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Recently my father started a catering company. He asked me (my day job is a back end web developer) to create a very basic web site for him with some intro copy, the menus and contact details. He also wanted the customers to be able to download the menus as a PDF. That wasn't a problem. I put together a static site over a few days and it did the job.

As he's now settled in to the business he wants to start doing some SEO. At this point I said I had to step back, I have very little SEO experience and as I work for a gift company I'm going to have very little free time over the next few months in the run up to Christmas. This wasn't a problem, he spoke to a friend who does SEO and he said he could take the project on if I could still do some of the admin work. The SEO guy wanted switch the site to dot net nuke (it's what they use in house and would allow my Dad to do some of the editing). This made sense to me - originally I had considered using Wordpress.

In switching the site over to dnn a problem has arisen. The menus have to be maintained in two places, the PDFs and the site. My Dad writes the menus in Word (and exports to PDF) which works well however trying to keep the site updated has been tricky, the WYSIWYG editor in dnn is terrible for laying out content.

As I see it I've got a few options:

  • Go back to how it was done on the original site (I maintain the menus and do all the layout with custom CSS). While I know this will work any changes will have to be done by me in time that I don't really have.
  • Stick with dnn and my Dad will have to put up with updating the menus in two places and struggling with the layout issues.
  • Embed the PDFs using something like an iframe/Google document viewer/scribd. This sounds ideal however I have no idea what impact this will have on SEO. I know Google indexes PDFs but it seems like it won't be as effective.

What I'd like to know is how viable is the embedding option or even if anyone has any suggestions on how to manage this generally?

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1 Answer

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Original Site

I do not believe it would be wise to go back to a static site. It is easier to manage a website with a Content Management System (CMS). Not to mention that you stated yourself that you would be very busy until Christmas. Once a CMS is configured and deployed correctly it normally cuts down a lot of the maintenance time.

Sticking With DotNetNuke

I have taken a quick look at the feature comparaison of DotNetNuke CMS editions. I see that there is a document manager in the Professional and Enterprise editions. To my knowledge, DotNetNuke requires a Windows environment as well as IIS for hosting...

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. First, what edition did your dad's friend used and can you use the document manager?
  2. Secondly, what are the costs associated with using DotNetNuke (hosting, development with .NET, CMS, etc.)?
  3. Third, is it viable to scrap the investment associated with DotNetNuke (if there is any at all)?
  4. Why would your dad struggle with the layout when DotNetNuke has a template system?

If it is viable to scrap the site configured with DotNetNuke you can always check out for alternatives. There are tons of CMS out there! My personal favorite is SilverStripe, but you could go with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. A quick search for a CMS with SEO in Google should give you enough information to get started.

Embedding the PDF

I do not believe this would be required. PDF is now a type of document that works pretty much everywhere. Therefore, the menu should be available with a simple link so it can easily be served.

If you really wish to embed the PDF I would refer to the following StackOverflow question: Best Way to Embed PDF in HTML. Notice that some solutions will make you upload the PDF on a third party server. In other words, it will create another layer of management if you are going to use a CMS.

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Thank for the detailed answer, I think I'll be doing something with the document manger once I've had a chance to play around with it. –  Adam Flanagan Oct 24 '11 at 10:32
    
Your welcome! :) –  Alerty Oct 24 '11 at 19:55
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