The cost of building a website or a web application is a significant cause for worry among startup businesses. Most business owners are fully aware of the importance of websites and the opportunities it affords them. However, there are so many checkboxes to tick with so little income at hand, which leads to most business owners ditching a website altogether or worse, settling for one of poor quality.
Here, we breakdown the cost of building a website or a web application currently in 2020. We will not just leave you with outrageous costs, but we will also enumerate factors that influence this cost. The aim of listing out these factors is to enable you know where to make any necessary cuts to suit your budget.
To begin, we will start with different costs depending on the website type.
Average costs based on the type of website
- Informational, portfolio, or small business website: You can tell if your business is in this category by checking if it possesses most of these characteristics- a minimum amount of sales, a small audience reach, few employees, absence of branches in different states or countries. If your business falls into this category or you want a portfolio website, then the cost of building your website would be in the range of $1,500 – $6,000. It is impractical to accurately give a fixed amount for your website because the exact cost is dependent on so many factors—an important factor is the type of design. A single-page website and a custom website will have very different costs.
Usually, a small business has choices of a single page website, a template designed website, and a custom website. Generally, custom websites cost more because they are built from scratch and are customized to meet your exact specifications. Template designed websites, on the other hand, do not cost as much because it makes use of a premade template. Platforms such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace offer this type of website. Single page websites feature just one single page and often uses condensed navigation headers or stacked menus to maximize the limited space.
- Corporate website: This category costs way higher than the website for a small business website—the corporate website costs between a range of $7000-$35,000. The reason for this increased cost is that a corporate website usually features about 25-75 pages. In contrast, the small business website usually never exceeds 16 pages. A corporate website is more formal than an informational website. A corporate website is created as an official representative of a brand. It thus serves as a platform for advertisements and communication with existing and potential customers. It exceeds a casual presence on the Internet meant to convince potential clients on the reliability of a brand and goes beyond that to ensure the website is incorporated in the company’s plans actively.
- eCommerce website: Typically, this website costs anywhere between $300 to $35,000. Again the increased page numbers and complexity is responsible for the increased cost seen in building an eCommerce website. Typically, this kind of website features between a range of 100-1000 products. Notice that in the eCommerce website, we are not considering the pages but products. This is because an eCommerce website exists to provide an avenue for transactions. So, although this website highlights the products and services of a brand, and although it is a professional way of boosting reliability, the primary function of the eCommerce website is to facilitate online trade.
There are different kinds of eCommerce websites which include: business- to- business, business- to- consumer, consumer-to-business, and consumer -to -consumer. A perfect example of an eCommerce website is Amazon.
- Database-driven website, web portal or web application: A database-driven website is one with most of its information in a database. These websites are also called dynamic web pages. A database-driven website transitions from loading premade pages up to altering web pages depending on what the user does. By programming, a database is linked to this kind of website enabling it to switch up pages depending on a user’s decisions. A web portal is also uniquely designed to bring up information from emails, online platforms, etc. Web applications are another angle to diversification that runs on servers instead of being stored within the device. Generally, the cost of building these kinds of websites range between $6,000 to $75,000.
Factors that influence the final price
- Design: This has been briefly explained above. Generally, the more complex your design is, the higher the cost. It would be more difficult and require more expertise to create different unique designs for each web section, which translates to cost. A website with one design will cost less than a website with different designs for different web pages. Design covers everything from colour theme, logo, placement of header bar, font, etc.
- The number of pages: This has also been briefly explained above. The number of pages of your website is essentially the size or bulk of your work. The more the number of pages as seen in eCommerce websites and database-driven websites, the higher the final price.
- Functionality: eCommerce websites, for example, usually have a lot of features to be integrated like a payment gateway, calculators, and security. These integrations cause a direct increase in the final price. Functionality, in general, includes features that simplify the user experience.
- Content Management System: CMS for short, are platforms that enable you to manage your content. CMS is different from web hosting. CMS is a software that helps with editing, creating and managing content on a website. Each unique type of CMS has distinct costs. Examples of Content Management Systems are WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Drupal, Magneto, etc. It is also essential to know that among all CMS, creating a custom design is more expensive than using templates.
- Navigation: This covers usability. How easy is it to find the “about us” page? Can a first-time user navigate through your website with ease? The longer your web developer spends working on this feature, the higher the price.
