Sunday, May 11, 2003

Advantages for Using FrontPage
...maybe this HTML editor has some hidden advantages

by Robin Nobles and Dave Barry

Ever since I've been doing SEO work, I've always griped and
complained about FrontPage and all the extraneous
code it puts in the < head > section of the page, etc.

Then recently, I had the opportunity to visit with a group
of advanced search engine optimizers,
and I was shocked to find that many
of them use FrontPage and love it.


The first thing I learned is that there are ways to keep
out the extraneous code! With FrontPage, you can
remove the code, but it keeps comes back again
and again and again. But, there's a way to get
rid of it forever.

How to Get Rid of Extraneous Code and Headers

Dave Barry, Webmaster of SmartCertify Direct, explains how:

FrontPage 97 or 98 users:

Click on Start, then Find, then Files or Folders. Search your hard
drive (generally your C drive) for a file named frontpg.ini.
Click on the file.

When it opens, look for a line that says, "Version 3.0."

Add this line under Version 3.0:


The next time you use FrontPage, remove the extraneous
code and headers, and they won't come back.

FrontPage 2000, 2002, or XP users:

Look at the menu bar at the top of the Open Web. Click on Tools,
then Page Options.

You'll see an option box. Under HTML Source, at the top of the
page under General, you'll have this choice:

When saving file(s):

Preserve existing HTML or
Reformat using the rules below

If you choose Preserve existing HTML, and if you delete any
extraneous code and headers, you won't see the code or headers
on your pages again.

Dave added:

"To disable the HTML changing of FrontPage 2000, a registry entry is
also needed. This attachment ( will do it automatically.
Just open the file with Notepad to verify its authenticity before using it.

"The attachment and registry entry must occur on the server.

"Or, if you want to edit the registry manually, here is the code:

Tools\Web Server Extensions\All Ports]

Add-In that Generates META Tags

FrontPage also has an Add-in that will delete META tags
without going into the source view. It's called META Tag Maker
2002, and it will create and manage META tags through one dialogue
box, without having to go into source view.

In fact, the FrontPage site has an amazing number of Add-ins for
FrontPage that are free for the taking.

Some of the more popular Add-ins include:

Multimedia/Special FX, Windows Media Add-in, that will easily
embed audio and visual into your Web pages;

Clear Teal Template, that is a 16-page easy-to-use Web template
that lets you easily create a Web site;

Scripting/Database Tools, J-Bots Plus 2002 Trial. According to
the FrontPage site, J-Bots components make FrontPage Web
sites more customized by adding JavaScript-enabled features, but
you don't have to know how to write code or cut and paste. Simply
fill in dialog boxes, click Generate, and the JavaScript is created for you.

Other Advantages for Using FrontPage

Server side includes are easy with FrontPage. Before we go on,
let me explain what "server side includes" are.

Server side includes (SSI's) generate parts of Web pages dynamically
on the "server side." They allow you to add customization features to
your Web pages, such as an e-mail form. Unlike other forms of
dynamic content, or content that's created on the fly, server side includes
have a normal URL that's easy for users to remember and doesn't create
problems for the engines.

In other words, SSI's embed special commands into an HTML
document that tells the server to perform specific actions when a
user requests the page. The server then creates the Web page on
the fly by merging files or inserting requested information.

How might you use SSI's on your Web page? Let's say you want
to add a form to your Web site for your users to complete to sign up
for your newsletter. You could create the form using SSI's.

For more information on creating SSI's with FrontPage, visit: and click
on FrontPage Server Extensions.

Dave Barry, who recently created two major sections of the
Dell Web site using FrontPage, manages 40 to 50 Web sites at
SmartCertify, and he easily moves back and forth between those
sites using FP. With that many sites, there is a lot of duplicity,
and he can effortlessly share objects with FP or edit multiple Web sites.
With FrontPage, you can cut and paste between
the sites, use shared borders, and easily drag
and drop files, thus saving a lot of time versus
handling each site separately.

If you've ever wanted to experiment with Cascading Style Sheets
(CSS), FrontPage also makes using them a breeze. You can even create
DHTML using FrontPage.

Dave created a video on how to copy and paste, how to use
Cascading Style Sheets, and how to use shared borders with Front Page:

(Author Note: When viewing these videos, make sure you have
the latest version of Microsoft Windows Media Player. To
download the latest version (7.1), click here
scid=kb;en-us;Q299321). Also, I found that I was unable
to view the videos if my firewall (Zone Alarm) was running.)

