There’s no doubt that a superb website can fuel your business growth. It can help you improve customer retention and drive more sales by making amazing first impressions.
We all know that websites are one of the most powerful marketing channels for all businesses out there. In fact, 64% of all small businesses own one.
So, the question is no longer whether or not you need a website, but what is the cost of developing a website that fulfills your business needs.
This is the most frequent question we receive from entrepreneurs across the world - why is it so difficult to calculate the cost of creating a website?
Now, you might find ballpark figures on the Internet, but these estimates ultimately fail to grasp all the concepts of creating a website, and the intricacy of such a venture.
So, why is it so hard to calculate the cost of website development? Let's take a look at this analogy.
Imagine you are building your dream house, and you have the same question: “What is the cost of building a house?” The cost will differ based on factors such as the type of the house, neighborhood, layout, total floor area, number of rooms, outdoor space, interior and exterior finish, and more. The same goes for website development.
So what is the cost of website development in 2023? The answer will depend on myriad factors.
But relax, we've made it easy for you to estimate the cost of developing a website. In this article, we will be discussing various factors that you will need for the proper estimation.
Before starting, let's look at some baseline statistics that estimate the average website development cost in the US.
According to research, the average cost of building a website often ranges from $1,000 (for a small business website) to $95,000 and more (for a complex custom website).
- The cost could be less than $1,000 or more than $10,000 to build a website for a small business in terms of the actual overall cost. (Source)
- To create a typical website, depending on your needs, you might need to spend anywhere between $100 and $500. The price of a custom feature-rich website can go as high as $30,000 or more.
- The price can be between $2,500 and $95,000 to build a website. To develop a complex custom website, you might have to shell out even more. (Source)
- To create a site, the upfront cost, which includes launching and designing it, is $12,000 to $150,000, while routine website maintenance ranges from $35 to $5000 per month—or $400 to $60,000 per year. (Source)
Based on the above data, it is clear that there are various factors that influence the final cost of website development. Let's see some of the factors that affect the actual website development cost.
Some of the significant factors that determine the average cost to build a custom website include:
- Factors by types and purpose
- Factors by phases
- Essential factors
Let’s discuss each of these factors in detail.
One of the first things to do is to identify your purpose for the website—a clear goal will help build a good website design, which, in turn, will facilitate the fulfillment of your primary mission—to attract a maximum of potential customers. Here are eight different types of websites trending in the market.
To share news and advice with your potential customers, you might consider individual websites used as a personal blog or informative web pages.
A brochure website is ideal for small businesses where the site displays contact details, an ‘About Us’ page, and the functionality to send a request or some Call to Action (CTA).
The website features a few web pages—and the aim is to attract new customers and sales. However, some sites are set up to disseminate information and news.
Here’s an inspiring example for a brochure website—Evoulve.
This brochure website demonstrates a minimum of functionality and maximum efficiency.
Corporate websites engage people and transmit the business’s values to clients online. They are quite connected with marketing purposes and need to communicate a company’s goal and exhibit its portfolio.
Here’s an excellent example of a corporate website—Verizon, an American telecommunications company that has its corporate pages, including its careers and investors page, which are well-coordinated and work splendidly together.
The website deals with receiving payments in exchange for products or services online.
The website is ideal for suppliers who want to sell their products online and is quite analogous to retailers selling for multiple users or a compound platform. Some classic examples include Amazon and eBay.
This type of website is for educational institutions or institutions offering online courses.
Let’s see an exciting website design in an educational category—Inra, a cool French site about genetics and France. They have a website that showcases the events of genetics in France that have occurred over the past 70 years.
The informational websites would belong to this category, where they bring web resources together and also offer emails, forums, search engines, and more. Some classic examples are Yahoo and AOL.
This website is ideal for visitors who search for particular goods or services like real estate properties, jobs, hotels, car rentals, and more.
The web pages offer a directory and an extensive search system incorporating location-based features, and feedback and rating systems. Some typical website examples include Airbnb and TripAdvisor.
The sites are usually thematic platforms. Some classic examples include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
KEY TAKEAWAY: As a rule of thumb, the website development cost is dependent on the type. Once the classification is explicit, it is easier to chalk out the features and technical aspects required for your website.
