What It Really Take$ to Run a Website
A question many ask is "Roughly how much is a website going to cost me?" There's just no fast answer; it depends on what you want your website to do for you. Here are some things to consider in order to refine that question into something that actually can be answered.
Remember, though: a website isn't a goal in itself. Your website is a tool that can help you accomplish one or more goals. If it doesn't do the job you want done, then it's not the right tool for this circumstance.
A website that functions merely as an online business card can be quite low-cost. A website supporting your blog or a flip-through gallery of photos requires more extensive technology, meaning higher setup (and often maintenance) costs. Costs for an e-commerce website can run quite a bit higher still.
The care and feeding of a webmaster
Can you run your own website? Notwithstanding the technical challenges, do you have enough spare time to capture, polish, and integrate your marketing strategy into your website so that your online customers can find your great products and services? If not, you might want to consider hiring a webmaster to manage both your website and its content.
Engaging a webmaster, though, doesn't mean you never have to think about it again. In most cases there's a nearly constant demand for new material---from you, the website owner: the source of all business and marketing decisions---in order to keep the website fresh and appealing to your customers.
It's a process that cannot happen in a vacuum, yet it's something people rarely talk about when thinking about what a website costs. It costs time, at an hourly rate.
Hire a webmaster and you're engaging in a long-term collaboration with another person over the health and wellbeing of your website. Don't hire one, and you commit to handling it yourself. We can work with either option. You have to decide what's right for you.
What about e-commerce?
To participate in full-on e-commerce, you used to need:
Unless you had some unusual way to handle these items, each involves monthly or annual fees.
There are, however, easier-on-the-pocketbook alternatives to a full e-commerce setup. (Consider obtaining the book Beyond Amazon, eBay, and Etsy: free and low-cost alternative marketplaces, shopping cart solutions and e-commerce storefronts by Hillary DePiano, latest edition 2013.)
Regardless of the type of site you want, you may want professional placement and search engine optimization (SEO) to bring your website to the attention of people doing searches for certain keywords. If this is of interest to you, look up "search engine optimization" or "search marketing."
Again, you have to decide what's right for you. Feel free to contact us for a consultation.