- Search Engine Optimization: This involves a continuous update of information to ensure that your website has the necessary traffic. It is useless to have a fantastic website that nobody knows exists. SEO aids visibility of your website. However, working on this feature increases the final price.
Additional features include a blog, landing pages, online chat, CRM or ERP integration, analytics integration, subscriptions or memberships, multi-language support, etc.
Average website costs based on who does the job
- DIY: This is an abbreviation for Do It Yourself. You can do the entire process without any external help, especially when you’re using a template and already have some background knowledge on coding. If you do not have this knowledge, and you’re trying to build a custom website from scratch, you are most likely just setting yourself up for frustrations. You would have to learn different things, from the actual web development to web design best practices. Although you might think this route is usually cost-free, this is usually not the case. There are costs involved when using a premium themed template in a website builder like Wiz or Squarespace. You would also have to pay for hosting, SSL, updates(even while using a free theme), etc.
- Freelancer designer or developer: Hiring a freelancer web developer comes with its pros and cons. A major pro is that a freelancer web developer has way more expertise than you do. This means you should expect more professional and high-quality work. However, a major con is the risks associated. You are most likely going to be working with someone for the first time, and you might be unaware of the developer’s level of expertise, communication skills, and work ethics. It is thus possible that you might end up working with a developer whose services fall short. Of course, it is essential to note that this option usually is more expensive than the DIY method aforementioned.
- Web Development Agency: This is usually the most expensive option. However, this is also the most secure option. A web development agency comprises of experts in relevant fields of web development. Fields such as web designing, SEO, etc. In other words, they have all the required or essential resources at their disposal and a team behind the design and development phases. This method thus guarantees you an exceptional website and more reliability. Relative to the other options, this one affords you the least amount of stress.
Additional costs that you need to take into account
Excluding costs that arise from the factors listed above, some additional costs are usually not considered until the last minute. However, this should not be the case as these costs cover fundamental aspects of web development.
- Technical setup: Technical setup covers a whole lot of areas ranging from a domain name, website hosting, security, and premium plugins, to custom database integration, etc.
To explain this, let’s start with the first on the list:
- Domain name: A domain name is simply the name of your website. It can be likened to your physical home address. These domain names are not free. Domain names are also beneficial in tracking a computer device, which is more accessible than tracking using the conventional string of numbers called the IP number. A domain name can be gotten in lots of domain name extensions like the famous “.com”,”.net”, and some other unpopular ones like “.dev”,”.uk”. Domain names are quite different from a hosting service. Also, domain names must be registered. On average, you should expect to spend $15- $30 yearly on domain names.
- Website hosting: Just as the name implies, this serves as your host. Imagine that the Internet is an only-invited guests party, website hosting is an official guest that grants you access. You could have a domain name and even a fantastic design, but without this, you’re not accessible on the Internet. Website hosting, in essence, is a service that enables you to put a website onto the Internet. Websites are hosted in servers, which are unique kind of computers. What happens then is that if someone types in your domain name, i.e. “www.domain.net“, their browser automatically connects them to your server and uploads your web pages. Website hosting can cost anywhere between $2 to $730 a month. This wide range is because web hosting can be shared, which is cheaper or dedicated hosting, which is the most expensive.
- Security: Website security involves processes or applications that are put in place to protect the website against any online exploitation. Security protects not only your websites but your visitors as well. Your site is protected from malicious software, cybercriminals, DDoS, being blacklisted by credible search engines, etc. Your website visitors are also protected from online fraud, stolen data, suspicious redirects, etc. It is essential to state that your web hosting service does not protect your website; instead, they protect your web server. It is possible for your website to be attacked and your server safe, which reiterates the importance of website security. An SSL certificate is an integral part of security. It automatically redirects all data collected by your website to your server, which means any details your website visitor inputs is secure. This costs from $100-$500 yearly. Another aspect of security is a Web Application Firewall(WAF) meant to halt any attack by bots to take advantage of vulnerabilities in your website.
- Premium plugins: These plugins are versions of regular plugins(software containing specific functions that can be added to a website) that are paid for and provide your website support, regular updates, and cool features.
- Custom database integration: A custom database enables a company to have free reign over the administration of their data. It allows them to use their data as they please. This custom database can be integrated into a website, especially for companies with capabilities of real-time transformation. These also add to the cost of developing a website.
The examples listed above do not fully cover the aspect of technical support. However, they do give you an idea of what it majorly entails.
