Why Are Websites so Expensive

Insights / Website

In this digital era, a website is undoubtedly an important asset for every business - whether it’s big or small. Since the invention of the World Wide Web, websites have evolved a lot throughout the years both in terms of appearance and functionality. They are not merely used for information transfer like Wikipedia anymore, but also for brands and businesses to tell their story, engage with customers and sell their products/services. 

With almost all global citizens online, it is no wonder all businesses want to get their hands on a website. If you’re one of them, you might be surprised by the high cost of building a website, especially if you’re looking to create a good one. But why does good website design has to cost this much? What are the factors that decide the price of a website? 

In this article, we will break down the bits and pieces that affect the cost of building a website.

1. Website Type

Website costs depend heavily on its size and type. Naturally, a single-page website will cost lesser than a full-on Company Website because the bigger the website, the pricier it is. 

They are generally differentiated into 3 kinds - Landing Page, Company Website and eCommerce. A Landing Page is a one-scroll website that consists of only one page. It is the cheapest site of all three because it requires less coding and content. However, because it has only one page, the Landing Page has limited space. It is generally suited for promotional events or marketing campaigns with only one CTA. 

On the other hand, a Company Website is versatile and suitable for a variety of businesses. It can appear in a number of sizes depending on the business needs - from a website with 5 pages, typically for small businesses or SMEs, to a large corporate site with 50 pages. The more pages require, the higher the cost to build the website. Other than the number of pages, the kind of industry also influences the design, cost and time needed. For instance, creative industries like fashion or cosmetics would require a more striking and intrinsic design than the manufacturing industry. 

In comparison, an eCommerce site can be similar to a Company Website in terms of web pages. However, since it operates as an online shop, there will be a large amount of product data needed to input as well as the integration of a payment gateway, order processors and shipping logistics. As it's concerned with the web safety of your customer's personal information, the cybersecurity of the eCommerce site is needed to be taken seriously too.

2. Domain and Hosting

The next thing that concerns your website cost is the domain name and hosting. If you already have one, then congratulations! If you don’t have one, then you better start scouting for a suitable one before it’s too late!

Domain refers to the name of your website. For instance, CUBEevo’s domain is cubeevo.com. As almost every business is on the Internet nowadays, it can be difficult to find a good domain name that’s not been taken yet. According to Upwork, the average price of a domain name is between $10 and $20 per year. It also depends on the domain’s popularity, the company you bought it from and how long you purchased the domain for. The best practice to do this is to scout for your domain name once you register your business to secure it. 

Additionally, web hosting is another territory you should look into as well! In simpler terms, it is where your website lives, a place to house all your data. Typically, if you build your website with a website builder like Wix or Webflow, the hosting fees would be included in their monthly cost. Alternatively, you could also engage with a web hosting provider or a web design agency.

3. Content

While it is totally fine for brands to write their own content and shoot their own photos for their website, is it effective and compelling enough to sustain your web visitors’ attention? Does it help bring out your brand persona, voice and tone? Are the photographs taken high in quality?

The content is an important part of your website that often got overlooked. Everyone likes good storytelling and it is what ultimately helps sell your products and services. Not just that, to craft good content, one also needs to do extensive keyword research to understand the kind of terms that are relevant to the target audience. 

Likewise, the images that go with your copy could also make or break your website. It goes without saying that there’s a huge difference between amateur photographs and professional photographs. A high-quality and professional one can potentially bring your website up to another level by providing exceptional first impressions and user experience. And the same goes for videography. That’s why you need to factor in the need to hire a professional content writer, photographer or videographer.

4. Custom Design

Next comes perhaps the biggest cost of all in web design - customize design. Although using a template design is one way to save your money, your website will look generic, simple and similar to others. Yes, it is still possible for you to design and tweak the template to your liking, but there is a limitation. You can only personalise the design elements to an extent as you are restricted by the template frame and layout. Budget-friendly templates also don’t have the cool features and special elements that ‘wow’ your audience. Think of million-dollar websites like Adidas, Nike or Apple. Don’t you want one that could impress your customers?

Similar to designing your dream home, designing a website also comes with extensive discussion, planning and strategising. It often starts with understanding your brand because a custom-built website could be tailored exactly to your brand image and personality. Without any template or layout constraints, you have all the freedom you need to explore and design the features, pages, navigation and everything to create your desired website. This is a foolproof way to stand out from the crowd and be the centre of attention. 

