I hate to say I’m getting older but while buying my youngest his first cell phone I recalled how excited I was when I got the hand-me-down rotary phone installed in my bedroom. Times have changed so much.
I remember the pre-internet bulletin boards like FidoNet then came CompuServe and AOL. I was emailing, chatting, downloading programs and buying and selling computers in the mid 80’s. I first learned of the Internet in 1992 and had my fist website up by 1993. That was 20 years ago.
I have witnessed a lot of changes in how website are used and developed and now one part of it is coming full circle. In the old days you had to know HTML code. There were no fancy programs that wrote the code for you. All you needed was NotePad to write your code and WS_FTP to send your text file to the web. Businesses that wanted websites were paying loads of money for their websites. One team I was involved with got $500,000 for a site that today would only fetch $35,000.
In the early 2000’s small businesses were paying $10,000 to $15,000 for their sites but today they are only paying $1,500 to $3,000. So were the businesses of the early part of the millennium getting ripped off? No. Today there are tools that make it simple for someone who does not understand programming to build sites. On top of that many of the sites are built in India for twenty cents on the dollar.
The trend towards cheap sites is starting to show its flaws and now businesses that want more control over their sites, are starting to pay more for it.
The biggest problem with the cheaper sites is that they are built under open source CMS (Content Management Systems) the issue with these sites are that they are vulnerable to being hacked. It’s not likely that an individual hacker is trying to get into your Heating & Air business website to do you harm, but it is very likely that a bot is searching the web for holes in the code of your “open-source” site just to cause you headaches and money to get your site back up. I have seen this happen more than once and it costs days of a downed site and an average of $1,000 to fix.
The best sites are ones that have unique code just for your site. This gives you more flexibility to make changes as your business changes. Other perks are your custom site will be more secure and more likable to the search engines. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is much easier to achieve if your site is unique. The template sites have similar code, and a lot of it. A custom site avoids that and helps you rank higher in the search engines.
Even though the need for real programmers has come full circle the cost of a customer site has not. A good customer site should range in price from $3,500 to $8,500. It may sound expensive compared to $1,500 to $3,000 but when you want to make changes in the next couple of years you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And that’s something else the search engines like.