Well, we're starting our 10th year this year here at Webstix and I think I've about seen it all. We've had numerous clients choose the cheaper option instead of us and then we've seen them come back to us to fix things later. There's no doubt that it ended up costing them more in dollars and in time. If you ask me, it does matter how you set up your website and who does it. Let me explain.
Back in the early days of the web, you could get away with simple, static HTML websites. I've set up many of those and even in the early days of Webstix, we set up a few of those websites before we quickly saw the benefits of a CMS (content management system) and now almost exclusively just use that. But back then, the web was very simple in how things were done. The struggle back then, and still now, is having people find your site. Back then, there was no Google, so you mainly had to do offline marketing and pray that people's AOL connections would stay up long enough for them to connect to your website. 🙂
Fast forward to now and things are much more complicated in terms of setting up a website. If you miss a few, small details, you could be hurting your own site's ranking and not even know it. This isn't huge news now but I found an article about someone talking about the canonical tag again - probably just to make sure people didn't miss this since it was big news like 3 years ago:
The Canonical Tag Can Save You from the Duplicate Content Monster (searchenginewatch.com)
The problem is that when the documents are on different URLs, only one of those URLs is going to be able to show in the results pages for that content. The URL selected by the engines may or may not be the optimal URL from a ranking perspective or, in some cases, may not even be the original owner's URL.
That's just one, small thing that makes a pretty big difference. There are many of those "small" things.
Is your website set up correctly? Do you even know?
We've done many projects where we first just take a website that someone else did and just fix all the things that should have been done. Just doing that gives clients an SEO boost in the rankings after a few, short weeks. After that, we get to work with more on-site SEO and then off-site SEO.
I really don't know how any one man shops or business owners who work on their own websites could possibly keep up with everything going on in the website design world and still run their business effectively. They can't. Their website is their first point of contact with their customers now more than ever. A $5 per month "build-your-own-website" will not take care of all that needs to be done. They don't realize that if they need to rank well and get business, they have to do more than what their competition is doing - and maybe their competition is hiring a company like Webstix that really works for them and does things right.