In April of 2015, Google announced that its algorithms would favor responsive sites in search engine results, meaning that non-responsive sites, or sites without a separate mobile version, would suffer a relative penalty in rankings. This makes sense, as close to 50% of all searches are conducted on mobile devices
What is a responsive website?
A single site that uses scripts to detect the device displaying a web page, and then renders the appropriate format. So basically, a single site will be displayed differently on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. Google's (and Bing's) algorithms are mysterious and ever changing, so it's hard to tell if a responsive site is weighted more than a site with a separate mobile version (also using script detection). The safe bet, then, is do a responsive site to cover all bases.
How much is a new website?
It all depends. A new website can be the equivalent of a flyer stapled to a telephone poll, or massive database-driven sites like Amazon. So I've done sites from as little $150 for a home page, and up to $3000 for sites with more content. Bells and whistles — photo galleries, video, animation, interactive features -- all add to the costs.
I am primarily a designer not a programmer, so a custom database site is best handled by a firm with a diverse staff, or freelancers more geeky than myself.
I also set up and customize Wordpress sites for those needing a CMS (Content Management System) for making revisions and additions to the site themselves. Wordpress sites are inherently responsive, and even many large corporations use custom Wordpress sites for their online identity.
There are hundreds of commerce solutions out there, and no one person can master them all. So I stick by three I know:
• Paypal (good for start-ups with small volume of sales; no set-up or monthly fees)
• Volusion (like Wordpress, template-based, with self-management possible)
• Miva Merchant (older commerce provider that released a major modern upgrade recently)