Also, the time for developing the site can vary depending on the complexity of the web pages, like incorporating animation and influencing the website creation cost.
The building of a website has various phases we have to analyze first, before delving into the actual costs. Only after we understand what elements are involved in making the website can we determine what they’re worth.
Let's look at the various factors in detail.
A stunning website design spells the success of the product/service. In short, UI/UX design plays a very crucial role in the success of your website.
What does it take to design an attractive website to impress your potential customers? The stages involved in this process, include:
- UI/UX designing
To sum up, the UI/UX phase might take an average of one to two weeks, and cost $750-$4,000 and more. The time would vary depending on the project's requirements and complexity.
The front-end is the interface and first visual touch-point that website visitors recognize. The phase starts with the design and moves on to QA testing.
The influencing cost factors in this phase include website responsiveness and the complexity of animations.
To sum up, the front-end development phase might take an average of two to six weeks, and cost $1,000-$12,500 and more.
The back-end comes into play when the user has interacted with the visual website interface via buttons and more. The back-end or server-side is the core of any website and is responsible for smooth functioning.
The main influencing cost factors for this phase include integration with third-party service, complex queries, data processing tasks, and more.
To sum up, the front-end development phase might take an average of three to eight weeks, and cost $4,000-$12,500 and more.
You might want to create, edit, and manage the website content every now and then. And, you don’t want to reach out to developers every time you want to make minor changes.
Therefore, you need CMS software to perform all of the above tasks smoothly.
You might come across some CMS engines like WordPress, Drupal, and Shopify. However, you will find them limited in their functionality though they are designed to cut on development hours and reduce the cost to build a website.
How much does the CMS development cost? It might take an average of three to eight weeks, and cost $3,000-$9,000 and more.
Let’s take a quick look at the snapshot of the phase-wise factors influencing the cost.
Table 1: Snapshot of Phase-wise Cost Factors
|Phase||Time (weeks)||Cost ($)||Influencing factors||Development tools/frameworks|
|UI/UX||1 – 2||750 – 4,000||–||–|
|Back-End development||3 – 8||4,000 – 12,500||Third-party integrations, complex queries, and more||Web frameworks: Ruby on Rails, Phoenix Database servers: MySQL, PostgreSQL
Web servers: Nginx, Apache
Programming languages: Elixir, PHP, Python, Ruby, Java
Cloud server platforms: EC2, S3, AWS
|CMS development||3 – 8||3,000 – 9,000||–||WordPress, Joomla, Silverstripe|
KEY TAKEAWAY: Building a website involves several phases, and the time aspect of each stage will depend on your business requirements, the complexity of the project, which in turn influences the price.
There are many other essential factors that contribute to website development expenses. Let’s have a quick overview of them.
Table 2: Additional Expenses for Website Development
|Expense Factor||Explanation||Price||Classic Examples|
|Webpages (1 to 250 pages)||Factors like products and services and business can influence the webpage count. Web design agencies and freelance designers scale their rates by the number of web pages.||$1,000 to $10,000||–|
|Domain Name||The unique address that you see in the address bar of your browser.||$5 to $15 yearly (Customized domain extensions, such as .restaurant, .online can be priced at $200 and $300 per year)||GoDaddy Bluehost
|Style or Theme||Web design includes visuals of your website and the usability of your site. The thumb-rule is the simpler the design, the lower the price.||$2,000 to $15,000|
|Responsive Design||Responsive design is essential—it adapts your website to a user’s device (desktop, tablet, or mobile device) and gives them a seamless experience.||$3,000 to $25,000|
|Interactive Multimedia||Visitors can have an engaging experience with interactive media. To create interactive media, it is a time and resource-intensive process.||$250 to $10,000|
|Website Hosting||A service that keeps your website accessible on the internet.||$75 to $200 yearly||Hostgator Inmotion
|Maintenance||Website maintenance can keep your website functional and includes updates on your CMS, and resolves website-related issues.||$500 to $12,000 yearly|
|SSL Certificate||An SSL certificate helps to make your site appear safe to users and Internet browsers. You will need to renew SSL certificates every year.||$10 to $1000 monthly||Issued by certification authorities (CA’s)|
KEY TAKEAWAY: The additional factors, including web design, responsive design, interactive multimedia, and more ensure a seamless experience for your customers. It is prudent to consider the costs involved to get a holistic, total cost of building the website.
