Thanks, SmallP. Great stuff. Indeed, some of the sites were/are pretty dreadful in terms of design. Working on remedies, because if I want to use my sites to generate real world work, they need to portray the correct company image.
The part about things being fun (or not) hits home. One of my hats is as a small business person and author on the topic, and several things operate here. First, it's all gotten so mysterious and unpredictable that any business who relies on any one company (Google) as the lifeblood for business is ALWAYS going to be at risk. Volatility and lack of predictability are bad business contexts, suitable for the young.
...and when you give up control of your fate, it's hard to enjoy the ride. I love the challenge, but no longer like the idea of being put out of business because of a search algo change. That's THE business killer.