that may be valuable for readers.

In any event, if I decide to do this it will be my first real foray into the realm, aside from LinkedIn. And it will be wholly experimental – I don’t know if I can get any interest out of locals or not. But it might be interesting to see…

And another thing…

The boundaries of my PNG (the logo in this site-in-progress) overlap a few of the menu items in the navigation bar: Home, About Us, and the left side of Construction. I applied a z-index to that navbar thinking that might solve the problem but it didn’t.

Another developer pointed out that the navbar needed to have positioning before z-index will work. I applied a position: relative; to it, and voila! Works perfectly now.

I’m working on a site for a client and was having trouble getting my PNG’s working right in IE6 – I tried several methods but for some reason wasn’t able to get any of them (including the MS alpha image filter) to work right. I’m sure I was doing something wrong in the way it was being implemented, but anyway I did finally find something that worked for me on Bob Osola’s site.

Here’s the reference. Actually I failed to get his primary Javascript-based solution to ever work and gave up on it. But on his ‘more info’ page, I did get one of the variant methods to work (‘JS Code on Individual PNG’s’). It works very nicely, in fact…. but the JS is sitting in my head section of the page; when I try externalizing it, it stops working completely.

If someone reads this and can tell me how to successfully take the script out of the page and get it working in a separate file, I would be very happy. Otherwise, this is a fast and simple method.

I also ran into another issue – I’ll talk about this in the next post…

I’ve been using Google’s sitemaps tool for a few months now and built XML sitemaps for the websites I’ve launched (or relaunched) since summer. Today my SEO partner sent me an email and I got an education about why it might not be a good idea to do that anymore – mainly the argument is that getting a lot of pages indexed via a sitemap is not really helping the search engine viability of a site. It’s like if the site has 500 pages and only a hundred are indexed, adding a sitemap to get those other 400 in there isn’t really fixing the problem of non-indexing in a way that adds any value to the site. It’s masking the symptoms but not fixing the problem.

I can buy that. I read a number of blogs about this issue today and can definitely see the problem. For the sites I launched since summer, most of them have been very small and didn’t really need a sitemap at all; the only largish one was the relaunch of my business site and in that case I think the sitemap was a useful thing.

I’d changed a lot of URL’s when my business name changed, and I both used an XML sitemap and redirects for every changed page. I can say that although my current site and previous one were about the same size, I have about twice as many pages indexed for the new one and it happened very quickly, in about 3 weeks, which I don’t think could possibly have occurred without the sitemap.

It could be argued that those newly-indexed pages were ‘artificial’, but I do have a clear, consistent sitewide navigation scheme and a well-organized site. I think in this case I was speeding up what would happen naturally over a much longer time span.

So I’m convinced, in part – for the launch of a new site, a sitemap is a bad idea because with it it will be impossible to tell how a page got indexed and where the problems lie. But for relaunching an existing, well-established site with a lot of URL changes, that might be the place where they have the most value.