GFDA Website: No News Is…No News

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Absolutely amazing. GF Girl has posted an entry about a letter that was sent out by the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) concerning fiscal matters. Like me, her attention focused on this money (literally) quote:

The budget does not include funding to complete our new web site that we carried over from our fiscal year just ended or to buy much needed new computer equipment to replace or at least upgrade 6 year old computers, particularly our server. I believe we can cover these expenses through increased fundraising.

NO! Have these people not been paying attention? Don’t they understand that they don’t need “funding” to complete or maintain a website? And what precisely can their 6-year old computers not do? And they’re going to go for “increased fundraising” to pay for a website and new computers? GFDA, please pay attention: did you know that some companies sell state-of-the-art computers and even servers for just a a few hundred dollars, and that you can build and maintain a website for a measly $11.00 per month? Sure you do – I’ve told you that on numerous occasions. And I even built a mock-up site to show you how easy and cheap it can be!

Note To Self: wait a minute — my trusty Dell desktop computer will be six years old in November, and the cost for maintaining my website isn’t going down. Maybe I should ask local businesses and civic leaders for increased funding! After all, the $11.00 that I pay each month for isn’t going to appear out of nowhere!

Folks, I’m sorry for being so snarky, but the whole GFDA/website situation has gone beyond ridiculous. And I am not saying that the people who run the GFDA are bad, or incompetent…but the word “clueless” comes to mind.

And yes, I understand the point that perhaps some organizations don’t need a website with anything other than a phone number and an e-mail address…but (a) that isn’t the kind of website that the GFDA should have, since it is supposed to be attracting people and business to our community, and that can’t be done with a lame placeholder page, and (b) if they’re asking for increased funding for the GFDA website, then obviously they WANT something more than just a placeholder. As near as I can figure, they need a simple website that contains information and news about Great Falls, the local economy, some commercial real estate listings, the labor pool, etc. Nothing super-fancy or tech-heavy, right? It’s not as if the GFDA is aiming to build a site to compete with or Google or such.

But maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps there is some sort of uber-secret plan that the GFDA has under wraps for the website. Maybe I’m the clueless one.



  1. You’ll have to connect these dots (words) for yourself for them to make any sense:

    Lead, Horse, Water, Not…Drinking?
    Seems like you are fighting a battle that can only be won once someone with the authority and responsibility understands the complex idea of of the internet. Good luck Greater Falls guy.

  2. Not for the lack of ever trying, but over these past months, I’ve gotten several (or more) referrals from Google in my stats from folks looking for the GFDA, because of a simple, titled, blog post.

    Still, I’m not so sure that a site for the GFDA is much of a priority just the same.

  3. What has the GFDA done lately? Seriously, can you name anything?

    When Kramer was there we landed Centene, the malting plant and other small businesses. What has happened since?

  4. Disgruntled Citizen on

    What has GFDA done later? ZERO

    Is it the GFDA’s fault? NO.

    City “leadership” is backwards and clueless, so no matter what GFDA does to lure them here the quest ends the minute the city figureheads get involved.

    GE and Fuhrlander were both courted by the GFDA. These are progressive companies working with new technologies to solve our national energy woes. I’m sure they were both overly impressed with the cities dirty plan to build an outdated smog monster in our pristine environment. Bet they were thinking “I can’t wait to move my family here,” not.

    Stop jumping on the GFDA. Until we change the soiled mentality and up the quality of our leadership, nobody is going to invest in GF beyond the chain food and service industry venue.

    GFDA could have a world class award winning website but it would not change a thing with the status quo. You can’t make a racehorse out of a jackass.

  5. Note to GFDA:

    If you want a professional looking web site, that is easy to update and leaves room for future growth and expansion get in touch with me. Head over to my website and Contact me. I can show you some designs and ideas. The ‘issue’ of people disliking the speed of your progress can be easily solved. I won’t charge an arm and a leg.

    I have connections and people to get you new computer equipment and servers, where needed.

    Let’s get the ball rolling.


  6. Take a very close look at GFDA’s incomplete web site

    At the bottom left of the lonely homepage the byline reads, “website by TAOTI web design and marketing”. Though there is no active link on that page to TAOTI the search engine Google turns up this link,

    That 6-employee business describes itself thus, “Taoti Enterprises, Inc. is a small, privately owned, Washington, DC based firm with branch offices in Nampa, ID and Dayton, WA. ”

    Taoti also provides an up front estimate of how much they charge by stating “Now, all that said, we don’t like to dodge questions. So we can tell you that our projects typically range from $2.5K to $75K, with most ‘brochureware’ sites falling into the $4-9K range and most web applications falling into the $12-25K range.”

  7. 2.5k-75k for a basic website is not reasonable – using a content management system (CMS) an organization produce a good-looking, easy to update site for less than $400/yr. If you pay the CMS company to build you a template your end of year cost will still only be around $1000 for the first year and less than $400 every year after that. You will need to pay office staff to use the CMS system to build the site, but the controls for the CMS system are so simple you don’t need an expensive web developer to do it. Also, the future updates can be managed in-house by office staff rather than an outside company. The cost includes hosting, technical support, and technology updates.

    The downside is that you cannot switch CMS companies so you better like the one you work with. Either way, GFDA is easily paying well over four times what they need to to get a decent website and still (after several months) have nothing to show for it.

  8. Seriously! That is a hunk of trash! I could build that layout in CS and CS3 in less then 3 hours and I am NOT a code junky or CSS intelligent. I have built basic layouts like GFDA’s website for my own pages in the past….I should start charging 4k for them…That’s a joke. My new website (photography) is going to cost me 299.00 for development and 35.00 a month for a domain, storage, blog, and an unlimited page flash site. I think GFDA should have shopped around.

  9. Tim Austin said “the website had to be certified”. Here is what I say…You want certified???? Hire some local web designer that can make the site Great Falls unique. A website isn’t just a bunch of words. It’s sort of, kind of a living, breathing thing that needs the local touch. Then you populate the website with with information corporations/businesses need to put your city on their short list for the big expansion or big move. As far as the certification? Waive this expensive and unneeded requirement. Put the $10000 you save in web design fees to a good cause like more advertising on some other medium like TV and magazines.

    We hear a ton about “Shop Local”? When did shopping for professional services get excluded from the shop local theme most cities have? Having a DC or Nampa, ID based web designer for a GF organization is a slap in the face.

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