Development Can Be Cost Prohibitive
As the title of this post implies, I think some types of web development projects can be cost prohibitive. Although there are plenty of lower cost solutions for building an informational website (like TropicalBirds.com), things begin to get expensive when a database driven directory is needed. Oftentimes, I find myself looking to sell domain names that should be built into a directory website rather than undertaking the task of building, as the price is expensive.
The first cost you need to consider is for the programmer’s time. While I won’t even delve into the actual hourly fees since they vary so greatly depending on the skill level and location of the developer, I know the cost to be expensive. Even if you are able to secure fair rates for the work, it still takes time (at this hourly rate) to properly convey exactly what it is that you want. If there is a difference in language, you should add some hours in the back of your head since there will probably be some issues that get lost in translation.
In addition to the programmer’s time, you may also need to buy software or coding like phpMyDirectory or eDirectory. The prices on these programs are different, and they may also vary depending on how many licenses you purchase. Customization of the software is what gets to be expensive, as most people have something in mind when they buy a website, and the out of box solution won’t work. If you don’t go with a pre-built solution, you might run into problems as custom software is time consuming to build and can be more expensive to maintain, as you may need to rely on the people that built it rather than a fully staffed company like the folks at eDirectory.
Finally, as I’ve heard many times in many places, you shouldn’t count on your programmer/developer to be able to design your website for you. Most of the time, programmers are good with coding, but not as good with design, and visa versa. Sure, there are jacks of all trades, but if you choose to use one, it is likely that you are sacrificing talent somewhere. In my opinion, the coding is more critical than the design of the site, so if you need to sacrifice talent, it’s probably better to do it on the design side of house.
With all of these elements comes considerable expense. For a directory-based website, I’ve seen quotes of anywhere from $2,000 (not much customization) to much, much more depending on the concept and deliverables. If you spend $8,000 for a great looking directory website, you need to keep in mind that you are going to have to earn this back – in addition to what you paid for the domain name – just to break even. The problem is that if you expect to earn just a few hundred dollars a month, you may never earn back your investment.
If you have a great domain name, at least your project will help appreciate the value of your domain name, as the content will presumably drive traffic, add links, and generate added revenue. Since you will probably be reliant on direct to advertiser sales, you can leverage your domain name to get business. Try getting the ear of a business owner with a poor domain name – good luck. If you call, email, or write with a category defining domain name (or a top geodomain), I think you will have a much better chance of making a sale. This is all very important if you just spent thousands of dollars building a directory website and need to start generating revenue.
With all the criticism to domain owners for parking their great domain names, criticizers need to realize that development can be cost prohibitive. In the end, it might be worth more to a domain owner to simply park or sell a domain name for a profit than to undertake an expensive and time consuming development project. As I said a few days ago, for those who do criticize, I recommend them ponying up to buy the parked domain name. If their idea is so good, they are the fools for not leveraging their personal assets to acquire the domain name.
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