You need to know website development costs as you run your business. While building a website is expensive, it is also necessary, and a superb site will pay for itself throughout its deployment. Checking all the boxes in terms of features and functionality while remaining within your budget is a tricky balancing act. Get it right, though, and your website will be highly rewarding.

As you strike this balance, we examine some of the most significant cost factors influencing business website development. Keep these cost factors in mind as you build. If you budget accordingly, you’ll achieve success in your custom development project.

website development

Factors affecting website development cost

What makes up the total cost of a website development project? There are many different elements involved in creating a new website, so there is a lot for you to bear in mind here.

Let’s check them out below:

  • Website complexity: A more complex website with many additional features will typically be more expensive to develop than a simpler site. A project like this can be challenging without a high level of expertise. Sourcing this expertise adds to the cost.
  • Website size: Even if the website structure is relatively simple, an extensive website may be more expensive to design and build than a smaller one. Think about how many pages you need as you plan the project.
  • Domains and hosting: You may need to consider domains and hosting early in development. These come with significant costs, particularly for the larger and more complex websites mentioned above.
  • Technology: Custom website development technology and website builder tools can be expensive. Cheaper options are available but might not give you what you need. Consider your needs and budget as you select tools and platforms.
  • Personalization: You might find that an “off the peg” content management system is acceptable. But custom or proprietary solutions may be required at a more significant cost if you want to achieve high levels of personalization.
  • Design: The pages’ design can contribute a lot to web development costs. Web designers and web design services come at various price points, so choose the best one within your budget.
  • Labor costs: The cost of web development services may vary hugely depending on where you are. The different labor costs around the globe primarily cause this.

Outsourcing to another location might be an option if you are looking for expert web development services at a reduced price.

Within each of these points, there will be several different sub-categories. For instance, you may have UX (user experience) design and visual design within design. Meanwhile, you may use just a handful of technologies or a whole range of different tools. These are just general categories to remember as you plan your project.

Average cost breakdown for website development in 2024

Developing a website is a little like building a house – the costs differ enormously according to the size and sophistication of the project. A small, single-room house – just like a small, single-page website – will turn out much cheaper than a project with many different parts, each with its own specialized function.

It’s difficult to accurately say how much it will cost to build your website. However, we can make a broad estimate based on the average cost in 2024. You’ll notice that these average website development costs are only ballpark figures, and there is, in fact, plenty of room to maneuver.

Small business websites or information resources

These websites will be small in their scale, potentially totaling only eight to 16 pages. They will also feature only basic functionality, such as a home page, an “about us” page, some blog pages, a selection of product descriptions, and a “contact us” page.

Developing small business websites and information resources may cost between $3,000 and $8,000. The exact amount will vary according to the number of pages and functionality.

Enterprise or corporate websites

An enterprise or corporate website will be much larger than a small business website. This is reflective of the size and scope of the business in question.

Sites like this may include anywhere from 25 to 75 pages altogether, and more sophisticated tools and features will be built into the website structure. To develop, enterprise and corporate websites may cost between $10,000 and $16,000.

Online shopping and ecommerce websites

In most cases, small business and corporate websites will also have some element of online shopping built into their structure. However, an ecommerce website development will be different. This will be a dedicated solution with a whole host of different product pages and listings, a shopping cart tool and other critical ecommerce functionality.

Depending on the range size, there may be between 100 and 1,000 product pages. An online store or ecommerce site may cost between $20,000 and $40,000 to develop.

Website applications (web apps)

Web apps are very similar to mobile applications but run via the user’s browser rather than standalone software. In many cases, these applications will offer the user a sophisticated level of function, so they can be tricky to develop.

A simple web app might only have around 20 pages, but a larger-scale design may run into the thousands. Website applications may cost between $15,000 and $75,000, or even more, to develop in their entirety.

Hourly rates for website development in different regions

Many businesses opt to handle development in-house, using the design and development teams they already have. However, in a marketplace that is becoming increasingly globalized, more and more companies are turning their attention abroad and looking for website and software development outsourcing opportunities.

Hourly rates for website development

Website development costs vary significantly in different locations around the world. Below, we’ve included a handy breakdown of the average hourly rates around the globe in 2022 and 2024. Whether you decide to outsource abroad or you end up taking care of things in-house.

