Are you a blogger or a seller of products or a provider of services online? Then, you need to design the site find a good domain name and a hosting company only after these steps can you start blogging or selling products or providing for services.
While you can design and develop your website from its graphics and code to its contents for free, the domain name is the single cost that you cannot avoid. Fortunately, domain names are affordable so there is no excuse to avoid getting one for your own business or blog.
Such affordability comes from the fact that domain names are owned and shared by everybody. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization, authorizes the domain name registrars, manages the domain namespaces, and oversees domain name distribution. Said distribution comes on a first-come, first-served basis.
When nobody owns a domain name, you can purchase it for as little as US$10 to $15 per year. You can even enjoy discounts for multiple year registrations, thus, bringing down the costs for running a website even further. You are also well-advised to register for multiple years since you can lose the domain name when it is not renewed on time.
Tip: Choose an available domain name on the registrars instead of buying from individuals who buy the domain name at $10 and then sell it for $50 to others.
Basically, a web host provides space on its server where your website resides, so to speak. You have two options, namely:
• Set up your own server. This is the more expensive option mainly because you will shoulder the overall costs for the server equipment specifically the hardware and software as well as the maintenance costs (e.g., safety, security, replacements), not to mention the time, energy and effort required for the tasks.
• Subscribe to a web hosting service. This is the more affordable option because you can skip on the costs of the server equipment while also enjoying the benefits of its features and functions. These include e-commerce functionality, sufficient disk space and bandwidth, and SSL encryption, among others.
In the case of the latter, your costs can range from virtually zero to as much as US$200 per month. The costs will largely depend on the features and functions you have chosen and the level of service you require from the web hosting provider.
Tip: If you have a small to medium-sized business, your best option is middle-of-the-road features and functions for excellent value for your money. Be sure to discuss your options especially in terms of add-ons before choosing your web hosting package. While free web hosting services are also viable, keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Design and Development
You can design and develop your website for free. But you also have three other options, namely:
• Use low-cost options, such as site generators and templates, for US$0 to US$100. Examples include Microsoft FrontPage and Dreamweaver.
• Use website generators offered in a bundled package by web hosting providers for $200 and up depending on the bundle.
• Hire independent professional designers and developers. This may be the most expensive option with prices ranging from US$500 for a small job to $5,000 for a corporate website with the bells and whistles.
Tip: Always compare the professional fees required by the designers and developers with their portfolios, services and track record.
For your site content, you can either write the articles, press releases, and blog entries or you can hire professional writers for the purpose. In the case of the latter, you can spend as little as $100 per month on the content.
The bottom line: You can spend as low as $10 to as high as $5,000 on your website during its initial stage, not to mention other recurring monthly costs.