I get asked a lot why a website needs “extra” work done on it (seo) for it to rank higher up on Google. Why doesn’t a well built website rank well on it’s own and why would I have to spend more money after paying to get a website built, or building one myself for free?
The Benefits To A Great Website
When I say a “great website” I don’t just mean how it looks. You could have an amazing looking website, with video, animated graphics and photos and it rank horrendously. I often come across high ranking sites that are very simple, plain and a little boring. So why can’t you have both?
Well the truth is you can.
Unfortunately what is more often the case, is that businesses, especially small businesses with a limited budget want a website that stands out. They want flashy, colourful and animated websites that when a customer clicks on them they’re enthralled and amazed by this great website they’ve landed on.
These websites can cost a lot of money to build. Which is why, once it’s done and it’s gone live there is nothing left in the budget for the SEO. Or the Search Engine Optimisation. This is the work required to actually get the website ranking on Google. Otherwise it’s just a webpage that no one will find unless you show it to them or direct them to it.
Now for some businesses that’s ok.
But it really shouldn’t be.
Why It Helps To Build A Great Website
Having a great looking website built well and optimised for Google is essential if you want it to rank well. This doesn’t mean tonnes of pictures and videos and animations that WOW the viewer.
It means structured writing, optimised images and videos. It’s correct use of keywords, alt tags and the right header tags used. All of this is what really contributes to a great website. This is what’s called on-page seo.
Now I’m not saying don’t have a website with all the bells and whistles. You want people to be amazed when they find your site, but that’s just it. You want them to FIND your site first. Once they’re on it you can amaze them with the weird and wonderful.
That’s the stumbling block a lot of small businesses come up against. A lot of web designers don’t do SEO, they design websites. So they want to sell you the biggest, best and fanciest website they can build that will max out your budget. And you’ll pay it. Or at least you would have, had you not have read this article first.
Budget, Budget, Budget
I know, we’ve all been there. With a huge website that looks great you can see where your money went. With SEO, unfortunately the ROI or return on investment isn’t immediate.
I promise you this though.
If you spend more of your budget on your SEO than you do you the website, you’ll actually see a return on investment.
Because an expensive website that’s cost you thousands to build will not rank well if it hasn’t had the proper SEO done. Meaning no one will find your website organically. So the thousands of $$$ you spent won’t really be worth anything. It’s not an asset, it’s not bringing you in any money.
SEO is an investment.
If a small, simple website that ranks well can bring in money in the form of new leads or purchases then you can either decide to re-invest the money back into the website or take the profits, or both!
If you’re looking at a smaller budget of anywhere up to $8,000 then I would highly suggest focusing on the SEO than the big website. Yes, the big website looks good and it will make your business ‘seem’ big and special, but you’re not thinking long term. That big fancy website of yours is now just an expensive piece of internet real estate. Gathering dust and falling apart because you don’t have it in the budget to maintain it and renovate (house references).
What To Do If You Want The Best Of Both Worlds?
If you want the big website and the SEO that goes with it then it’s best to take a look at the costs involved. What I mean by that is the bigger the website, the more work involved in the optimisation of said website.
I recommend a starting budget of $500/month for SEO. If you’ve got a website of over 50 pages that budget won’t stretch far, so you either have to focus on specific areas of the website, or accept that it will take longer to slowly build the websites rankings up as a whole or pay more money for SEO i.e. increase the monthly budget.
For example; an e-commerce website with over 100 products would cost approx. $5,000.00 to build. Hosting fees, maintenance and updates including licensing costs would be approx. $700 a year. I would then suggest a budget of approx. $7,000.00 for SEO over the next 6 – 9 months or $700 – $1,100 a month.
If the client were to take this proposal they would start to see an ROI within 3-6 months and potentially break even within a year depending on the products being sold. If they were to simply get the website built, they would be paying $5,700.00 for the website and would then need to either rely on social media or go down the costly route of Google Ads or Social Media Ads to get traffic directed to their website.
Another example; a small service based website i.e. a plumber with a small website of 3-5 pages would cost approx. $1,200.00 to build. Hosting fees, maintenance and updates including licensing costs would be approx. $500 a year. I would then suggest a budget of approx. $4,500.00 for SEO over the next 6-9 months or $500 – $750 a month.
If the client were to take this proposal they would start to see an ROI within 3-6 months and potentially break even with a year, maybe less. The same applies as above, as the website would not generate any organic traffic, you would need to pay for ads to direct people to the website. This can get very expensive.
The Benefits To SEO As Opposed To Paid Ads
Once you’ve got your website ranking on Google using SEO it’s harder for it to get knocked down in rankings. Websites I’ve worked on over a year ago are still ranking on the 1st page of Google without any real need to go back and do any further optimisation. With paid ads such as Google, Bing or Social Media, once you stop paying for those ads your website stops being shown.
Now I’m not knocking the benefits of Search Engine Marketing as it has its own place in this industry.
But if you want your website to be an asset and investment you NEED to focus on SEO to get your website generating an income for your business.
What’s The Point In This Article?
You might think I’m just trying to persuade you to contact me and let me sell you my services. To some point that’s true, but let me just say this. Everything that I’ve stated above isn’t rocket science. It takes a little investment and A LOT of time, but SEO is something that can be learnt by anyone.
If you don’t want to spend the money you’ll find thousands of videos on YouTube teaching you SEO techniques. If you’re happy to invest a bit of money into your own learning then I would really like to suggest Udemy as a great place for online learning.
If you’re interested in seeing how your own website looks with regards to SEO there are plenty of paid services you can use, but I recommend a free service called Ubersuggest. The free version allows you to do 3 different types of searches a day on a single project/website. It shows you your organic monthly visitors, keywords you rank for, backlinks to your site, your domain authority and more.