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jeebee123

SEO friendly URLS

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Hi,

We're using WHMCS and it is our wish to bring WHMCS as front-end website. We're moving from WordPress to WHMCS.

The only (realy big) problem is the URL structure.


Is there a way to change the URL structure of https://xxx.xx/cart.php?gid=1 to https://xxx.xx/webhosting  


I've searched on this community but didn't find a good solution yet.

 

 

Cheers

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4 hours ago, WHMCS Dan said:

Friendly Cart URLs is actually something we're introducing in WHMCS v8.

You can test out the beta by heading to https://beta.whmcs.com 

This should allow you to have links such as https://xxx.xx/store/webhosting 

Is this for all links? KB, direct product links, product groups, announcements, etc? I haven't had a chance to install the beta yet.

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34 minutes ago, EvolveWebHosting said:

Is this for all links? KB, direct product links, product groups, announcements, etc? I haven't had a chance to install the beta yet.

We have added support for friendly URLs on Product groups, I don't believe there is a direct link for the product as this is usually part of the order process.

Announcements and KB already supported friendly URLs. 

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6 hours ago, WHMCS Dan said:

Friendly Cart URLs is actually something we're introducing in WHMCS v8.

You can test out the beta by heading to https://beta.whmcs.com 

This should allow you to have links such as https://xxx.xx/store/webhosting 

Hi,

Thanks for the quick response. It's nice to hear that this is coming to WHMCS v8.

Do you have any idea when there is a stable production version?

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14 hours ago, jeebee123 said:

Do you have any idea when there is a stable production version?

I don't have a specific estimate I'm afraid, v8 is currently available in beta, this usually lasts a few weeks before the Release Candidate, and then the General Release for production use. It won't be too long!

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I assume you speak for the user customer front end pages. I'm sorry to tell you this, but you can't have your own structured URL's (SEO) anymore on pages as opposed to something like WordPress that you can change everything and anything to fit your needs.

It was possible in versions previous to v6 since the whole user front end was open code to be modified. It required having your own custom .htaccess rules and of course rewriting all the urls in the template and other files like JavaScript, CSS, etc. It required some work but was doable for any amateur coder or web designer.

But now URL's and path's are hard coded inside WHMCS. You cannot change them. I did this, with WHMCS but it breaks plenty of parts in WHMCS because it's routing to specific URL's which you cannot customize since they are behind IonCube files. You can try to detect some of the URL's and redirect with PHP and make other codes on top but its a very messy solution since you can't just directly change URL's and the structure.

My advice is not to move to WHMCS for your main site, keep using WordPress or what ever open source CMS you are using right now because WHMCS pages is extremely unflexible to work. This is why all WHMCS sites have the same links and page structure. You will end up with spaghetti codes using API and hooks, and PHP to modify things such as simple as changing CSS colors or links.

The SEO system in WHMCS is a disaster because it does not rely on .htaccess rules alone. It also relies on internal settings that you switch ON on the settings page and from that point WHMCS assumes ALL URL's with SEO friendly settings have to look like they assigned internally to their systems (this cannot be changed). You can claim they are more friendly names, but they are not SEO urls, because they are fixed and you cannot customize the names to what you want or need.

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In reality the real problem with WHMCS SEO URL is that they are not safe to use. Anyone can open the same article of KB/news from an unlimited number of made up URLs:

  • announcements/4/summer-promo.html
  • announcements/4/hi-all.html
  • announcements/4/aaa.html
  • announcements/4/bbb.html
  • announcements/4/AAA.html
  • announcements/4/AAa.html
  • ANNOuncements/4/Aaa.html

People want SEO URL for better rankings on SERP but they ignore 3 things:

  • The above "SEO URLs" are duplicate content. In other words you are not improving but the opposite
  • Indexing multilingual pages is not possible
  • SEO URL is a minor ranking factor

I still have to test v8 products/services SEO URLs but I suspect that it will be the same old story.

 

Edited by Kian

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4 hours ago, Kian said:

In reality the real problem with WHMCS SEO URL is that they are not safe to use. Anyone can open the same article of KB/news from an unlimited number of made up URLs:

  • announcements/4/summer-promo.html
  • announcements/4/hi-all.html
  • announcements/4/aaa.html
  • announcements/4/bbb.html
  • announcements/4/AAA.html
  • announcements/4/AAa.html
  • ANNOuncements/4/Aaa.html

People want SEO URL for better rankings on SERP but they ignore 3 things:

  • The above "SEO URLs" are duplicate content. In other words you are not improving but the opposite
  • Indexing multilingual pages is not possible
  • SEO URL is a minor ranking factor

I still have to test v8 products/services SEO URLs but I suspect that it will be the same old story.

