Kudos to Johnson Consulting Network

So as part of a competitive analysis for my company, I searched Google for “web consulting in lansing michigan”. And, the first response is to jcn.com. (Envision Internet Consulting made the 4th site slot) I searched for “internet consulting in lansing michigan”, and jcn.com shows up as the second response. The first is taken by Michtek consulting, whose site happens to be DOWN right now. They have some lame excuse of needing to upgrade their web site because of increased business. Like that’s an excuse to take your site down.

The strange thing is, it seems like most of jcn.com’s business is from providing web hosting services, and not so much from actually working on web sites. Interesting. And, I wonder what the “network” part of Johnson Consulting Network is all about. Guess I’ll ask.

The web ain’t cheap!

You know, it seems like every time I submit a proposal for web development to a prospect, I feel like I have to apologize for the estimate. I know it is higher than they expect. I have been told that, repeatedly. Part of it is because I generally work with smaller companies and non-profit organizations, and part of it is because every one seems to be feeling the pinch of budget cuts and the economy.

But, the fact is, building a really effective web site isn’t cheap. It takes time, expertise, focus, and funds. Frequently, even relatively small web sites run into five figures.

Anyone can build a web site that sucks. You pay for what you get, I suppose. You want a $1,000 web site? Go somewhere else. I’m through compromising quality. If a prospect can’t afford a web site that accomplishes what they need it to, then they don’t need it bad enough.

For some insight on national trends in cost of web development, see BtoB Online’s Web Price Index. Also look at the chart on trends from last year’s index.

Alright, I’ll stop whining.

I am alone.

Okay, so that’s a little dramatic.

Chey and Lila are down in Richmond, Indiana for a week and a half. They are staying with some friends of ours (they also have a two-year old). Chey is on spring break (she teaches at Lansing Community College), and she is taking this opportunity to hole up in our friend’s guest room to compose the remainder of her Masters thesis.

Which leaves me here at home for that period of time. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all the free time. Well, I better plan it before it fills itself up.

A tech company in Okemos? Who’d a thought…

So a few weekends ago I was in the East Lansing Barnes & Noble children’s section with Lila and Chey; we, I mean, Lila was playing with the wooden train set they have. Another couple with a two-year-old train set afficianado came over, and Chey and I started chatting with the couple.

It turns out this lady we met is a product manager at a company called TechSmith in Okemos. They make screen capture software called SnagIt as well as beefed-up screen recording software that they call Camtasia Studio. The software sounds very useful in user-testing. I understand it also sports the ability to record facial expressions via a web cam, and it exports its data as Flash movie files (SWF).