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How much does web development cost?

The process of building a website may require a sufficient amount of capital or may not require any money at all. So how much does web development cost?

For the past decade or even two, lots of businesses have greatly benefited from web apps and the services they provide on their platforms. There is no doubt that with the dynamic digital changes in web application development, many entrepreneurs have been constantly dreaming about a digital solution of their own that solves an important business problem.

However, one thing remains unresolved or rather unanswered openly: what are the website development costs? That’s why we dedicated this article to cover all basics and a little bit more regarding the cost of building a website.

How much does the website development cost?

There are a lot of different and various factors that directly and indirectly affect the overall website development cost. However, for now, let’s quickly address this question and find some insightful answers for it.

  1. Small businesses - for a simple website the price range starts as low as $700 and may go up to $11,000 according to your requirements.
  2. For corporations - for a more complex and feature-rich website, the price may begin from $3,000 and rise to $96,000
  3. For enterprise - for a full-fledged website with a solid design, with a scalable backend system, and with constant maintenance support the price tag is set between $13,000 to $220,000.

As you can see, the website development cost range hugely varies for each relevant business type. But it doesn’t end there. Other important factors can directly impact the overall website development cost. To understand what they are and understand how you should approach them, let’s review each one step by step.

Website Development Cost: Affecting Factors

Most of the time, whenever an entrepreneur will face a path of building a website, he will think about the most common approaches: web designer or website builder. These are the two essentials that everyone is mostly concerned with when it comes to estimating the website development costs.

To understand how different they are, let’s take a look at each option and make a cost breakdown in detail, to see which option may be suitable for you.

Cost breakdown by web designer development steps

When considering building a website, the choice of web designers for the majority of entrepreneurs will depend highly on the business purpose. Once you’ll determine the real goal of your product visions and allocate your budget accordingly, you’ll understand how you should prioritize your website development costs. Let’s start with hiring a web designer and determine the core points.

Essentials

Domain Name

One of the essentials that you need to take care of is the domain name of your website, which can be considered as the global name on the Internet. Since this is exactly what your potential customers will start searching for when they access their Internet browsers. For example, Facebook.com or Amazon.com. And of course, the process of acquiring a domain name does require some of the website costs.

If you are using a website builder, you’ll most likely get to own a free domain name, but with a prefix in it. But if you choose a web designer, you get to pick your own, custom domain name. And it is really useful since you get to see which name will suit your future business idea, as well as contribute to the SEO guidelines. However, when it comes to the website cost of a domain name, the prices vary. As it all depends on the hosting provider or the platform which you are going to use to purchase the domain name.

The price for a domain name varies highly from $12 to $60 per year. But of course, there are cases when a domain name can cost more than that. For example, if it is an old domain name that is no longer active, which is useful for SEO purposes. On the other hand, there are some services (like BlueHost for example)that give out a domain name for free during your first year. After that, however, you need to pay a yearly fee.

Once you’ll acquire a domain name, you have a full right to use it within the following year. After it, however, you are required to renew your payment for another year from the same platform you have initially bought this domain name. Unless you want to change it and find another name that will sound better for the web services you provide. Otherwise, you can also sell your domain name for a specific price, if there is a client who is greatly interested in it.

Web Hosting

Another essential part of your web application is a web hosting part. It’s a platform where your web app is located. A place to both store and display all of the content and interaction parts with your target audience. Once you’ll acquire a domain name and your customers will get redirected to your website, a client’s browser will display the content loaded from your hosting platform.

Typically, web hosting refers to a business that provides its servers to host your website and offers internet connectivity to ensure that your website is accessible 24 hours a day. VPS hosting, Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, blog hosting, dedicated hosting, and other forms of web hosting services are available worldwide. When you're just getting started, shared hosting or WordPress hosting are excellent choices for most website owners in terms of affordability and requirements.

UI/UX Design

A beautiful and stunning website design is a critical aspect of the overall product success. In a nutshell, the UI/UX architecture of your website is critical to your users who are going to be making purchases and driving sales for your company. So what steps does it take to build an aesthetic website that will deliver the needs and wishes of your potential customers? Three core steps are involved in this process:

  • Competitive researching
  • Wireframing
  • UI/UX design

On average, it takes around 2 to 3 weeks for this UI/UX phase to be finished and tested on your target audience. As for the website costs that it involves, the price ranges from $800 to $4,000 and can rise furthermore. Both the money and the time you need to invest in this step are directly tied with the project requirements and the complexity you want to develop.

