First of all, rest assured that anyone can start and own their own a website. A website's cost can be as inexpensive as free. Of course, depending on your requirements, a website can cost as much as
thousands of dollars per month depending on the nature of the design. Not too worry, for the most part, you don't have to spend a lot of money to establish your site. As your site grows, you can easily scale it up
and invest more money for the added features, performance, and reliability. Before you can deploy your first website, you'll need to make sure that you have your domain name and DNS configuration in order (refer to the previous articles
in this category of "Web Building". To start, you'll need to decide which type of website you are interested in implementing. Types of websites include personal, informational, e-commerce, blog, and forum.
Personal websites usually provide information about a user or groups of users. Its common for a user to set up a personnel website to host information about their personal lives, family, recent pictures, etc..
Personal websites usually require little maintenance and are the easiest type of website to start and maintain. Many Internet service providers and domain registrars include this service in their basic
offerings. Usually, this type of free offering is limited and would require additional costs for adding space and features. This type of site is not recommended for those interested in marketing their business. If you are interested
in implementing this type of site, check with your Internet service provider and/or domain registrar. Most of the providers already have pre-defined templates and a library of images for you to use. Interaction
with Internet users is generally non-existent to possibly very limited.
The most common type for a small business entering the web market is an informational site, also known as a "brochure site". For small business, this type of site is easiest to deploy and maintain.
While these sites contain static information on their pages, as information about the organization changes, a website administrator would simply log on to the website management portal and update the pages.
Businesses will sometimes create an Informational Website just to get their information out to the public and not to sell any products online. As the business grows, additional features can be added to
these types of sites so that businesses can integrate things such as catalogs and shopping carts. The cost of hosting this type of site with an Internet provider or domain registrar can range from $5.00 - $20.00 per month.
As you add features, the price goes up accordingly. Some providers that offer this type of service are Yahoo, GoDaddy, and Network Solutions. There are thousands of providers on the internet.
If you want to sell your company’s products directly to customers, you will need a website that focuses around your inventory via a catalog. Each product in the catalog will contain a detailed description
and often includes a picture and review. E-commerce software is needed for this type of site. If you host your site with a provider, this feature is generally provided as an add-on for an additional cost.
The e-commerce package usually includes the catalog software, shopping cart, and reporting features. While this type of site may seem difficult to build, there are many pre-built software solutions
available today to get you started. Prices generally start around $50.00 - $100.00 per month for this type of service. As you need to expand the site's storage and performance, prices adjust accordingly.
Blogging is one of the easiest ways to get your thoughts on the web. If you want to voice your opinion and exchange ideas with other people with common views then Blogging is the way to go. Blogs, or
formally known as "Web Logs" can be categorized as an online journal. The advantage to blogs is that people that would normally not have the ability to get their ideas shared with the world, now
have the power to tell anyone interested what is on their mind. There are many free Blogging sites out there, such as Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) and Wordpress
(http://www.wordpress.com). While there are tons of blogging sites out on the internet, these are my two favorite. Blogs are not only great
for personal use, as more and more businesses are using blogs to interact with their customers.
If you want to set up a website for you and your users to post topics and engage in discussion, then implementing a forum is the appropriate choice. Forums can be hosting with a provider just like any
other website. Most providers have forum templates that you can use to easily deploy and maintain your forum. Hosting a forum with a provider can be as little as free to a few dollars per month on a shared
platform. Some providers do not charge extra for setting up your forum. If you plan on hosting a forum on your own web server, you'll most likely want to obtain a pre-built forum package. Some forum software
is free while other costs between $100.00 - $300.00, one time charge. Most forum software is written in PHP, but there are forums written in .NET. Which platform you choose is up to you. If you are hosting
your forum with a provider, then the code base shouldn't be too important unless you are planning on customizing the forum. Some popular forum packages out there are as follows:
Once you determine which type of website you are interested in implementing, the next step is to determine where you are going to host the website. Basically, you have two options. You can either host the website
on your own webserver, or host the website with an Internet provider or web hosting company.
Recommended Books & Training Resources