This is valuable information to bear in mind:

  • North America (excluding Mexico and the Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean) is the most expensive region for website and software development – $77 per hour is the average here.
  • Western Europe is just a little behind, costing $75 per hour.
  • Latin America (including South and Central America and the Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean) is in third place at $61 per hour.
  • Mexico is one of the key outsourcing destinations in the region, with prices of between $40 and $70 per hour.
  • Brazil is another of the key outsourcing destinations for Latin America – $25 to $50.
  • Argentina also scores highly among those looking for outsourcing opportunities – $30 to $55.
  • Eastern Europe is just behind in fourth position at $58 per hour.
  • Poland is one of many development outsourcing locations in Eastern Europe, with hourly rates from $45 to $70.
  • Romania is another key development location in the region, costing $25 to $50.
  • Ukraine is another significant development location, and you’ll find hourly rates ranging from $30 to $60.
  • Africa features a significantly lower average cost on average, coming in at around $33 per hour.
  • Of all the locations on this list, the Asia Pacific region is the cheapest place to find development skill sets, costing around $28 per hour on average.
  • China is among the most prominent players in the Asia Pacific website and software development market. Here, the average hourly rates are between $25 and $50.
  • The Philippines is among the most common selections for any business hoping to outsource development. The cost ranges from $20 to $45 per hour.
  • India is another big competitor in this region, with rates between $20 and $40.

Outsourcing is likely the most cost-effective development option if you are based in North America. You can still access the highest-quality development services when you outsource, and you will save significant money in the process.

DIY website builders vs. custom website development costs

There is a lot to think about when you design and develop a website and plenty of choices to make. However, one of the most significant calls you’ll need to make is if you will use a DIY website builder or opt for a custom website development service instead.

About cost, DIY website builder prices are among the lowest on the market. These builders are software platforms developed by a provider and made available to business owners and others. The platform will be packed with a host of different features. Pricing can vary slightly, but all platforms are cheaper than custom services.

On the other hand, custom development services draw upon the expertise of web designers and developers. This results in a website that is wholly unique and is designed especially with your business in mind.

The case for DIY website builders

Website builder platforms might be the best call for smaller businesses or individual trader websites.

Here’s why:

  • Platforms are more cost-effective for small business websites.
  • They support plenty of different page types and offer many various feature plugins to choose from.
  • The platform may be offered with built-in support and other helpful extras.
  • The intuitive designs of these website builders make them easy to use, even if you do not have any development background.

All in all, this option is best for smaller-scale projects. Website builders lack the sophistication required for large-scale development jobs.

The case for custom website development services

More significant, enterprise-level businesses – often with more complex websites and unique needs – may prefer a custom website development service.

Below are some of the reasons:

  • A team of web developers will deliver a website that perfectly meets your specific business’s needs. This is true even for larger-scale corporate websites.
  • With custom services, all aspects are completely personalized and tailored. This covers both the site’s features and the design itself.
  • This option can offer a real competitive advantage to larger businesses, with no wasted features or redundant elements.
  • The resulting website may also be easier to scale, which means your teams may find themselves able to launch new features faster.
  • Some design and development packages may also include hosting cost and domains and ongoing maintenance.

Larger businesses typically opt for these custom packages. The custom element means the package is more likely to support the business’s needs.

Cost of website maintenance and updates

Once your website is up and running, there will be other costs to consider. As long as your site is well-designed and structured, it will generate a net return for your business – making it an asset rather than a liability.

However, it’s still important to know the ongoing website maintenance costs:

  • Domain costs: You will need to pay for your domain name and renew it every year to retain the right to use this name.
  • Web hosting costs: Besides securing the domain name, you will need to host your website on a server. This means dealing with hosting costs, which will be charged monthly in many cases. Buying the domain and web hosting together via a single provider may be possible.
  • Email costs: If you have email accounts attached to your website and domain name, you’ll need to pay a monthly hosting fee for this, too. Again, this may be available from the web hosting provider.
  • SSL certificate costs: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification will show your customers your website is safe, proving that you have the encryption needed when accepting payments from customers online. Achieving this certification may require a monthly cost.
  • Maintenance, monitoring, and support: Any downtime can be a disaster for your business. With this in mind, you’ll need to maintain your website through regular maintenance and ongoing monitoring. You’ll also need to offer tech support to your users.
  • Content production and search engine optimization (SEO): You will have some evergreen content published on your site, but you’ll also need to continue producing content indefinitely. This offers support to your customers while also helping with search engines. You may also need assistance from technical SEO experts as you produce this content.
  • Structural and software updates: The software that underpins your site needs to be updated occasionally. Moreover, your systems, design elements, and page structures will require periodic updates, too.

These costs can vary significantly, depending on the specifics of what you need. It’s hard to predict an exact total for these expenses, but consider all the above when you budget.

Hidden costs to consider in website development

Hidden costs to consider in website development

There may also be several hidden factors that add to the website creation cost. Work to spot these costs beforehand, and consider them as you set your budget.

