Your website is the face of your company. While the website development cost can take up a significant chunk of your budget, this isn’t a place you should cut corners. The money you spend will eventually repay itself several times over, but only if the website you make actually answers visitors’ queries, loads fast, is easy to navigate, and stands out from the competition.
Factors that Determine the Cost of Website Development
The cost of website development will essentially depend on the amount of time it will take to create the site in question. There are a lot of factors that go into web development and determine its cost. In fact, every website development company usually has a price list for website design, with a variety of packages that you can choose from based on the features and functionalities that you require. Here are the most important factors that determine this price.
The Development Platform
A Content Management System, or CMS is a pre-made platform that you can use to develop your website. It allows you to change and make adjustments to your website’s text, photos, and pages. While the most popular CMS platforms are open-source, and therefore free, some like Wix are not. Not every website design company has the same kind of proficiency with every CMS, and for certain platforms it might also be difficult to find developers. Accordingly the price for the developer will vary, alongside price to be paid for the CMS platform itself (if any).
Additionally, you may find none of the established CMS platforms to be a good fit for you, in which case you will need a much more custom approach. In such cases, the full coding will have to be written from scratch by the developers. This is a procedure that can take a considerable amount of time and skill, and the price will vary according to the size of the website and the functionalities you want.
Furthermore, your website will need to be hosted on a server. A number of platforms such as Wix, Shopify, and GoDaddy offer their own hosting services, meaning you can simply go on to build the website, and not have to worry about linking your domain to the server. This comes with its own disadvantages, however. For open-source CMS platforms or custom-coded sites, hosting services will need to be availed of, the price for which will vary according to your requirements.
There are a number of ready-to-use templates available no matter what development platform you choose. Opting for such templates not only reduces the time required for development, but also reduces the design costs of your website. However, this comes with a few disadvantages as well. Firstly, by using a template that’s openly available, you run the risk of having a generic looking website that is similar to many others and fails to stand out. Readymade templates also make future customisations very difficult. You might find it quite cumbersome to fit your brand’s specific image into a template.
This problem doesn’t arise when using completely custom design services. When your website is designed from scratch, the developers can ensure that it is designed in a way that best reflects your brand and its USPs. This will further ensure that your website and its user interface (UI) is unique, and stands out from the crowd, giving visitors a solid user experience (UX). Naturally, custom made designs will drive up the cost of web development.
Number of Pages
A website may consist of a single page or 100 different ones. In the case of an eCommerce website, each product or service will generally require a different page. Unsurprisingly, the cost of developing your website will increase as the number of pages increases. While it’s true that the number of pages can be mitigated by the CMS you use, you might still need to design and develop a few different page templates.
Additionally, the texts and graphics will also need to be implemented into the website once the structure has been defined. This implementation takes time and effort, and often requires the expertise to manipulate the web pages and images in order to optimize them. While it is possible to automate the process of optimizing images through a CMS, manually doing so will always produce the best results. It will ensure that pages look good, and load quickly as well. This too is specialized work, and cost will depend upon the amount of it to be done.
Number of Languages
If your business has a presence – or wishes to create a presence – in multiple countries, it might be a good idea to present to them a website in their own language. For example, a website that’s available in the German language will be much more popular in Germany than a site that doesn’t have any option other than English. However, developing a multilingual website will require additional development time and effort. Firstly, all of the content in the site will have to be translated (and using auto-translate tools is never a good idea).
Further, the language options need to be implemented into the site so that when a language is chosen, the site gets populated with just content in that language. This will considerably increase your chances of gaining business from non-English speaking countries. The total additional costs you will incur will depend upon the number of languages you have chosen, and the amount of translations that need to be implemented.
Animations and Motion Graphics
Animations and motion graphics can greatly increase the attractiveness of your website and enhance the user experience it provides. While some animations are fairly simple, others can be considerably complex to execute and implement, which may further drive up the costs. Truth is, the costs involved in this section can vary greatly, and must be identified when discussing plans and designs of your website.
AI, AR, & VR
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently playing a significant role in reshaping website design and development. Numerous web development companies across the world have started developing AI-enabled websites. It is expected that revenue generation from AI will reach $125 billion by 2025 (Statista). There are a number of venues where AI can contribute to web development.
- Chatbots – AI has been successfully used in chatbots to provide better replies, and have been proven to increase business sales. AI techniques such as data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and behavior analysis allow chatbots to communicate with precision and security.
- User Experience – AI has been able to provide a unique momentum in both driving as well as analyzing consumer behavior. Sites powered with AI can identify the customer’s needs in a better manner, as well as their behavior patterns, and thus allow you to shape the website in a much better way. Voice-based search options, similar to Siri and Alexa also used AI, and may be implemented to facilitate customer experience.
- Marketing – With the help of Machine Learning and AI, you can predict what your customers will search for next, what they do not like, and even what their ideal time to shop is. Such information can prove to be invaluable when making marketing decisions.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are similarly hot pieces of technology today, especially in the eCommerce space. The primary idea behind this technology is to bring the in-store experience to a customer’s bedroom, enhancing their shopping experience considerably. A number of sites are also experimenting with external VR hardware integration in order to better the user experience. Virtual Reality is currently involved in making major business transformations across numerous industries.
While these technologies are truly exciting, they are also very modern, with large amounts of research work being done around them everyday. As such, they require a certain amount of expertise to implement, which comes at a cost. The exact prices would depend on the kind of functionalities you wish to gain out of these technologies.
This involves the technical components of your website, such as eCommerce, photo galleries, message boards, and forms. The more functionality you want your website to have, the higher the cost.
- Cost of Plugins and APIs – Almost every functionality you can think of is probably already available as plugins and modules in open-source CMS platforms like Drupal and WordPress. While they are often free, sometimes the full range of their capabilities are locked behind paywalls. Occasionally, the best plugin available for a certain functionality will not have a free version. They will further have to be configured into the system and then customized according to the site’s requirements. This can certainly cause a rise in costs.
- Other Interactive & Database-driven Functionalities – Occasionally, you might require functionalities that will need to be custom made. Maybe you want a specific thing to happen when a user interacts with a certain part of your website, or maybe you wish to create a specific kind of database for your site, and you find that there are no such plugins available on the web. In such cases, the functionalities will need to be created by the developers themselves through coding. This requires time and skill, and can significantly affect the cost of your website. This is important, since there are various technologies available, and you must only choose the best technologies for your website.
It is true that every business must adhere to certain budgets if they wish to survive financially. However, skimping on creating a good website can possibly lead to disastrous consequences. It is easy to underestimate the amount of work that goes behind the building of a proper professional website. But the price you pay for good website design services is always worth it.
Furthermore, just creating a website isn’t enough for you to reach all of your targeted audiences. You must further make use of various digital marketing channels such as SEO, SMO, and pay-per-click advertising. A careful and well-planned marketing strategy is imperative if you wish to see a traffic influx, which means once your website has been made, you must consider a marketing budget as well.