Determining how much a website should cost is one of the most frequently asked questions. However, it is rarely answered accurately in the web design world. Even now, with millions of websites online, there exists no magic formula for calculating the expenses to make a site. Most times the total cost of your website would depend on the requirements of your website.
This guide by ThunderQuote aims to provide you with a rough gauge to calculate your total budget related with your website when hiring a web developer or web development firm/company.
Factors which you need to consider when making a website are:
- Size of business
- Rough Budget
- Competition Review
- Existing Content
- Need for a writer
- Frequency of updates
- Need for multiple languages
- Number of pages
- Style of design (Simple, High-end, World Class)
- Objective of your site
- Navigation structure (to minimise the number of clicks to the right information)
- Responsive design (Ability to response to the size of the device one is viewing with)
- Database integration (Basic, Advanced, Full Development)
- E-commerce functionality (Basic, Advanced, Enterprise)
- Content Management System (Basic, Advanced, Enterprise) vs. Static
- Extra databases or logic functions (eg. career application functions, geolocation, matching systems, listings)
- Number of user types and access rights
- Presence of user logins
- Special animations
- Special features such as news, custom forms, online store, blog, newsletter management…
- Target users
- Type of content (text, photos…)
Unsure of what type of website features you are looking for?
Here’s a list on the various types of sites available for easier reference.
Please note that the prices vary between minimum products and full production level systems, as well as firms with good track records and portfolio for which you should budget about 80-100% more than listed. For freelancers, prices should be either the same (or if lacking experience, around 20-30% less)
I would like to showcase my organisation/company.
It’s the 21st century, and over 60% of internet users research products and services online before they make a purchase. If your company doesn’t have a website, you are totally missing out! That said, a basic website will serve to help brand and market your company, showcase your products and services and inspire sales as a lead generating tool.
Most importantly, you will first need to identify your business’s expected traffic in order to get a better estimate of the costs i.e. higher traffic will require a higher end hosting server. A small-size company website provides information consisting of approximately 10 to 20 pages with some basic content management and social media widgets. A mid-size company website consists of up to seven main sections with the total pages not to exceed 30 whereas a large-size company website consists of up to eight main sections with the total pages not to exceed 40.
In general, web development, which consists of the features, listed below costs approximately $4,000 to $18,000+, depending on the requirements and complexity.
- Blog and updates
- Newsletter Signup/ Built-in Marketing Campaign Management
- Encourages stronger relationships with its existing customers or use email marketing campaigns to cultivate new customers and reward loyalty.
- Members Database / Built-in Analytics and Reporting
- Manage your customer’s orders
- Track customers’ behaviour, address, details, make customer notes
- Listings of outlet, product and service
- Comments & Reviews (i.e. Visitor’s input)
- Contact Form
- User login and database for customer/consumer
- Roles & Admin Access Rights
- Multilingual sites
- Bookings for consultation & appointment
- Video, Rich Media, Animations
- Web Hosting/Domain
I would like to sell my products/services. (e.g. E-commerce, Schedule Appointments)
E-commerce sites are those characterised by the ability to add products and transact business online i.e. payment gateways, and facility shipping, correspondence with purchasers, etc.
There are three main reasons why your store needs an E-commerce website to grow:
Collecting leads and customer data
It is difficult to collect email addresses and other useful information during checkout in your store. Therefore, having an E-commerce site helps you gather this information effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, you can build a long-term relationship with your clients and you would be able to push through time sales that will allow them to keep you in their top-of-mind awareness.
Reaching new potential customers through search engines
Your rank in search engines determines how visible you are. It is notoriously hard to drive traffic to retail businesses.The benefit of E-commerce sites is that there are galleries which are easily crawlable. With the help of SEO experts, you can drive a lot of passive traffic to your website and drive recurring sales. Hence, potential customers who have not walked past your store or heard about you from someone else, have the ability to discover you online.
Prospective customers can shop at any time they want
50% of Singapore netizens would do all their shopping online of possible. It is a convenient platform for buyers to purchase things they require instead of going through the trouble of travelling to different places and comparing prices. This increases the chances of purchases being made and ensures the growth of your business!
