The most common question we are asked, when we receive a new web design enquiry is always; ‘How much will a website cost?’
More often than not, the email includes little or no information and offers no real insight into the client’s actual needs or wants.
It can be tricky to provide an accurate quotation for how much a website will cost. There are too many factors influencing the final price. Pages, features, tech stack, design. Without knowing those details it’s impossible to define an exact cost to build a website.
The truth is, the cost of building a website depends entirely on your personal budget and goals.
Have an idea of what you want and your budget
It wouldn’t surprise you how often a client comes across our desk asking for a website design, but they aren’t exactly sure what they want. They know they want a design done, but they aren’t sure how they want anything to look or work, which makes the process of getting a quote much longer.
It’s ok if you don’t know what exactly you want on your website, just knowing what you want and giving an example of it on a competitor or random website will go a long way when we’re trying to figure everything out for you.
How much does it cost to design and develop a website in South Africa
The first thing that you will find when you start shopping around for a price for your new WordPress website, is that there is a huge range of prices you will receive. Website design prices varies from R5,000 – R25,000 + for the exact same website depending on the skill and experience a designer has, and programming language/s or content management systems (CMS) they use.
You are going to find people offering “complete 5 page” websites for R2,500 but if you speak to a big digital marketing agency, the same website will cost R150 000. So, what do you do?
But WordPress is Free?
Everyone knows that WordPress is “free”, right? Well yes, it totally is!
The open sourced content management software is free to download and install on your hosting account. It is so easy that anyone can do it, and it will cost you nothing, but it also only gives you the stock, standard WordPress install & default template. To now make it into the website you want, will require some work.
So now you need to choose.
Do you learn what you need to, to make your own website? Or do you hire a freelance website designer or an agency to do it for you? And what determines the answer here is budget.
In this piece we’ll:
- Determine how much a website would cost and give you rough outlines for common options.
- Discuss the costs of the different website components in detail. That way, you can pick and choose options according to your own requirements and budget.
- Try to give you a clear idea about what kind of price to expect for the website you have in mind.
Let’s get cracking!
What does the cost of a website consist of?
While the price of a website is highly individual, some things are universal in every website creation process and determine the cost of a website:
- Type of website — There are many different types of websites, with each serving a different purpose. The price depends highly on the type of site you are building. A static website is easier to set up than an online shop or a small business website.
- Content – The more pages your website has, the higher the cost will be. If you require copywriting services, you should also budget for this. Every web design company can give you a rough estimate of a price based on how many pages you need to be done.
- Domain & Hosting— Every web presence needs a home and an address you can reach. In terms of websites, that’s a server and a web domain. You can either get those yourself or acquire them as part of a website service.
- Basic technology— All websites are powered by some kind of software in the background. This can be pure HTML or PHP files, a content management system like WordPress or something else. Depending on your choice, costs will differ.
- Functionality— The basic technology is not everything. Depending on what functionality you need, you might need additional plugins, apps, or third-party services, many of which will cost money.
- Setup/Design/Development— Building a website is not just about acquiring the parts, they also need to be assembled. You can do that yourself or hire someone else to do it. If you do the latter, you will have to pay for that.
- Maintenance — Additionally, it’s not just enough to build a website, you also need to keep it running. Ongoing maintenance (including marketing) is also a part of your website cost blueprint.
1. Types of Websites
Websites are created for different reasons: from hosting personal blogs and portfolios to maintaining complex enterprise solutions. Accordingly, development time depends on their complexity that influences web development costs.
As you consider how best to build your own website, carefully consider what type of website you want it to be. When you can narrow down the goals and setup you have in mind, you can more easily identify the other websites in your category to look to for inspiration.
Typically, websites will fall into one of these categories;
- E-Commerce Web sites. E-Commerce web sites are on-line shops making it handy to buy from the consolation of your personal residence.
- Private Web sites.
- Picture Sharing Web sites.
- Cell System Web sites.
- Informational Web sites.
- Brochure/Catalogue Fashion Web sites.
- Social Media and Networking Web sites.
If you’re writing up all your own content, and even your own blog posts, this isn’t going to cut into your overall budget at all. But, if you’re not the best writer and you need someone to write up your home/index, sales pages, product pages, blog posts, etc. it would be an additional charge because this takes a bit of time and effort in order to be done right.
If you want images within the content, they will likely have to be purchased from a stock image company in order to prevent a lawsuit from unlawfully using images you found online.
3. Domain & Hosting
Every single website out there runs on a domain, which means you’ll need one as well. You can purchase these through big domain registrars and most of the time you can purchase them when you set up a hosting plan for your website at a webhosting company such as GoDaddy or Xneelo. Domain names can cost you anything from R69 for a .co.za domain to a few hundred Rands for a .io domain.
The term web hosting refers to the company that rents out their computer/servers to host your website and provides internet connectivity to ensure your website is available online around the clock.
You’ll need to pay to renew your domain name each year and your hosting can be paid every month or on an annual basis, that’s up to you. Cheap is NOT better here. Expect to pay R100/month for a good hosting account.
There are two main options for hosting:
- Completely self-hosted — In most cases, you simply pay a monthly fee to use space on someone’s server. They provide the basic setup and capabilities you need. The rest of running your website is, for the most part, up to you. A good example of this is as GoDaddy.
- Managed hosting— Especially for WordPress, there is also so-called managed hosting. That means, providers don’t only give you web space but also take an active part in managing your site. This means automated security, updates, caching, and so on. Of course, additional service makes this type of hosting more costly. For example, managed WordPress hosting runs about $15 – $50 per month for a single site.
If you don’t know how to do any of this, that’s not a problem at all since we can walk you through the entire process.