 

An interesting point, I would recommend raising a Feature Request for this so we can gather further community feedback --  https://requests.whmcs.com

It may be we could introduce validating these URLs match the expected slug and returning a 404, or perhaps a permanent redirect to the expected URL to avoid SEO issues with duplicate content.

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Wouldn't adding a canonical tag take care of a lot of it instead of introducing validation? I understand the URL is low priority for SEO ranking purposes but it's a lot easier to be on the phone or at the keyboard typing a simple URL to give a customer. Right now, you have to look up the URL every single time because it's not easy to remember.

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11 minutes ago, EvolveWebHosting said:

Wouldn't adding a canonical tag take care of a lot of it instead of introducing validation? I understand the URL is low priority for SEO ranking purposes but it's a lot easier to be on the phone or at the keyboard typing a simple URL to give a customer. Right now, you have to look up the URL every single time because it's not easy to remember.

I must admit, not a meta tag I've come across personally - but that does indeed seem like a great way to handle this without require complex validation and would make an excellent Feature Request.

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Using canonical tag to overcome this problem is pure laziness. It still allows people to navigate your site with links like yoursite.com/announcements/4/worst-hosting-ever-*-viagra-pills-crack-sex.html 🥴

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Just now, Kian said:

Using canonical tag to overcome this problem is pure laziness. It still allows people to navigate your site with links like yoursite.com/announcements/4/worst-hosting-ever-*-viagra-pills-crack-sex.html 🥴

I get that but in a WHMCS world, it's a huge step forward.

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4 minutes ago, WHMCS Dan said:

I must admit, not a meta tag I've come across personally - but that does indeed seem like a great way to handle this without require complex validation and would make an excellent Feature Request.

The canonical link element was introduced by Google, Bing, and Yahoo! in February 2009.

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5 minutes ago, Kian said:

Using canonical tag to overcome this problem is pure laziness. It still allows people to navigate your site with links like yoursite.com/announcements/4/worst-hosting-ever-*-viagra-pills-crack-sex.html 🥴

So long as this is not indexed by search engines, what problem would you see with this as it would only affect the user who created the URL?

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Just now, EvolveWebHosting said:

I get that but in a WHMCS world, it's a huge step forward.

Yes, it's a step forward but not from an SEO perspective. It's useful just because it's easier to share a link like example.com/starter-hosting instead of example.com/cart.php?a=add&pid=30 especially via telephone.

Just now, EvolveWebHosting said:

The canonical link element was introduced by Google, Bing, and Yahoo! in February 2009.

That's not a big deal. There are still modules implementing keywords meta tag.

5 minutes ago, WHMCS Dan said:

So long as this is not indexed by search engines, what problem would you see with this as it would only affect the user who created the URL?

Two reasons.

One. Analytics. How can you monitor conversions on /abc.html when people can access from an unlimited number of URLs?

Let's say you spent a lot of money to get backlinks from sponsored articles, guest blogging and ads to drive traffic to /bronze-hosting page. One day you realize that "starter" sounds better and more professional than "bronze" so you change the URL of your page to /starter-hosting. Yes, the canonical URL solves the problem of duplicate content but there's no redirect 301 from old to new URL hence your Analytics are ruined 😞

Two. Naked link. Let's suppose I'm a provider and I'm having network issues. I post a news with details about the outage and a lamer shares the URL on webhostingtalk.com with a URLs:

  • example.com/announcements/4/we-are-going-out-of-business.html
  • example.com/announcements/4/all-server-data-deleted-no-backup.html
  • example.com/announcements/4/claim-your-refund.html

Things can escalate pretty quick online, especially with angry customers. One clicks the link. It opens and there's a wall of text. Reading takes too much effort. The customer sees terms like "down", "offline", "recovery" and thinks "I lost data, money and I want the refund". Okay, it doesn't seem like a big problem but people are lazy and comment without even reading the page. A redirect 301 is better.

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Some great points have been raised on the issues around this, so I have gone ahead and raised case #CORE-15044 with our developers in order to have this reviewed for future releases.

Whilst I cannot provide an estimated time for completion for this, once we resolve cases and push features they are available at our change log, here:

http://changelog.whmcs.com/

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Glad to see that more awareness and discussion about this has been raised. At some point, we would like to use only WHMCS and build other page templates within.

