First, I want to thank people who read my first website post and made suggestions about using Blogger, Wordpress, and Google for my website. I'll incorporate those into my research.
I'm continuing to figure out which company I'm going to use to build my practice website. As part of my research, I found a wonderfully helpful site called, The Site Wizard, that contains all kinds of information like the definition of a domain name, and html tutorials. The author does not allow his material to be reproduced all or in part, so I'll just have to paraphrase, and you have the link.
The question of pricing is more complicated than I expected, because different website builders or platforms have different features, with different charges. So I've tried to narrow things down to basic costs-the site itself, and the domain name.
But let's discuss basics.
What is a Web Host?
A Web Host is a home for your website. The companies I've been looking at, Weebly, Duda, Squarespace, and Web.com, are all web hosts. They have lots of computers, or access to cloud space, where your website will live. Duda, for example, claims to offer hosting on Amazon Cloud.
What is a Domain Name?
If I want my own site, that I name myself, that doesn't belong to some larger thing like this blog does to blogger, I need a domain name, which is like a business name. As long as I register it and pay the annual fee, it's mine whether or not I choose to have a website associated with it. That makes me the owner of the domain name, and allows me to take it with me if I switch web hosts.
You register your domain name, for an annual fee, with an organization called, ICANN, which has a list of domain name registrar companies that you need to register through. GoDaddy, the website builder I rejected in my last post, is also a domain name registrar, so I may need to reconsider using it. Google is also a registrar.
Some web hosts provide a domain name free for the first year, and then charge the annual fee. Many let you import a domain name you already own for less money than they would charge for getting you the domain name. And reputedly, some dubious web hosts will register your domain under their name, making them the owner. But apparently, those companies are largely gone.
Domains also come in different suffixes, like .com, .org, .company, .biz, .education, and respective costs depend on something called, "TLD", or Top Level Demand.
So let's look at the cost of a website at the various companies, including a domain name, and let's assume I want to call my website, "MyPsychiatry.com," provided that name is available.
Let's also assume I'm not going to use the free sites available via the web hosts I'm considering. They exist, but they have ads, and I can't use my own domain name.
And finally, I'm just considering price in this post. I'm ignoring various features, for now, because it just gets too complicated to look at all at once.
Google would charge me $12/year for that name. Google would also need me to use blogger or squarespace or something as my web host, so that would be additional.
Squarespace charges $20/year for the domain name, including the first year, but that $20 fee doesn't increase in subsequent years, something I haven't seen clearly indicated on other sites. It also includes something called, "WHOIS Privacy" which I don't really understand but seems to protect some information about you, as the domain name owner.
Then there's the website fee. The personal site costs $16/month or $12/month billed annually, and if you get the annual plan, they waive the first year's domain fee. The Business site's corresponding prices are $26 and $18 per month.
This is Wordpress' price chart for website plans. It doesn't say anything about an annual fee for a domain name.
Duda does not sell custom domain names. The'll set up a subdomain on their free plan, which would be mypsychiatry.dudaone.com. But if I want a custom domain name, I have to go elsewhere. They have lists of compatible registrars, including Hover and GoDaddy, but they have a partnership with Hover which allows you to purchase a domain name from Hover while you're setting up your Duda site. Hover's .com pricing is $12.99 the first year, then $14.99 for annual renewals.
This is Duda's pricing:
Duda does have that excellent one-time payment of $299 site for life deal. I checked, and you can switch from a monthly or annual plan to a site for life plan, but they do say they may not have that deal forever.
Blogger is probably the best deal, financially. The web hosting is free, and you can get a custom domain name through them for $10/year. Blogger allows up to 20 standalone pages, so I could include things like the Surprise Act form and my office policies. The main problem with blogger is that sites tend to look like blogs, not websites. Some people have done amazing things with customization, check out this article and this one to see some impressive sites. But these were customized with html code, so if I knew html, this would be great, but since I don't I'd probably consult someone professional to help me at least get started, adding to the cost.
Weebly has a pretty good deal:
The domain is free for the first year, and $19.95 each additional year, with discounts for extended terms.
I really find GoDaddy unnerving. They have a domain name auction site, where you can purchase a domain name that someone else swept up. For example, mypsychiatry.com isn't available. But mypsychiatrist.com is available for $14.99/year, plus an initial $5700.00 purchase fee. I used the 2 decimal places so you wouldn't think it was $57. On the other hand, mypsychiatry.net and .org are each $11.99/year. As I mentioned in my last post, they also have web hosting, but I find interacting with their site very unpleasant.
Finally, I couldn't find domain name prices on Web.com. Mypsychiatry.xyz was available, as well as .net, but all the "pricing" said was, "Add to cart." So I added .xyz to the cart so I could see the price, and pressed "continue". It was $1.95/month (not year), with a "*" I couldn't find the text to, and an option to keep my information private or not. Then it asked for my information before giving me a real price, and that's where I stopped.
And now for the spreadsheet:
From a strictly monetary perspective, Blogger is the best deal. I'm now quite sure I'm not interested in GoDaddy and Web.com, so I'm ruling those out. Everything else is somewhere in between, and will depend on specific features.
I'm also wondering if the most useful thing I learned in researching this topic is that I should buy up a bunch of domain names and charge exorbitantly for people to purchase them from me.