How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Website?
Before you develop a new website or conduct a complete overhaul of your existing one, it’s essential to know the associated costs. Keep reading to learn more about the various website types, maintenance needs, and project scopes that factor in.
Perhaps you read our post on How to Hire a Website Development Company and have now decided that outsourcing your website development needs is the way to go for your business. However, now you are diving into more details about pricing. There are many different types of websites out there, with different scopes to their projects and different needs for maintenance. Which one are you and how much will it cost? In this article, we will explore the costs associated with a Website Development company that fits your business needs.
What Are the Different Types of Business Websites?
We can agree that not all businesses are the same. Well, using this principle, not all business websites are the same either. It is important that you understand what type of professional website you need before taking the plunge of creating one. According to Forbes, there are 9 types of business websites, each with its own functionality:
An eCommerce’s sole purpose is to sell products. An example of a functional eCommerce site is Amazon. As you build this online store, it is important that everything ties back to the product and encourages the customer who has landed on your site, to buy something from you. There are several eCommerce platforms that you can create your site on, including Squarespace,
Portfolio websites sell services, particularly creative services. This type of site displays the services that you are selling while showing examples of previous work you have done. It is very likely that the website developer you choose will have a portfolio website that you will peruse before choosing them.
If your business runs on booking appointments, then this website is for you. The website developer will use this type of website to encourage the customer to “click here” to book an appointment, avoiding time on the phone or back and forth. As long as your calendar is up to date, then this type of website can save you time and thus money. This type of website is useful for the medical field and home services.
Blogs are sites that hold content, including stories, reviews, how-tos, and more. Bloggers over time have developed business models for their sites if they have gained followers. The business model of these sites is based on advertisements or affiliate marketing. If this is the type of site you are building or revising, be sure to find a website developer that is very familiar with affiliate marketing, so that they can support driving traffic to your site.
If your business holds events, then this type of website is for you. You can provide details of the event, number of tickets, price, and other details for customers. Eventbrite is a common platform to create events that can be embedded into your website. Depending on the complexity of your site, your developer may use a big box platform like Eventbrite or create it from scratch.
A media site is similar to a blog in that it is full of content. However, where a blog is one individual’s perspective and opinion, a media site tries to be objective, providing multiple perspectives. The business model is based on advertising and/or subscription-based memberships.
A forum website brings people, businesses, and ideas together online to communicate. These websites receive their revenue via advertisements. Forums can be quite difficult to maintain from a security and content perspective. Make sure that the website developer you choose has a high understanding of cybersecurity.
The best example of a directory website is UpCity. Our site is an online marketplace where one can search for a service provider, like a web developer, using different filter settings. The point of a directory website is to make it easy to find a person or business for your needs without having to do your own website search.
A landing page’s purpose is to capture leads (its other name is a Lead Generation Website). Marketing experts love these sites because it allows them to more easily track where their customers came from, collecting data to then be used to capture future customers, using SEO (search engine optimization). Often companies use landing pages as a separate site from their overall site, especially if their main site has a lot of content on it.
Which site is right for me?
You may own an online jewelry business; in which case, an eCommerce website is right for you. However, as your jewelry business grows, you may realize that your website needs a change and you would like to have a landing page. That is fine! It is important to note that you may need several different types of websites, some taking a backburner to others. It is also worth noting that plugins allow for different websites and social media sites to be connected via API. Be sure to understand your primary needs as a business first when you are looking for a website developer but discuss your secondary needs as well.
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What Factors Impact Web Development Costs?
There are two cost structures for developing a website: hourly or flat rate. The structure you choose depends on several factors, including how complex your site is, how much maintenance it needs, and/or if you used an open-source platform.
No matter the developer you choose, you should note that there are several upfront costs. These include web hosting, domain name, SSL certificate, and storage. These costs are not usually a one-time fee and can vary. Hosting providers like Wix, HostGator, and GoDaddy provide website hosting and have their own price structures
There are also additional factors to consider. Below are some examples of important factors that will come up during the vetting process with developers, so it is best to decide where your needs lie amongst the varying options out there.
Big box websites or creating a site from scratch?
