I inherited the development of this Karate Club website: it looked good but it was built entirely with Html and table-driven layouts. It required a PHP conversion, then SEO improvements, and additions such as photo galleries, Flash eye-candy, Google maps, and a Paypal shopping cart.
The graphic design of this karate club website was quite attractive. The technology however was basic: table-driven with all HTML, and some CSS. Being HTML, any changes in general layout, such as amends to the menu, had to be done on every page. Tiresome. What a shame that the HTML4 spec doesn't allow for an "Include" statement. So my first campaign involved the gradual adoption of PHP, so that parts of the layout could be derived from a set of common functions. Proved to be a life-saver when the number of affiliated schools doubled, each expecting their own page and (of course) the same memu and style.
Then I simplified some of the table structures (without affecting the appearance) to use DIVs and better CSS; and also a clean up for W3C compliance, getting the beloved "green tick" of the Firefox HTML Validator plugin, on just about all pages.
Next improvements became easier because they inherited the previous structural improvements. Common changes could be just in one file. I added a large gallery of photos and thumbnails showing their major event at Eden Park in 2009. I added a small Flash animation for decoration. (Unfortunately this loses me a validation tick in Firefox,as the markup doesn't conform). And then added a Paypal payment system for people wanting to book for the 2010 Eden Park tournament, along with a Shopping Cart.
Here is the progress of the site on Google.co.nz - people may be surprised by the erratic nature of some rankings, which is what I call "Google weather". But the overall progress is up for the main phrases that we have focussed. Remember that 20 places on the Y-axis equates to two pages of Google results on a typical 10-results setup.