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Websites are the new shops and new offices for too many business entities. Even the companies with fairly robust customer presence without any substantial online presence now irrevocably understand the competitive value of having a website and allowing customers to interact online. Leave aside businesses and organizations, even the professionals now feel the importance of having a web presence. With digital life and social media exposure allowing many individuals to have their own audience, even people are increasingly bent towards showcasing their personal capabilities through blogs and websites.
It all begins with the elementary question, “how much does website building cost?” As there are too many different types of websites corresponding to their niche, audience and objective, the website development costs differ to a great extent. Obviously, the development cost of a fully fledged large business website and a single page website for a local business will not be the same
To get the right idea of web development cost and the corresponding challenges, you need to take a look at the following things.
The development cost will depend on various factors ranging from the type of website, kind of domain and hosting solution you opt for, your choice of CMS platforms, the choice of technologies, plugins and extensions, the functions and features you need, the complexity of the website architecture, the user interface design, maintenance cost, etc. Let us have a look at these cost factors briefly.
This is the primary consideration corresponding to cost. The cost of building a small business website and a large ecommerce store will differ to a great extent. Similarly, a business blogging site and a fully fledged travel booking website will differ in functions, features, structure and corresponding cost of development.
For having your website you need, first of all, a domain address and a hosting service. As acquiring them yourself unless you really need them for a rigorous purpose it will be expensive. So, you need to purchase a domain and acquire hosting service from third party vendors.
Will you go for regular web programming languages like HTML or PHP or you will opt for a complete CMS solution like the WordPress or Magento?
Based on the additional features and functions on top of the basic technologies you need, will determine the kind of plugins or extensions or third-party tools you need.
You have the option of taking service of a reputed web development company or just take help of a freelancer. Obviously, there will difference of cost based on this. For very limited resources and budget constraints, you can also opt for doing the entire development and design yourself.
Finally, building a website is just the beginning and it only proves fruitful when it keeps running. Naturally, support and maintenance is also a crucial cost component of any website.
As of now, we have already understood the key cost components of building a website from scratch. Now, we will see various expenses in a little more depth.
Domain name is the name of your website or the address people type in the browser to open your website. As people do not have any idea about accessing a website through its IP address, the domain name is the common way of accessing a website. Generally, a domain name costs from as low as $5 to $20. In case you choose a premium domain name or opt for a custom domain extension based on your niche or category, you may need to pay much higher $100 to $300 per year. By choosing multiple domains or by opting to pay in advance for several years together, you can substantially minimize this cost.
SSL (secure socket layer) certificates are necessary to encrypt important data corresponding to transactions and credit card detail. This is particularly essential in case of ecommerce websites for safeguarding financial data and transactions. SSL certificates are must for any business website dealing with personal user information, financial data and allowing transactions. There are various certifying authorities and depending upon their credentials the cost of SSL certificate vary from as low as $10 to a monthly fee of $1000.
By purchasing a domain you only have an address but without all the stuff filling it up your website will not be ready. The domain name is just like a vacant piece of land. With a hosting service, you can actually utilize a memory space for building and running a website. The cost of a shared hosting plan ranges from as low as $10 to $99 per month. You can always opt for a much cheaper rate if you pay a yearly fee.
While you can build a structure yourself for displaying all your contents including text and visuals, the standard convention is to use a Content Management System (CMS) which fairly comes with everything to display your contents in a very organized manner. Using a CMS saves a lost of development time and corresponding cost. You have an array of popular CMS platforms including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento and many others. Mostly, you don’t need to opt for a paid version of the CMSs as most of the free and open-source CMS solutions come fairly equipped with all the design elements and features you need.
Most CMS solutions come with in-built theme options to allow users to choose one as per their preference. Besides the free themes, there are also many premium and paid themes to choose from. In case you want a theme that just doesn’t meet your design preferences, you can design a new theme with all the design attributes of your choice. Obviously, both premium themes and custom-designed themes will cost higher than the free ones.
In case you just want to give your existing website a makeover with a design update, the cost will be much lower. In case of the full design of a website, the cost will be much higher. The cost of redesign or new design always depends on the type of website, the CMS you are using and the kind of custom design elements you need.
As Google and all search engines openly favor websites with responsive or mobile-friendly design, when building a new website you need to keep this in mind for targeting search engine traffic. Most websites and themes are designed these days following responsive web design (RWD) protocols by default, upgrading an older design to a new responsive one may cost you a few hundred dollars.
