Hosting the site
Your web pages must reside on a computer connected to the Internet.
Many Internet-connected computer sites will be glad to host your web pages for a fee. The fee is normally paid monthly.
Some places (like XOOM.COM) will carry your web pages for free.
Ordinarily, an ISP (Internet Service Provider) will allow its
customers up to 5 Megabytes of storage space for personal web
pages for free. There is normally a stipulation that the web
pages cannot be of a commercial nature. This option is ideal for
those who wish only to have a personal web page site or wish to
create pages for a non-profit organization.
The 5 Megabyte limit is not normally a problem for smaller sites
that are primarily text-based. Sites with many images will
usually require more space.
The name of your site
Using the least expensive means of implementing your web site
(i.e., using the free space provided by your ISP) your site will
carry a name like the following: www.ISPName.com/YourChosenName
If you wish to have a site that looks more like www.YourChosenName.com
then you will need to register that name with the InterNIC.
The cost of this registration is $35 per year to the InterNIC.
Additionally, your ISP will charge a fee (perhaps $25/yr) to host
the name you have chosen. You may be able to find someone else to
host the name for a lesser fee or even for free.
CGI - What is it and do I need it?
Basic CGI gives one the capability of collecting, storing and
displaying collected data via a web page. For example, a travel
business may wish to allow customers to specify their desired
destination and time of travel and receive instant feedback on
itineraries and pricing.
Cost of development - simple sites (i.e. no CGI)
Certainly the least expensive means of having a site developed is
for you to do it yourself or have someone do it for you for free.
If that is not possible expect to pay between $35 and $60 per hr.
for "simple" site development. By "simple" I mean text, images
and email capability. I.e., individuals who browse your site can
only contact you via email or ancient technologies such as phone
or post office mail.
There are many features/capabilities that might be considered "not
simple" but that are not as complex as CGI.
functionality of web pages yet falls short of CGI's capabilities.
For example, a bank or real estate firm might create a Loan
this will, generally, increase the hourly rate.
Access to the web site
You (and preferably your programmer) will need FTP access to your
web site. The FTP program gives one the ability to copy files from
one computer to another on the Internet. Your programmer will
normally do all development work off-site and periodically
copy the new web (html) files to the live web site. Although it
is generally considered more convenient for the programmer to be
able to do the transfers, some may wish to withhold this capability
from the programmer for security/work-approval reasons. Complex
web development almost always require the programmer to have access
to the site, however. More on this is given below.
Cost of development - complex sites (i.e. CGI)
An example of the basic database capabilities of CGI are given
above. I would characterize CGI capability as the dividing line
between simple and complex web page development. The cost of
"moderately complex" Web page development might run from $50 to
$100 per hour.
"Shopping cart" development and credit card processing can be
even more complex than basic CGI and the hourly rate will
generally reflect this.
There is another important issue with technology for the more
complex sites. The programmer may need control (or supervisory
privilege) on the computer used to host the pages. This is often
unacceptable to many ISPs. Other ISPs may offer particular
services such as secure credit card transactions or limited
services such as CGI using perl only. Most complex web sites have
their own Internet sites and their own computers and give
programmers control of these computers.
Managing a web site
This term can be ambiguous. Keeping web (html) files up-to-date
on a web site via ftp is one level of management. Managing the
computers and their web server software on a web site is a much
more involved task. This often requires much of the time of a
full-time employee like one who might work for a larger ISP.
The REAL cost of development
This is not determined by the hourly rate. A veteran programmer
who can produce a site at $60 per hour in 40 hours is, obviously,
more valuable than a novice who requires 80 hours at $40 per hour
and produces a lesser quality site.
But the most important factor is user satisfaction. The difference
in usability of the developed sites can mean a substantial
difference in income generated from the sites.