CSS Or Table Based Web Design – Which is Best For Your Site?

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The two main staples of modern web design are still at odds even though it was predicted long ago that table use in web design would be extinct and replaced with sleek, CSS style sheet driven websites! The debate about which way is best rages on. You do not have to travel far in web circles to hear the squabbles on the blogs over CSS and table web design. The table purist will speak of ancient die-hard standard compliance and how it's impossible to achieve with CSS. The CSS purist, on the other hand, will say that your table leader site is "old" and "heavy" with tables. In other words, you should completely redesign your website with CSS so that the "Google spiders" can peruse your site freely and reward you with high Google rankings.

Believe it or not, there is a place in the world for both! For example, if you have a truly quantitative set of data to display, then you should use the table design. Even though it is said that the "Google spiders" light design that CSS provides, your website will not fall through the floor in rankings just because you have a table or two on some web pages. It does not negate the fact that numerical data and table design (for example, Excel spread sheets) is for appropriate data display. In other words, if you have a ton of RSS feeds and many automated widgets coming to your site, then it's time to separate out the data from the presentation layer with XML & CSS. You will find that if managing a site with loads of content and RSS feeds, that if you do not take proactive measures to separate out the data from presentation with CSS / XHTML, then it will become a nightmare just to manage your site. Do not wait till your site is 1000 pages to properly format your site with the best design to suit your ongoing needs. Remember we all start out with one page on a site and the longer it's out there the bigger it gets (at least we hope it gets bigger!). So your best bet is to get moving forward and find middle ground and use each style where appropriate.

Go easy on yourself if you find that you have the wrong design on a web page. We all are buried in work and sometimes need to prioritize. If you review your pages and your business efforts accordingly, you will be able to match up the correct design styles to your needs. To review the benefits of Table-based design (the old style is great at presenting quantitative Excel style data), read this. The Table based designs are much more practical when using the Excel style data presentation, but tend to get docked a bit in the search rankings due to being more difficult for the pages to be crawled. CSS is excellent for separating out the data layer from the presentation layer and it takes much less code to code a CSS driven web page then it does for it's sister table design. So your local "Google spider" loves the CSS sites and will improve your rankings. So use it where you can!

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