There used to be two different approaches to getting a web site or application for your business: Buy or Build. You can buy a program or canned service and live within its limitations, or build a custom site and pay for every feature.
There is a better way, and it's called Open Source. With open source software, you get a nice balance of lots of pre-built code that brings down the cost, along with total customizability and the benefits of owning the code.
At Freelock, we build sophisticated web sites on an open source platform called Drupal, which is one of the most popular, widely-used platforms on the Internet. But more than just building sites, we stick around to help you keep getting more and more value out of it.
Our Motto: Launch Early, Change Quickly
Why wait months for your new web site to launch? For newer sites without a lot of legacy data and a modest launch goal, we can get sites launched in weeks, if not days. Every day your site sits on a development server is another day it's not bringing in new business. Our motto: Launch early, change quickly.
On the web, change is the status quo. Nothing stays the same for very long. If you launch a web site and never change it, it collects cobwebs and dust, and nobody ever will come to visit. It will let customers who already know your name find your address and phone number, but not much else. But in a down economy, most businesses need more customers. Shouldn't you take advantage of the cost-effective power of online marketing to reach new customers?
If you're going to market online, you're going to need to invest a bit of your time and attention on an ongoing basis to get results. You need to keep changing your web site to keep getting results. We can help you focus on changes that help you get more business, and steer you away from activities that just waste your time.
If you're building on a finished platform, you can get your site launched very, very quickly. With a custom development project, it takes months or sometimes years to get a finished product. With an open source platform like Drupal, you can get launched with minimal functionality in weeks, or sometimes days.
Not only is the Internet a fast changing place, but so are your business requirements. You're probably trying to do more with less resources.
The problem with using a sitebuilder service to create a web site is that you greatly limit how much you can change the site to match your needs. You're stuck with what the service provides. Generally if you need flexibility, you're going to need a custom web site to get it just right.
With a Drupal web site, you get the best of both worlds--pre-configured sites that are fast and inexpensive to launch, and tremendous flexibility to tailor it to meet your needs. And the best part is, most of this tailoring and changing can be done after the site has launched.
There's lots of things that can go wrong with a complicated web site. There's new security holes that get discovered. Servers get attacked. Hard drives die. Companies go out of business. Sites get hacked. Updates break things. People accidentally delete important content. We've dealt with all of these events, and more.
We're constantly looking for ways to improve our service, and prevent mishaps from becoming catastrophes. We do all kinds of things to make our service as risk-free as possible, including:
- Banning all use of insecure protocols like FTP for managing web sites
- Applying security updates for not just the server operating system but also the modules in use on each customer's site
- Not just one but two complete backup systems, with some snapshots stored over a year--if you lose data we can often retrieve it
- Recovery plans to minimize any service interruptions if a server fails, a provider goes out of business, or a site gets hacked
- Obsessive use of software code management systems to allow us to roll back changes that break things
- Use of open source software throughout our business
- Low up-front cost and easy payment terms means you're getting value from our service as you're paying for it, instead of investing heavily up front for something that may not ever pay off
- Support plans that are designed to make it easy for you to experiment and try things out to see what's most effective, instead of locking you into a specific scope of work
- Our knowledge and experience in the online world, knowing what works for others, what can go wrong, and what's a waste of time
Our services provide great value to our customers. If you want to get a dynamic web site built, you've got basically 3 other alternatives: Hire a freelancer/contractor to build it, use a canned service (sometimes called Software as a Service, or SaaS), or have an employee do it.
If you hire a freelancer, you can get a completely custom site built for probably less cost than we would charge, if we were to start from scratch. Once your site is launched, the freelancer is off to find the next client (or go on some exotic vacation.) However, with our projects, we start with a basic configuration and get it launched right away. And then the real work starts--helping you use it effectively, adding, tailoring, and tweaking it to meet your needs.
If you use a software as a service provider (like Google SiteBuilder, SquareSpace, Yahoo! Stores, WordPress.com, etc.) you can get the cost down very low. But there are two very major down sides to this approach: You don't have much flexibility, and you can't take it with you. If you're actively using the site, you'll inevitably hit a wall where you want to do something and the feature is not available. Good luck getting help with that--these providers are in the business of making their sites as similar as possible. And with a proprietary software as a service provider, if you like the product but are unhappy with the service, in most cases you're out of luck.
You could have an employee deploy Drupal or another open source system, and run the site for you. This is great, if you have an employee who knows how to do this type of work. But it's also far more expensive--even our high-end Active Development support contract costs far less than the salary of an employee. And our team works on dozens of sites, and in touch with the community--so we have far more collective knowledge and streamlined tools at our disposal than you're likely to be able to afford in house.