Web Development Issues

  1. Hosting the site
    Your web pages must reside on a computer connected to the Internet. Many Internet-connected computer sites will be glad to host your web pages for a fee. The fee is normally paid monthly. Some places (like XOOM.COM) will carry your web pages for free. Ordinarily, an ISP (Internet Service Provider) will allow its customers up to 5 Megabytes of storage space for personal web pages for free. There is normally a stipulation that the web pages cannot be of a commercial nature. This option is ideal for those who wish only to have a personal web page site or wish to create pages for a non-profit organization. The 5 Megabyte limit is not normally a problem for smaller sites that are primarily text-based. Sites with many images will usually require more space.

  2. The name of your site
    Using the least expensive means of implementing your web site (i.e., using the free space provided by your ISP) your site will carry a name like the following:
    If you wish to have a site that looks more like
    then you will need to register that name with the InterNIC. The cost of this registration is $35 per year to the InterNIC. Additionally, your ISP will charge a fee (perhaps $25/yr) to host the name you have chosen. You may be able to find someone else to host the name for a lesser fee or even for free.

  3. CGI - What is it and do I need it?
    Basic CGI gives one the capability of collecting, storing and displaying collected data via a web page. For example, a travel business may wish to allow customers to specify their desired destination and time of travel and receive instant feedback on itineraries and pricing.

  4. Cost of development - simple sites (i.e. no CGI)
    Certainly the least expensive means of having a site developed is for you to do it yourself or have someone do it for you for free. If that is not possible expect to pay between $35 and $60 per hr. for "simple" site development. By "simple" I mean text, images and email capability. I.e., individuals who browse your site can only contact you via email or ancient technologies such as phone or post office mail. There are many features/capabilities that might be considered "not simple" but that are not as complex as CGI. JavaScripting is an example of a capability that enhances the functionality of web pages yet falls short of CGI's capabilities. For example, a bank or real estate firm might create a Loan Calculator on a web page using JavaScript. Programming such as this will, generally, increase the hourly rate.

  5. Access to the web site
    You (and preferably your programmer) will need FTP access to your web site. The FTP program gives one the ability to copy files from one computer to another on the Internet. Your programmer will normally do all development work off-site and periodically copy the new web (html) files to the live web site. Although it is generally considered more convenient for the programmer to be able to do the transfers, some may wish to withhold this capability from the programmer for security/work-approval reasons. Complex web development almost always require the programmer to have access to the site, however. More on this is given below.

  6. Cost of development - complex sites (i.e. CGI)
    An example of the basic database capabilities of CGI are given above. I would characterize CGI capability as the dividing line between simple and complex web page development. The cost of "moderately complex" Web page development might run from $50 to $100 per hour. "Shopping cart" development and credit card processing can be even more complex than basic CGI and the hourly rate will generally reflect this. There is another important issue with technology for the more complex sites. The programmer may need control (or supervisory privilege) on the computer used to host the pages. This is often unacceptable to many ISPs. Other ISPs may offer particular services such as secure credit card transactions or limited services such as CGI using perl only. Most complex web sites have their own Internet sites and their own computers and give programmers control of these computers.

  7. Managing a web site
    This term can be ambiguous. Keeping web (html) files up-to-date on a web site via ftp is one level of management. Managing the computers and their web server software on a web site is a much more involved task. This often requires much of the time of a full-time employee like one who might work for a larger ISP.

  8. The REAL cost of development
    This is not determined by the hourly rate. A veteran programmer who can produce a site at $60 per hour in 40 hours is, obviously, more valuable than a novice who requires 80 hours at $40 per hour and produces a lesser quality site. But the most important factor is user satisfaction. The difference in usability of the developed sites can mean a substantial difference in income generated from the sites.

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