Over the past three months I have had an absolute BALL putting together a website for myself on a budget. Check it out at:
www.deannorman.com EDIT: Now www.mendocinoreal-estate.com
I decided to use a Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla! and it made the whole experience quite enjoyable. Not to mention - it's free.
What I DID pay for:
Domain: Probably could've been smarter, but I payed something like $30 for two years through Yahoo.com. I did buy the "upgraded" security as well.
Hosting: $7.99/mo. I decided to have my website hosted with rochen.com. They've done an EXCELLENT job and they make installing Joomla! (which goes on their servers) very easy - literally a few clicks. For some, Joomla's installation can kill the process before it even starts. It can be daunting.
Joomla! template: $34.99, one time. I bought a Joomla! template from Joomlashack.com. Couldn't be happier with it, really. It dictates the layout and most colors of my site. This is not a necessary expense - there are many, many modifiable, free templates for Joomla!, but in my opinion, it was worth the money. Joomlashack, btw, also has an excellent forum!
That's it. No other recurring or hidden charges and it is all easily updated and taken care of by - ME!
So stop by and check out my new site, tell me what you think, and then ask some questions about Joomla! Get as specific as you want. I think this is a HUGELY overlooked tool for Realtors® or anyone, really, who wants a highly functional, ridiculously customizable website that works.