Internet access

Some users access the Internet through a modem that is connected to the computer, (although there are other alternatives such as Broadband and DSL), and connect via an Internet Service Provider (aka ISP). The commercial biggies are one choice but there are also many local ISP’s that provide quality service. Expect to pay around $20/month for the service.

Website hosting

This is for leasing space on the server where your site will reside. This has become a very competitive arena and fees are very reasonable. Expect to pay between $10-$30/month and don’t pay any more, unless you’re running some special applications such as a shopping cart, database, or have a very large site with streaming media.

Now, there are sites that provide free hosting, but in most cases require that you run their advertising on your site. For a personal website, that’s fine. For a business site, it’s tacky, very unprofessional, and presents a poor first impression.

Domain registration

This is the annual fee to own your own domain name (e.g., mybusiness.com). Domain names can be registered through many different companies (known as “registrars”) that compete with one another. You will find a list of accredited registrars at icann.org.

The cost to register a domain has dropped significantly over the last couple years. Expect to pay anywhere from $8.00 to $20.00.

Design

This is for the creation of your site, including the programming (HTML) and images (look & feel). On an average a simple five or six page website will cost between $650 and $1,500. For more elaborate websites you can expect to pay $3,000 or more. You may find someone who charges less than $100 a page but most likely you’ll be getting a site using one of the standard templates provided with website software such as Frontpage, Dreamweaver, etc., with minimal customization. However, for just a little more, you’ll get a business site that includes the most important elements; custom design, efficient loading time, search engine optimization, comprehensive information, and a clean, easy-to-use format.

For more information read How to Choose a Web Designer.