If you are thinking of making a new website, or revamping your current website, one of the top considerations will be 'how much will it cost'?
Of course the answer to how much does it cost to build a website, can be as long a piece of string. Keeping with the string analogy, you will want a good strong piece of string and one that is long enough for future expansion.
Hopefully some of those answers will be answered in the next few paragraphs about web design pricing models..
The Static HTML Website
This is the cheapest site to host, with hosts companies charging a few £s per month. It does not need any fancy databases, and because of this it is also one of the fastest websites you can host (without paying for acceleration technologies).
Design wise you can either find a ready made template, and there are huge numbers of beautiful ready made templates for around £50.
Pros - quick and easy to install and maintenance free
Cons - will become dated, not easy to expand or allow customer interaction.
The Static Flash Website
These are a multitude of ready made templates available from £50 to £300. Unless you are a Flash guru, updating these template to put your own content will cost you between £200- £300 per day. Similar rates apply if you have a custom template design from scratch, but here pricing starts from £1000 and rises.
Pros - these sites look very eyecatching for the template price
Cons - they can be expensive to maintain, not easily up-dateable, and not particularly accessible by search engines. Most companies want their websites to be on page 1 if possible.
The Content Management System
For 95% of websites, this will be the best choice. Content management systems, allow you to take a standard design, and then add pages or move sections around in easy to use admin systems. They come with many features, from site search and contact forms to user generated content areas and photo galleries.
Commercial content management systems cost 'tens of thousands of £s'. A perhaps surprising fact is that the free / open source content management systems are significantly better than the commercial ones, which can be evidenced by big corporations and governments using open source CMS. For example Sony, MTV and The Whitehouse all use Drupal, for various sites. Some of the biggest open source content management systems are
If you are selling products online, then you will certainly want an Online shopping cart. This will be covered in details in a separate article. Common shopping carts include Ubercart, CRE Loaded, Magento, Zen Cart and OS Commerce.
Custom Coded / Database Driven
If you have a novel idea, such as a a site that allow you to share information with groups of friends (e.g. Facebook), or you run an airline. You will probably need to develop much of your site in custom code. This is by far the most expensive way of designing a website, but then for the right business may be a key part of the formaula for success. Parhaps the most important decision you will make here is, will you site be built in java, php, Ruby on rails or .NET Although each has its own following, many people would argue that currently the best development environment in the world in Microsoft Visual Studio. Cost of development, which is normally ongoing is likely to be several thousand £s per month and upwards, London developers are amongst the most expensive.
If you need a good flexible website with lots of functionality look at a free open source CMS such as Drupal, and spend your money on good quality hosting. If you need a heavy duty custom web application, consider .Net, which has a very strong and well structured development environment.