In today’s digitized world, having a website is no longer optional — especially for large and rapidly growing businesses. And it doesn’t matter if you work in a B2C or B2B segment because we all judge companies by their online presence. For this reason, making a business website not just visually appealing but also high-functioning is of an utmost importance.
But how much money does it cost to build a decent business website? Unfortunately, no one can tell you the exact numbers. In general, the level of accuracy of the estimation you may receive from a coding team will greatly depend on the amount of background information you’ll give them.
The problem many business owners face in this regard is that it’s quite challenging to plan a budget in advance. But there is also a good news. If you know the average cost of web development, as well as factors that influence the price, you’ll be able to develop pretty much realistic budget forecasts.
- Average prices for a business website
- What work do web development costs cover?
- The cheapest stack for web development
- Most common ways to reduce costs and risks
- Putting it all together
Average prices for a business website
On average, how much do organizations spend to create a website? The range is indeed huge as the costs depend on the company’s specific business needs. We will discuss this later in the article. Let’s first take a look at hard numbers.
The upfront expenses on a basic custom website will vary between $30,000 and $50,000. What do we mean by saying ‘basic website’? Well, it’s an informational site that doesn’t have many pages but clearly shows a company’s brand identity. Its functionality is not very complex but it covers a few core functions a particular business needs.
The next category covers business websites that can be developed within the range of $50,000-$100,000. Such websites usually contain quite a few pages and their development requires quite a high level of technical complexity. The sites from this category also have rather sophisticated functionality, including integration with external systems, that is built from scratch.
The average price for large-scale websites and web applications starts at $100,000. We don’t want to specify the upper threshold because, actually, it doesn’t exist. It can be a million of US dollars or even more. Average costs for web development would depend on how ‘stuffed’ your is with features and the latest technologies like AI, machine learning, etc.
Why is the difference so great? Because the costs for web development directly depend on a number of hours software engineers need to create a product (see below).
What work do web development costs cover?
Development of any custom website always includes not only the work of programmers — inputs from other professionals are also required. This is because building a software product is not limited just to writing a code and creating a design — the process contains several other components as well.
- Specifications (or SRS): Software requirements specifications are a document with a detailed description of the product to be developed. Professionals engaged: business analyst or product owner (in Scrum), marketing officer (optional)
- Design: It includes wireframes and UX/UI design. Professionals engaged: UX/UI designer.
- Coding. This is actually the development part. Professionals engaged: front-end developer(s), back-end developer(s), HTML coder.
- Environment. That’s a process of establishing a production environment for the code. Professionals engaged: DevOps engineer
- Quality assurance. In simple words, it’s the process of testing if everything works as it’s supposed to. Professionals engaged: tester(s)
- Project management. It covers arranging a web development process and ensuring effective communication between a client and a development team. Professionals engaged: project manager or Scrum master (in Scrum), account manager.
On average, custom websites may be developed in 2-3 months. The minimum time required is one month. Yet, the development process of complex web applications may last for a year or more.
The cheapest stack for web development
One of the essential factors influencing the total price for web development is tech stack software engineers will use to build your website or web application. In short, the technology stack is a combination of all technologies needed to create a software product. If we speak about web development, it comprises two components: front-end and back-end.
Speaking about the service-side or the back-end, there are more alternatives. For this reason, your costs for web development will greatly depend on a framework or a language chosen for this part. Here are the average salaries of developers working with different technologies for you to see the big picture.
As you may see, even in the US (the most expensive country in terms of software development) average salaries of PHP developers are lower than average salaries of programmers specializing in other languages. But it’s not because it’s the worst one. To the contrary, PHP is one of the most popular choices for web development. Actually, nearly 82% of all websites existing today are built with PHP. The prices are lower because PHP community is indeed huge and there are many programmers willing to help you create a PHP-based website. For this reason, the tech stack with this scripting language will always cost you less.
Most common ways to reduce costs and risks
After reading the two previous sections, you probably understand why a good corporate website cannot be cheap. That’s why we will not discuss such ways to reduce web development costs as using website builders and WordPress or hiring freelancers. Instead, we’ll talk about more sophisticated options like building the MVP and choosing a Scrum team.
Launching an MVP website
MVP stands for the Minimum Viable Product. And by saying ‘a website MVP’ we mean that it’s initially launched only with basic functionality that allows website owners to receive feedback from early users.
- When do you need MVP? We recommend to choose this option when you’re creating a complex web application and a development process is expected to take a while.
- How does it reduce your costs and risks? Creating MVP will cost you less than building a complete website or web application. Of course, you’ll still have to add all necessary features afterward. But you’ll better understand what users need and spend your money more efficiently.
Choosing a Scrum team
Scrum is a project management methodology that is widely used in software development. Its main distinctive feature is that a product creation process is broken into short iterations called sprints. After every sprint, a development team releases a potentially shippable feature set.
- When do you need Scrum? We recommend you to choose a team that follows a Scrum approach whenever such option is available. As we see from the practice, it’s really convenient for both sides — a development team and a client.
- How does it reduce your costs and risks? You’ll receive a potentially releasable piece of software every 2-4 weeks (common duration of one sprint). Due to this, you may terminate the work at any time by giving only a short notice.
Putting it all together
Let’s briefly summarize everything we’ve talked about in a Q&A format.
How much does it cost to make a business website? Average costs for web development starts at $30,000 for a basic informational website. For $50,000-$100,000, you can get a decent medium-sized solution. The most sophisticated web application may cost from $100,000 to more than a million.
How long does it take to build a custom website? A development team will need at least a month to create a basic website. The average time required to build a website or web application is 2-3 months. This, however, does not apply to complex web applications — their development and deployment may last for years.
Can you build a business website for free? If you want to have a website or web application that looks great and works perfectly, then the answer is ‘No’.
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