The Programmers Ugly Little Secret
I am not spending an inordinate amount of time discussing programming at this point. Its’ not that it is not an important aspect. A fast loading, properly built site is a critical ingredient. Its just the world of web development has changed in many ways.
One aspect is programming. Many great programmers have migrated to creating websites to creating plug-ins and modules that can literally “plug-in” to a website. This has dynamically changed the development process. Now the developer with a modest understanding of programming can take the helm and produce a powerful, custom site. The plug-ins are updated and managed by the developer, so the support is often much better, and more cost-effective, than what a small freelancer can offer.
Instead of creating a feature from the ground up, most developers now acquire the core programming from an established script or plug-in and then modify them as needed. You will find that in most small business cases, this is the best way to go. There really isn’t a lot of justification to reinvent the wheel for programming when there is an already fully tested, implemented, and supported script created to meet most needs.
Of course, custom programming is being sold when its not needed.
A common tactic web developers use is to buy canned programs, mark them up, and sell them as a custom solution.
There is big money in it. Any developer could easily buy a certain feature for most small business needs and sell it as a custom, handwritten program. This means their markup could be at least 100% of the purchase price.
I’ve seen many situations where design agencies or freelancers buy a canned eCommerce system or other website feature and have all the branding removed. Next, they sell it as though it was developed “by hand”. This is done all the time in web development.
And its not just in web development. This is done in design all the time as well. I remember attending a Photoshop course about 10-15 years ago. The instructor was using a wedding card as a demo project. He whipped in a photo of marble, overlaid some text, and added a few features.
As he was putting it together, he was having an imaginary conversation with the designer as he delivered the design. He talked about how he had marble flown in from Europe, had the wording etched in the marble, and continued to make up this elaborate, fictional story. In the end, he said he would charge whatever his boat payment was for the month. There is simply a lot of deception in the marketing, development, and design world.