If you have a very basic website with little support needed, a developer will charge hourly. For example, should the developer (and you) choose to host your website on an open-source platform (e.g., WordPress or Shopify), then there are standard costs with that platform. However, the majority of costs will result from the agency or freelancer you choose.
Generally, when hiring a developer, they use a flat rate that includes fees for setup, education, coding, and maintenance. Note that the price of $6,750 is for a basic website. If you have a site that needs constant changes or maintenance, the costs could be higher.
The more experienced your developer is, the higher rates they may charge. This is because they will be able to tailor to your needs using the different types of technologies, languages, and industry experience they have. While working with a start-up can seem like you are working with novices, this is not necessarily the case. They often have highly skilled application programmers with years of experience, so do not be deterred from looking at these as well.
The tech sector is global and with the web being an open-sourced platform, you can find a developer anywhere around the world who can accomplish your project. However, developer costs vary depending on their location. Just as the cost of living in New York City is higher than in a smaller rural town, a developer’s prices will also be more expensive. This also applies to different countries. According to this source, the average cost of hiring someone from the Asian Pacific region vs Latin America is $22 cheaper an hour. While outsourcing to a developer overseas can be cheaper, there are some cons including time differences, potential political upheaval, and cultural differences that can delay your project.
Estimate the Cost: Additional Questions to Ask
In addition to the factors listed above, there are other reasons that your project can become more expensive. The number one reason for failed budgets is that the client did not adequately understand the cost estimation from their service provider. Here are some questions to consider now before you hire and contract with a website developer.
What is your specialty?
As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of websites out there. This coupled with different types of businesses means that there are many types of website developers out there. For example, if you are creating a lifestyle blog with e-commerce components, there is likely a website developer out there who has experience with this. It is also good to note if they are front-end or back-end developers. If you need someone to update the backend of your site, then it’s best to hire someone who has this specialty.
Are you a full-stack service provider?
As we mentioned in our previous article, there are 3 types of website developers: front-end, back-end, and full-stack. From a small business owner’s perspective, if you are looking to update your current site, then it is likely that you will need someone who specializes in front-end or back-end development. However, if you are looking to create a site from scratch, then finding a full-stack service provider can save you time and money.
Additionally, you may prefer to have a web developer that is also skilled in website design. Remember that web designers are different from web developers. Designers create the “look” whereas the developer actualizes the design. A full-stack service provider may also be skilled in design which could be an asset to your project.
Finally, the website developer may have experience in content marketing, including copywriting. If you decide to lean in on this experience, they will likely charge you additionally for website content.
Do you use open-source platforms or big box websites?
There are many open-sourced or big-box website platforms out there. And they are typically cheaper than creating a site from scratch. This is because they are a website builder that uses templates that can be customized for many different types of sites. However, you may find that you prefer to create a custom website from scratch. Before starting your service provider search, have a basic understanding of which you prefer to use.
What is your pricing structure?
Perhaps you find a developer that fits your needs and culture but then you look at their pricing structure, and it blows your budget out of the water. Nothing can be more frustrating. When doing your search, make sure you ask this question at the onset to avoid this annoyance later. Note that the initial website cost and web hosting (via domain sites like Bluehost) are different from developer fees, so take a look at the structure clearly. Your site may have long-term maintenance needs as well which will incur additional fees.
How do you approach project management?
Project Management is key when outsourcing your website development needs. Ensuring that deliverables come in time, communication is clear, and the budget stays aligned can be difficult if there is not a project management plan from the onset.
Don’t Rush In
No matter the website developer that you choose, remember that you are part of the creation process from beginning to end. Outsourcing a service provider will save you money and allow you to focus on other parts of your business. However, at the end of the day, this is your website. Do as much research and work before hiring your website developer on the front end, so that the process is smooth, collaborative, and allows your business to thrive.
About the author
Haldis Toppen is the Director of Communications of the cultural exchange organization, Greenheart International. With 10 years of experience in leading marketing and communication teams, Haldis has a proven record of successfully leading national campaigns and international programming. She is passionate about bringing the right message to the masses and finding those audiences who need to hear it!