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On 8/13/2020 at 4:51 AM, EvolveWebHosting said:

Glad to see that more awareness and discussion about this has been raised

The problem is that every time I share information I'm shooting myself in the foot. I spent months to figure out the problem and find a solution... and now I'm giving it for free to WHMCS 🤨 I will no longer do that 😝

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On 8/17/2020 at 8:23 AM, Kian said:

The problem is that every time I share information I'm shooting myself in the foot. I spent months to figure out the problem and find a solution... and now I'm giving it for free to WHMCS 🤨 I will no longer do that 😝

You have to be more careful!

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On 8/17/2020 at 10:23 AM, Kian said:

The problem is that every time I share information I'm shooting myself in the foot. I spent months to figure out the problem and find a solution... and now I'm giving it for free to WHMCS 🤨 I will no longer do that 😝

We all do. But sharing it here at least benefits other customers, and we can all collaborate with fixes and more ideas. This is the nature to any software, with WHMCS it's a bit harder to do customization and platform integrations because big chunks are behind encoded walls but for that reason its more important to keep a strong community to try to get around some issues.

WHMCS staff might read them or not, they might take some fixes for new releases or not, it's always their choice in the end. But WHMCS is not a big software company, and they do need help from time to time. Instead of having to apply your fixes on every new release, sharing it might get applied to permanently to the software and at least you can move to something else and make progress in other stuff. This is how WHMCS has evolved over the years, by little bits every time.

Sometimes I don't feel they appreciate the community as much as they should but it does add immense value to everyone. Some people might not even use WHMCS if it was not for the community around the product. Any company should appreciate a channel like this which opens direct communication with customers because it allows them to develop the product and understand its users. There is no better feedback than a community around a product, from suggestions, to problem, to bugs, to new features, to ideas. I value people here expressing their ideas and suggestions as well workaround or even workflows on how they work around the system.

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12 minutes ago, yggdrasil said:

But sharing it here at least benefits other customers, and we can all collaborate with fixes and more ideas.

It doesn't benefit me when my idea/fix is part of softwares that I am selling. I love WHMCS and this community but not at my expense. Spotting problems and finding solutions takes a lot of time and effort. It doesn't pay to be the good Samaritan.

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7 minutes ago, Kian said:

It doesn't benefit me when my idea/fix is part of softwares that I am selling. I love WHMCS and this community but not at my expense. Spotting problems and finding solutions takes a lot of time and effort. It doesn't pay to be the good Samaritan.

Oh I see, I was not aware you develop modules for WHMCS. No, of course, it does not benefit you to invest time for free but then again, without WHMCS you would not have a product to sell either. In that regard it does not benefit you either if WHMCS market size shrinks, the more people use WHMCS and the more popular it gets, the more your potential customer base is and sales. As such  sharing here in the community does indirectly benefit you as well. Plus it also adds exposure to your products.

Developing products that fix or improve specific things on any software is challenging and this does not only apply to WHMCS. Example, people that develop tiny features for Microsoft Office or Windows, it's a question of time until Microsoft developers those features as well. They might do it next month, years or never. My point is that if your fixes include things that complete WHMCS and are very much required and asked by everyone, its very likely WHMCS will be forced to implement them in their software eventually which leads to your product being rendered useless. As such, its more important to develop things that don't fix WHMCS things but add more complex features on top of it. See ModulesGarden, they add things that are complex and its very unlikely WHMCS will develop some of those modules because WHMCS is a small team and everything they add out of the box means they have to maintain and support in the future, as well make sure it plays well with everything else. The more complex something is to maintain the less likely it will get implemented. SEO is something everyone expects today on any software. I would not even call it a feature anymore, but just something standard that people expect to be able to do.

Its like making a module to optimize speed and page loading. Again, this is something that any good developer should implement out of the box.

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3 hours ago, Kian said:

It doesn't benefit me when my idea/fix is part of softwares that I am selling. I love WHMCS and this community but not at my expense. Spotting problems and finding solutions takes a lot of time and effort. It doesn't pay to be the good Samaritan.

bravo - I got criticised by certain people for saying the same thing previously - but it's absolutely true... except that part about loving WHMCS! 😱

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Also.. In Beta 3 of version 8, you still use .php files for pages. Like contact.php

Thats very bad for SEO, and also not user-friendly.

Is this because it's a beta version? Or is it not on the to-do list at all?

Edited by jeebee123

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