Where can you commission a report about the effectiveness of a website?
August 1, 2006 1:28 PM   Subscribe

How bad is this website, really? Are there services that you can pay to commission a report that will tell you just how bad your website really is?

A little backstory: I program websites as a side job (typically small clients, small sites, small dollars). My mother recently was put in charge of a website redesign project at her company. She has no website experience (past some vague notions of 'keywords', 'hits', and 'meta'); she has not overrepresented her experience whatsoever to her superiors.

She hired a firm recommended by her company's parent company. She is paying them lots of money (money that made my eyes bug out). I am not interested in the job (too much work for a side job, conflict of interest, etc.), but I still don't want their poor performance to negatively affect her.

She has large concerns about the site itself (searchability, mainly). She has a contract with them that states that the site is to be 'SEO friendly'. I don't think it is.

Does a service exist that would (for money) analyze an existing website and provide a report that she could use as ammunition to get the company to honor the contract?
posted by jmevius to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Yes. I have a friend who worked at one (formerly Vividence, now apparently absorbed into Keynote). Their focus was more on usability than google-friendliness, but they're out there.
posted by adamrice at 1:41 PM on August 1, 2006

One of my co-workers has been fielding pitches on SEO optimization from eNet and 1st page. YMMV.
posted by junkbox at 2:21 PM on August 1, 2006

When I was researching hosting companies, I found that some of them offered SEO analysis and improvement for a fee. I guess it would normally be for sites on their servers but there's no reason in theory why they couldn't do it for anyone.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:23 PM on August 1, 2006

Before throwing more money at the problem, see if she can get the developers to do a little sitdown to try to reach agreement on a specific list of deliverables that would satisfy her company's expectations for "SEO friendly"*. Because unfortunately "friendly" is a vague term and SEO is a wide open field; so there's plenty of room for interpretating these in differing ways and pursuing the goal to various degrees. There are clients who think throwing in a bunch of meta keywords equals SEO; there are zealot developers (me included) who regard any usage of Flash to be search-hostile.

Once there's a functional list on the table, it's a lot easier to evaluate which get checkmarks and which get the developer spanked and sent to his room without supper.

* If the developers really want to weasle out, keep in mind that the contract "SEO friendly" language would technically require only that they do any ol' something that makes it a bit friendly for someone else to do Search Engine Optimization. Next time it'd be better to spell out tangible deliverables in the contract instead of leaving it up to the imagination of someone who could be looking for shortcuts.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:02 PM on August 1, 2006

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