Thursday, July 24, 2008

Newbee, Newbee, New

Questions I have heard from newcomers to Web design or SEO:

"I need a Web site. How much will it cost?"

Would anyone think of approaching a car salesman and saying, "I need a car. How much will it cost?", or asking a real estate agent, "I need a home. How much will it cost?"

If you think of asking this question, please stop. Ask yourself what you would like to include on your Web site that you might have seen on other Web sites. Do you need a portfolio Web site to showcase your artwork? Do you need a "brochure" Web site for your business that includes basic information about your business? Will you be selling products online? If you are selling products, how many products and how many product categories? Do you want to include audio or video on your Web site? There are many other questions that will need to be answered before any Web designer can give you a quote for the Web site you need.

"I want my Web site to show up on the top of/page one of the search results. It can be done for $100.00, right?"

It can be done for $100.00 if your Web site is about something so obscure that there are no competing Web sites for that same subject, product, etc., and the Web designer who created your Web site did not bother to even include meaningful titles and meta tags.

The cost of optimizing any Web site depends on the size of the Web site, the number of pages that you would like optimized, the number of keywords you want to optimize for, and the competition for those keywords. Search engine optimization can be -- and usually is -- a lot of work and takes time. Some of the search engines are slow to respond and for good reasons; they want to be as sure as possible that your Web site is ethical, contains good quality content and is built to last.

Unfortunately, there are too many quick and dirty, short-term "black hat" Web sites thrown up by spammers using dirty tactics that have made it difficult for ethical "white hat" optimized Web sites. Search engines, especially Google, want to give the best results possible on keyword searches. As a result, the requirements for getting your Web site to the top of the search results are very high. Expect this to be a lot of work either for yourself or for a professional.

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