Learn more below:

  • Multi-device compatibility: It’s crucial that all of your visual elements display correctly, no matter what device your customer is using. Videos must play seamlessly, images must look great, the text must be fully readable, and all the features must work.
  • Support for technical SEO: Consider Google’s three Core Web Vitals – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These web vitals mean your site must be quick to load, responsive to the user, and stable. Making the changes required to meet Google’s shifting technical SEO goalposts can add extra cost to your project. This is only one aspect of technical SEO, and you may need to make other changes to the structure of your website to fit a range of requirements.
  • Multiple account access: Your website might need multiple staff member logins at different access tiers. It might also need your customers’ subscriber and rewards program logins, with secure multi-factor authentication protocols at each entry point.
  • Advanced security: You certainly need SSL certification for your website and other minimum standard security features, but this might not be all. Depending on where your business operates, you may find that there are also local requirements to consider, and you may need to add more advanced layers of security.

Just bear these cost centers in mind and work to mitigate them by choosing the best development option for your organization.

Cost-effective website development strategies for small businesses

As we’ve seen above, the final cost of building a website is high. Small businesses hope to get the best with a limited budget, so reducing costs is a priority. At the same time, however, you will still need a fully functional website for your company.

Get the basics right

You need to make sure that your website hits all the following aims:

  • It represents your brand.
  • It remains functional across all devices.
  • It meets both traditional SEO and technical SEO requirements.
  • It fully supports the needs of your users.
  • It is secure and regulatory-compliant.

Use this as your minimum standard framework. Get these basics right before moving on to more sophisticated structures.

Think about outsourcing

Excellent website development talent is found worldwide and may come in at a fraction of the cost of a domestic developer. Locations such as Eastern Europe and the Philippines can provide high-quality website creation services.

This outsourced approach can help small businesses. It may be the best option for hitting optimal results while limiting expenditure.

Choose a modular structure

A modular structure refers to a structure you can add to over time. You will only want to pay the hosting or maintenance costs on a full-scale website if you are using all of this capacity.

Adding extra modules when you need them allows you to scale your site up at your own pace. You retain freedom and flexibility without adding to the cost.

Consider a DIY solution when starting

Both domain age and website activity are essential considerations when approaching SEO. If you have already owned your domain for several years and you have had an active website attached to this domain for this time, your site is likely to perform better on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) compared to a site that has been active for just a few months.

When you are starting, consider using a DIY solution. This offers a cheap and easy way to create a fully functional website so Google crawlers can recognize it immediately. You may choose to invest in a custom development solution further down the line, but you will already have built some valuable SEO authority by the time you make the switch.

How to budget for website development in 2024

How can you budget for your website development costs, crafting a winning website without spending over the odds? There are several different strategies you can put to use.

We’ve covered a few strategies below. Read on to learn more and optimize your business website development prices budget.

Consider immediate and ongoing costs

Straight off the bat, there are going to be costs. Web development services, for instance, will need to be paid for immediately. Maintenance costs, social media marketing, and other ongoing expenses will need to be paid further down the line.

Map your timeline for development and implementation. This will give you an idea of what you need to pay for and when you need to pay for it. This way, you can budget accordingly.

Shop around for quotes

Freelance web designers and developers offer different services on many other pricing structures. Take time, shop around, and get quotes from various service providers.

You’ll learn more about the pricing options available to you. This will give you a good chance of finding the provider who aligns best with your needs.

Use flexible planning

Your website development project requires a plan. You will need to know where you can expect to be after each stage of the project, and you’ll also need several smaller milestones that you can tick off on the way. However, you also need to know that situations – and, therefore, plans – can change.

A flexible planning approach is about implementing your desired timeline and monitoring it. If you discover that changes are needed or the development project is not moving at the right pace, you have enough agility to craft a new plan. Apply this flexible planning method to your budget rather than sticking to an original budget that no longer fits the purpose.

Balancing website development costs with rewards

Balancing website development costs with rewards

In the digital age, your business needs a website – there’s almost no way to operate without one. But this does not mean you must blow your budget as you create your new website. Instead, you must balance the project’s cost with the eventual rewards.
A great website will boost your brand. It will bring in plenty of new leads while helping you retain existing customers. On top of this, it offers direct selling opportunities through your online store and your ecommerce pages. Simply put, your site is an invaluable asset to your broader business. Build your budget correctly, and your website will recoup this investment immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to build a website?

The cost depends on many factors, such as the website size and structure, the development team you choose to work on the project, and any tailored elements included, like a custom marketing strategy or custom dev solution.

Should I choose a DIY website builder or a custom development solution for my new website?

A DIY website builder will be the cheaper option, but this approach will lose many personalization capabilities and unique functionality of a custom solution. A custom development project is best for larger-scale websites.

What are the ongoing costs of running my website?

Ongoing costs include website marketing, maintenance, SEO and social media marketing, domain names and hosting costs, and content production. All of these costs must be factored into your budget after launching the site.