Remember the days when having a "billboard" Web page was really cool? They were the sorts of sites you told your customers to visit and perhaps learn a bit more about the company, get your contact details and so on.
Of course, these too were the glory days for Web designers. HTML skills alone were enough to get by for static page requirements, and yes, the money was good. Very good.
Then once every other bored Cobol or Visual Basic programmer decided to launch their own Web design business, we started to see the price fall. The normal supply and demand paradigm kicked in.
So what's happened since then? I suspect we have forgotten that, fundamentally, building even a reasonably complex Web site these days is still relatively straight forward. In a word, the Great Web Development Rort is back. And it's time we stopped being taken for a ride.
It's amazing how inside one week, a number of readers have made the same comment to me about expensive Web development costs.
Why must we continue to accept the golden rules of Web development? An assumption I want to challenge is the notion that Web development always takes twice as long and costs twice as much.
Having just gone through a rapid Web development process with the construction of ARNnet.com.au, I can speak from experience here.
Firstly, on the time front, the only way to avoid missing your target launch date is to have an extremely detailed development plan. Know the technical scope and plan accordingly.
But the real kicker is the spiralling costs I know are hurting the channel. I'd like to suggest that a reason for these rising costs is the emergence of new technologies designed to meet our Internet-driven business nirvana. B2B, B2C, ASPs, startups, dot-coms and e-business are all worthy subjects of discussion and application to the channel. But if we don't know enough about the technical aspects of making these symbols of the new economy an economically justifiable reality, it leaves us open to some nasty financial surprises.
A good example of this is when you get your car serviced. Many companies can provide this service including service stations, car dealers, independent operators and mobile mechanics. Each company has a unique value proposition, be it price, service, efficiency or convenience.
The trouble is, if any of these mechanics say you need a new catalytic converter, it's hard to argue otherwise if you don't know enough about cars.
You could take the car somewhere else, go home and study automotive textbooks or seek advice from a friend in the know.
Meanwhile, you think about how the car will be off the road at great personal inconvenience while you are undertaking this learning process and in the end just fork out the money.
So in my opinion, it's time to take control of your Web design and development costs. Find out more about the technical side of your site, and, as in our case with ARNnet, surround yourself with great technically minded people who know the business.
As I've argued a number of times, one of the greatest inhibitors to an effective IT supply chain is the inefficient connection between the disparate IT systems of resellers and distributors. It's the only way to beat off the direct sales model.
Received a nasty invoice lately? Let me know.