--------------------------------- What are the costs involved?

The costs will very from Internet Provider to Internet Provider, and from one Web Designer to another, but on average, a non-Domain web site(No .com or .ca), which include an e-mail address and 5 meg of HD space will set you back about $15-$20 dollars a month. A domain Name which includes up to 5 e-mail accounts and 10 Meg of disk space will usually cost between $30-$40 a month. If you choose a ".com" Domain, add a bi-yearly fee of $100 U.S. for registering on the interNIC servers.
A good web designer would probably charge (depending on complxity of site) between $500-$1500 dollars for a well designed multi-page site which may include multi-media, forms, searchability, etc.