Websites 101

               A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF HOW THE INDUSTRY WORKS
The cost of having and maintaining a website starts at under a hundred bucks per year but can go through the roof into thousands of dollars, depending on how much of it you want to do yourself or how many bells and whistles you want.

Trying to shop around online for answers can be as frustrating as an Easter egg hunt in July.  Hidden charges and shell games are the order of the day. I’ll try to break it down into everyday language for you.
There are basically 2 types of websites out there: DO-IT-YOURSELF and CUSTOM DESIGNED

    Scenario 1: Many companies out there let you design your own site from stock templates and
    do your own updating for under $100 per year. They will provide telephone assistance.
 
    Scenario 2: You can have someone design your 5-page site at a cost of anywhere around  
    $400 and to over $2000, either updating on your own or paying extra for them to do it.
 

                                              DO-IT-YOURSELF
HOW IT WORKS: The easiest way is to find a company online that provides you with everything you need in one shot.  They’ll have the software for you to design your site and they’ll provide web hosting. Web hosting is the service that allows your website to be seen by the world on the internet, using the provider’s computers. Kinda like renting space on the internet. The higher the cost, the more capacity you get.
 
WHAT’S IT COST? Here are a couple of packages by other companies that are popular:
         
          STARTER                        
          5 pages, 25 mb*            
          Design: you do it (add $600 if they do it)            
          Total: $104 per year ($684 with their design team doing it, for the first year total)
 
That price includes $5 per month web hosting, $20 setup fee and a $24 domain fee.
You can use stock templates for design and you perform all updates (phone helpline is available).           * 25 mb is not very much capacity.
 
          GOLD                   
          Up to 100 pages, 5000 mb                
          Design: you do it (add $100 per page if they do it)                 
          Total: $260 per year ($1240 with their design team, 10 pages, for the first year)
 
That price includes $20 per month web hosting, $20 setup fee and domain is free.
You can use stock templates for design and you perform all updates (phone helpline is available)
 
DON’T WANNA DESIGN YOUR OWN SITE? Like I said, these same guys will do your initial site design for you at an extra charge of $600 for 5 pages on the starter package or $1000 for 10 pages. They won’t do updates, you must do all subsequent updates. The result? Your first year costs you $684 (starter) or $1240 (gold).
 

                                    CUSTOM DESIGNED WEBSITE
 
HOW IT WORKS: A company will either design your site for you from their stock templates or custom design it from scratch. They will provide updating for you at an extra cost. You then have the option of web hosting through them or elsewhere.
 
WHAT’S IT COST? Here are a few random samples from some other places out there on the internet. You can bypass the shell game and look at the totals, if you like:
 
Company #1
Package:               Silver          Gold             Platinum
Pages:                  5 pages       10 pages     20 pages
Totals:                  $1430         $1960          $2660                           
Includes:
Design fee:           $650           $1000          $1700
Web hosting:       $15/mo       $30/mo       $30/mo
Updating:             $50/mo       $50/mo       $50/mo       (2 hours per month max)
 
Company #2
Package:               Bare            Standard     Enhanced
Pages:                  3 pages       5 pages       10 pages
Totals:                  $420           $2210          $4050                           
Includes:
Design fee:           $300           $1250          $2250
Web hosting:        $10/mo      $50/mo       $90/mo
Updating:              N/A            :30/mo        :60/mo        (price included)
 
Company #3
Package:               One             Two             Three
Pages:                  5 pages       10 pages      20 pages
Totals:                  $1220          $1595         $2405
Includes:
Design fee:           $500            $875            $1625
Web hosting:        $15/mo       $15/mo       $20/mo
Updating:             $45/mo       $45/mo       $45/mo       (1 hour per month max)          
 
Company #4 (Lawyer specialty, designed with stock templates)
 
Package:               One             Two             
Pages:                  3 pages       6 pages                
Totals:                  $920           $1360
Includes:
Design fee:           $200           $400          
Web hosting:        $60/mo      $80/mo      
Updating:              N/A            :30/mo    (price included)        
 
Their custom designed sites start at $4500.  (logos start at an extra $2500) 
 

                                                   SUMMARY:
For argument’s sake, let’s say that you’ve settled on company #3 and their Package #1
 
Company #3
Package:               One            
Pages:                  5 pages      
Totals:                  $1220                  
Includes:
Design fee:           $500          
Web hosting:       $15/mo      
Updating:             $45/mo       (1 hour per month max)
  
You pay a one-time-only design fee of $500. For this, you get 5 web pages.
Now you need to rent space (hosting) so everyone can view it. This is $15/mo. or $180/yr
Your domain name (www.mysitename.com)  renewal is included in this price.
Updating is $45/mo – every month, whether you use the whole hour or not.
Total: $1220 for your first year.  $720 every year thereafter.
 
Your web hosting provides for 40 mb of disk space. This can run out quickly if you load up pictures, video and sound files onto your site. If so, you may have to upgrade.
 
I CAN PROVIDE A SIMILAR PACKAGE FOR UNDER $500 for your first year (updating as required only, not sold in monthly blocks like the other guys). Each subsequent year should be under $100.