Have you ever wondered how much you will be charged for hiring a team to develop a website for you? Where to look for good programmers?
Worry not, we have performed a research and are ready to tell you everything you need to know about website development and maintenance.
Website Development Companies
Development cost depends mostly on the employees’ per hour rate and the complexity of your website. The more elaborate it is, the more hours developers will need to create it. Here are the approximate per hour rate of programmers in the world:
- North America - $35-215
- South America - $15-85
- Western Europe - $27-180
- Eastern Europe - $25-100
- Asia - $5-70
- Oceania - $40-165
As you can see, the prices are rather diverse. You might also get in contact with freelancers who will charge you less. The cheaper versions might be appealing, but you better think before contacting them. In exchange for saving a coin you might get lack of communication, negligence to your requests and a mid-quality product as a result, if not worse. Be careful with offers that seem too cheap or too good for the price.
As we have mentioned earlier, the complexity of your website idea plays an important part in the final cost. Let’s see how.
Drag and Drop
Drag and Drop tools are great for the enthusiasts who want to create a website by themselves. However, they require rather profound knowledge of coding and web design, so take that into account if you want to challenge yourself. Not every average user will be able to manage them.
A lot of big websites support such features as drag and drop image and file attachments, which often come in handy.
You have few paths to go here.
You can either create a simple business website that has basic information on your business or an advanced one, with blog and audience interaction.
Simple Business Website
These ones usually have 5-7 pages and don’t require any plugins. They are quite simple and pretty inexpensive, that’s why it is a good idea to develop one for yourself if you own a small business. It assures your online presence and performs as an online booklet. Users must find answers to all the common questions they might have concerning your business.
Advanced Business Website
This kind of websites are usually developed with the full set of tools and of course stunning design. The manager gets an opportunity to change the contents of the website and create new custom pages.
Advanced business websites are created intending that the customer is going to make a lot of changes and upgrade the content frequently.
The larger your website is, the more pages and features it has, the more time and money needs to be spent to develop it.
Landing page is a form of online marketing. It is a one-page website created to give users basic information on your company like a phone number or mobile address, to check users’ loyalty to your company by tracking their time spent on your website, to persuade a user to perform a transaction of some kind, or as an announcement that you are currently developing a full website.
They are usually quite minimalistic - there’s only so much you can fit in one page.
All kinds of activities are migrating online now. Not having a website for your business is basically tying a huge rock to its leg and throwing it down into the deep (very dramatic, I know). Internet presence makes your business available to a wider audience at any time of the day and night, and nowadays some online companies are becoming more popular than the old-fashioned offline ones.
Hence why we include e-commerce websites as a separate section in this article.
E-Commerce websites are developed for companies who specialize on selling goods and services via Internet. The main idea is to make customer’s shopping experience enjoyable, fluent, and intuitive.
The list of required features for e-commerce website differs from the one for the other kinds of websites. Things like catalogue, shopping cart, shipping, and customer support system are necessary. Even one average ‘Add to cart’ button takes some time and effort to develop.
Moreover, if you are thinking about creating an e-commerce website, you might also consider the following features:
- Attractive design. If you are trying to sell something, you better make it look good in order to make the potential customer want to buy your stuff.
- Multiple payment options. It is good to have a choice. Include at least Credit Card and PayPal and watch the feedback in case there are any good suggestions.
- Multiple shipping options. Once again, give your customer a choice. Add regular and express shipping, shipping abroad, collaborate with different postal services.
- Easy-to-use checkout. How frustrating would it be to lose a customer on the very checkout stage just because your payment system is too complicated and they’ve decided the products aren’t worth it? Yeah, we don’t want that.
- Discount tools. Provide discounts for membership, for students, seasonal ones, or give your customer a discount code for their next shopping spree on your website after spending a certain amount of money.
- Email bot system. A great way to let your audience know about discounts or new arrivals.
- Search engine optimization. A correctly performing searching system is necessary in online retail.
Make your website available on different kinds of devices. If the customers choose to shop online, they might as well do it from their phone.
People start using their phones for online shopping, casual Internet surfing, or in search for services more and more often. In order to keep you popularity you have to keep up with the times and create a mobile version of it to meet the needs of the phone users. We all know how frustrating it is to try and press a link or a button while viewing a non-optimized site through your phone. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to optimize a website to a mobile format, and it needs to be done manually, which takes time and finances. Here are some tips:
- Use CSS instead of images. CSS data is a lot smaller in size than multimedia data.
- Make the layout agile. Different mobile devices have different screen resolutions so your website needs to be fluid to fit any size of the screen.
- Replace direct text links to buttons. Those are just easier to tap on the touch screen.
- Use larger font sizes. It will be easier to read the information on a small screen.
- Basically, create a more intuitive, simpler navigation with fewer options to speed up the download process.
- Web and multimedia desing
The first thing that catches a consumer’s eye is the design of your website. Those who say that the looks aren’t the most important thing just don’t have a good graphic designer in their team.