- Copywriting: Copywriting is writing primarily for advertising purposes. The aim is to boost awareness of a brand and professionally persuade potential clients of the genuity and services the brand offers. Remember the saying, “Content is king”? Exactly. Copywriting provides the content of your website, and it truly is King. Imagine having an exquisitely designed website and top-notch security. You have purchased a domain name and a hosting web service. You then decide to input text to fill in space. The content is sloppy, filled with errors, and very unprofessional. What do you think will be the outcome? You would get clicks but no sales because you have an appealing website with no depth. It is similar to going to a beautiful and a well-organized store expecting to buy groceries. Then when you walk in, there are none or worse, there are poorly packaged or pest-infested groceries. Although you did walk in, you made no purchase! Underestimating the influence engaging content has on your website is too costly a mistake to make, especially considering the huge negative impact it leaves on your website.
Website copywriting involves providing engaging digital content that compels your website visitors to surf around more, check out your products/services, and ultimately, make a purchase or place an order. Website copywriting covers content for the landing page, pages on products/services, blog pages, the “About Us” page, etc. Therefore, just as you make budgets for the web domain, web hosting, and web development agency, you should also budget for a professional copywriter. Copywriting services also include Search Engine Optimization, which ensures that your website is not only compelling but visible to those interested in your services/products. The cost of copywriting varies greatly depending on the expertise of the copywriter, how much work is required, the type of content needed, etc. It could be anywhere from $20-$2000.
- Digital Marketing: Digital marketing involves general marketing that is done on the Internet or virtually. Businesses employ this by using platforms like social media, search engines, etc. The traditional and conventional marketing exists through the use of physical presence, flyers, printed ads, billboards, etc. In contrast, digital marketing uses only virtual channels like email, social media, and of course, websites.
Digital marketing is very essential in websites for so many reasons. The most evident of these reasons is for increased visibility. If there is no marketing, there is no publicity. Lack of publicity will, in turn, limit possible client outreach and sales. Another reason is that it gives you as a business owner an advantage over other competitors. Digital marketing also enables cool features like the analytics to gauge responses to various strategies and then determine the most favourable method to adopt.
Other benefits of website digital marketing are increased customer engagement, competitor research or analysis of competitor marketing procedures, etc.
There are different types of digital marketing in business, and it includes SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, online PR, sponsored content, etc.
Digital marketing is cost-effective because the money spent is an investment that would bring more income if done correctly. On average, the cost of digital marketing can range from as low as $250 to as high as $15,000.
- Website Maintenance: This involves periodic checking of the website to ensure all operations run without hitches. Website maintenance helps to monitor any mishaps that could arise, maintain improvements, and boost a steady traffic influx. Website maintenance also increases the ranking of your website and encourages SEO.
Weekly check: This is done for the following reasons.
- To ensure that all pages load without hitches.
- To update any software or plugins.
- To check for errors.
- To check for any unwanted messages.
- To write up fantastic content.
Monthly check: This is done for the following reasons.
- To check on the website security.
- To enhance website load speed.
- To monitor website growth.
Quarterly check: This is done for the following reasons.
- To review SEO.
- To examine website backup.
- To analyze marketing strategies.
- Work on the pop-up pages.
Yearly check: This is done for the following reasons.
- Review each page for errors and inconsistencies.
- Confirm that website domain is renewed.
- Review content with the highest audience engagement and replicate a similar style.
- Check if your website needs a web design update.
Importance of Website Maintenance
- Adapt to innovations in web design and management: When a website is first designed, it is updated to the happenings at the time. However, later on, specific innovations occur. Some designs become outdated, and new methods of web management are implemented. Website maintenance helps you keep track of these things and stay updated.
- A professional representation: Website maintenance also boosts a professional representation. Having things up to date and in perfect working condition immediately showcases how seriously you take your brand and also highlights your work ethics.
- Security purposes: This is one of the most important reasons for website maintenance. Just as it is harder for thieves to break into a house with a vigilant watch guard, it is also harder for bots and cybercriminals to infiltrate your website if you keep it regularly maintained.
- A boost in audience interaction: Website maintenance helps you keep track of your analytics seen in digital marketing, which can further help in making decisions that aid your business and increase engagement on your platform.
- Optimization: SEO is made possible by Website maintenance. Search engines will only want websites with recent and relevant information. If your website thus has old and outdated information, it will barely be acknowledged.
The general cost of website maintenance differs based on so many factors, including the size of the business, complexity, etc.
Thank you for reading.