Web Site Development

It has been suggested now and then that I do some web site development work. I have had a lot of fun with this stuff, and I have developed a working site management system as well as some clue as to the inner workings of the service provider game. I have no doubt that I could set up and deal with several accounts.

When I first toyed with the idea of doing a little commercial web site development, I did some research to find out what the going rate for this type of service seems to be. I was kind of shocked! It is not uncommon for a person to ask several hundred dollars for a front page, and around $100 for each additional. Then they charge extra for things like "background color" which, by the way, requires one number in a certain spot!. Of course, Java, Javascript, etc. cost extra too, though this is understandable. So my site with around 75 documents (aka pages), Java navigation, a little wallpaper, etc. is worth in excess of $7500.00?!? Seems pretty steep to me! This stuff is not rocket science in spite of what some would have you believe!!!

Should someone be interested in my services as a consultant, I would be inclined to work with a party who wishes to understanding the basics of what is going on with the site. In my opinion, this is a good way for a client to protect his or her investment and steer the course of the project in a way that is beneficial to the client. Also, it will make the client far less reliant on the consultant. Along these lines, I think it important that I fully document the project in such a way that any competent site manager can take over at any time. This would be "part of the deal".

Personally, I don't think that having a web site is some sort of key to infinite riches if one is a business owner. For the most part, I think it is mainly a good way to give a prospective customer a leisurely overview of ones firm. What works for me as a customer is a clean web site layout and some useful generic information. For example, I was recently looking for information about retaining wall blocks. I used the search engines to find a number of distributor's web sites. One site had a lot of good generic information about retaining wall design. I appreciated that and leaned toward doing business with that distributor.

There are new developments happening in this field all the time. A web site can be as complex and fancy as one can imagine. It comes at a price however. Specifically it takes time to re-design and test, and it requires constant research. There is a point of diminishing return, and in my opinion much of the fluff serves mainly to get in the way. Many people who are really into the latest bells and whistles tend to forget that most visitors are probably not using the latest browser software and will therefore see no particular benefit. Often, in fact, it causes problems. I think a clean and solid web site is desirable and as an added bonus, once it is done, maintenance is minimal.

As for examples of my work; you're looking at it. Several things are of note.
  1. This site is huge by personal web site standards. I can't think of an example of a larger one off hand. I started out with this in mind and hence put much effort into developing a suitable management system. I use a spreadsheet and database to keep track of the 200 or so files and I have a very distinct file naming strategy to help in this endeavor. The upshot is that it works.
  2. This was my first web site and much of it has not changed since the early days. Other parts are much more recent and hence reflect some of the new stuff I have learned. Being a personal site, I feel no particular obligation to make everything perfect. My attitude about this aspect of site management would not be the same if I were being paid to do it.
  3. The actual html code of this site is very simple and easy to read. This is because I prefer using a text editor to write html rather than a WYSIWYG html editor like MS Frontpage. There are many things about html and the latest technology that I do not know. At the same time, I have been able to figure out any details that I have desired. JavaScript is a good example of something which I have not put any effort into learning. If I were to take on a professional web site design project, I would feel obligated to learn a enough about JavaScript to employ it.

Wait...Now there is another example: I have a site under development that can be viewed here.

Refering Document Chain "Trunk":"Me":"Current Work"
(Contact &) Site Navigation when not using the tListe applet:
*I* tend to prefer using the Back Arrow, but you are welcome to Jump to the Trunk.
Note: This will maintain your current navigation preference.
If you happened to have jumped here from another site, please check out The Very Start.
I think you'll be glad you did!
Feel free to contact me. If you do so through My Contact Page, then you can read my policy on e-mail and privacy. Else, tomwp@_my_last_name_.com. Also, you may Use the Site Feedback Form