Website and E-Commerce Design
We'll try to explain all of the various players in having a web site. This may seem confusing at first, but we'll be glad to help you with all of this as part of our standard service.
Many companies bundle more than one of these services together -- most ISP's have some sort of website hosting they throw in for free.
An ISP is an Internet Service Provider. You likely have one right now, or you wouldn't be able to read this. This is a company like Yahoo, Worldnet, Verizon, etc. They let your computer access the Internet. If you can't connect to the Internet, you can't run your store or website.
Most ISP's throw in a free website, but it won't work well for a commercial website.
A Registrar is a company that registers your domain name as belonging to you. They don't do anything else, don't give you a website or the like.
You pick a Registrar and use their website to find a domain name that no one is using -- BatsAreUs.com, FroogleRoofing.com, OysterLovers.org, Joe.Blow.name, etc. You then register it with them. This only costs $9-11 per year at Registrars. I used to recommend GoDaddy.com, but they have turned quite evil.
Registering a domain name is a bit like registering a trademark. If you register the Trademark "Joe's Fresh Pears" you will own that name, but it won't get you any pears.
Next you need to find a computer to host your website, one that is turned on and connected to the Internet at all times. This is your Website Host.
The cost of this service can be all over the map. Do you need a big outfit with backup power, rows of computers in case one breaks, armed guards to protect the data center? Or could you live with a single computer running in someone's office somewhere? Or something in-between?
The cost will also depend on how much data you need to store and the amount of traffic your site will see. You can expect a monthly bill of $4 - $25 for a small site, $100 to the sky's the limit on big sites. CAT often provides free hosting to small start-up sites that we design.
This is the company that designs your website -- a company like us! We work with you and design just the website you want for your use.
Costs can run anywhere from $100 and up. It all depends on the page count, special features like shopping carts and dealer locators, and how much time we need to spend creating graphics and images -- or cleaning up yours for our use.
The webmaster is the person who takes care of the technical aspects of your website over time. He sets up the services from all of the above so that they all work together, He figures out why something isn't working. He does things like switching you to a different Website Host when needed. He is the person you call when things go wrong, or with questions.
Webmasters can be paid by the month, or hourly as needed. The costs depend on the website. We can provide this service.
Lastly, an optional feature. If you are running an e-commerce store and want to take credit cards, you have an option of doing the charges manually. Your store would tell you the credit card information it collected for each order. You would punch them in by hand into your credit card box to make the charges. This doesn't require any more expenditures.
If you would like to have the credit cards processed and billed automatically, you will need to pay for the services of a Payment Gateway. This service automatically runs the charges from your store.
They tend to have a one-time setup fee
of $179 - $299 and a monthly fee of $17 - $25.
Using some of the services PayPal now
offers can lower costs for small businesses who don't need a full gateway.