I have a new client with an old and new web site, who asked me yesterday how to redirect one to the other. I knew that I should use a 301 permanent redirect, but oddly enough, I wasn’t sure where to put the .htaccess file.

In the past, I’ve only ever used a 301 or 302 redirect for files on the same server. I guess that might sound dumb, but I didn’t know if the .htaccess file should go on the old site’s server or the new one, and I looked around for half an hour on Google and couldn’t find the answer to that question.

So I’m posting what I found out here – if you change your domain name and redirect Site A to Site B, the .htaccess file (assuming you’re using Apache server) needs to sit on Site A, kind of like a detour sign. And if you’re trying to recapture good rankings from the old site, leave it up for awhile, like up to a year. This will give the search engines plenty of time to get the new pages indexed (and for your visitors to change bookmarks) before you take the old site down.

I found this fun post about what not to do with a website on one of my mailing lists this week. Josiah hits many nails right on their respective heads here…

Here’s my favorite:

6. This one is going to get me in trouble. If you are a print designer, and “do websites on the side”, STOP DOING websites and providing “advice” to your print clients about web design. Print design to web design is like designing an ad for a race car, and actually building and racing that race car. Don’t get me wrong, print is great and all, you make pretty pictures and wonderful messages crafted with great copy, but when it comes down to it, it’s still just a picture. People cannot buy the product with a print ad (yet), they can’t communicate with your business through a print ad. I can already here the grumbling coming from the print world, and look, it’s not that I don’t see a purpose for print advertising, just stick to print and don’t nose you’re way into a medium which you do not know and wouldn’t understand (same goes for general “geeks” who do websites ‘on the side’).

I couldn’t agree more. Earlier this week I got a call from a potential client – we were supposed to meet to discuss a site for her employer, who’s building a very large and very upscale business park.

She apologized but said that her employer had decided to ‘get a personal friend’ to build their site instead.

I wrote her back, thanking her for letting me know, and suggesting she contact me in six months if they need SEO help for their new site. I can just imagine what it’s going to look like – this is a huge mistake, IMO, that’s going to cost them down the road.

Just because you have Dreamweaver, that doesn’t make you a professional web designer, any more than having QuickBooks makes you an accountant. Sorry, but it’s too true!

One of my best clients came to me this week with a large products page, and asked me to reduce the size (the number of characters in the HTML page) for him.

The page was full – it runs in a frame, and has a limit of 50,000 characters. They were already at 49,300 and had many more products to add.

I removed the table structure (a feat in itself! it was a nasty huge nested table) and implemented a lot more CSS, replacing the ubiquitous font tag and other similar elements.

My new page has 36,000 characters. I think that in itself is a pretty good argument for why tables are not a good idea for layout work.

This is really great.

One of my clients, a consultant for whom I did a site that launched about 18 months ago, read a story about SEO in the Wall Street Journal and it lit a fire under him. Today we met and he told me about his plans to expand the value of his already informative web site.
This client is an internationally-known expert in his industry. He already has a nice resource section with a good representative sample of his extensive book collection on his web site – now he wants to expand that resource area to include the links he gathers, articles (his own and other useful writings he comes across), industry news, and a bookstore (I’ll be using an Amazon aStore to capture his library).

All these things, coupled with some SEO work, are great ideas. They’ll contribute to his credibility, will likely be useful to industry colleagues and his own clients, and will hopefully increase traffic to his site.

I’m so happy I have some clients like this that see the huge potential of their web sites and aren’t interested in stopping at a glorified brochure. My client is constantly involved in reshaping the boundaries of his own knowledge about his work, and now he will bring his own clients and colleagues into the loop, so to speak. It’ll be interesting work.

Yesterday I got my t-shirt from Vistaprint (after they sent me an XL one for some mortgage company by mistake).

It looks really good. The shirt is 100% cotton but very translucent, so my other half will likely be wearing it to advertise for me, but it looks really cool and the printing was done well. I might have to think about buying t-shirts for my business (thicker ones though).