Monday, March 12, 2018

How much does an average website cost?


Ah, the age-old question whose definitive answer has eluded us for over two decades, "How much does an average website cost?"

Being from the computer programming world at the time when websites were first being created, this question has obviously come across my radar on numerous occasions. When I first started building websites, it was me asking the question. Now, after 20 years in the website business, I believe I have answered this question more times than the Army asked me my Social Security number (and that's a lot).

It was 1996 and the popularity of the public web was growing rapidly with aol and yahoo leading the way. I worked for a small internet magazine in Oklahoma and had an idea for a website. My idea was to take a database of local businesses with websites and stick them into a searchable online website. I couldn't find a designer that could do what I wanted to do, let alone a cost estimate.  Thus began my journey to learn html, php and sql; the languages required to make my local search engine a reality.

Once I learned how to create websites, I was able to approach other businesses to offer my help in setting up a website. I knew I could help, but had no idea what to charge for a website. One of the first websites I built for money went for just $100 to a Canadian cleaning and restoration company. There were several in that range and slightly higher in the beginning.

As the demand for websites grew, it was obvious that I needed a consistent way to estimate the cost of building a website for our customers, especially since that age-old question kept popping up, "How much does an average website cost?" Well, I couldn't answer that question because there wasn't much research posted on the web yet. We knew what WE would charge for a website, but we thought it would be nice to know how our prices compared to other development companies around the U.S. By this time we had decided to charge for our work on a per hour basis and we had a really good idea how many hours each part of a website takes us. Therefore, as we have done so many times, we built a way to estimate the cost of building a website and called it Website Estimator.

Now, saying all that, we have seen website designers and design companies come and go over the past 20 years. We've paid attention to what many of them are charging and have gathered our own data. Now armed with our own findings we are once again curious, 'What does the average website cost?' We want to know if our prices are in line with the rest of the country. Finally, and I mean finally, I have found what I have been looking for.

A recent google search reveals that several different sources are reporting average website prices similar to what we have been charging for the past 10 years, well kinda.  You see, for years the averages we found being reported were absolutely ridiculous. Prices like $1,000,000 for a website... WAIT... yes, like the ACA website that cost us all a cool $2 Billion. I would've built that website for $2 Million and saved us all $998 Million. So all in all we have ignored the estimates we've found, UNTIL NOW.

We found that multiple sources are reporting that an average business website costs $2,000 - $3,500. With custom programming, database integration and a custom CMS (Control Panel), the estimates average $9,000 - $16,000.

Our final answer is still, 'it depends', but at least we have several sources who are using logical variables and are coming up with logical prices. Further research has determined that the average hourly rate that most of the estimates are based on are around $100 per hour with websites taking from 20 to 100 hours or more to complete all facets of a complete website development and launch.

I hope that our research has helped you understand that age-old question that eluded us for so long.  Like I said, our answer is usually, 'from FREE to $10,000' or 'it depends'. If you have questions on how much a website would cost your company or project, please give me a call or drop me an email. I'd love to answer any questions you might have.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

#1 The Year in Review

January 1, 2018

Happy New Year everyone!

I am just sitting here reflecting on 2017 listening to Floyd's "Great Gig in the Sky". For some reason, Pink Floyd never seems to fail in setting the mood.

It was a crazy year in many regards, but then again, we are the Hales, and we are in the website / media business after all, so it's somewhat expected.

Security upgrades and a Solar Eclipse dominated the headlines for our most recently completed trip around the sun.

The year began with a few quirks and by March we felt the server wasn't performing the best.

Prior to May of 2017 we had our website business running on a server that was built in 2008.  We felt it was time for a new server so we upgraded to a machine that has a processor that is twice as fast and has 4x as much RAM (memory). We also doubled our hard drive (storage capacity) and our server company has all of our websites and data backed up 5 times daily, as opposed to once a week before.

In August we realized the need to upgrade our DNS or Domain Name Server, so that upgrade took place as well.

Shortly thereafter, Andi began exploring a security upgrade to all our website contact forms that recently became a requirement on our new, more secure servers.  She was able to upgrade several of our clients before the end of the year, but still has some remaining. The cost for each secure form was going to be $50 per month each! However, we found a way to cost-share it out so that it only runs $25 per year for each secure form on the website.

In November we decided to offer full 256 bit encryption SSL certificates for $99 per year (installed). Having an SSL certificate installed on your domain makes your site more secure and shows the https or padlock on some browsers.

We've been in business for 20 years now and we are looking forward to continuing to serve our friends and clients this coming year!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What's an App?

You may have heard the saying, 'there's an app for that' and it's true, there are millions of 'apps' created for all kinds of reasons.  So, before we go any further, what's an 'app'?

