The short answer is… ah, there is no short answer but I will provide you with some information that you will find useful. Let’s start off about 8 years ago. My aunt came to me and said, “Jon I want to make a website to keep pictures on of our family and share them with others.” I was strictly an HTML and graphics guy at the time so I couldn’t recommend her towards a CMS such as Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress like I would today.
During this time there was several services offering free websites, with built in templates, simple point and click web design. However, during my research I found a company that offered a full script that would allow me to house this service on my servers so I purchased it and set it up. I figured it was win / win, my customers could edit their static sites with up to date data and without having to know how to program and my aunt could design the site she wanted.
After setup and configuration and a large price tag I had about 14 different templates with 5 different color schemes so people could really reach out to their industry, I thought it would go great. Later I found out most people don’t like editing their own site, even my aunt, who never set up an account. I also found search engines where not particularly fond of template sites.
Search engines actual despised these sites and there are several reasons. Your browser can be set to only show text, but people don’t do this, they want to look at the websites they visit in all their glory, with all that glory comes search engine nuggets. What I consider a nugget is something that is not seen by you but is seen by the search engines when it spyders your site. Every graphic on your site has an alt tag, the colors and fonts are held in a cascading style sheet and have a particular name, templates have particular names throughout the source code so without even looking at the meta tags of a site the Spyder is looking for duplicate content, and with these sites, it will find it.
There are other factors, one is the IP address. Every site has an IP address, server admins such as myself will setup Domain Name Servers, DNS, so that when a request is made for Winlynx.com, the Internet Service Providers, ISP, know where to go. The thing with IP addresses is you can stack multiple domains on one IP then have your local DNS server point it to the right location. So now you have duplicate backend contents and the same IP as your competitor. Sounds like your off to a pretty bad start with Google already.
Now there is the speed factor. Your sites download speed is of vital importance and you are going to get what you pay for. Your template host will jam as many sites as they possible can on your server. These sits will usually run on a mysql database which can be intensive for the server so now your have a slow loading site with duplicate content, on the same IP as your competitor.
I have been through the training and managed hundreds of thousands of dollars in Google AdWords but the only campaign I will run now is my own companies but I will consult with my clients on how to do it properly or how to choose a company to help them, which by the way you will probably save big money if you hire a company who knows what they are doing. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. One of my clients ask me, Jon, should I let “Company Name Not Listed” take care of my PPC campaign? Of course this autosite template company has to offer PPC the sites they setup will probably not rank well organically, or take a lot of SEM to get them to. I responded no and explained that large companies like this usually do not handle PPC very well, they tend to be of the “set it and forget it” mentality and you need someone local who can work with you and help you learn how to monitor your accounts.
Your website is there to make you money, there is no two ways about it. When you see a company offering to build your web presence in minutes there are problems. Finding an honest Indianapolis website company that provides SEO/SEM services can be tedious but it is your company, your presence and it needs to be strong. Take the time, find a company to work in your budget, and get it done right the first time because you will spend the money. You can spend it now or spend it later while losing profits in the meantime.