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What do you mean by web development? Is that writing HTML?

Writing web pages using the HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a part of web development, but not the only part.

In our systems approach to web development, we take a holistic view of developing the web pages of a web site that says that before you start writing, you have to have some idea of what it is you are going to write. So while other web programmers might jump right in and start laying out your page, we take the time to ask you what are your objectives, and what do you want the web site to communicate.

This approach is a key feature in the type of web development we do, which is custom web development as opposed to a more 'cookie-cutter' approach.

What's so tough about developing a web? My 13-yr old can do it!

It's true that many young people are taking to the web, not just as web surfers but also as computer 'geeks' that probably know enough to develop basic web pages.

We believe that our systems approach to web development has a higher probability of success because it considers all the factors of development, seen and unseen. Historically, development projects have a poor record of success; some experts estimate only about 1 out of 3 projects is completed successfully. In other words, development projects can be like icebergs; it's what you don't see that can rip you up.

We also know how to use popular databases (such as Microsoft Access, SQL Server, and Oracle) with web sites, which can greatly enhance the functionality of a web site.

Based on our years of development experience, we have the experience to anticipate and handle the unforeseen, and to guide you to successful completion of more complex web sites.

How long does it take to develop a web site?

We believe that developing a custom web site requires hard work and careful thought. Yes, anyone can throw a few pages up on the web, but is that going to achieve your objectives? Our approach takes a little more time up-front because we tend to ask tough questions before we start typing on the keyboard, for example:

Gathering this information is not as tough as it may sound, at least for an experienced, skilled developer. Unlike other web authors, we have the communications and customer relation skills to gather this information in a couple of hours. As one client of ours put it:

"Dave Clark can gather and put information down on paper faster than anyone I've every met"

Having said that, overall it will probably take several weeks from start to finish to develop a simple (1-5 pages) web site. Much of that depends on the time availability of the client and our schedule. It could be shorter, and it could be longer if the site is more complex.

Why do I need a web site?

It's become a truism, but in today's competitive society, every edge helps. We live in a technology-dominated society that has come to expect that information will be easily and readily available through the computer. The Internet is thus like a global database of 'Yellow Pages'.

Even if you don't operate in a technology dominated industry or field, you still have customers, and if you have customers, they expect you to have a web site.

This technology bandwagon is not hard to jump on, and the sooner you jump on the better off you are. Even if you don't have grand plans for on-line shopping and electronic commerce, we still recommend that you get started. There is a lot to learn about the Internet and how to take advantage of it, and the longer you wait the further behind you will be.

What are the costs of developing a web site?

There are three categories of costs in developing any web site:

  1. Registering your web address (URL) with the Internet authorities. This generally costs $70 for two years, and assures that you have a unique address ( throughout the Internet. This registration is mandatory if you want to have a web site with a unique address.
  2. Hosting a web site; keeping your pages on a web server.  A web site is fundamentally a group of related computer files that are stored on a big computer called a server. Whoever runs that server provides you with disk space, and access to your files from the Internet. Innerhost is a web hosting serviceThese providers are called web hosts. Arete Systems recommends the web hosting firm Innerhost, Inc. This company specializes in the Microsoft technologies we use, and has a track record of providing reliable, full featured service at a reasonable price. Working with Innerhost, we can provide web hosting services for about $20 a month for a basic site with no data access. Adding database access generally costs about $35 a month.
  3. Developing/writing the web pages themselves. This is what Arete Systems specializes in, and this is the hardest part. (We can arrange to have the first two steps done, or the client can do them.) Doing this step correctly is key for success. Our costs are estimated on an hourly basis per project, but then capped at a certain fixed price so that your costs are limited up front. Generally a simple web site of 1-5 pages will cost between $500-$1000 (the minimum charge is $500) A more complex web site of 5-15 pages, or a basic e-commerce site will cost between $750-$1500.

These costs are estimates, and vary depending on the availability of existing content provided by the client. If you know what you want to say, or have existing material or content in some form (brochures, marketing materials, pictures, etc.) this will reduce the cost of step 3.

For more information on our costs, please email or contact us.

What is Web Pages that Make Sense?

Web Pages that Make Sense™ is what we call our approach to developing web sites. It combines our systems approach with our communications skills, and tempers all of it with realistic expectations of the economics of web site development and what web sites can do for a business and organization. We take a practical approach, emphasizing that 'Content is King'.

Our approach is based in part on the work of Vincent Flanders and Michael Willis, authors of the best-selling book Web Pages that Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design. Their ideas and philosophy can be found at their web site,

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