Design development has a strong impact on the final cost of your website. If you decide to save on it and your website ends up looking like crap it will only bring you trouble.
You can use already existing themes but it will not look original or stand out. Creating design specifically for your site provides you with an opportunity to add exclusive features that will be useful for your audience. Depending on who you choose to make your website look fabulous, prices for graphic design start with about $100 and can reach tens of thousands of dollars.
To make your website more interactive you can implement some multimedia features to it. You can add multimedia sliders with, for example, Soliloquy plugin for WordPress to add images or video files to your website.
To achieve the best result with least disagreements, it is important to make sure that the team understands what exactly the customer wants to receive as a final product. In order for it to come true, it is a good idea to divide the designing process into three stages - wireframes, UI/UX, and user story - and work with each of them.
Front-End and Back-End
Despite the fact that the lines between development and design are getting more and more blurred, those are actually separate parts of one big system. Some individuals who are starting to think about creating a website don’t really have a clue about front and back ends and the difference between them. Let’s go through the basics and get you to understand this concern.
Front-end is basically everything your user can see and interact with on your website. These are some features and specifications:
- Cross-browser compatibility and accessibility on different types of devices like PC’s, smartphones, tablets e.g.;
- Multimedia management;
- Search engine optimization;
- Ensuring correct programming performance so the site opens up quickly.
Back-end is working with the server part of the site. It usually consists of three parts: a server, an application, and a database. For example, during the registration, or booking, or online money transaction while online shopping, you put in your data and interact with the front end, however all information is stored in the database so it stays on the website when you log back in. The features and specifications are:
- Working with scripting languages like PHP and Python;
- Testing frameworks for the used language;
- Database managing;
- Authentication and authorisation, security concerns;
Security and SSL
As I just mentioned, when it comes to websites that collect users’ information, security must be up in the list of the most important aspects.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) provides safe connection between a customer and a server. It is reliable because the encryption is made with a public key. When a public key encryption is performed there are actually two keys used and each of them can be used to cipher the message. Thus when one of the keys is used to cipher the information, the other one is required to decipher it. This way you can receive secure messages by disclosing the public key and keeping the other one secret. HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and VPN (Virtual Private Network) have both been developed based on the SSL.
Main goals of the SSL protocol are:
- Cryptografic security. Safe connection between two sides.
- Openness. Programmers can exchange cryptografic parameters without knowing other program’s code.
- Scalability. New keys and cipher methods can be added if needed.
- Relative efficiency. The unnecessary scheme of session caching was added to the SSL protocol. A lot of attention is pointed at reducing the network activity.
When you open a SSL-certified site it exchanges SSL certificates with your browser and SSL starts to cipher all the data that is being transferred from the user’s computer to the server. Meanwhile the usual link turns into a https one where ‘s’ means ‘secure’. SSL certificate prices can go far up, but it is possible to find a good one for a reasonable annual cost.
Some companies offer website packages for a fixed price that is much lower than cost for creating a website from scratch. Website package contains required software, lots of templates, hosting, and sometimes a domain name. It is faster and cheaper, but companies can still take your money by suddenly mentioning non-added required features.
WordPress is the worldwide well-known CMS system working with PHP and MySQL claiming to be the source of 28% of all the websites on the Internet (and that’s a lot!). It is free and available for everyone. It has thousands of themed designs and plugins, and offers security management options to make sure your customers’ information is safe from hackers.
If you choose to turn to WordPress with your website creation, it’s better to pick somewhat popular plugins to be sure they perform correctly and update regularly. Simple themes that work with those plugins are also better than those that promise you dozens of unnecessary features.
Considering the security question, Wordpress does have free options, but your customers’ security must be a priority, so we would advise to do some research and pick a reliable option.
Web security prices on WordPress go up from zero to $250 annually, theme prices - up to $400, plugin prices - up to $50 per one item annually.
CMS (Content Management System)
CMS supports creation and modification of digital content. It usually consists ot two parts:
- CMA (Content Management Application) is a front-end UI that allows users with basic knowledge and possibilities to add, change, and remove content from the website without coding.
- CDA (Content Delivery Application) collects information and updates the website.
There are a lot of CMS engines that help to reduce the development hours, however, there is a problem. All the malicious software is targeted on the popular CMS and not on the ones written from scratch.
To expand your website’s possibilities you should consider integrating a database into it. This way users would be able to add, remove, and update the information in your database via their Internet browser.
Integrating a database is common with e-commerce websites.
Database integrated websites are harder to develop, but easier to maintain.
Adding database to your website reduces time and effort for your site maintenance. The web page will update dynamically by changing information in a database. What is more to it, it requires less skill than making changes in the website itself.
E-commerce databases can be quite extensive. They need to contain lots of information about product details, stock numbers, prices, discounts, shipping costs and period etc.
Domain name is the text shown in the URL and it is unique for every website. There might be similar domain names of websites on the Internet but one particular name only belongs to one site. To keep your domain name you need to register it every year.