Website marketing is another significant aspect that you’d need to consider—it helps to drive in more qualified traffic and potential customers (leads).
You might choose to invest in the services that offer you the most value and fit your budget, including search engine optimization (SEO) and creating a custom marketing strategy.
Let’s look at the website marketing costs.
Table 3: Snapshot of Website Marketing Costs
|Expense Factor||Explanation||Price||Classic Examples|
|Content Marketing||You can consider delivering content through infographics, white pages, blogs, podcasts, and more. The costs will vary depending on the form of content marketing you choose and how often you publish.||$3,000 to $5,000||–|
|Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)||CRO can increase website conversions with call to action (CTA) tactics such as landing pages, buttons, sign-up sheets, and more.||$300 to $600||–|
|Copywriting||Copywriting encourages client engagement; the process involves the removal of duplicate content from your site.||$50 to $500 per article on average||–|
|Social Media Marketing||Social media is a brilliant platform that creatively promotes your business. You can choose to run contests on social media, and factor in the expenses.||$400 to $20,000 on average||–|
|Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)||PPC advertising is an effective way to convert visitors into buyers.||$50 per one click (Price depends on how competitive keywords are)||Google AdWords|
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)||SEO helps to optimize your website for search engines like Google. The higher your site ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) for a user request, the better the optimization is.||$300 to $1,500 monthly on average (Price depends on the amount of work)||–|
|Email Marketing||Email marketing focuses on generating valuable leads.||$9 to $1,000 monthly||–|
KEY TAKEAWAY: To sum up, marketing your website can cost anywhere between $12,250 and $25,500 per month.
As business owners who want to improve their sales and revenue numbers, these factors are crucial to direct users to your site and maintain a user-friendly website.
Yes—you can create the website yourself (DIY). However, DIY development comes at the cost of your own time, time that can be spent running the business. Therefore you might instead choose to hire a professional to do it for you. The price would depend on the vendor type.
Let's take a look at a snapshot of costs based on the vendor type.
Table 4: Snapshot of Costs Based on Vendor Type
|Website Builder||$0 to $300|
|Freelancer||$500 to $5,000|
|Web Design Agency||$5,000 to $100,000|
Based on the data, you can plan your vendor hiring options based on your budget.
When to hire freelancers? If you have a small project that can be handled by an individual, then you can consider hiring a freelance software developer.
Freelancers can be newbie freelancers who are passionate and accept the job at low rates. However, the downsides are they may lack experience.
Alternatively, you can find seasoned professional freelancers who might charge anywhere between $100 and $300 an hour.
Hiring pros would be a better option, but at times it could be risky, and you still have the option of choosing offshore development companies.
When to seek offshore developers and when to seek nearshore?
You might take the popular route and reach out to a web development consultancy. However, the web development consulting rates can be high. Instead, you can consider looking for an offshore developer (developers who aren’t based in your country) - oftentimes, offshore devs are cheaper, if a little harder to communicate.
Nearshore devs are dev teams located in your own country. As it stands, nearshore dev teams are easier to communicate with, due to their proximity to you, but they can also operate with higher standards, thus eliciting higher costs.
Offshore development rates range from $25 – $50 an hour, and in comparison, nearshore software development tends to be slightly more expensive. However, offshore development can be a cost-effective solution.
KEY TAKEAWAY: To sum up, you might consider the most preferred choice of hiring a consultancy that has its headquarters in the US. You can rest assured of the quality and safety of working with an onshore company.
Your website is the face of your company. Creating a stunning website, therefore, should be your top priority. If you seriously want to build an engaging website and boost your business, you need an experienced web development partner.
We at Imaginovation are an award-winning team of web and mobile app developers. We have helped many businesses, from startups to Fortune 500, grow their business with our enterprise website development solutions.
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Book a meeting with one of our team members and we will help you plan out your next steps. You can also use our calculator tool to receive a rough estimate on your project.