One would think that over time, the price of developing a website would go down. The designers and developers would steadily get better at their craft, and the time spent developing those projects would go down. With very few exceptions, the opposite is true: year after year, website prices have steadily risen, and this trend seems poised to continue. Let’s explore some reasons why.
The underlying technology behind website design and development continues to change year after year. When I began in this business in the 1990’s, we developed websites using tables, GIFs and patterned backgrounds, all while using barebone website editors, or even text files.
Over the course of the past two decades, the developer requirements have increased dramatically, as have their abbreviations. Where once we talked of FTP and URLs, a developer now needs to know his way around SFTP, Grunt, Git, APIs, IDEs, SDKs and and JSON. This is not a new landscape we’re talking about; it’s a continually expanding universe.
To that end, our developers need more training and software than ever before. We invest in our employees so they not only keep their skills sharp, but keep ahead of the tide.
Work for someone who believes in you, because when they believe in you, they’ll invest in you.
— Marissa Mayer, Yahoo! CEO
If you’ve been alive for the past 10 years, you’ve witnessed a technology revolution. It was subtle and largely unnoticed, but it happened right under our noses.
At the beginning of this revolution, the human had to go to where the computer rested. The opposite is now true: the computer goes where we go, in the form of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. It’s a massive change.
Bill Gates recalls, “We talked about a computer on every desk and in every home.” It’s a dated statement, but one that shows how technology has morphed just in the last few years. We are no longer interested in having a computer on our desks: we now want it entirely portable — in our hands, and even on our wrists.
And that brings us to the next reason why websites have increased in cost over the past few years. We once designed for screens that were 800 pixels wide, but now designers and developers have to address screens that could be any size using any one of a dozen browsers.
The design, development and testing of websites for a web that can be viewed anywhere on anything takes a significant amount of time. Building your website for the responsive web is not only required, but, if done properly, can be a time consuming engagement.
Cost of Expertise
In the area of information technology, salaries are typically healthy. The salaries for skilled technical people in Atlanta are some of the best in the nation.
Benefits for IT jobs are renowned for being ostentatious and glamorous. Google News shows nearly one million stories about Google’s benefit programs. In order to be competitive in a major city with other big companies, like Home Depot, Delta Air Lines and UPS, an IT firm must offer top-tier benefits in order to woo and keep top-tier talent. It should come to the surprise of no one that the cost of employee benefits increases by double digits each year.
At Southern Web, we do not outsource our development overseas. We could likely find a development partner in India or Romania, but our work is done here in the United States. It’s not just with a sense of pride we do this, but also with a sense of responsibility. We keep our work here because it helps to build what Napoleon Hill called the Mastermind.
Hill believed that groups of two or more people who come together for a specific purpose bring forth a level of creativity and support that can’t be found by “going it alone.” The barriers of geography and language cannot be adequately bridged by Skype or a Google Hangout.
To that end, we maintain offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which allows our clients to meet with us in our office space and meet the team that will develop their project. Many firms work from a distributed or virtual model, but there’s a great deal to be said about a development environment where you can look into someone’s eyes and ask him/her a question.
It’s an expensive proposition. The cost of keeping an office space filled with amazingly talented people who deservedly enjoy rich benefit programs so they can produce a best-of-breed web product continues to grow each and every year.
It’s an investment worth making, and it’s an investment we’re happy to make.