Likewise, you’ll also have to undergo thorough user experience research to learn what kind of website your customers like as well as the current web design trends. Some of the most popular customization web designs are Parallax Scrolling, Scrollytelling, Animated Cursors and Interactive Elements. Suppose you’re interested to know more about it, head over to read our blog on 16 Popular Web Design Trends to Lookout for in 2023.

5. Functionality

While it is important for a website to look good, unique and amazing, it is up to no use if it doesn’t work well. It’ll be like buying a BMW but it runs like an old lorry. More than often, brand and business owners focus too much on the web interface and design and overlook the web functionality. Little did they know, the functionality of the website is as crucial as the web design, and both of them need to be balanced out. 

Web functionality refers to how easy it is for your web visitors to navigate, use and interact with your website. Your web content and features should also be arranged in a way where it is easy for them to seek what they want. And here is where plugins come in. They are basically software that is installed on your website to improve the functionalities and capabilities. 

For instance, if you’re building an eCommerce, you would have to purchase essential plugins like payment gateway, shipping logistics and order tracking. Other than that, you could also add on plugins like product categorization, site search, footer navigation, push notification and chatbot to ease your customers’ purchasing journey. These plugins essentially help improve the user experience of your website by providing smooth and easy functions. 

Some other effective plugins include but are not limited to booking systems, geo-location, multilingual sites, SEO, contact forms, subscription forms, surveys, membership programmes, live chat, social media plugins and event management functions. Therefore, do not invest all your budget solely in web design. Instead, divide them between web functionality and design.

6. Development

monitor showing Java programming

There’s the front end of a website, which is the user interface and experience, and then there’s the back end, where the magic happens. This refers to the development part, the technical side of building a website that involves coding. 

You can find both good and bad web developers in the market, and the difference is not only in their price, but their quality as well. A professional web developer would follow the best practices for coding to ensure the website is properly built with a stable web address, appropriate features and a seamless user experience. They might cost you more money and time upfront, but it is most definitely worth it in the long run. If you’re wondering why, then try to imagine building a website with a cheap but sketchy web developer. You’ll most definitely run the risk of getting your website hacked, crashing or losing your data. Then, you’ll need to spend more time and money to revive it.

7. Optimization

Have you ever gotten frustrated by the slow page loading speed and ended up leaving the website? Well, then we’re pretty sure you don’t want your customers to do this either. The biggest difference between a good website and a bad one is the web performance and speed. A good website flows like butter as it should be seamless and intuitive. Hence, you should set aside a budget to optimize the speed of your website. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another crucial thing you need to optimize to rank your website. It involves keyword research, creating content, link building and optimization of the title tag and meta description. SEO optimization allows your website to show up better on the search result page, getting you all the potential web visitors you can. While you can do it yourself, seeking a professional’s service is still a better choice. 

Another point you need to take into account is responsive design. It is crucial to remember that Internet users do not only surf the net via desktop. In fact, it has been speculated that the number of mobile Internet users is increasing rapidly. Hence, your web design should be built to accommodate different tablets and screens. If not, you should optimize it for the mobile version.

8. Security

Cybersecurity is a concerning issue for everyone. It can be easy for web users to lose their private information online because of the increasing cybercrime. If your website got hacked, not only will you lose your asset and confidential information but you will also lose your customers’ trust. Google would also hide your website away from the search results. Hence, forking an amount out to invest in the security of your website is by far the most important thing. You would have to hire someone to recover your website if it got hacked. And that would cost more than securing your website’s safety in the first place.

9. Maintenance

Website is never a one-time off deal. Instead, it is an important asset that needed to be continuous invest in and nurtured. That’s why maintenance is important to sustain your website. Maintenance involves periodic data backups, troubleshooting and updates that needed to be done for your website. This keeps it healthy and free from any potential dangers or viruses. Therefore, when you build your website, always know you should set aside an amount for your website maintenance.

In a nutshell, always think of the ROI of your website. When most of us are online, how would your customers think of your web presence? What would be their first online impression of your brand? How would they feel about buying at your online store?

If you are still unsure about this, we highly recommend going through a discovery journey with a professional web design agency. At this stage, you could have a consultation with them to figure out if this is what works best for your business. While they might be at the high end of the price, you can get everything you need from them, including branding, web design, hosting, development, optimization, content creation and marketing. So, if you take into account all of these, they can actually save you time and money.

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