Whenever I analyze a site, I look at the structure, CMS (if any) and design. Some of the time, the site is built well and has future expansion in mind. Usually, anything built on a community supported open source CMS will do well for years to come seeing as how popular they have become. This also means I probably wont recommend a site redesign. CMS’s like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are excellent candidates for growth and are the easiest to perform SEO actions. The relative simplicity of content uploading also allows the client to maintain the site while the the SEO focuses on other challenges.
However, following this quote:
It’s worth noting that some sites may be technically incapable of this sort of growth and a redesign and new model may be needed. That new model should be created with the intent that there isn’t yet another major redesign out there in the future somewhere. Make this site fit your new, nurturing mentality, and go forward from there.
I often find sites that were built poorly, with no CMS, or a mix of CMS and static content that makes template editing unbearable, forget optimization. Not only that but link structures are not consistent, duplicate content issues exist, and bringing in new functionality for social media elements such as open graph, Facebook and Twitter becomes very difficult.
Most of the time people don’t even have a single editable image document (.psd, .png, .ai, etc.)with any of their design elements to use, making for lots of photoshop work. When this happens, a site redisign is a must.
Just make sure whoever is doing your SEO knows a designer or is also a designer that can build a site right the first time. Being a PHP Developer like myself also comes in handy for custom functionality.
I find it rather interesting how so many people are asking for complex layouts and functionality for their sites. Being a developer is almost a must now. The web is a complicated place with a variety of customer needs.
When you approach a designer / SEO ask a couple of these questions, this should give you an idea if the person you are talking about has any experience in web development.
- Do you know, or does someone on your team know development level PHP (LAMP Programming) or ASP
- Do you know how to make CMS plugins or custom functions
- Do you know HTML/CSS, and do you have a reputable graphics designer.
- Do you know how to make and modify CMS Templates.
- Will you provide me with the editable images from the template work you do.
It’s not 100 % necessary for your SEO to know these things, but it sure does help! Makes it easier for them to say “Yes this is possible” instead of, “You’d have to ask your / my designer”.