Another benefit to using FrontPage is being able to create
virtual directories with ease. As you know, when you specify
a home directory, all of the subdirectories beneath than home
directory automatically become subdirectories of the Web site as
well. However, you can also designate a folder located elsewhere
on the system as a subdirectory of the site by creating a virtual
directory out of it. A virtual directory is a directory or folder on a
server that is not in the actual server directory structure.

Again, Dave created a video on how to create virtual directories
using Front Page:

If you want to create a database, it's no problem with FrontPage.
It will virtually create a database for you and import data without
any database knowledge at all. The program works with Access,
SQL, Oracle, and ODBC, and you can set up an SEC-compliant
database within 30 seconds and begin working with asp pages
with no prior knowledge whatsoever.

Click here for Dave's video on how to create a database
using FrontPage:

To Lee Davies of #1 Internet Marketing
(, the main advantage
to FrontPage is that you can so easily manage all your html
pages from the folders section.

For example, "If you were to rename an image, which is
something that needs to be done when optimizing, it will
rename the links to the images from every page," he explains.

What I kept hearing again and again as I interviewed users of
FrontPage is that FrontPage saves you time in creating Web pages,
because it's so easy to use. Don Hammond with DonOMite
( explains,

"Straight HTML pages are a breeze with FP. I know a lot of
programmers scoff at using it, but it means I can crank out a
basic HTML page in seconds rather than minutes. And when
I get paid by the job, it means more $/hr to me."

Dawn Rowlett with Web Submission Services
( explains further:

"From the first day that I was introduced to FrontPage, I was instantly
able to catch on to some of the many features because it was so easy
to use. I think the most beneficial factor to the program for me was
that I was able to go in and design a page, knowing nothing at all
about HTML. I could include hyperlinks, tables, images, change
colors, backgrounds, insert text, create paragraphs, etc. with absolutely
no background in coding. I was able to do all of this on my first day
with the program!

"I remember one time in the beginning when I was involved
in a discussion with a designer who was using another HTML
editor and was completely stuck on the coding of how to create
a simple table. My first thought at the time was, using Front Page,
that is such a simple task."

Many professional SEOs also like to use FrontPage because it's a
program that's simple enough for their clients to use. So, when the
SEO turns the site back over to the client, the client can easily make
changes with FrontPage without having to know HTML. As Tom
Altman with RSM McGladrey, Inc. (

"Most of the folks already have the office suite, so they are used to
using Word and the like. FrontPage is not that much different, and
it lets them maintain their own site."
Make FrontPage Work the way YOU Want it to!

At the Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions Resource Kit, you'll
find links to all of the possible ways to make FrontPage work for
you, instead of the default values after installation.

Take a Free Course in using FrontPage!

Dave Barry at SmartCertify Direct (
created a free course in using FrontPage. Simply register at the
following URL, and take the free course:

In Conclusion

As you've seen, some very experienced Web designers and
search engine optimizers use FrontPage as their
"editor of choice." Its ease of use and variety of ready-made
templates make it a program that's easy for beginners yet has
the functionality that advanced designers need.

It also allows the designer or SEO to get a page designed
quickly and easily, and time adds up to money for a busy SEO.

As Nancy Nelson with Search by Design! (
said, "Is it a perfect tool? Certainly not, but FrontPage combined
with minor HTML knowledge can take you a long way..."

So FrontPage users, don't be ashamed to admit that you use
FrontPage! Some of the best Web designers in the industry use it,
with good reason.

Special Thanks to Dave Barry

Dave Barry with SmartCertify created the videos, screen shots,
and free tutorial available in this article. Plus, he gave me the work
arounds for getting rid of extraneous code, and he verified the
accuracy of the content. Thank you Dave ? there's no way I
could have created this article without your help.


Dave Barry is a professional Webmaster, Web designer,
programmer, and search engine optimizer, all rolled up into
one amazingly talented man who works for SmartCertify Direct.
( He has also begun working
with Search Engine Workshops to put on "hands on" training
workshops at locations across the globe.
Dave recently set up Computer Concierge International,
which is a full service networking and Internet solutions

Robin Nobles is the Director of Training for the Academy of Web
Specialists, where she has taught several thousand students in her
online search engine marketing courses during the past several years.
She is also the content provider for GRSeo (Search Engine Optimizer)
software. Her latest books, Web Site Analysis and Reporting and
Streetwise Maximize Web Site Traffic, can be ordered through Amazon.
Robin has partnered with John Alexander to form Search Engine
Workshops, which offers 2-, 3-, and 5-day "hands on" workshop
held at various locations across the globe. Visit Search Engine
Workshops to learn more.

See also:


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