It's cool to sift through the archives and look at older projects to assess them for their flaws and merits. I do this occasionally and have a giggle at what we were all doing in the nineties.
One bunch of cheap websites I did for a neighbour 18 months ago though are doing the job quite nicely. While far from ground breaking in terms of design or features - the sites serve their purpose, display all the content neatly and effectively and are doing their job (especially as far as search engine ranking go) very well.
It goes to show that simple can be great. My brief was to get their products online, but mainly to get them on the first page of google so people could email or call. The sites are www.pre-pak.com.au and www.precisionforme.com.au.
With only a few standard techniques of optimising browser Page Titles, well-structured content and a few other tricks the sites are both #1 or #2 under most relevant search phrases to their businesses on Google.
In cases where competition is a little tougher, I'd employ a more thorough SEO service and encourage more frequent content submission via the website and social media.
Anyway, I've just sent her an email to see how business is going - very keen to find out!