Before I could explain to my customers how valuable it might be to have an app, I knew it would necessary to answer this basic question. So, I asked a couple of web savvy folks I knew and here's what their responses were to this elusive question;

  • Sean Brandt, owner of a website design firm in Lincoln, Nebraska wrote, "Custom software developed and branded to meet the needs and wants of an organization's audience. A mobile site utilizes a browser on your mobile phone and it usually functions like your main website in design and content usually built by a web designer. A mobile app is a stand alone application on a mobile phone that has it's own graphical user interface fulfilling a specific niche pertaining to your organization that is built by an app developer.
  • Adam Bauer, Marketing Director for Zips Trucks in Iowa replied, "A mobile website is an optimized version of a main website (streamlined, simplified and sized appropriately for smaller screens).  Advantages: easier to find (search engines) and share; less expensive; easier to update; compatible across many devices..
 
I would say that both are correct. A native mobile app is an application that is downloaded and installed on a mobile device and a web app is an application, usually identical to the native app, that is accessed via a browser or by automatic redirect.


Advantages: can work offline; can utilize native functionality (camera, SMS, GPS,...); higher performance (good for interactivity or gaming); personalization to name a few.


I enjoyed the simplicity of Jeremiah Eli Schweitzer's answer when he wrote, "Something that makes something else easier."

In fact, it was this definition that helped me to realize that I have been building 'apps' or as we call them, 'modules' or 'snippets of code' that have been helping make things easier on the web since 1998 and conventional computers as far back as 1978.  

By this definition, 'apps' are nothing new.  It's the delivery of information that has been under constant evolution - from the invention of the printing press hundreds of years ago to Radio to TV to the amazing tool we all know as the 'Internet'.  The Internet has placed the world's largest library at our fingertips, but without an actual vehicle to deliver the information, it's virtually useless.  

The first vehicle to deliver information over the internet came in the form of large main frame computers.  Eventually PC's, or personal computers found their way into homes and the public began getting news and other information delivered directly to their desktop, as Dr. John Naisbitt predicted in his book Megatrends, nearly 30 years ago.  Websites carried the load to our PC's for many years, and will continue to do so while apps can be thought of as the driving force behind mobile content delivery.

Now, literally thousands of different mobile devices can be easily purchased and eventually nearly everyone will have a mobile device of some sort.  Since Apps are the programs (software) that run these devices, they can easily be seen as the engine that is driving mobile content delivery to new heights.  

In summary, here are a few of the benefits of having an app designed for your business or organization;
  • Apps deliver content to mobile devices more efficiently than a web browser.
  • Apps generally load quicker than websites, or even mobile websites.
  • Apps can be easily custom designed and updated quickly, even more easily than a website.
  • Apps are highly interactive and can pull from other native apps (GPS, Camera, etc)
  • Apps make it possible to connect via all social media sites in one place.
  • Apps are downloaded to your device, enabling access to content when a connection is not available.
  • App developers must pay a fee and abide by strict developer guidelines, therefore creating a natural filtering process of designers.

There are several other specific benefits unique to various industries that are too numerous to mention here, but we would be happy to visit with anyone interested in exploring the possibilities.  My goal for this article was to provide enough information for small business owner's to determine whether or not an app would be a profitable investment in their business.

Brian Hale has been programming computers since 1978 and is a pioneer in web based management.  He's developed over a thousand websites and applications over the past 3+ decades and has a passion for helping others.  He can be contacted at Hale Multimedia; (940) 224-6315 or brian@halemultimedia.com.


Friday, March 18, 2016

2016 Update

It's been an exciting three years since we dove into the world of mobile app development. We've been building and promoting websites since 1996 and knew it was time to take the leap.  We also believed it was time to move away from our home area of the Panhandle of Western Nebraska to a slightly bigger market area, one that was closer to a tech hub, but not too close to the 'big city'.  We are, and always will be more acclimated to the rural lifestyle than the city.


We selected Wichita Falls, Texas since it met that criteria plus more.

AgMarketOnline, our ag search engine, is an annual exhibitor at the Wichita Falls Ranch & Farm Expo that Darren and Tana Dale of Star Expos host each year in March so we had a chance to get to know this big town/small city that people commonly confuse with Wichita, Kansas.  Wichita Falls is the approximate geographical center of OKC, Dallas and Amarillo.

Star Expos is a 700 Club sponsor on AgMarketOnline.com and we've been advertising their trade show on the radio for several years now.  Recently (the last 3 years) we have developed a mobile app for all of their expos; Wichita Falls, TX - Great Bend, KS - McCook, NE.

Here's a look at the Mobile App for Star Expos

http://starexpos.myapp.name

We arrived in Texas in late August of 2013 and were pleasantly surprised to get an email within the first week from the County Health Department seeking a mobile app for the local walking/biking trail that circles the town.  When asked how they found us, the answer was 'a simple google search for app development in wichita falls'.

Here is a look at the Wichita Falls Trail System Mobile App.


http://wichitafallstrail.myapp.name



Here's our main company mobile app for Hale Multimedia.
From a mobile device, simply visit www.halemultimedia.com

http://halemultimedia.myapp.name




If you have an idea for a mobile app, or if your business has a website but it does not really work right on mobile, then give me a call.  I'll see if I can help you figure out your best solution.

Brian Hale
Hale Multimedia & Mobile Marketing
940 224-6315