It is commonly thought that if you want a truly professional web page, properly built to all current standards that works as well as it looks, you need to hire an expensive web graphics and development firm and spend a fortune of dollars on it. And most people do. Then they spend thousands on SEO and other marketing after that. And that’s not even talking eCommerce. A general eCommerce website starts at about 5k.

While this is a popular way to get a decent website, it’s not always the best solution and certainly is not the most affordable. Most start-up or sole propriety business owners don’t have that kind of money up front to spend on a website. With all the other startup costs involved with a new small business, website development is usually not a big priority. It should be. And, it can be affordable.

There has always been what I call “rogue” website programmers on the market that will do website design for hundreds of dollars less than the big firms. There are even more now with the economy as bad as it is and jobs so hard to find. You can knock the hourly price from hundreds to as little as $25.00. Watching for specials can help you nab a website for as little as $250.00 complete or $750.00 for a business website with hosting, email, development, CMS (content management system) and maintenance. $1,200.00 will get you a complete eCommerce site like This site is complete with custom CMS pates, custom shopping, cart and checkout pages as well as order and inventory management. That’s $10,000.00 worth of big business development.

So just how do you find these guys? It used to be that the local newspaper was the best bet to find these programmers. While some may still be found there, your best bet is to use online classifieds such as Craigslist or Backpage. Look in your local area for Web Design, Web Development etc. You should find several listings.

But don’t stop there. Unfortunately there are scammers or just bad programmers trying to make a buck from these sites as well. Following these tips will help insure you get the right designer for the right price. * Make sure the webmaster has a website and check it out. If his site sucks, you can be sure any site he builds will suck too! * Look for other sites the webmaster has made. There should be several listed on his site. Look at all of them and get a good feel for how this programmer works. * Try to get a feel for how long this person has been making websites. Naturally, the longer the better. * Call and talk in person to the developer. Engage him/her and get a feel for the personality and demeanor. This will help determine if this person will be easy to work with. * NEVER pay the entire price up front. The webmaster may ask for a deposit and you should pay this. He is trying to insure he doesn’t get ripped off a well so probably won’t build an entire site without some money up front. The deposit money should be around 25% of the total cost. * Finally, ask for a written quote and contract. The contract should be detailed enough to tell you how long the job will take and what all is included in the price. Make sure all things like hosting, emails, CMS etc. are included.

As one of these “rogue” website developers myself, I truly believe that if you follow these guidelines you will get a site you can afford and be very happy with for a long time. Or just contact me at RCE Websites and I’ll quote you a page as well!