This information is aimed towards the people that are new to having their own website. It's not a complete detailed list of what your specific website may need, but it's just a simple list of information most websites need to get up and running and to keep them updated and maintained.
How much does a website cost?
This is the most popular question everyone asks when talking about having a new or better website. No matter who you ask that question to, most of the time time the answer to that question is, "Well, it depends."
There are many different types of websites. Some require a lot more work to design and some require constant maintenance. Some websites only need to be designed and built, and after that may only require occasional updates. The answer to the question, "How much does a website cost?" has been compared to asking questions like, "How much does a house cost?" or "How much does a car cost?" It all depends.
Website cost mostly depends on who you're paying to design it, how much you're paying for your hosting service, who is being paid to maintain the site, and how much you paid to register your domain name(s). A simple website containing only a few pages of content can be very affordable to have designed, you can get a very affordable and reliable hosting service, you can register the domain name(s) yourself, and even maintain the website yourself. Larger more complex websites may cost more to be designed and organized, may require a hosting service that provides more space and features, and you may need to actually hire someone to maintain the site.
So, after all of that, you still don't know how much a website costs. Well, it all depends.
Professional Website Design Firms vs. Individual Entrepreneurs
If you've looked into having a new or better website designed for your small business or organization, chances are you've either found companies that charge a huge amount of money or companies and individuals that build simple and unattractive websites.
BZ Web Design is definitely not a large design firm. Although I would love to have your business and design a website for your business or organization, I will be the first person to suggest that if you have the extra money to spend, you should definitely hire a professional website design firm to design your website. Most of the time you will get a high quality website. Just about the only drawback to hiring a large professional website design firm to design a website for you is the price you will pay.
"You get what you pay for" is something I truly hate to say because I know that my clients are getting a lot more than what they're paying for. Many professional website design firms have teams of people dedicated to your website, they usually do very high quality work, and they are very good at what they do, but you will most definitely pay for their expertise. Some design firms won't even start a project, even a somewhat simple one, without being paid in advance.
If you have looked online for individual website designers like myself, you've probably found quite a few that charge way too much and many others that have a full resume full of boring looking websites that look like they've been sitting untouched on the internet since the mid 1990's. There are many individuals that are very capable of designing and building a website that will be professional, attractive, functional and just plain cool looking. Basic website design is taught in high school, so just about any 15-18 year old high school student can probably build you a website. The question is will it be original, unique, and affordable.
BZ Web Design and other individual website design entrepreneurs usually have a limited number of clients and usually work much harder to satisfy their clients. Personally, when I get to a point where I can't handle the websites I design and maintain, I will no longer accept new clients.
Originality and Cookie Cutter Websites
Originality is alive and well on the internet, but there are literally thousands of websites out there that look the same, function basically the same, have the same exact layout and overall design. These cookie cutter websites usually work great, but they look totally unoriginal and become almost boring to the people that visit them.
Many website designers, including some of the large professional design firms, will take your content and information and literally plug into a pre-made template, slap on your logo, and toss in a few of your products and services. You may be completely satisfied with this method, but you may be turning away your website visitors by not offering them something different and new.
If you choose BZ Web Design, I will do everything in my power to design you an original, attractive, functional and affordable website. I will not use a pre-made page or site template (unless of course that is what you want), although I may design an original template specific to your website only.
So, after all of that information overload, BZ Web Design is here to clear it all up for you. I am not a large professional web design firm. I am definitely an individual web design entrepreneur. I will not design a run-of-the-mill, cookie cutter, or unoriginal website for you and your business.
If you choose to allow me to maintain your website as well as design it, your website will not look like it's been sitting on the internet untouched for years like so many websites out there today. I usually charge to redesign your website with a new and fresh look, but usually if your site for some reason starts to look like it needs to be improved, I will probably offer up a fresh redesign for free (depending on the size and complexity of your site). Some of my sites have remained relatively the same, while others have been tweaked and remodeled to keep them looking fresh.
I will also give you a great price compared to what most designers out there are charging. If you have any questions at all about any of the basic elements of what it takes to have your own website, please feel free to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
If you are new to having your own website, the following is a short list of the basic things you need to have your own website....
This is the address your customers will type in to get to your website (www.whatever.com). Your domain name should be short, memorable, and easily identifiable with your business, product or organization name. The name must be available (many good domain names are already taken) and registered. Domain name registration usually costs about $10-$15 per year per name, with discounts available for paying for several years in advance.
Your website will be stored on a server (a computer somewhere that holds your pages, images, files, and other information). You pay a hosting service to store your website on their servers. Hosting plans can range from under $10 per month to well over $100 per month, depending on the hosting company, the space you require, and additional features you may need. There are many, many companies that offer very competitive hosting plans, so shopping around for the best quality and overall value can be very beneficial.
Design & Website Layout
This is the actual work done to design the layout and overall look of your website. This includes organizing everything you want on your website, designing graphics or logos, creating and coding the actual pages, and many other aspects involved in making the website look, feel and work the way you want it.
BZ Web Design can help you by designing and creating original web pages containing attractive and unique graphics, based on the type of business or organization you have and the products you sell or the services you provide.
A lot of thought and planning should go into the overall look and feel of your website. Do you want your website to be professional looking or do you want it to look fun and wild? Have you thought about color schemes and tones? Do you have a particular preference when it comes to font styles? Are there particular shapes, patterns and overall design styles that please you more than others?
Basically, you want your site to reflect the tone and attitude of your business or organization.
Copy & Content
BZ Web Design can design the graphics, pages, logos, and everything else on your website, but you still need content to fill the site. Information about your business or organization, products, services, and much much more will be needed to create a content rich website that people will want to visit.
As much as I would love to write all the copy and content for you and your website, you will still need to do some work gathering information for your website.
BZ Web Design can help you plan your website and I can definitely help you organize whatever content you have, but you should already have some rough ideas and plans for what you want your website to become.
Many people look at other websites to get some ideas for their own website, but you should always think outside the box. Work on the plan for your own website based on your ideas, your goals, and your business plan in mind at all times.
It is perfectly fine to think big and plan big, but you may want to have your website start small and gradually expand and grow as you become more familiar with your website.
This is the actual work needed to keep your website up-to-date and running effectively. Maintenance usually includes adding new content and keeping the website updated (and not looking like a website that has been sitting on the internet untouched for a long period of time).
The amount of website maintenance all depends on the type of website you have. Some simple and effective websites may only have information about your business or product, which may require very little maintenance. Larger and more detailed websites may require constant work and maintenance, such as e-commerce sites and any site that contains additional interactive features such as instant messaging, forums, online forms, and a huge range of other features.