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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?