Front End Web Development

The front-end development part is the user interface and the first contact point with your potential customers. This process begins with designing and developing a layout of your future website while ending with quality assurance testing. This front end takes up a good amount of the website costs, as it includes the responsiveness of the website and the complexity of various animations. All in all, this stage can take somewhere between two and six weeks of development time while the cost is somewhere between $1,000 to $15,000 and even more.

Back End Web Development

Whenever a user is directly interacting with the website and its core features, that’s a time when a user interacts with the visual website interface through buttons and other features. And that’s exactly the time when the backend part comes into play. The backend of every website is essential to its operation and is responsible for its smooth action between the user and a platform. The primary cost drivers in this step are integration with 3-d party software, complex requests, and data processing tasks. To summarize, the backend development process usually takes three to eight weeks and costs between $5,000 and $17,500.

Content Management System

During the creation of any web application, you may encounter that you want to directly and easily manage the website's content without the need to call for technical support. More than that but, you should avoid contacting developers for minor changes. As a result, a content management system (CMS) would be needed to effectively handle all of the tasks described above.

WordPress, Drupal, and Shopify are only a few examples of content management systems (CMS). However, since they are designed to reduce development time and website costs associated with the development, you will find that they are limited in versatility.

The cost of building a website content management system? It could take somewhere from three to eight weeks and cost around $3,000 to $9,000 or more. Building a website involves many phases, the length of which is dictated by your business needs and the project's complexity, all of which have an impact on the total website development costs.

Cost breakdown by website builder

There is practically no doubt that by using a website builder you get to save more money on the website development costs. More than that, you’ll be the one who is going to build and construct everything from zero. It is suitable for entrepreneurs who are:

  • Beginners in Website Creation
  • For anyone who is in urgent need of a website (like creating a portfolio or company online business card)

These two points are merely the very common ones, as there are more reasons that people are using website builders. The total price range for using these web app building services typically varies from mostly $6 to $100 per month. Starting from the very basic packages and ending with the most scalable and huge options.

However, after reading the paragraph above, lots of people will start screaming: “But there is a free plan for each different platform! You don’t need to buy any paid plans, as long as you have your website.” As much as we hate to break it to you, the paid plan is an essential part of any web app. Most of the time the reason for that is because a free version of these builders consists of various limitations. Most commonly they are:

  • Advertisements that are scattered on the website
  • Non-custom domain with a platform’s prefix (like wix.com)
  • Limited features (low storage, for example)
  • No eCommerce features
  • Basic customer support

So as you can see, the free plan for any website builder is very limited and can be of use to people who are just practicing building a website. Or it also can be suitable for those who want to practice their skills or ideas without a need to invest any money into it. With that being said, let’s review the expenses that you will be faced with, once an entrepreneur will acquire a paid plan for a website builder.

Professional Assistance

There are quite a lot of young entrepreneurs who are starting with lots of website builders, but the majority of them are using WordPress. It is your choice which platform you should use. But in the end, you’ll need the assistance of a highly knowledgeable web developer, if you are not a tech-savvy person or you may not have enough time for this.

If you do need to hire someone to assist you with your website builder, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $100 per hour. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the better the developer will be – but please do your homework before recruiting someone.

Although $100 per hour for a developer can seem excessive, it is within the range of what you can expect to pay for a competent professional. Someone who can correctly configure your WordPress website for example.

Additional Plugins

Plugins are created for website builders for various reasons. But in most cases they allow one to add features and interaction points to your website: contact forms, testimonials, newsletter subscriptions, and everything else you want. Adding eCommerce or multilingual features to your website is a common plugin. There are both free and paid plugins, so you can decide how much you want to spend on new features for your web. Some plugins offer different plans, allowing you to start with the free version and then upgrade to a more advanced version.

Plugins will cost anything around $0 to $100 per year.

Creative Themes

There are both free and premium themes to choose from, much like plugins. It’s a really good practice to start with a free theme, and the WordPress theme directory has several attractive options. However, keep in mind that they might not be as professional or feature-rich as premium themes, which are making you rely heavily on plugins. Premium themes usually cost about $50, but can cost well over $200 – but this is a one-time fee. After that, the theme is yours to manage and edit for the rest of your life.

The benefit of using a premium theme is that it typically comes with more support and frequent updates to prevent it from breaking or being obsolete, as well as built-in functionality to save you money on premium plugins.

It's entirely your choice to use either a free or premium theme accordingly. Just keep in mind your website's key features when making your decision.

Security Assessments

With a purchase of any hosting platform, each relevant provider will include the security plan and features in the package you’ve chosen. However, not every website builder or even a regular website is fully prepared for any cybersecurity attacks. Especially with constant updates and features that the majority of providers are integrating every quarter. Thus, it is an excellent idea to invest your money in some extra security measures.

