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Thread: PHP vs asp for site rebuild

  1. #1
    Senior Member Oman's Avatar
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    PHP vs asp for site rebuild

    I've owned and operated an e-commerce site for 10 years. The original/current site is written in .asp. It's been a functional site for us, but we have a sense that it's time to rebuild. Just like the an old car needs to be replaced every so often, we're at a point where we're looking to replace our web site with a newer version. Our goals are to increased SEO functionality and improve site navigation.

    Most of the SEO folks that I've spoken with want to completely re-do our web site. Perhaps that's necessary, but it might just be up-sell. My challenge is to determine what I would gain by dumping the old site and starting fresh.

    I'd appreciate some feedback on this question; if you could build a new website today with all the SEO bells and whistles you could ever wish for, how would it be written? .asp, PHP, html5, something else?

    Jeff

  2. #2
    Senior Member ristenk1's Avatar
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    I could be wrong but I don't think it makes a difference for SEO on backend languages like PHP aand ASP... biggest thing for good SEO would be solid html (perhaps html5 - although I don't know if that makes much of a difference either) with lots of keywords in the html text and client-side scripting like javascript rather then plugins like flash...

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  4. #3
    WebProWorld MVP rumblepup's Avatar
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    I USED to be a big asp pundit, and in fact, don't see much of a problem with using asp in any e-commerce application. But, I took a look at your site, and what I see is that you definitely have some url issues. For instance, long query urls, which really isn't a problem unless you're giving way too many signals to the SE's.

    For instance;
    http://myfootshop.com/searchresults_...ain%20Products

    There are a lot of parameters in that url. Again, usually something the SE's don't have a problem with, but a bit telling of an antiquated asp source code, that page has no PR, and old google cache, and isn't really that friendly from a users perspective.

    Before any provider tries to sell you an e-commerce package, realize 2 things, they want to charge you for something that's probably free, and they are using their own favorite code base, regardless of what you thing should be included in a good e-commerce engine. My advice, check out Magento. It's open source, it's community package is enterprise level code, and it's hell of a SEO friendly package. Others just don't compare.
    http://www.magentocommerce.com/

  5. #4
    WebProWorld MVP DaveSawers's Avatar
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    Personally I would use PHP but that`s only because I`m familiar with it and skilled enough to avoid most of the potential security holes. It really doesn't matter what the site is written in, it is more important that whoever does the work knows what they are doing.

    The site should certainly be HTML5 compliant for future proofing but of course this can be done no matter what server side programming language you choose.
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  7. #5
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    As many other people have already said: it's not really important which coding language (php, asp etc) your site is built in, but the platform does matter. Don't take the cheap route - and get an off-the-shelf ecommerce site - the majority of these are not 'SEO-friendly'.

    Rumblepup has mentioned Magento, and this is a great ecomm platform for many reasons - not least that it is easier to configure for SEO. One thing I have noticed about it though, is that it can be quite heavy on the server and hosting can be expensive. A good alternative to Magento is Prestashop, which has all the SEO functionality but is faster to load and takes up less space on the server. Prestashop is not as well known or understood in the UK as Magento is (actually I don't know where you're based so this may not be relevant to you) so you may find it more difficult to find a competent developer for it - pros and cons, eh?

    You ask whether it's worth updating your ten year old site as many SEO companies have told you that you need to do it, but you're concerned that this is just an upsell. I haven't looked at your website at all, but I think if it is 10 years old, it probably does need rebuilding from the ground up. I am an SEO Consultant (not touting for business her btw) and have to say it's really frustrating to try and get results from an old 'clunky' site - it just makes the job more difficult, and results are slower to show. Think on this: is it better to get a new site up and working with the SEO elements already built in, and get faster results in terms of listings, or would you rather pay for more SEO work to be done before you see any results?

    Finally, if you have an ecomm site, make sure it's mobile-friendly as well! My ecomm SEO customers are starting to get a real uplift in mobile sales now, so if you want your new site to last for another 10 years, get it mobile now! Good luck!