New domain name prices start from $1 and get higher depending on how popular and desired the name is (for example, Insurance.com was sold for $35,6 million in 2011)
Hosting is a service that provides disc storage, web connection and other features to locate physical information on a server that is constantly online. Hosting usually means locating information on a server with launched software, required for processing web server requests. Hosting usually contains email correspondance storage, databases, DNS files storage and some kind of support service, however, the last one could be provided separately.
Hosting can be provided as an addition to other services like domain name, getting additional software, creating a website etc.
Smaller Hosting Services
The most basic hosting is a web page where files are being uploaded via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and are delivered with minimal processing. It is often offered to subscribers for free.
Larger Hosting Services
- Shared web hosting service. Your website is placed on the same server as many others. The available features are quite basic and not too flexible concerning software and updates.
- Reseller web hosting. Allows your customers to become hosts themselves. Many resellers provide similar service to their provider’s hosting plan and provide the technical support.
- VDS (Virtual Dedicated Server) also known as VPS (Virtual Private Server). Your customer gets an individual private server. It contains administrator rights, root access, personal IP addresses, and routing tables.
- Virtual server contains more features and offers more possibilities, but it is also more expensive.
- Dedicated hosting service. Your customer gets their own web server and full control over it.
- User has full admin access to the server so the clients are responsible for security and maintenance of their own dedicated server.
- Managed hosting service. The user gets their own web server but no rooting or admin access. That way the provider prevents potential creation of configuration issues.
- Colocation web hosting service.
- User owns a colocation server. Hosting company provides physical space to store customers’ information. Colocation providers are likely to give little to none customer support, colo users usually have their own administrator keeping an eye out in the data centre for any changes. It is the most expensive and the most hardcore kind of hosting.
- Cloud hosting. It is more reliable because the information can be restored on another computer if some part of hardware goes down. Cloud hosting is also less affected by accidents and emergencies because it is not centralised . For the same reason, however, it might not be the best option for users who have concerns about privacy or data security.
- Clustered hosting. Provides multiple servers for the same servers for better resource utilization. It’s a perfect solution for high availability dedicated hosting.
- Grid hosting. When a server cluster acts like a grid and contains of multiple nods.
- Home server. Some kind of machine is placed in a private dwelling with broadband connection for hosting. It is common to use old PCs for this purpose.
Choose hosting type depending on your needs.
There are free hosting options but they are either filled with ads, not working the best, or are provided with intend to transfer you to the paid version by decreasing the quality of a free service.
Even after all the tests are made, the work on your website doesn’t end with its launch. It needs ongoing maintenance to make sure that your audience doesn’t face any difficulties while using the website. The basic web support is:
- Bug fixes. The bugs amount is minimized during the multiple testings, but the new ones may occur after the launch due to outside variables like OS updates, for example.
- Code customizations. An attempt of upgrading custom coding incorrectly may result in your website failing to work correctly.
- Security assurance. If you don’t maintain your website constantly, you leave breaches that allow malicious software attack you.
- Improving functionality. Plugins, code, and search engine updates are constantly being released, and you need to keep up to provide the best experience for your users and be able to be a part of an ongoing web competition.
Plugins are software components that add specific features into an existing computer program. For example, if you want to add multimedia content to your website, you will install a browser extension like Adobe Flash Player.
So how does it work?
The main program allows plugin to register itself in the initial application and also provides it with the protocol on exchanging data with other plugins. The initial application operates the installed plugins allowing the users to dynamically use and add plugins without changing the initial application.
You will not get profit of your website unless someone visits and interacts with it. Promoting your product is getting a wider audience to know about it, thus getting more awareness and more profit.
There is offline promotion like public speaking, television, radio and newspaper promotion, and there is online promotion like email and social media marketing and SEO. With both of those you need to keep in mind a few factors that will help you arrange the most suitable for you form of promotion:
- Know your target market
- Promote where your market is
- Track your results
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing concentrates on promoting your website in social networks. It is a great way of promotion for both big enterprises and small startups.
As social media keeps getting more popular every day, a lot of web developers choose to advertise their product on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Usually it is a viral marketing - users receive personalized promotion that is supposed to interest them enough to visit your website in their newsfeed or via email. Another option is paid promotion or affiliate programs with bloggers who have wide audience.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the keywords and the search engines preferred by the target audience.
SEO corrects HTML-code, content and the external site structure in order for it to correspond with the search engine algorithm requirements. It is applied to put the site on a higher position in the search results according to certain user requests. The higher your site is ranked, the more is the possibility that the user will choose to visit it.
Copywriting is writing a text in order to advertise products or services with the final aim to persuade a customer to take a particular action. Competent writers should create content including the keywords to achieve higher ranking of your website in search engines.
It is a base for the SEO. To perform an ‘organic’ SEO the written text must include correctly used and repeated keywords and phrases.
We have learned that the process of developing a website has got a lot of aspects that require close attention, time and effort. There is no fixed final price for a website, it all depends on its complexity and your developers’ hour rate.
If you have any questions left or want to develop a website, feel free to contact us. ThunderRise Dev Team is at your service.