4. Basic Technology
A website doesn’t only need a domain name and hosting, it also needs a foundation – the technology running it. 10 years ago, that was simply HTML and PHP and, in some cases, even flash. If you wanted a website, you were more likely needed to pay developer to create the files and upload them on the server.
These days, we have other ways of running websites, namely content management systems (CMS) and website builders.
Content Management Systems
All of them have something in common: They are open-source software packages and therefore completely free to use. All three require different levels of technical knowledge. Especially for Drupal you really need to have programming chops. Therefore, unless you are a web developer yourself, you are much more likely to need professional help. Obviously, it will add additional costs to your website budget.
These are hosted solutions that let people without technical knowledge design websites without coding. Using a drag-and-drop interface, you can create a website you want. We have already mentioned the most popular examples above.
Website builders usually charge on a monthly basis and offer different plans with more or fewer features. On average, they cost $4 – $40 a month.
While almost all website builders offer free plans or at least free trials, to get the same amount of features as with a self-hosted CMS, you usually need to pay more per month.
Of course, it’s also possible to hire someone to put together a custom solution instead of going for something ready-made. Your development costs will be higher because it takes longer and involves more work. In that case, you would most likely work with an agency and pay the prices mentioned in the beginning.
When starting out, you won’t need all the bells and whistles that you see on other cool websites. Even if you start small, it’s essential to write down the list of features you’ll need down the line. This helps you streamline the entire development process and focus on features that are of high priority. It also helps you minimize the cost as you grow.
Knowing the functionality of the website will help us a lot because we won’t be programming something that won’t be used, or even needed, which will help with your quote as well.
Will you need any of these?
- Product pages
- Online payments
- A Registration and login page
- A Blog on your website
- Newsletter signup
- Social media integration, etc.
6. Design & Development
Web design focuses on not only the visuals of your website but also the usability of your site. As a result, it’s one of the most expensive — and influential — website cost factors, having a direct impact on the performance of your site.
Why does web design matter?
From the perspective of users, as well as search engines, web design is critical.
Studies show that when it comes to users, 94 percent of their first impression relates to web design. If your site appears outdated or makes navigation difficult, users will leave your website. Even worse, their opinion of your brand will drop.
Google and other search engines also care about your site’s functionality, performance, and design. They want to provide users with relevant results and the best online performance, so if you have a slow, unusable website, they won’t display it at the top of search results.
Instead, your site will appear pages back, losing a substantial amount of traffic, and for this reason it really, really pays to get a professional designer to design your website before you even start getting costings.
There is a BIG difference in the final product between something professionally designed and something designed by developers (or yourself). This aspect can add another R14,000 to R50,000 to your project cost. If you want to create a great final product, start with a great designer!
There are three main stages defining custom website design cost:
- Research. Defining the target audience, their preferences, and analysing competitors.
- Wireframe. Creating wireframes to show a schematic placement of elements and agree it with a client.
- Prototype. Crafting the final user interface to show how the app will look like on devices.
Cost further depends on the following;
a. Front-End Development
The front end is everything your visitors can see and interact with on the website. It typically starts once the UI/UX design is ready. So, what you saw on prototypes before, developers would turn into a working product running on any browser.
The main factors that influence website creation cost on this stage are:
- Website responsiveness or adaptiveness
- Complexity of visual
Front-end development costs can vary from R5,000 to R20,00 and over.
b. Back-End Development
Some technologies that can be used: Node.js, Express.js, Nest.js, .NET
Back end is at the heart of every website powering all its features. That means the back-end development makes up a considerable part of the website creation cost.
The main factors influencing total development time and the average website cost are:
- Integration with third-party services
- Non-standard data processing (for example audio)
- Complex queries
Back-end development costs can vary from R7,500 to R25,000 and over.
7. Website maintenance and support
Once your website is ready and online, you will have to deal with the maintenance and support.
Regular upkeep costs include but are not limited to;
- Hosting & Domain – Don’t forget monthly hosting and yearly renewal fees for your domains.
- Updates – Software and browsers are always evolving with new features, code improvements, etc. On website builders, this part is taken care of for you. Self-hosted websites, on the other hand, will require you to implement regularly update plugins and the CMS itself. Best is to speak to your website designer or agency and agree on a monthly or even quarterly maintenances package. Cost can range from R450 per month.
- Premium renewals– Many themes and WordPress plugins now use the license model. That means they offer updates and support only for a limited amount of time. After that, you need to renew your license, so these can be part of your maintenance costs.
- Security – Once the website is live, you need to keep it safe and secure. That means regular backups and other security measures. On hosted systems, this is usually part of the plan. However, it is wise to ask your hosting company how often they do backups and how long they keep them.
- SSL certificate– If you are using a commercial SSL certificate, that comes with renewal fees so keep that in mind as well.
8. How much does it cost to build a website?
So how much does it cost to create a website? The price can range between R5,000 and R50,000+. The exact budget can be estimated only when all the requirements are clear. In other words, you should have several meetings with a website development company to find out the exact price.
Below is a quick checklist of what you will need to answer before you can get the most accurate quote possible.
- What is your reasonable deadline?
- Is your deadline a hard stop or can it be extended if needed?
- What is your budget for the website to be designed?
- What is the purpose of the website? I.e. informational, ecommerce, etc.?
- How many pages will you need to be designed and what functions do they need to have within them?
- Do you have a logo, or do you require us to create one for you?
- Images, do you have a range of high-quality images that you can provide us with for use?
- Do you have a particular colour scheme you like and want us to use?
- Do you have examples of websites that you like for us to look at?
- Do you need any animation done? If so, what exactly is needed?
- Do you have your own domain and hosting set up already?
- Do you need online marketing for your website?
- Do you need content generation for your website?
Anything to add to the website cost blueprint above? Comments or questions? Please let us know.