Once you have defined the goals, competitors and audience for your website it is time to figure out what type of website you will need. The type of site depends on what you need it to do, how much you want to learn, and your budget.
Static and Dynamic Websites
A static website only gets changed when someone goes into the actual code and edits it, then puts it back up on the server. It can be linked up to hosted payment and forms-processing sites fairly easily.
A dynamic website (database-driven) can be edited through a simple web interface, interact with the visitor depending on what information they request, allow comments to be posted, even offer tests and visitor customization.
A static website can be created quite easily and can be maintained by someone with a little bit of HTML knowledge. You don't need to purchase expensive software to create or edit the site. AB offers workshops on creating a basic website. A dynamic website is much more complex to set up, therefore the cost of creating this type of site is much higher. However, you get a lot of functionality with dynamic sites and once it is set up properly, almost anyone can add content, upload photos or change pages. Setting up a dynamic site yourself is quite an adventure and not recommended.
Websites like Ebay, Facebook, Amazon have poured in thousands of dollars and used teams of programmers to get the level of functionality they now have. As companies invest more in their online presence, their websites demonstrate a high level of interaction. It is hard to determine how much the functionality has cost them in programming and development.