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Thread: Is table-less worthless?

  1. #1
    WebProWorld MVP inertia's Avatar
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    Question Is table-less worthless?

    Morning guys! I am about to re-design / re-build my "hobby" site - Uk Hip Hop, Inertia, Hip Hop, British Hip Hop - Cash Cow Records

    When i first built the site i knew very little about SEO but it did perform quite well (mainly coz it's aimed at the niche UK hip hop market).

    Now.....2 years down the line i wanna re-build it to the best of my abilities. One factor that i know i should be thinking about is table-less design...but....when it comes to programming in CSS/Div i have little to no experience. My question to you is....should i persevere in learning and building the site in this format or would the labour and time spent doing this be better spent somewhere else??!
    My LinkedIn Profile -- Lancaster Builder

    Twitter: @mattbennettseo

  2. #2
    Senior Member tamecrow's Avatar
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    Personally, if you're not familiar with CSS and divs then I would advise you to spend your time on the rest of the site. Tableless design gives less code bloat and makes it easier to read through the code but there's no real SEO benefit unless your pages are massively cluttered with code, making the content hard to find. Even then, it's debatable.

    If you're comfortable with divs and CSS, go for it. If you're not, I see no harm in using tables. CSS/divs are just nicer and cleaner. However, 'nice' often isn't a good enough reason

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    Quote Originally Posted by inertia View Post
    Morning guys! I am about to re-design / re-build my "hobby" site - Uk Hip Hop, Inertia, Hip Hop, British Hip Hop - Cash Cow Records

    When i first built the site i knew very little about SEO but it did perform quite well (mainly coz it's aimed at the niche UK hip hop market).

    Now.....2 years down the line i wanna re-build it to the best of my abilities. One factor that i know i should be thinking about is table-less design...but....when it comes to programming in CSS/Div i have little to no experience. My question to you is....should i persevere in learning and building the site in this format or would the labour and time spent doing this be better spent somewhere else??!
    I know some won't agree and might want to shoot me for saying but in my humble opinion when it comes to seo a tabless design make little difference.

    Hey I'm all into to tabless designs and using css for styling only but one thing i despise is working on a site that was developed by someone who used only css and divs cause it's just brutal hacking around and figuring out what this, that and the other thing means...

    Sometimes I feel ppl design tabless just so they can feel cool and say they did.

  4. #4
    WebProWorld MVP inertia's Avatar
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    Thats pretty much what i figured as well!

    Its one of those tiny factors which is good SEO practice but in reality has very little benefit. The site im going to build will be small and simple so i reckon ill just concentrate on the rest of it.
    My LinkedIn Profile -- Lancaster Builder

    Twitter: @mattbennettseo

  5. #5
    Senior Member fctoma's Avatar
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    Got to agree with above, without tables won't get you much farther, if any at all. I've designed many sites, all using tables, all ranking just fine for their niche.

    Safe, easy, and effective.
    Living the life in the Idaho Falls and playing Disc Golf
    Idaho Falls SEO

  6. #6
    WebProWorld MVP Orion's Avatar
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    OUCH.. not great advice...

    1. The purpose of a table is to mark up data for display (eg. a spreadsheet look) NOT for layout.
    2. Code to Content ratio... the main SEO benefit of using a tableless design.
    3. Easier
      1. Easier to update
      2. Easier to read the code
      3. Easier to redesign your entire site in a couple years if you like
    4. Site will validate properly
    5. Site will be more accessible (less loss of customers) meets US legal requirements
    6. Site can be easily rendered for mobile browsers
    7. Site will load faster (has SEO weight)
    8. It's just proper


    If you're not to up on it use Dreamweaver or another tool to help you build. In DW just click new then from the dialogue choose html choose an outline you want, choose xhtml transitional or strict click ok and you're done.

    Plug in your content, edit the css colors and design and you're off to the races.

    Personally I prefer not to use those as I go for bare minimums on my css, but that will work simple and easily.

    Also note: I'm not saying you don't use tables anywhere, sometimes you can't get things to line up cross browser, and the time isn't there so a table will do it. But try to avoid them when you can.
    Ron Boyd
    http://ronboyd.ca Follow me: @boydrw

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    Seems to me there are a lot more posts on this forum from people whose CSS won't work in one or more browsers. My tables work across browsers. I am using a little CSS, but darned little. Most of my pages are in tables because as far as I can tell it is totally impossible to design a CSS page that will give you 1,000 card pages, all of which have unique border designs around the cards.

    So do whatever you are comfortable with. Just remember to check it for cross browser compatibility.

    Good luck

  8. #8
    WebProWorld MVP Orion's Avatar
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Weedy Lady View Post
    it is totally impossible to design a CSS page that will give you 1,000 card pages, all of which have unique border designs around the cards.
    CSS and some Ajax or javaScript you can have one card and change the border around it as many times as you'd like. with a click or whatever. Also CSS allows you to do far far fancier designs for your borders than a table will allow.
    Ron Boyd
    http://ronboyd.ca Follow me: @boydrw

  9. #9
    Senior Member craigmn3's Avatar
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    The concept of Tableless design being an SEO factor falls with in the semi myth range. The only benefit of tableless code is that increases the percentage of your content to code. Whether or not this is an actual benefit is debatable. Also most of the time this small benefit is overcome by huge amounts of JS or some other nativagtion code. If you have time and want to be clean as possible go ahead , otherwise pass it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Is table-less worthless?

    Sometimes it's a pain that the web standards and technologies are forever changing...and I agree with 'jtracking' above that coming back to a CSS-div layout and trying to make heads or tails of it can be a challenge (thus the need for plenty of forethought in nomenclature)...but overall I believe that learning the new standards is worth the effort when you know that the standard is here to stay.

    I can't tell you how much SEO benefit using CSS-div layout will have, and tables aren't going anywhere either; so if you really are just doing this as a hobby and don't need to design sites that are up to date, then use tables if it's easier.

    Otherwise there are a couple points to consider in your learning and researching CSS:

    * Use external CSS files and include them on your pages via the <link> tag...this will allow them to get cached like images and make updating your site so much easier.

    * Think about the layout ahead of time, and use intelligent naming for your CSS classes and ids, this will help avoid total confusion when revisiting your layout down the road.

    * There is more than one way to do almost everything, each approach to CSS layout has pros and cons (such as using floats vs. absolute positioning to create column layouts).

    * Check your work in multiple browsers (IE, FF, Opera, Safari, NN), since they will all handle it slightly or radically (IE) different.

    * Look at graphics differently, since you will no longer have to chop them up into bitty pieces in order to make your layout work.

    * Have fun...since it can be fun and really creative to break out of the box and be able to place any element anywhere on the page and even overlapping other elements.

    Check out this site (for one) to see what can be done with CSS only layout:

    css Zen Garden: The Beauty in CSS Design

    Good luck if you choose to go on the CSS journey, in my opinion, it's worth the learning.

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