If we’re talking about WordPress, then there are surely lots of examples and plugins available for securing your web app. Sucuri, for example, is a security plugin that analyses and removes any cyber threats from your platform. The plugin itself is free, but there is also a paid version of it, where you will get all of its extra components. The cheapest plan costs $199.99 per year.

But this plugin is not the only option. with. There are others, which can greatly benefit both you and your business as a whole. For example:

  • Wordfence – $0 – $99 per year
  • Cloudflare – $0 – $200 per month
  • All in One WP Security & Firewall – $0

Points to consider

Ask Questions

Whether you are a beginner or an amateur business founder, it is essential to always ask questions. Those who do not ask, do not receive. But more importantly, those who don’t ask are lacking knowledge and guidance from those who have already walked through this tough path. Receiving it, however, will give you meaningful insights into the web application development aspects, including the website cost.

Start with small steps

As a young business owner, you may get too excited with the high-tech looks of modern websites. So much, that you can get ahead of yourself and go for all website features development, for example. Or produce design assets without knowing how the information architecture should look like.

What you should do instead is not to rush things too fast ahead of yourself, but rather carefully take the web app development steadily. That applies to the website costs too, as you need to consider all of the possibilities and calculate the necessary expenses. Hasty climbers have sudden falls, after all.

Keep up with your capabilities

However, do remember that you need to properly assess your resources and understand how you can use them accordingly. Here the three things to consider, when you start with the web app development:

  1. Budget - One has to understand how to distribute and allocate your financial resources based on your current needs. The more capital you have at your disposal, the more opportunities you will have at your hand.
  2. Technical Stack - If you don’t have technical expertise or knowledge on digital product development, then your team will handle this step. But the more knowledgeable and skillful your experts are, the more advanced your web application will be.
  3. Deadlines - Be sure you know how much of a timeline you currently have. This concerns not only your development process but also, the required time to present your finalized product to our investors.

There is no doubt that each point is significant in assessing your web application development timeline along with the website development costs. Try to hit all points, correctly manage your budget, choose the right technology stack, and produce concrete deadlines to have a modern and traction website.

Beware Common Mistakes

Whenever you are doing business and are confronted with building a website, there are quite a bunch of issues and mistakes that you might encounter. They may affect each development stage and the website development costs as well. Briefly, but concisely we provided a list of some common mistakes an entrepreneur should be aware of.

Old Technology

This point is especially true for those business owners who don’t possess any technical knowledge. As you’ll get to use various tools, plugins, or even technical stacks that may attract your eye, they won’t necessarily mean that they are viable for your website development. Otherwise, be ready to get acquainted with the large chunks of untested code, vulnerability risks, software incompatibility, etc. Try to stick with the most popular software brand companies that continually support their products. You can also go ahead and integrate premium components into your website to keep it up to modern standards.

Fraud Contractors

Just as the cautious and venomous observation tells, most IT companies are very cautious towards hiring any potential software developers. Why is that so? Well, because anyone can claim a good amount of experience and set a high level of their salary expectations. The problem occurs during the development, as these people will completely fail and ruin your entire business project, as they don’t even know what they are doing. So instead of immediately hiring a “specialist”, try to ask for any recommendations for the contractor that may suit your needs. So try to do your best in examining and assessing your development team capabilities.

Irrelevant Information

Most of the time, the facts and the information that touches the web application development, directly tied with the website costs. Indeed, the IT industry is rapidly moving forward, transforming most of the old technologies, which were replaced by the new ones. So it is utmostly essential that every entrepreneur should or even must follow up with the current digital trends and innovations. Since it doesn’t take long to replace 2-year-old technology with the new ones. And it does cost money to make these changes rather than applying them all at once when just starting building a website. Things like SEO, Google Ads, SMM, Content marketing, business development, etc are all the tools that are constantly changing their shapes. Therefore, to achieve successful results it will take time, effort, and persistence.

Key Takeaways

All in all, the key to success in estimating the website development cost, lies directly in the business idea and vision that you are forming. Depending on the path that you will choose and follow, you shall determine all of the small and necessary steps in web application development processes.

Another thing you have to consider is how you’ll develop your web app. Whether it’ll be a website builder or an outsource IT partner who will most likely take all of the responsibility on his shoulders. The only difference is the website development costs, as you need to decide where exactly your business is currently located and how it will evolve. It might take some time, but once you’ll understand it, you’ll be able to tell which option will suit you best.