Whether it’s software, mobile apps, or websites, estimating development costs can be tricky. This is because multiple variables can influence the final price of the build.
The complexity of the website will also have a direct impact on how much it will cost to develop it. To get a ballpark estimation that comes close to the final price, you have to first clearly define your business objectives, the website type (yes, there are many!), its features, and functions.
For example, a personal blog will be far cheaper to develop than an online store. A personal blog can be set up by a developer in a day or two while an e-commerce solution will demand a team of developers to build it over an extended period of time.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of developing a regular enterprise website can be calculated based on the number of hours developers would need to build it. However, every project will demand a different number of developers with different skillsets. So we have to accept that website development costs will remain relative.
It can be a lot cheaper to develop a basic business website because these sites tend to be focused on sharing information about the brand with the target audience. However, the costs can quickly add up when you add more complex functions and features.
From our experience, most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) expect to see the following pages on their website:
- About us
While every enterprise website can be very different, these are the basic pages that you’ll find on most business sites. These sites can also have features such as downloadable content, membership options, and subscriptions (usually for newsletters).
When you start customizing each page to meet your business objectives, it will add to the development time. At Digi117, we have built all kinds of websites for businesses across industries, but none of them were exactly the same.
This makes it impossible for us to come up with a concrete number. However, if I had to make a rough estimate, I would say that an average business website can cost as much as $15,000 to develop in the United States.
A basic e-commerce website will cost a lot more because of its complexity, functionality, the technology stack involved, and the design.
In fact, the latter is critical because 59% of people will only spend time browsing through a website if it’s beautifully designed. Another 39% of visitors will also stop engaging if the website images take too long to load.
So how much does it cost to develop an e-commerce website?
At the lower end, it can cost as much as $40,000 to build an e-commerce solution in the USA. However, if you nearshore it to Canada or Mexico (for example, through Digi117), it will cost a lot less to build the same quality product.
When it comes to landing pages (which are essentially single-page websites or a separate page on a multi-page website), it’s much cheaper. A single page will be focused on marketing initiatives that usually ask visitors to buy something or download something.
Landing pages aren’t complicated, so it doesn’t take much time to build one. However, it can be a really long page. As this is a pretty simple task, most developers will use either HTML or Bootstrap to build a landing page.
Again, the cost will ultimately depend on time and complexity. If I had to give a rough estimation, I would say a long detailed landing page would cost approximately $2,500.
What's the Breakdown?
To better understand the costs related to web development, I’ll further breakdown the processes involved.
User Interface (UI) & User Experience (UX)
Once the business analysis phase of the project is complete, building a website starts with the design. This phase of the build can be broken down into four stages:
- UI design
- UX design
Calculating the average cost of designing a website, again, comes down to the project’s complexity and business goals. For example, creating a single home page can cost anywhere from $500 to $4,000.
As soon as the design of the website is ready, work will start on front-end development. This part of the development cycle will focus on everything your visitors will see and interact with on your website.
What influences front-end development costs are the complexity of animations and the site’s responsiveness. In the USA, this can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $12,000.
Back-end development focuses on the server-side of things. It’s basically what makes the features of your website work. For example, the back-end is what ensures that a button does what’s intended when a visitor clicks on it.
In other words, back-end development will breath life into front-end designs and make them work. If your website is going to be focused on e-commerce, the back-end will have a significant impact on your final development costs.
Back-end development, depending on the complexity, can cost you anywhere from $2,500 to $12,500. Once this part is complete, you’ll also need to engage in quality assurance testing to ensure that everything on the website works. That can cost you around $3,000, depending on the complexity of the site.
Once your website is live, someone will have to maintain it. It’s important because you don’t want your users to deal with bugs and other problems that can potentially damage your brand image. Maintenance will also be key to maintaining security and business continuity.
For a basic enterprise website, maintenance can cost approximately $500 a year. However, if it’s a complex corporate website or an e-commerce platform, you can expect to fork out more than $10,000 annually.
There will also be other expenses not mentioned above. For example, you have to think about marketing, content writing, SEO, and so on. Ultimately, all these different things will also add to the final cost of building your website.
If you partner with an established outsourcing provider, you can also outsource maintenance functions, updates, and support throughout the life cycle of your website.