    PS - I only joined this forum to answer your question

  8. #6
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    To reiterate what others said, the backend language (asp/php) will not matter to the end user or for SEO, however it could matter to you. Having programmed for years in both asp and php one thing I've learned is that although each have their strengths and weaknesses; asp generally means windows server and windows server generally means higher cost and problems. Php on the other hand generally means Unix server and that is going to give you a more efficient, lower to maintain experience.

    For SEO a site rebuild might not to help directly, but if it is done correctly it could help by giving you the tools to easily update and change your site. In turn this could help your SEO by allowing you to keep fresh content for search engines to capture.

    On the HTML side of things, honestly if it works then your good. HTML5 adds maybe one or two features you would use but nothing that can't be done in regular HTML. It relabels a couple of HTML things and gets rid of the document tag (until HTML 5.5 comes out) but that's about it. The important part is being able to update and edit your site as efficiently as possible for you and for your site to display in as many platforms as feasible (windows, mac, phones, etc). In the end how it is put together is irrelevant from a user standpoint. HTML5 is good to boast about to other standards freaks but it really adds nothing so is a matter of preferences as it's about as easy to put together as HTML because there is barely any difference anyway.

    A lot of SEO is about change (keeping your site fresh with new content and changes) and while a redesign can help make this easier, a redesign will not keep you up in the lists through the coming future. Hiring someone to write for the site does that .

    -Shawn

  9. #7
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    @Oman - I'm in the same market (orthopedic & running shoes, orthotics) and I've gone through the same thing in the last 8 months, but since we don't sell into your area, I figured I might as well help out some.

    Our site was your basic small-scale e-commerce system built by a web programmer. I would recommend staying away from these. There are plenty of open source e-commerce systems out there that provide you with good control of your site. We went with Magento (the previous e-commerce site I ran was Zen Cart, which was good but not modern). Magento's been great to us and is a good route; the bonus with Magento is that they've already done a lot of the expensive modern upgrades.

    Amelia is right about Magento being a hog - we eventually got a caching module that caches pages and serves them up in less than a second. We also developed a caching program to cache and flush pages. I'm sure our contract programmer would be happy to sell it to you too. [ URL removed from new member post ]

    When we put Magento live, we did 301 redirects for all category and most product pages to make sure we didn't lose pagerank. Since you've got a pagerank of 4 on your site, I'd recommend you do the same to keep your ranking in Google.

    ristenk1 is right; the language that builds the HTML isn't a big deal.

    Hope this helps - call me (Nathan) at 604 514-0022 if you need some answers from someone who's been through it and isn't trying to sell you stuff.
    Last edited by weegillis; 02-14-2012 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Member has insufficient post count to include URL in post
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  10. #8
    Senior Member Oman's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone for your replies. And thanks in particular to you new WebProWorld forum members. I appreciate you putting forth the effort to join the forums so that you could join in this particular discussion. I think you'll find the WPW forums to be a great place to get answers, honest answers without any sales pressure.

    Based on your responses, I'm going to stick with our current site architecture and start looking for talent. We're looking to expand our team with a creative director, SEO director and analytics director.

    I may be the owner of our e-commerce site but my primary role is that of chief medical officer. Thanks again for the feedback - it helps me understand the subtleties of the technical side of my website.

    Jeff

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Hi Nathan, I was wondering which caching module you used on your site? There are a few available!
    Hi Amelia - sorry I didn't reply sooner; I don't check this inbox often. The module I used for Magento is Fast Full Page Cache. Stefan was quite helpful and gave great support for our installation.
    Last edited by weegillis; 02-14-2012 at 03:38 PM. Reason: bb href
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  12. #10
    WebProWorld MVP DaveSawers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idlinux
    asp more secure than php its my suggestion
    NONSENSE! Security isn't in the programming language, it's in the way the programmer produces the product.

    SQL injection attacks (to take just one example) can occur in any programming language and have to be addressed by the programmer. They are not prevented by the programming language.
    Last edited by weegillis; 02-14-2012 at 03:34 PM. Reason: bb href
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