After all, you decided to build a web presence for the practical reasons of getting traffic and garnering steady business conversion. This is why, your website should have some additional features and functions to boost traffic volume, Bring in new customers and increase the search rank. These additional features require opting for a few useful plugins and extensions and the premium versions of these plugins will only add up the cost.
As a website primarily depends upon generating traffic through search engine rank and visitor footfall, the building of a website must incorporate robust SEO friendly features. Now, any web development company will charge extra for giving a website SEO features and the cost will vary from one agency to another. In any case, you need to set aside always a budget for search engine optimization (SEO) related features.
The ads that you see in the sidebar of Google, in any website or below the YouTube video are Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads which mean based on the number of clicks by the users, the publishers of these ads gain a certain revenue. PPC ads are a trusted way of monetizing a website and getting revenue. Initially, your business can also publish such ads on other websites and boost traffic conversion from other websites. The cost of such ads depends on the competition in your niche.
As a business, the sole purpose of building a website will be converting tangible businesses from traffic and user activities. So, you need to focus on optimizing business conversion. The conversion rate is primarily tested through A/B testing. A single test package for this will cost you somewhere between $300 to $600 and for multiple packages, the cost can be lower.
Your website needs written text as contents and the service of the pert writer is required for this. Good contents will give your website a great boost in terms of traffic footfall and business conversion and your content is the most responsible element for getting better search engine rank which in turn will help you convert more business. For unique, original and very well-articulated contents a website may require to pay a good price that varies from $10 to $500 for 500-word piece.
A website cannot sit idle with all the quality contents through its pages. It needs to market the same contents to reach its target audience as well. This is what we call as content marketing. The content marketers reach the target audience through several channels including social media, blogs, videos, infographics, charts, demonstrations, podcasts and other multimedia channels. A video may be expensive content compared to other types and formats and can cost between $2000 to $3000. The cost of promoting through other types of contents vary depending upon the contents.
Finally, every website can easily promote its services and brand message through social media platforms. While on face value, social media marketing through the creation of pages and company profiles doesn’t cost a penny, maintaining the consistent presence by posting a variety of contents and engaging into regular interaction requires dedicated tools, experts and resources. For an effective social media presence with regular updates, posts and engagement there can be a monthly cost ranging from $250 to $2,500, based on the agency and the rigorousness of the service.
Finally, the cost of development for your new website will mainly depend upon whether you start developing the site yourself by availing online resources and help from your in-house staff or opt for an expert freelance developer or Hire Dedicated Web Developers Obviously, these three options have their varying results on the overall cost of development.
To your surprise, there is enough online help and ready components that you can utilize to build a website yourself. When you build a website on your own, you need to opt for a good hosting provider with a lot of online help for its customers. Opt for a robust, easy to build and feature rich CMS platform like WordPress which is very easy to handle and which comes with a very active community ready to lend their support for any issue. When going for plugins and extensions, always do the background check and utilize them to enrich your site with relevant features.
A DIY approach to building a website is likely to cost only $100 per year. It is not recommended for businesses looking for quicker results, as one needs to pass through several trials and errors.
In case you have a better resource to hire a professional web developer, you should always go for it. There are several online websites allowing you to hire web developer professionals at a competitive rate. While hiring freelancer, instead of just focusing on the cost of hiring in per hour rate concentrate on the credentials of the developers in terms of experience in projects and qualification. A quality freelance web developer may charge somewhere between $500 to $3,000+ based on the project.
Finally, you can always take onboard a reputed agency with great credentials and portfolio in web development. It can be the most expensive option among all the three we are mentioning here, but considering the guaranteed results some agencies promise it is often the best bet. When hiring an agency for web development, the real cost will be somewhere between $10,000 to $50,000.
Are you considering to build a website? Are you feeling confused with so many considerations? Well, leave it on us. Based upon the nature of your business and website, we will suggest you the most cost competitive and result-driven options. Just drop us a message and we will respond back at the earliest.
Written by Atman Rathod
Atman Rathod is the Founding Director at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading web and mobile app development company with 17+ years of experience. Having travelled to 38+ countries globally and provided more than $40m USD of software services, he is actively working with Startups, SMEs and Corporations utilizing technology to provide business transformation.
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Websites are the new shops and new offices for too many business […]