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How much will my web development project cost?

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Now, you want to make an ultra-professional website, but need flexibility, knowledge, skills, time or experience. So you’ve decided to go with a freelancer. That’s a great move, as experienced freelance developers can bring the most of the platform to give you a great looking, feature-rich, and professional website for your business, and provide a custom tailored service for you.

However, hiring a freelancer often comes with a number of concerns:

  • How do you know you are being charged fairly according to your individual project?
  • Will there be unexpected prices increasing along the way?
  • Can you hold a freelancer responsible if you don’t approve of the end product?

This insecurity is largely due to the fact that clients often simply aren’t aware of how developers set prices for web development projects. The good news is that most reputable and experienced developers follow some form of standard pricing template to make things more transparent and easier – both for their own sakes and their clients’.

So, let’s put your mind at ease and breakdown of how freelance developers set website development project costs.

How is a web development project priced?

There are two main ways that developers charge clients for a project: on an hourly basis or for the full project on delivery. However, even if you go with the second option, the hourly rate still comes into play. See, most developers have an hourly rate that they consider the baseline income they are willing to work for.

This hourly rate may depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • Experience
  • Education
  • Specialisation
  • How in-demand the individual developer is
  • Type of web development work (e.g., from scratch, using a CMS, backend, etc.)

As with most professions, you get what you pay for. While you could go with the cheapest option you can find, there’s probably a reason why they don’t charge as much as their peers. On the other hand, experienced, professional, skilled, and in-demand developers will likely charge more but also deliver a high-quality end product.

So, how does a developer use their hourly rate to set a project budget?

Well, you can think of a website as being made up of a number of different components. Based on their experience, a developer roughly knows how long it takes to implement each of these components in a website project.  Using this estimate, a developer can work out roughly how much it will cost to incorporate that component into the website:

(how long component takes to complete) x (hourly rate) = component price

And voila! By adding together the estimated cost for all of the components they can establish a fairly accurate total cost.

These are the most common parts of a modern-day website that might factor into the total price:

ComponentDescriptionComplexity
Additional pagesWebsites can have anywhere from one to tens of pages. Although some work doesn’t have to be repeated for a new page, it may require a unique design, content, etc.Low
AnimationsToday, animations are easy to implement using either plugins, themes, or custom scripting.Low
Publish postsAdding content to blog posts and publishing them so that they are live when the website launches.Low
Editable contentSetting up the website so that the client can make further changes later themselves using the CMS.Low
ResponsivenessMaking websites look and work correctly on mobile Low
OptimizationOptimisation depends on a number of factors, such as format, size and compression level, as well as the size and complexity of the site.Medium
FormsWant to build your email subscriber list, newsletter, or get customer feedback? Forms are an essential part of any website to collect information. How much it will cost depends on how many forms you need and for what purpose.Low to medium
Client editsUsually, some back and forth goes into making a website. A developer may plan for the extra time to make changes by client request.Low
Blog setupAdding a blog to a website takes careful planning of the structure as well as additional design and development work.Medium
MigrationAgain, it depends on the size and complexity of your website as all the content will need to be backed up and restored.Medium
DesignMaking sure the overall site appearance matches the brand goals and look professional.Very High
DevelopmentPutting everything together and making sure that the website functions as expected. To add truly unique visuals and features, some custom coding might be necessary.Very High
MembershipAllow visitors to create profiles by registering on your website that they can log into.High
E-commerceAn online store is one of the largest additions you can make to a website. It could mean manually adding a large number of products as well as additional pages. A fully functional online store also requires a lot of extra features, such as a payment gateway.Very High

Are there any extra charges I should expect?

While the table above shows the most common components that affect the cost of a website, there may be other costs depending on the project requirements. For example:

  •  The developer may charge a consultation fee, especially if you need advice on the direction to take
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Content creation for your pages and blog posts as well as sourcing images, videos, etc.
  • Some developers even provide video tutorials to help their clients get to grip with the CMS software and show them how to make changes to their website.
  • The cost of purchasing a premium product if this is something required.

As you can see, a lot of thought goes into establishing a price for a website project. Without this framework, a developer might be just as likely to undercut himself as overcharge a client. Breaking a website down into units like this also makes it easier to compare website development costs with the rest of the market.

Ready for your new online presence?

One surefire way to know if you’re working with a trustworthy and experienced developer is if they have a framework like this to come up with a website project budget estimate. A framework like this:

  • Saves time
  • Builds trust
  • Displays transparency
  • And, allows both the developer and client to reach an understanding of the project requirements and costs

Also, remember that more expensive developers are likely to create a higher-quality result, on-time, and within budget. You might just save whatever extra money you pay upfront by having a great-looking site that works as expected without any headaches or speed bumps along the way.

While there are many developers willing to work for low rates online, you would have to consider why they charge so little. Do they have the necessary skills or experience? Will they have the commitment to follow through? Can they deliver a high-quality and polished end product?

Always make sure to check a developer’s portfolio (a trusted developer will forward it on request) as well as feedback from previous clients. This should give you a good idea of who you’re going into business with.

Sounds good? Let’s talk about your WordPress website development needs.

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How much will my web development project cost?