What will it cost me to get my new website running?
The answer will depend on what type of website you want, of course. The basic components of website cost are as follows: Domain name registration – Typically this is inexpensive (less than $10 per year). Web Hosting Service – Most small businesses will use a web hosting company to provide a “home” for their website, rather than trying to connect directly to the Internet. Hosting service is also modestly priced, typically about $120.00 per year for a small business site. The hosting cost can escalate as you add more advanced capabilities to your site, including such issues as e-commerce or shopping carts. Web Site Development – This is typically the biggest cost in launching a new site. Total development costs can range between a few hundred dollars to $10,000+, depending again on the capabilities and the total scope of your new site. The inexpensive sites are generally a digital version of your “capabilities brochure”. They offer basic information on who you are, what you do, where you are, why you’re a great choice, and how to contact you. These sites can easily be done in a very attractive manner for less than $500. Sites that gather data or automate the sales process are much more expensive. If you want to present a large catalog of products and allow the customer to complete the sales process completely online you’ll need a much more sophisticated site. These sites will typically start at about $3,000 and can range upward with increased capability, unless you are technically inclined and plan to do the work yourself. Site Maintenance – All website will need to change and grow over time, and it’s important that you plan for site maintenance in your budget. These costs can also vary widely, but $1,000 per year is a reasonable starting point.
Please explain domain name registration vs. web hosting
If you're new to website issues these terms can be confusing. Your domain name is the unique name or identifier that people will use to find your website (such as our portlandor.score.org). At the beginning you need to use a service such as Network Solutions (or many others) to check your preferred name against the existing names. Once you’ve found a suitable name that no one else in the world is using you must register it to secure and protect your ownership. This protection is provided through one of many domain name registrars. A simple search will provide a long list of registrars, and this service is relatively inexpensive. Once you have completed this step you now own the legal rights to the new domain name so that no one else can use it. You must also pay the registrar a modest annual fee to hold this right. Owning your domain name is just the first step. Now you must build a website, and that site must be accessible from the Internet. It is possible for you to attach your own server directly to the Internet so the world can get to your site, but the complexities and costs are typically beyond most small businesses. The better solution for most businesses is to contract with a “Hosting Service”. These companies have a large group of high-performance computers and trained technicians in order to host thousands of websites. Hosting is simply providing a home location on one of their “servers” for your website to live, and providing access to it from the Internet. If you are planning a simple web presence, similar to a capabilities brochure, most hosting services are similar and you can shop based on price. If your site will be more complex, including e-commerce, interactive features, video, etc. you will want professional help in evaluating hosting services and their capabilities.