$85 Websites and What They Cost Today

FoundersNot many website developers can say they used to build websites for 85 bucks.  Back in 1996, not too many years after the internet thing showed up, my friend and partner, Brad Potter, and I were offering $85 template-based websites to Realtors. At the time, it cost $75 just to register a domain name with Network Solutions (who was the only player in town), animated .gifs were way cool and flash was just around the corner.  Eighteen years later I am amazed at how the technology has changed. Yet the process of sharing company stories through the medium of the Internet is very much the same.

We have grown slowly for years, working with other small businesses just like ours.  And… we are very thankful for each and every one of the customers who have honored us with their trust and patronage.

One of the challenges we face as we have grown both in experience and team size is that, to be a profitable and long-standing company, both our rates and skills have had to increase. Understandably, many of our original customers who worked with us when we were just starting (the $85 website days) will find that the company we have become is no longer a perfect match for their business.

Not only have we changed, but technology has also changed dramatically.  Although many companies have focused on how to make things cheaper and cut costs, we have chosen to avoid that race to the bottom and focus more on how we can offer the highest quality products and service available.  The most immediate technology change is Google’s recent announcement that they are going to penalize websites that are not mobile friendly by lowering their search engine ranking on mobile device searches.  This is going to effect many of our customers’ websites; the older HTML format site and even some WordPress sites that were developed before mobile-friendly and responsive design was becoming standard.

If you have an older HTML or WordPress site that is not mobile-friendly, you are likely asking yourself:


7 options for you to consider:

Cars without airbags still get you from points A to B, and even though you may be penalized for not having a mobile-friendly site, this does not mean you will drop off completely from mobile device searches.  Mobile friendly is just one part of Google’s formula to determine your search engine ranking.


Some of the websites we created well over a decade ago are still up and running but let’s face it, it is likely time for a brand new website. Our primary focus these days is custom-designed, mobile-friendly/responsive WordPress sites.

Cost:  Starting at $7,000, typical projects range $10,000-$15,000
Annual Managed WordPress Hosting starting at $960
Typical Timeline: 3-4 months.
Have a look at some recent websites in our Portfolio


This approach saves you money by choosing an off the shelf, pre-designed theme/site.

  • Choose an approved HTML 5 theme from Studio Press
  • We install our CORE theme and match the Studio Press design and then change it to include your logo, site map, content and match your brand’s colors.

Cost: Starting at $4,000
Annual Managed WordPress Hosting starting at $960
Typical Timeline: 1-2 months
Example Sites: http://www.valdezfisheries.org / http://www.alaskadrone.com


For WordPress customers, those of you looking for a very basic solution to meet the mobile friendly requirements of Google’s recent announcement.

  • Basic Mobile Theme / with WPtouch Plugin
  • Will pass the Google test
  • Your logo at top
  • Colors to match your current website
  • Hamburger menu icon
  • For mobile phones size and smaller
  • Both mobile and full website view available
  • Widget areas and custom templates will not be visible. Sundog Media will create an alternate mobile menu to display all menu items and an alternate home page to display content.
  • (mobile site) not responsive

Cost: $400
Typical Timeline: 1 week
Example Sites: (view on smart phone) – https://www.sundogmedia.com / http://www.afdf.org


For WordPress customers, this option will address only Google’s minimum Mobile Friendly requirements via responsive development.

  • Configure viewport to scale the website to the correct size for mobile browsers
  • Create one responsive view for all devices less than 1024 pixels wide, which includes landscape tablet, portrait tablet, mini tablet, and mobile phones.

Cost: $1500
Typical Timeline: 2-4 weeks
Example Site: http://raspberryisland.com


This option is for sites that still have a fairly strong design but need a fresh start for about everything that is under the hood as well as a few design improvements.

  • For WordPress customers only, this option will address Google’s Mobile Friendly requirements
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • Configure viewport to scale the website to the correct size for mobile browsers
  • Create separate responsive views for desktop computers, landscape tablet, portrait tablet, mini tablet, and mobile phones.
  • Increased Font Size
  • Better Padding and Line Spacing
  • Larger photos & Slide Show Images Where Applicable
  • Responsive Google Map and Forms

Cost: Starting at $4,000
Typical Timeline: 6-8 weeks
Example Sites: http://www.snai.com / http://www.akebs.com


Nearly all business owners have a fear of losing customers, not only from a standpoint of the financial loss, but more importantly to us is the fact that we care about the folks we serve and have built our business around. I also understand that the changes in our company may no longer make us the best fit for managing your web brand. This said, I want to make a few more suggestions.

One… Find a local, smaller web shop that is a fit for you both financially and in skill set. There are many wonderful Alaskan web teams that would appreciate your business. We hate to see you leave but we will do our best to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Two… Although they have some limitations, there are a few do it yourself national website companies that offer a low cost approach to creating a mobile friendly website.

Joe law - founder of sundog mediaWe hope Sundog is the perfect match to take that next step with your online website marketing. We want to thank each and every one of you, our customers, for believing in us over the years and trusting us with your business.

If you are interested in any of these options and would like to chat by phone or over a cup of coffee, just let me know and we will get it scheduled.


Joe Law