Other common options that can be added and increase these budgets are:
- Customer account dashboards
- Advanced or customised features (e.g. Auction functionality)
- Additional optimisation for social media (e.g. Social messaging)
- Multi-language features
- Customer account dashboards
- Data migration, database configuration
- Transactional email
- Automated shipping / Tax calculations
- Image galleries
- Multiple currency functionalities for purchases
I would like to create a discussion forum.
Online messages boards, also known as forums, can be a great way to connect people who share similar interests. Such online discussion forum helps to create a thriving online community which will provide you and your membership with many entertaining discussions. It should have common features like user login database and forum threads. The cost for building a discussion forum typically range from $3,000 to $8,000, depending on the subject matter of the forum.
I would like to create a web application/platform. (e.g. Groupon, Facebook, Yelp, Salesforce)
Web applications are usually built for corporations, fast-growing mid-sized companies or well-funded startups.
- Group Buy (e.g. Groupon)
A group buy website works in a way such that a product is posted online and introduced to the community, and interested buyers can register to buy at a discounted price within a time frame. There are different ways to structure a group buying situation, ranging from a casual one-time buy by collection of interested parties to the creation of interested buyers in securing ongoing discounts for goods and service. One way to illustrate this is – in exchange for the seller reducing the cost of a basket of apples by twenty per cent, every buyer has to purchase 2 baskets. The seller will then be able to enjoy a single transaction that improves daily sales. This platform consists of features like product & service listings, bulk discounts, group limited discounts and its cost ranges from $24,000 to $48,000+.
- Marketplace, Price Comparison (e.g. Airbnb, Amazon, Skyscanner, Agoda, Food Panda)
Marketplaces are definitely one of the hottest areas of internet business right now. A web marketplace is a place online where products or services are offered by multiple third parties, and where the marketplace owner (operator) only processes the transactions. These web application platforms typically cost $80,000 to $160,000 and up. Basic features such as listings of products & services, customer feedbacks, vendor user type and shops should be included. Not forgetting, algorithms for matching and comparison is also an essential feature. There is no point cost cutting here and creating a platform, which will trouble the user in the long run.
- Listings (e.g. Yelp)
Yelp is a local business directory portal with reviews & information on millions of business around the world. Users create profiles and submit personal reviews on dining, hotel, transportation and any other service they used in specific cities. A listing website like Yelp will require features like self-input, user input, listings of products & services as well as customer reviews, and the cost can range from $20,000 to $40,000.
- Social Campaigns (e.g. Indiegogo)
Indiegogo is an international crowdfunding website which allows people to solicit funds for an idea, charity, or start-up business. Such site requires features which include user database, user IP, rich media and animations, payment gateways, and typically costs approximately $40,000 to $60,000.
- SaaS, Customised Systems (e.g. SalesForce, Trade Gecko)
Software as a Service (SaaS) application is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. Such application platform which harness office workflows between multiple users have much more complex databases and protocols due to the need to interface between multiple parties, and typically cost approximately $240,000+.
Since building a successful web application/platform is a long-term goal, choosing a right web developer becomes especially important.
The only sure way to find out what it will cost to get your website idea developed is to get some quotes from experienced web developers. They can discuss the details of your idea with you and give you a good idea of what it will cost. Getting multiple quotes is helpful to give you an idea if a quote is too high (or too low, which can be of lower quality).
Web Development Vendor Checklist
A handy vendor checklist to use for evaluating a web development firm is:
- How many years has the company been in the web development business? (1 year or more is fine)
- Have they developed a site that is 60% similar, and can they show you the portfolio for it and provide references?
- Do they have a web project manager who is willing to show you the expected timeline, as well as contingency plans which would be activated in case of overruns and delays in reaching specific milestones?
- Do they try to understand your business model and target audience when setting out the scope of work, or do they simply ‘take orders’ from you about every detail?
For help on finding a web developer, ThunderQuote is able to help you in getting 5 free quotes from highly experienced web development companies or freelancers.
ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.