Quick Tip: Why is Web Development so Pricey?

Posted by on Oct 15, 2010 in Quick Tips | No Comments

Over the past 10 years the explosion of “The Internet” has been drastically changed from Star Trek fanpages to actual full on business. Having a website in today’s business climate is akin to having a phone number in the business world of the past century (yeah … that was over a decade ago). However, even though it is as important today for businesses to survive the understanding of what is needed to create a website is not there. So let me take a few moments to enlighten you about Why website creation costs SOOOOOOO much!

First thing to understand is there are two important parts of web development. I’ll explain these briefly, or as briefly as any Enoch post. 🙂

  1. Layout and Graphics: having a graphic artist understand how to make a great experience on your website is key to having visitors. Sure you can manage with Get Enoch Quality graphics, but hiring someone who understands colors, design and flow is key. Layout and Graphics usually means understanding of some important elements:
    1. HTML: This is the foundation of web development. However, the importance of HTML has been drastically reduced with the creation of newer technologies. Still HTML is important because this language defines the layout of web-pages. It doesn’t matter how much CSS you apply to anything … if there is no HTML layout the CSS will not do anything.
    1. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): This is relatively new technology created over the past decade. Yeah we had it in the 90’s but the new millennium really added the power of CSS. CSS is the look and feel of the layout. It incorporates positions, heights, margins, widths, overlays, and other types of transforms. Understanding CSS means you understand how to make the webpage load quickly and optimized for any browser. It is the CSS that effectively positions the layout tags.
    1. Graphics: Probably the most important and least understood about webpage design. Graphics are more than just images and pictures, but Graphics can truly enhance flow and design. The world of HTML and CSS (and for all of computers in that case) is square. There is no such thing as a round edge. However, Graphics allow the squares to become round. They can make text come alive and can drive an emotional attachment to a web page … without showing a traditional picture.

with a good Layout and Graphics person you can dramatically change a unrefined page into a positive flow website to accomplish engaged audiences. And this is the reason why a good Graphics Designer people are so important to any website. However, a GREAT Graphics Designer is only as good as your relationship you have with them to your style. NOT ALL GRAPHICS DESIGNERS WORK WELL WITH EVERY COMPANY!! it is important to shop around and invest time in discovering which one works with your style so you accomplish a fluid look and feel. Graphics Designers can cost anywhere from $15 an hr. – $3500 a project.

  • Website Programming: layout is a strong component of Web Development, but modern day techniques of ecommerce, content management and system transactions requires Web Programming. There are various skills and techniques to programming aspect as well. These include:
    • Client Side Programming: this is how the content changes in the web-browser. For instance, when you mouse over a menu image and that image changes is due to Client Side Programming. And there are a couple of languages you can choose from for Client Side Programming, but the one everyone uses and knows is JavaScript.
    • Server Side Programming: this is how the content is retrieved before it hits your web browser. Server Side Programming is the core behind web 2.0 sites. The content of the website is stored in a database, retrieved when needed, and rendered into HTML, CSS and Client Side code. This is the bulk of what “programming” is thought to entail, when really it’s one aspect. Server Side Programming is the saying of vague acronyms like “PHP, ASP, ASP.Net, ColdFusion, JSP, JavaBeans, etc.” However, it is truly only one aspect of what makes a GREAT Website.
    • o Third Party Applications: with the creation of HTML tags also came the advent of the <OBJECT> tag, allowing us to stick whatever we wanted into the web browser. Some companies took off on this idea (Macromedia and now Adobe) and created tools to overcome the limitations of static websites. Enter “Flash Developers”, “Shockwave Animators”, and more recently “Silverlight Developers” all creating applications (mostly games) that enhanced the web experience. These developers work outside of the limitations of “Web Technologies” but create enhancements which can be added to any webpage.

with a good Website Programmer you can dramatically change the time to market and flexibility of website productivity. Most web developers tend to think functionally for a website and not structurally about a website. There are a lot of databases created for websites that are not optimized for transactions because of poor web programmers. However, if you discover a Web Programmer who has too much of an architect mindset they are generally seen as slow to market people because they are solving for best scenario development instead of quick functional scope. It is important to discover a middle ground to get the best results. Web programmers, based on skill and level, can range anywhere from $15/hr. – $150/hr.

For the most part the skill sets do blur across lines of roles. There are those who are Graphics guys who dabble in Programming and visa-versa. However, usually one skill will surpass the other skill. It’s tough to be truly adept at both worlds since they really do focus on divergent parts of the brain: analytical and creative.

It is also important to note that you do get what you pay for when you’re talking Graphics Designers and Web Programmers. Just because you are spending less money per hour does not mean you will get a product you like … or in some cases functional. I have had to work in many companies where a “Graphics” guy or “Developer” has been paid for services and have delivered nothing. Cheaper does not always equal Less Expense. The trick to lowering costs is to Research the parties you are getting involved. They are creating a brand for you, and image, a first-touch to your clients. You don’t need to spend a million dollars to look like a million dollars, but you will need to spend more than the “price of a cup of coffee a day.”

I should mention there are great tools to help you with all of these things without spending money on a “Graphics” or “Programmer” guy. Tools like Word Press, Type Pad, Dot Net Nuke and many others are available, usually FREE, to get you running without the need of expensive “Programmers” and “Designers”. The trick with using these systems is understanding the customization, but I’m going to leave that for another email. When you do use these site it is important to realize you are held to the constraints of the tool. Graphic Designers code to the tools theme templates. Programmers code to the tools API. It doesn’t mean they won’t do the job you want, but it does mean you do have to work in the rules.

But I guess at the end of the day we all have to work within the rules. If that wasn’t the case I would do nothing but eat brownies all day … and really what type of living is that? Heaven is what that is! 🙂