How much does it cost to create a website?


a year ago

It’s better to start with a disclaimer which may disrupt all the further reading of this article. A website cost is a question which has no definite answer. And if you want some distinct numbers, you can try looking for them at some juggler resources. For those who are still here, let’s go on.

Unfortunately, it’s a common case when you apply for a quote from a number of trustworthy service providers and outcome numbers vary from $3 000 to $30 000. Why would that happen? Current website development pricing doesn’t have adamant standards and frankly there are any. A number of variables, besides somewhat objective product specifications, is enormous. Website costs depend on:

  • work models: iterative, waterfall, etc.;
  • types of teams: indoor or outsource;
  • pricing: fixed bid or hourly rates and a whole lot of others.

So, what should I do? It’s a reasonable question, when you have an unimpressive, four-digit budget, and a full tank of startup enthusiasm.

The best way to receive a relatively objective answer is to reduce this entropy yourself. Try first to compose detailed documentation of your project, which is going to decrease the number of all the confusions about specifications in advance. Once you have it done, it may take some time to research technical options and decide what technologies would fit your idea. Obviously, the same resource can be completed in thousands of ways but still some knowledge is going to help you eliminate the teams who make unambiguously phony estimates. You should also consider whether your product needs a responsive design for smartphones and tablets (it usually does) as well as decide whether you’re ready to pay for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO can be omitted sometimes, nonetheless it contributes greatly to attracting new visitors when you make and start a website.

So how much does a website cost if you look for hypothetical ranges?

Basic websites (free - $5 000)

These are simple ones. You need a basic website to provide some information about your business, present a limited number of products or services, give contacts. Usually, these resources would represent a brand rather than be standalone services with online selling functionalities. These can also have a couple of third-party applications such as PayPal, contain contacts forms to notify an entrepreneur about incoming leads, but basic websites don’t have custom solutions applied. Nevertheless, a common small business is going to be satisfied with it, unless it doesn’t want to perform automated purchase operations. A website structure of this kind rarely has more than 10 pages. Though its design might be engaging and impressive.

So, what would be a website cost? There are a lot of online services that provide templates to create a website yourself. Being limited by customization powers you still can have a decent resource made out of a template. The costs of these templates may vary from absolute free to $50-100. Once you have purchased a template you can add your pictures and contents. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to change major elements, move buttons, and arrange sections. It may also require some particular understanding of frontend basics to give your product attractive and somewhat customized look.

Is that going to be pricey to hire professionals in order to get customized yet basic resource? Well, here is when things get complicated. You can either apply to a well-known web-agency or hire an outsource team. An outcome price is going to be in a range from $2 000 to $5 000. Building a website of this scope would take a 1-1,5 week at DDI Development. Cost may grow as you what to possess tools for fast contents management for non-developers.

CMS ($4 000 - $20 000)

Let’s assume your online platform is going to be a major source of generating leads, providing up-to-date information for clients, and serve as a station of two-way interaction with customers through blogs and comments modules. It may also include some e-commerce elements for direct purchases, application forms, an unlimited number of pages. You would rather require a reasonable customization and UX-design, leading visitors to perform intended actions. Since you don’t have internal maintenance technicians, daily updates have to be made by your website manager with any programming skills.

These kinds of websites are powered by content management systems. They have convenient administration tools that make an ongoing management and changes possible and relatively fast. CMS solutions can be found on the market as off-the-shelf products. Ready-made proprietary systems aren’t of the great favor since you have to pay both for a product itself and a number of further tweaks that are necessary to adopt this software to your requirements.

A much better choice would be to create a website using an open-source CMS such as Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, etc. and pay for customization in addition. These environments go with modules, themes, translation engines, and other extensions. In order to make use of these, a wise decision is to hire a professional team. Technicians’ charge usually includes incorporating modules and third-party applications, elaborating website design, and other development activities.

Besides the admin panel designed for non-developers, one of the main reasons why CMS use would be beneficial is scalability. The module based nature of CMS tools allows you to remove outdated elements and mount the new ones as soon as your project hits scale.

The vast majority of resources there on the web are the CMS solutions of different scopes and degrees of customization. No wonder it is practically hard to come up with some extraterrestrial functionality which at the same time would be desired on the market. Here is why open-source tools give a huge variety of freely accessible modules out of the box that meet the common requirements of an average business. Moreover, they breed communities designing even more extensions.

So what would be a CMS website cost? Roughly speaking, the price may start from  $4000 and grow up to $15 000 - 20 000 as you require more and more specific features. It’s better to take into account database integrations, possible use of cloud services, and a set of additional expenditures you may face.

Custom websites and applications ($2 500 - $100 000+)

The immanent nature of custom solutions makes it hard to depict any distinct outline. The DDI Development team specializes in these products and every project drastically differs from others. Usually, building a custom website is required when you business is solely web driven. What are the common characteristics of the product?

  • A huge variety of third-party applications that are utilized some sophisticated way;
  • It’s design is created from scratch to meet specific needs;
  • It is fully written with the use of pure programming language or some versatile framework;
  • It requires some powerful databases;

Its features can hardly be found in any out-of-box services since they are extremely custom. Before even making that website you have to embrace a set of preparations such as evaluation of an idea and defining business goals, comprehensive market research, and architecting the whole structure of functional elements. A custom business website also needs ongoing maintenance and debugging performed by technical staff after its launch. Since the market is a constantly evolving organism, it is reasonable sometimes to provide changes and specifications in the midst of a project lifecycle, which might be even more cost-intensive. Probably the most common type of custom resources are e-commerce solutions.

E-commerce ($3 000 - $100 000+). An average user may consider all e-commerce sites to be relatively similar. They have a long list of products and buy buttons under each item. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine how diverse these platforms may be. You can build an e-commerce portal with a simple PayPal integration and manual order processing for $ 3 000 - 5 000. Once you want to automate orders and shipping, incorporate a number of payment systems, add carts, provide several types of customers’ accounts, apply sophisticated items search and filtering, make a compare tool, send email notifications automatically, etc., the cost for such a website is going to start at $20 000 and scale up to $100 000+.

Custom applications ($2 500 - $100 000). These may vary a scope, that’s why a website cost in 2015 might be in a range from $2 500 to $100 000+. DDI Development has experience in building both simple web applications and complex enterprise solutions. The most pricey projects are financial and customer relationship systems that provide automated analysis powers, numerous management tools, and a set of sophisticated features to run your business. This type of software is operating via the Internet but expands its functionality to cover high-performance computing. E.g. one of our projects was to create an online learning platform which makes it possible for students around the Globe to receive and solve tasks within their local curriculum and communicate with teachers:

  • it combines several regional websites through the single interface into a network;
  • incorporates a set of world approved learning methodologies;
  • contains tools to include learning materials.

It’s hard to suppose the end website cost for such scopes since these resources require ongoing support and refactoring.

In order to define how much does a website cost, you have to consider a number of features and degree of their customization. These criteria are probably the most influential ones when it comes to price estimation.

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