There are three ways to approach creating your Web site: do everything
yourself, outsource everything, or use a combination of your own
resources along with the assistance of one or more vendors. The biggest
difference among the three options are:
- the depth of knowledge you will need
- the amount of hardware, software and technical support you
will have to furnish
- the creative and design skills you will have to demonstrate
- the overall amount of time, resources and money you want to
Few people will take on implementing and running a Web site exclusively
on their own. The commitment of time and the in-depth knowledge
needed, especially in the areas of server management, discourages all
but the most dedicated. Moreover, most organizations find that it is
worth the money to buy the increased experience, knowledge and
creativity of professionals.
It is possible to find full service vendors who will do everything for
you. Prices for their services vary significantly, depending upon
factors such as the level of design talent, the size and complexity of
your Web site, the number of Web documents, the size and speed of the
Internet connection, the size and power of the Web server and the use
of dedicated rather than shared lines or servers. Not counting
strategic planning, content development or specially commissioned
graphics, prices for professionally developed Web services can range
from $6,000 - $25,000 and upwards, plus monthly maintenance fees.
Most organizations will choose to develop their site using a
combination of outsourced services and their own time and talent.
Common routes include:
- Creating all the files that will comprise your Web page and hiring
a vendor to load and maintain them on their server.
- Gathering and creating content, proposing some graphics and style
guidelines, and then turning it over to a vendor who executes the
design, mounts the files, and makes the Web site available on
- Hiring one or more consultants or agencies to work directly with
you and your staff in performing any combination of individual tasks.
There are many service providers who can help start or run your Web
site. Different vendors provide widely different sets of services.
Because so many offer choices of mix-and-match services, it is
important that you first define your own needs and areas of strength
and weakness before searching out assistance from vendors. It also pays
to have an understanding of the issues when evaluating vendors in order
to be confident that they are able to meet your needs. There are four
broad areas in which you may seek assistance.
- For strategic planning and content development, look for marketing
communications, advertising or public relations firms who understand
both strategic communications and the new media. Be very selective when
choosing a vendor for this area; the Web is still a new medium with
innovations being introduced constantly. Certainly coordinate your
efforts with any such firms you use already so that your Web site is
integrated with overall communications strategies and campaigns.
- In the area of server implementation and maintenance, unless you
have a compelling reason and the technical and fiscal resources to
support it, think long and hard before acquiring your own server. It is
possible to get reasonable monthly rates for mounting and maintaining
Web sites, even for complex and fairly large ones. Prices for mounting
and maintaining average about $30 a month, but they do vary
significantly. Beware of IAPs who offer free support for your Web site,
however. Web sites can be labor intensive to maintain and you may
get exactly what you pay for. Many access providers also offer
to publish Web pages for their customers for a small fee.
- Internet access is the one area in which everyone must seek a
vendor, unless you are fortunate enough to be associated with a
college, university, research facility or business that has direct
Internet access and will allow you to mount your own Web site or pages.
For more information, see
Accessing the Internet and Other Network
Services. The "Living in a Networked World" section
includes a list of
commercial online services
and regional public
access networks. For local Internet access providers by
area code, visit The List.
- Web design services seem to be a cottage industry these days. They
are offered by Internet presence providers, specialists in Web
publishing, design and marketing communications firms, some Internet
access providers, and independent consultants and freelancers. A
list of regional
Internet Presence Providers
is available in the Potomac KnowledgeWay.
Back to Creating a Web
Back to Living in a Networked World