I have recently been around the web seeing an advertisement for a $595 website. Since I am currently starting my own website and marketing consulting business, this caught my attention. Today, it can cost upwards of $5000 or more for a basic website from most companies, so an under $1k website made me check it out to see what it was all about.
The first thing I noticed was the dozens of website references on the home page. I clicked on about five before I found one that was active. The website I first got to come up didn’t load properly, had no basic website tags to help with SEO, and was completely user unfriendly and difficult to navigate. Some of the websites I visited from their profile weren’t even mobile friendly, one of the most important aspects of websites required by Google at this point.
I wanted to quickly explain why just going with price over anything else is definitely not a good idea.
Title and Description Tags
A website consists of many different parts. The backend code work such as title and description tags for each page will let the search engines know what is on the page and provide good results when someone is searching. This is typically shown when you do a web search:
The above shows the Title tag provided on each web page as the main link. This should include not only the website or company name, but a quick overview of what the web page is about. The description is the next section which explains in more detail about what can be found on the web page.
If this information is not provided when building a site, and included on each individual page, the search engines will look for the information that is on the site and do its best to provide the information to search results; however, if you are looking to target something specific, this will not always work.
Alt Image Tags
Another major component missing in these quick cheap sites are image alt tags which is what the name of the image is. Search engine spiders cannot tell what the image is, so instead, setting a descriptive tag to every image on a site is key to helping the search engine crawlers understand what the image is representing. Want to learn more about good and bad alt tags, check out this great explanation at the University of Leicester on Writing Effective Alt Text.
Finally is user friendliness. Having a basic map of how the users should interact and linking your site together is important for user friendliness. You don’t want people coming to your site to hit dead ends or not be able to find the information they are looking for. Having a good site structure with a road map for each visitor ensures that people who come to your site can find what they are looking for and keep coming back.
These are the top three things any site should include in the basic build, and something I couldn’t find on any of the $595 sites that I looked at on this specific company’s examples. When looking for a company to complete a website for your company, make sure you are getting even these basic attributes included in the pricing, or it is no better than not having a website at all.
Oh, and one more note, I have seen $5000+ websites that don’t include this either. It isn’t always a “get what you pay for” scenario, it is more of a “get as much as you know” scenario and the reason Small Hits was created, to teach you what to look for and what to look out for.