The cost of a website depends on a number of things. For people using do-it-yourself website builders like WebStarts the cost is very minimal. In those cases you can expect to pay less than $10 per month or about $100 per year. For example: The current price for a one year WebStarts subscription including a domain name and hosting is $95.87.
If you're looking to have someone create a website for you the cost can be much higher and can vary greatly. Professional web designers will charge around $125 per hour for their work. They'll usually require you to commit to a minimum number of hours at the start of the project. You'd be hard pressed for anyone to build you a decent website for less than $500, and that would be very basic and doesn't include your hosting costs. Even the most basic hosting will add at least another $10 per month to the cost of having a website.
Most web designers are going to charge you between $1500 and $10,000 to build a website. They're going to try and feel you out, to see how much you're willing to spend. Even if they do a great job and the intial price is affordable you're going to find there are ongoing costs and techncially dependencies that will essentially require you to hire someone at least part time to work on the website. This can all be avoided by investing a little bit of time into learning a website builder like WebStarts. It will give you the power to use an existing staff memember to make edits and changes to your website. Saving you the cost and hassle of having a web person in-house.
If you're a business and you're looking to create a "high-end" website with some data driven interactivity the price can get much higher than the $125 per hour. Websites like the one's created for fortune 500 companies often have a lot more going on than just a few simple webpages. They'll have database tie-ins with internal servers, custom applications integrated into the website to take advantage of that data, and a whole lot more. These websites cannot be created by paying someone once and done. They require full time staff to monitor systems, fix bugs, and ensure servers are running optimimaly. Also, these large scale web based applications require hardware resources with minimum commitments. If you're looking to create a website with a custom web application and database you'll easily spend tens of thousands of dollars per month.
Most small and medium sized businesses cannot afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars per month for their website, but they can still get a lot of the functionality by using a service like WebStarts. For example WebStarts lets you add a form to your web page that tie-into a your contact database. You can then use that data to send follow up emails and broadcasts. You can create a fully functional online store that lets customers save their shipping and payment information so it's easy to checkout the next time they buy from you. If you're willing to roll-up your sleeves and learn you're going to find an application like WebStarts will let you virtually everything you've see online for a fraction of the cost.
Make no mistake, a website is an important part of your business. It's a central location where you can share links to things like your social media, photos, and contact inforamtion. They're great for getting new leads, doing online transactions, and providing existing customers with information. But don't get caught up thinking you need to spend a fortune or that you need to hire an expensive web designer.