How much should you pay for your web project?

How much should you pay for your web project?

Rai Omido

Table of contents

Over the course of my web development career, I have had times when clients would literally get enraged whenever I mentioned my prices to them.

This may be due to a number of various different reasons. However, in my experience, it has mostly been because the client under-estimated the value of a web project or they somehow had unrealistic expectations.

In this blog post, I do not seek to justify for myself, but to help readers who may be seeking advice on how much they should be prepared to invest in their next project.

# The short answer

The short answer is, it could be between slightly less than $1000 and well upwards of $150, 000 for small or medium-sized businesses. Bigger corporations obviously have better ways of building their web products, which may involve hiring software engineering teams.

# The long answer

Since I know that the short answer is barely helpful, I will proceed to explore some factors that may affect the overall cost of web projects.

My ultimate goal for writing this blog post is to give entrepreneurs some insight into what to expect from a web project and possibly help them have some wisdom when coming up with budgets for their future web projects.

In order to avoid frustrations and bad results at the end of your project, it is important to have some basic understanding of how web applications work. This will help you to have realistic expectations from your next web project.

# Some ideas on how to set your budget

How much you may be willing to spend on something depends on how valuable that thing is to you.

Don't try to downplay the value of your project in an effort to get a lower quote. Doing so could end up jeopardizing your expected results.

~Be clear and realistic about your expectations

Person x: "I just need something simple, where a user just logs in and sees a list of products ..."

Two weeks after project completion;

Also Person x: "I can't see my website on Google. Can we have it such that whenever someone searches for "black shoes", my website pops up"?

Developer y: "Well, we have to budget for SEO."

Person x: "No. The last guy didn't charge me for it!"

...

The truth is, the internet and software are complicated things that many people don't understand well.

My point is, when you don't have realistic expectations from your project, you are most likely never going to achieve any satisfactory results. You will build your app, rebuild it, hire someone else, try again, and still, nothing to write home about.

Whenever you consider going for a project, make sure you have some real, deliberate goals. Also, you may want to seek to know the expected outcome of investing in your project. Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself include;

What is the purpose of your web app?

Is your app meant to satisfy a business's internal needs like brand awareness, receiving payments, or processing invoices? Or, is it for selling products online?

This will make it easy for you or your developer to choose the right technologies and tools for building and setting up your app on the web. You will also have a benchmark for evaluating your results.

What can a web app do?

Web apps are software. They can be tailored to achieve so much. You could build a web app to receive payments, generate invoices, receive customer messages, and much more. You could also build a backend server to power a mobile phone application.

Don't assume that anything is a given. There is no "normal feature that every web app should have". Clearly outline what you need your web app to accomplish so that you don't end up with features that you don't need and missing what you need.

These factors will help you understand the project's value, make informed decisions when defining the requirements, and even understanding the cost implications.

Remember, understanding the project well, helps you to employ your efforts productively. This directly affects the overall cost of your project's development, and also plays a critical role in helping you evaluate your outcomes.

In case this seems like a long shot, don't hesitate to consult. There is a wealth of resources online to help you get a better idea of what to expect from your web app. You can also consult a friend or someone else who has a website or web app. Alternatively, you may send us a message, we'll gladly walk with you through this.

~Seek to understand the tentative costs

One of the top causes of conflict between creatives and clients is cost.

For professional creatives, sometimes this conflict may arise from a lack of balance between what a client is asking for and how much they are willing to pay for it.

How much one is willing to pay for something directly stems from its value or its perceived value to them. However, just because something is not or does not seem valuable to you does not automatically mean that you should pay less for it. That is why it is important to try and understand how much it could possibly cost to have a professional job done. Don't just pick the cheapest guy.

In case you feel lost, don't worry, because next up, I am going to give you some cost estimates based on common pricing in the web development industry.

# Common pricing for web projects

Like we have seen in the previous sections of this post, the cost of a project depends on so many different factors.

But generally, the cost fundamentally depends on the work involved and the tools and resources used in developing and setting up the project online. The tools and resources, on the other hand, depend on the requirements and specifications of the project.

Below, is a breakdown of the common prices for web project development.

~A business website

Approximate price: $1000 - $20000

Approximate annual recurring costs: $60 on the lower side, for the domain name, hosting, and the secure server certificate.

Features

  • Informational pages
  • Product/Service pages
  • Legal pages
  • Blog
  • CMS
  • e.t.c

This is a basic website with pages containing information about a business and its products and services.

Such a website could be built from scratch or using software like WordPress. Either way, a lot of work is usually involved in trying to tailor the website to your specific needs.

There are, of course, developers who would charge you less than $1000 for your business's website.

~A web portal

Approximate development cost: $3000 - ∞

Approximate annual recurring costs: $150 on the lower side, for the domain name, hosting, and the secure server certificate.

By web portal, I mean any kind of web app that provides a specific type of service to a special group of users. This could be a mobile API back end, an e-commerce website, e.t.c.

These often require a lot of custom code and even when specialized software is involved, it often requires a lot of tinkering.

Depending on the complexity, such projects may take a long time and a team of engineers to build. And of course, as is with everything else, you can definitely find someone who can charge you less.

~Do It Yourself

Approximate cost: $60 - $500 per year.

Approximate annual recurring cost: $60 per year.

If you have a little bit of time, why not try to build your website by yourself? There are many tools, including free tools, that you can use to try and build your own website. One of the most popular tools is WordPress.

If you choose to take this route, all you need to have are these basic things.

  1. A hosting server - This is storage space where your website will live so that it is available online 24-7. You can purchase some good hosting from Namecheap or BlueHost. This could cost you somewhere between $30 - $200 per year, depending on how much traffic your website handles. It is usually recommended that you start with lower-tier hosting packages if you are just starting out. You can always expand as your website becomes busier. Your hosting provider can always help you with the upgrade.
  2. A Domain Name - This is a unique name for your new website. You can also purchase a domain name from the companies named above. This might cost you about $15 per year.
  3. A Secure Server Certificate - This is a pair of encryption keys that are used to encrypt data that moves between your website's visitors browsers and the website's server. This is important because it secures your website's users' data in case of a man-in-the-middle attack. In fact, all websites are required to have a secure server certificate installed. This is also provided by the companies referenced above. The prices of secure server certificates vary with type, but a basic  $10-$20 certificate is good enough for starters.
  4. A website template - This is the skeleton of your main website. You will need to install that will become your website. WordPress makes it easy to tinker with the structure of the website template to suit your needs. You could pick from thousands of free templates from within WordPress to purchase a premium one for somewhere between $10 - $200.

Overall, a DIY website could cost you about $60 per year on the lower side.

# Conclusion

I hope by now you have received some good insight into how much you should expect to pay for your next web project.

Overall, web development prices vary according to many factors, including the country your clients are from. For instance, purchasing power varies greatly across countries. A business in the USA may be able to comfortably pay $20000 for a website, but in a country like say, Kenya, that may be considered insane.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us via our contact page.