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How Much Does a Website Cost?

Figuring out how much should your WordPress website cost is not straight forward. This is a common problem with other aspects of life, such as buying a car or an apartment. Ask yourself the following question:

How much does an apartment cost?

You will quickly find out that this depends on various factors such as: location, size, type of neighborhood, social-economical factors in the area, the type of the building, the level of security in the area and much more. Same goes with a website.

You may go for a 1-page business card simplified website or a large news website such as TechCrunch – this makes a huge difference in terms of planning, pricing, server strategy and more.

There are different criteria included in the cost of a website that a website development agency would include in their proposal. The pricing model may vary as some agencies charge based on hourly rates while others send fixed estimates. Regardless, the algorithm of calculating the cost of a new website will be the sum of fixed costs listed below, as well as factors related to the process of identifying the business needs, building a detailed specification, going through different use cases and communicating with a client throughout the development process.

What is Included in The Cost of a Website

Unless you’re working with a web development provider offering ongoing development solutions, your quote would be based on a fixed fee – as a total amount in your proposal or a number of hours estimated by your account manager.

A standard one-off web project usually follows the waterfall methodology first introduced back in 1976.

In order to calculate the estimated cost of the project, the web development agency has to identify:

  • The time required for presales, negotiations, identifying the requirements, drafting a specification or a proposal and reaching an agreement on the scope and milestones
  • Preparing all design mockups, wireframes, sketches and any relevant assets required for the website, along with the technical architecture and infrastructure for the project in hand
  • Building all technical features and integrating other solutions within the new platform
  • Going through a lengthy and detailed phase of quality assurance, testing, fixing bugs and regressions and stabilizing the platform for launch

Some vendors include a maintenance period that is billed upfront (included in the cost of the project).

As a result, the development time of a website may not be the most time-consuming portion of your budget. But in order to assign developers on your project, your technical partner has to spend a good chunk of their time on identifying your business needs and requirements, understanding your target market, learning more about your competitors and breaking down your business needs into separate requirements that could be worked upon by the technical staff.

Moreover, there are numerous variables within a project that could show up during the implementation or verification process.

Specific business needs that weren’t outlined during the discovery session would result in an unusable project with incomplete features or scope creep – introducing additional project changes that were not billed in the initial proposal. Communication is also a key element of the equation – some projects require weekly meetings or sending reports over twice a week.

Iterative changes can also be a blocker. For example, providing design revisions may work out the very first time and fit the initial website budget. But a client may ask for multiple unique revisions until they’re fully satisfied with a design – which could add a significant additional cost for the provider.

At the end of the day, the cost of a website incorporates several different factors.

Domain and Hosting

The website domain is the name of your website (yourwebsite.com or anotherwebsite.net for example), and your hosting is its home. The larger and more popular the website, the more hardware resources are needed. Also, there are low-cost hosting vendors providing cheap solutions without taking performance, security or uptime into account, and some enterprise solutions that guarantee your availability and speed. In general, a domain name costs about $20/year and hosting a standard website would be between $4/month and $30/month. Larger and popular websites would require a VPS or a dedicated server where prices start from $60/month up to $700/month. Highly popular websites may require several servers in a network with other server factors, but those custom solutions need evaluating based on the specific use case.

Want to know everything about Web Hosting and Services? Here is a detailed, useful guide that covers everything about Web Hosting.

Website Design

Designing a website is the process of creating the visual look-and-feel for the new product. If you require a unique vision for your project, then this would require the skills of a designer. This usually requires a certain amount of communication, sample web projects, and several iterations until the final solution is accepted. Designing a simple website could vary between $500 and $2500 for 3-5 unique templates, without taking any logos, banners or creative images into account. Fancier design or numerous revisions could add up, and fashion or stylish website projects could easily go to the six figures for design work only.

Frontend Development

Converting the website design into a static (or dynamic) template requires turning a PSD (Photoshop) file into HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This process requires a frontend to slice the design and prepare it for dynamic integration. That type of work also depends on the complexity of the design and the type of integration needed. However, a 3-5 unique page design could be converted to a template for $800 – $4000 depending on the complexity of the design and a number of expected features. Creative agencies could charge $10,000 – $40,000 for a 20-page design for a fashion brand or more detail-oriented theme.

Some customers prefer to go with the premium template or starter themes, using a base for their work and saving their budget for the rest of the process. Keep in mind that the reliable WordPress development companies should advise you for the quality of the templates, and conduct code reviews and ensure that the templates are up to the standards. Also, using a skeleton or another theme would limit the number of customizations and would still require a certain amount of hours for customization (occasionally customizing a premium template is less cost-effective than creating a plain new design from scratch).

Backend Development

Having a template provided requires the dynamic functionality to be built in – this is, connecting the design to the dynamic data provided by you and maintained by your administrators and users later. Integrating the WordPress CMS to a standard template could be $500 – $2500. However, adding numerous features to the web project could drastically change the price range. Adding more dynamic templates, user activities or profiles, forums or social media functionality, eCommerce add-ons could change the integration range to $15,000 – $100,000. Specific 3rd party system integrations (for features such as CRM, or other APIs, or proprietary solutions) could be additional $20,000 – $100,000 – and that would go up for heavy websites.

Related: How to define the cost of the project


Other Costs

Those are the main costs related to a website project creation, adhering to the best practices for code quality, user experience, search engine optimization, security, and availability. Media publishers and content provider could require SEO services or data entry for their content. Also, photographer services or stock photos could be provided additionally. There are stock photos for $5 – $20/each.

Marketing and copywriting services can be provided as well – well-crafted website content, dealing with email marketing or social media marketing. Those services should be provided monthly, and their cost depends on the type of service and the volume of work. A well-crafted article could be $50-$150 in average, and social media management plan for Twitter and Facebook could go anywhere from $200 to $2000 per month.


Sample WordPress Website Prices

Keep in mind that web development is strictly unique and you need to invest in a business solution instead of a technical one. The best bet is for you to invest in a solution that incorporates a server architecture with a web development product, together with maintenance, SEO optimization, marketing consulting and additional optimization for your solution.

Our Work Process at DevriX provides solutions in the $12,000 – $40,000 range for regular WordPress website development and small eCommerce development projects, and $50,000 – $300,000 for Software as a Service work, CRMs, and more complicated online solutions including custom modules, high-level code quality architecture and testing, and server networking and infrastructure management. Contact us for more details or read more about our WordPress retainers that 90% of our clients sign.

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