Quentin Fottrell counts the cost of setting up your own website
Spending upwards of pounds 1,000 on a website is nearly always financially worth it given the opportunities for advertising, pay-per-view and direct marketing. It is generally agreed that pornographers are on the frontline of online marketing. Any website with the word "sex" is bound to be a money-spinner. And, as with seedy strip clubs, once you're in, they make it difficult to leave. They need to keep you clicking.

On the brighter side, the Web can be a source of empowerment, especially for the disenfranchised. Democratic China, a US-based magazine established after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, used to print about 6,000 issues bimonthly. It went online two years ago and now claims a million hits a month. But many strict regimes have clamped down on Net access. Myanmar's military junta can imprison someone for 15 years for unauthorised online activity,

for example. For more fortunate users, however, the opportunities are endless.

Hardware Top of the range server/computer, including 256 megabytes of memory, four gigabyte hard disk and two 450 megahertz processors, pounds 10,000; uninterrupted power supply with 40 minutes of battery power, pounds 300; exclusive rights to use a 128k digital telephone line, pounds 12,000 (one-off connection charge of pounds 6,000 and the same in annual rent); web camera to input "real time" or still images onto your page, pounds 350

Software Web server software to run on your network operating system, pounds 450; "hot swap" facility so your computer does not have to be turned off to avoid overheating, pounds 500

Liveware Web consultant (to give your site a distinct look) for three weeks of consultation and system analysis, pounds 15,000; manager to provide assistance during trial period, support once the page has gone live and to keep you up to date on technological developments, per month, pounds 2,000

Total in first year: pounds 52,600

(Sources: Tim Meyer, www.tma.co.uk, Webmaster, Kingston)