This is a story most web people never tell small business owners and unfortunately, it’s the one that can bite them the hardest. It’s important to get your website done right and some people have no business building websites.

Second only to the “website right now” all-in-one cookie-cutter websites you get for a monthly fee from your hosting provider are the website designers who use Dreamweaver to build your site.

A few weeks ago, someone asked for my help to market their new website. I went to the site, and – as usual – took a peek under the hood. I discovered something horrifying. The entire site had been designed in tables. There were no ALT tags. In fact, there were no standard tags used for SEO at all.

I asked how much the site cost, and the answer was pretty damn shocking. So, here’s a quick and simple list to figure out if your web person is worth their salt (please note: this list is NOT all-inclusive… here’s another list of questions you may want to ask):

  1. Will you (the client) be able to edit the website’s content when your web guy is done?
  2. Is SEO included in the price of the site? (here’s a hint: this should not be a separate line item)
  3. Does your web designer know what an ALT tag is? What a META tag is? Will they use TABLES or DIVs to create the structure of the site?
  4. Is the hosting included in the price of the site? If not, is it less than $10 a month?

I’m going to get some flak from my fellow web folk, but here’s the deal: there is no reason to build a business website without doing the SEO for it. None. There is no reason to build a website in tables anymore. There’s no reason to build a website without the end-user being able to edit the content.

I’m not in the business of badmouthing businesses, but it makes my blood boil to see small businesses get taken advantage of when trying to build a website. It’s like storytelling with laryngitis.

Don’t let yourself get hosed. Get a second opinion. Get a third. Hell, get mine – it’s free and I won’t make a play for your business; it would be unethical for me to try to sell you after looking at another business’s bid.

Knowledge is the best defense to jerk-asses who want to take your money and dumb-asses who don’t know their trade as well as they should.

(Header photo: The Geico Caveman)