A new modern website with high visibility on search engines (SEO) might seem prohibitively expensive to small business owners. Here is a simple checklist to follow if you would like to have a cutting-edge website with high SEO – on a shoe string:
1. Use an open-source web content management system such as Joomla, WordPress or Drupal. Joomla has more extensions, larger support community and better website templates, so I recommend using Joomla. Joomla is free, so all you need to do it download it to your hosting environment. For hosting a Joomla website I can recommend Hostgator and Godaddy. Typically, your hosting will cost around $5-8 per month.
2. Find a good quality website template most appropriate for your business. Search on Google for “Joomla website templates” and you will find hundreds of website template providers. My favourite ones are: Joomlart, Yootheme, and Rockettheme. One website template would typically cost under $100, and you can find some free ones, but they won’t be as beautiful. The key is to find the most appropriate website template, best suited to your business model. Also, try to select the template that you could use with little to no modifications. You can always upload your logo and your own images, of course, and you will have your own text and content, but fonts, colors, background, layout features – make sure you understand the template very well before you decide to make it your future website. Follow the trends in your industry. Having decided, install the website template to your Joomla hosting environment.
3. Website templates from reputable web design shops all come with an in-built SEO infrastructure. To begin with, Joomla 1.5 allows for search engine friendly URLs (mod_rewrite ). It also allows you to create title aliases and add META keywords and META description. And you can install additional META tag management plugins to be able to add more META tags on the fly (such as “noarchive”, etc). In addition, website templates from reputable design shops all include such elements as breadcrumbs, flexible 2 and 3-column layout options, RSS modules, latest news, polls, search, and many other useful components and modules that are handy for SEO and great for both users and website masters. For product image galleries and sliders, most of such templates do not use Flash. Instead, they use SEO-friendly DHTML. DHTML is less powerful than Flash, but for 90% of small businesses, you won’t even notice the difference (unless you run a fashion shop or an architect firm).
4. Install a site map component. A site map is one of the most basic SEO requirements. There are many site map components available for Joomla. I can recommend Xmap. is very simple and works like a charm. All new pages will be automatically detected and all deleted pages will be automatically removed.
5. Create your own content, add as many pages as you can come up with, use formatting styles H1, H2, H2s, bullets, add descriptive Title tags with your most desirable keywords. Uncheck unnecessary modules, upload your own logo and your own images – and your site is ready. Cost – under $200 including hosting.