How much does a website cost to design these days?

I have no clue what the market is these days for web designers.

Say I wanted to sell some hand-crafted items online. Product line of max 20 items, each with a description, pic, etc. Plus an online ordering system (credit cards and paypal).

What would that set me back? I’ve got the computer and the connection, but probably not the software for the site and database.

Are there off-the-shelf options these days?


Hm. There are “turnkey” online store dealies, many of them offered by the webhosts themselves, but these still require a certain amount of work to customize (logo, color scheme, and layout tweaks at a minimum) and aren’t really DIY jobs for most people. On the plus side, these will be database-driven and should have fairly intuitive interfaces to enter goods and inventory. (IIRC, not all turnkey e-commerce solutions could handle inventory, but it’s been a few years since I looked, so YMMV.)

You’ll also need to take digital photos of your goods and prep them for the web (make them an appropriate size and resolution for the web, tweak colors, etc.).

Then I believe you’ll also need to set yourself up with a credit-card-processing account (unless you want to use PayPal exclusively, which I personally wouldn’t do), and this will have a setup fee as well as a cut of each transaction. A “real” Merchant Account, which is to say something more than PayPal, will also likely be necessary to get most turnkey solutions to work.

These things aren’t super-technical to setup, but are out of the comfort zones for most people. You could probably find a college student who would be willing to do it for a few hundred bucks (hell, you might be able to find one who’ll do it for a couple pizzas and a case of beer), but this may or may not be the best route to go. FWIW, though, once you get everything set up, you should be able to add new products to the store with a minimum of effort (and maybe an HTML reference book by your side).

I’d recommend not getting a college/high school kid. They won’t have the database/scripting knowledge necessary for the most part, and they’ll be a lot less dependable than a professional.

Yes, there are turnkey solutions (look into OSCommerce for a great, free one), but they’ll still need a bit of knowledge to get set up and organized and interfaced with whatever credit card processors you choose to use. With logo design, tweaking, and simple modifications, I’d be surprised if you could get up and running with a qualified professional for less than $800 or so. That’s about what I would charge for customizing the look of osCommerce, setting it up to take orders, designing a logo, and showing you the ins and outs on how to use the admin section once complete.

Consider doing just the web part yourself (displaying wares isn’t that hard), and letting someone else handle the e-commerce. I use Kagi because they’ve been around forever and have a good balance of professionalism and low cost, but there are lots of options. Using this, I had a page up and accepting orders in an hour or so. I just put a link to the order page in my web site.

I’m a programmer, not a web designer, but a professional-looking web site wasn’t hard to do myself – once I didn’t need to handle the database/e-commerce/security parts.

Professional design of E-commerce sites can be hellaciously expensive if you want the full meal deal (logos, graphic design, database construction, etc) by a reputable firm. As in, easily tens of thousands of dollars. If you’re really looking at a home business, small volume kind of setup, use one of the canned packages mentioned and do it yourself, and maybe hire a designer to help with the layout if you’re no good at that kind of thing.

If you’re thinking of just using a computer that you already have, that means requiring an internet connection that allows you to run your own server. Many cable and DSL packages do not allow that. You’ll need a permanent IP address for your domain name registration. Don’t forget that your computer needs to be able to handle the traffic, plus you really should have backup systems, UPS, etc. It’s often cheaper to just pay the monthly fee and host your site with an ISP.

Yah mon, e-bay stores for $16/month.

Have fun!