A website is a significant investment. There are upfront costs to build it, as well as ongoing costs to maintain it.
The costs can also vary widely, depending on the service providers you choose, what kind of website you'd like, and whether or not you're a do-it-yourselfer who plans to do some or all of the work on your own.
Hopefully, the following will give you an idea of what cost ranges to expect. (They are based on internet research, as well as my own experience as a do-it-yourselfer when I first started.) Let's start with ongoing costs.
My price packages
This is a question only you can answer for yourself. But maybe I can help direct you to your answer by asking you some questions:
Do you have the skills, time and patience to maintain your own website? Maintenance typically includes:
First, we will discuss by phone and/or email - or in person, if you're local and so wish - what you want for your website, in general terms. We will select a service package that meets your needs. (If you have a custom or large project, I will get back to you with a quote.) We will agree on deadlines for things you need from me, such as finished revisions, as well as things I need from you, such as website content.
Once we have a signed website design agreement and your deposit is paid, I will begin work on your project. I will ask you many questions about your business, your target audience and/or customers, what you want your website to do for you, and what you want it to look like.
By the first revision deadline, I will present you with a draft, which you will be able to view on a test website, and you will tell me any changes you want (normally via email). We will repeat this revision process until you are happy with the website, up to the maximum number of revisions specified in our website agreement.
When the website is finished and I've received final payment, it will go live on your domain. At that point, unless you have a maintenance plan with me, my work on your website is finished. You will own the copyright to your website, and you can do with it as you please. I reserve the right, however, to display screenshots of the website, taken at the time it goes live, in my portfolio.
In simple terms, a security (SSL) certificate is a code issued by a certificate authority (CA) that vouches for a website's authenticity. Furthermore, the public and private portions of the code are also used to scramble (encrypt) any data passed between a user's computer and the server the website is hosted on. This extremely clever and complex method allows the the user's computer and the website server to communicate without sharing the private portions of the code over the internet, keeping the transmitted data safe from man-in-the-middle attacks. (If you want to know more about how SSL encryption works, here is a good place to start.)
When a website is secured with an SSL certificate, its web address begins with "https://" instead of "http://". Additionally, the browser displays a secure connection symbol (often a green padlock) in the secure website's URL (address) field.
In the past, only websites that collected sensitive information from users (such as credit card information) needed to have SSL certificates. However, the current push is to have all websites encrypted, regardless of whether or not a website collects sensitive data. Google prioritizes secure https websites in their search results. Additionally, most browsers will display a red "X" in the URL (address) field for insecure websites, and may otherwise alert users to the fact that the website they are attempting to enter is insecure. For these reasons, you may wish to get an SSL certificate for your website, even if you don't plan to sell anything online.
SSL certificate installation and maintenance is included in all of my website maintenance plans. This is a great value, as most hosting services charge annually for SSL certificates.