While tools like WordPress, Wix, and Shopify have made it easier than ever to build a website – there’s only so much you can do in your free time and with limited website design and development experience.
It’s often more cost and time-effective to hire a professional who will deliver a better, value-for-your-money product.
However, the vagueness of how website development costs are calculated is usually a put-off. We want to assure you that there’s no black magic involved. Professional and trustworthy web developers actually consider several factors when determining the cost of designing and developing your website.
To dispel any lingering doubts, we’ve created this guide to help you understand how website development costs are worked out. After reading this, you’ll be able to approach a web developer with confidence or root out potential scams.
What Factors Impact the Cost of Designing and Developing a Website?
The Number of Pages
This is a no-brainer. The more pages your website consists of, the more individual designs have to be created, and the more development work has to be done to build them.
Corporate websites with wide-ranging services or e-commerce stores typically have more pages than a blog or local business site. While many layouts and designs can be reused, it takes extra time and effort to ensure everything looks just right.
Websites can range from a one-page website to web apps with tens, if not hundreds, of individual pages.
Type of Website you Need
Different types of websites can require vastly different features, capabilities, and technologies to function as intended.
For example, a blog may have many individual pages and posts but is relatively straightforward from a technical standpoint. However, an e-commerce store requires a lot of additional functionalities. You have to develop a product/inventory management solution, advanced search and filtering, and secure payment processing – to name a few!
You may also want to develop a web portal or app with a specific function. For example, a site where users can create accounts and log in, upload and share documents, message each other, etc. Feature-rich sites like these tend to require a back-end with databases and web servers as well as a front-end.
E-commerce websites tend to be some of the most complex, and hence expensive, websites around. They can range up to tens of thousands of dollars.
A Choice Custom-built or CMS?
This is the age-old question in development. Naturally, websites built from scratch take more time and effort to develop. CMSs, on the other hand, provide developers with a framework and easy-to-install plugins and themes to kickstart the website.
It’s important to note that custom work can still be done on most CMSs, although it will incur additional charges. Custom-built websites, however, have the advantage of being more flexible and unique in design. Designers and developers have a blank slate to create something entirely novel for you or your business.
This is where you must balance your needs with your budget. Do you need 100% uniqueness in design and functionality? If so, a custom-built site may be worth the added cost.
Hosting, Domains, and Other Necessities
Designing and building the actual website pages and content is just part of the journey. For a website to be used, it needs a domain and hosting, at the very least. Luckily, these are both relatively cheap, with domains starting at roughly $10/year (another $10+ for privacy protection) and hosting costing anywhere from $5/month for basic shared hosting.
A professional developer will be able to identify your hosting needs based on your site and expected traffic. Large-scale corporate or e-commerce sites may require VPS or dedicated servers, which can cost hundreds of dollars a month. Depending on your agreement, you can take on and pay these costs yourself or include them in a development and maintenance package.
Today, SSL is also a necessity for secure browsing and to be trusted by search engines and browsers. This also starts at $8 a year but may be $100+ for premium SSL certificates needed for e-commerce and other websites.
SEO and/or Content Marketing
You may have heard the saying, “If your website can’t be found, it doesn’t exist.”
One of the consequences of the opening up of the web is that you’ll be competing with thousands of other websites in your niche. SEO and content marketing are some of the most effective techniques to get your website found online.
Full-service web development agencies will also have SEO experts on hand to help with this part of your website. Keyword optimization, effective sales copy, on-page, and off-page SEO – this is a whole discipline in itself.
Naturally, the larger and more complex your website is, the more work will go into marketing it digitally. A blog is also a great content marketing tool but will add to your overall website bill.
You may want to sign up for ongoing digital marketing with new social/email campaigns, published content, PPC campaigns, etc. Sales-driven sites may also be charged extra for lead generation and optimization for conversions and user journeys.
A professional web development agency will consistently deliver a great-looking website, no matter your budget. However, there are specific considerations that may increase/decrease the cost of designing your website.
Do you want a lot of fancy effects and animations? How about custom graphics? Do you also need branding services, such as logo design? Or, many HD images and videos throughout your website?
A web agency will work closely with you to establish your exact design needs. Your preferences and budget, combined with the number of pages and scale of your site, will determine your total design costs.
As you can see, many factors and sub-factors go into pricing a web design project. For that reason, almost no two websites will cost the same. A real professional web design and development agency will always take the time to understand your unique needs before quoting you. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs!