Website Development Costs 2023: New Ideas to Clear the Air

Questions Answered: Why are website development costs the way they are? How can one determine the average cost of website design for small business? What should be considered when reviewing website development pricing plans?
Someone carefully considering website development costs and how much they can spend on their website

The common questions regarding web development costs seem to be:

  • How much does a website cost?
  • How much do you charge for a website?
  • What would you consider a fair price for a website?
  • Who do you think you are? Charging $ThaT aMoUNt for a WEBSITE?!?

Pricing Web Development in 2023:

$2,000 is too much and $10,000 is too little

Someone carefully considering website development costs and how much they can spend on their website

In today’s digital age, the value and complexity of website development projects have evolved significantly. When it comes to considering web development costs, developers could charge tens of thousands of dollars for a site that would seem absolutely basic today. Then web design, development, and hosting became extremely simple and it was possible to get a decent basic site for a few hundred dollars.

Meanwhile, functionalities skyrocketed and it became easier and easier to integrate incredible features into websites. Companies started to see the benefit of allowing APIs (Application Programming Interface).

Which brings us to today. For those seeking simple websites and basic functionalities, exploring site builders and DIY options can be a viable choice. With the advancements in technology, there are numerous tools and platforms available that can assist in creating a functional website at a lower cost. Solutions, including those leveraging AI assistance, are suitable for individuals and small businesses with limited needs.

However, for those in need of advanced web development, complex integrations, and tailored solutions, it’s essential to recognize the value and investment required. Building robust online platforms, e-commerce systems, and custom applications demands expertise, time, and meticulous attention to detail.

Below are some considerations when reviewing website development pricing plans, whether from a subscription builder or a development firm.

Actual Website Development Cost: Security and Quality

Woman sees the image of a broken phone on her laptop

There is this phenomenon encountered in the world of knowledge and creative work known as “Why can’t you just…?”

“Why can’t you just use a template, fill it in, and put it up on the host for me?”

“Why can’t you just show my nephew how to do it?”

In a way, that’s completely valid. Websites sort of all look alike nowadays, so it should be easy enough to duplicate one and create another. That’s what the site subscription model is for and it’s going great for them. Customers like it too. Furthermore, they have a large platform built on top of a secure and decent-to-great quality platform. It’s like an apartment complex, each unit is about the same and everyone pays a relatively (and theoretically) smaller amount than they would if they owned their own estate.

Running with the apartment analogy, everything should go smoothly until the tenant wants to use their unit for purposes other than what they were designed for. It would not be advisable for them to run a large-scale shipping fulfillment center out of their unit, for instance. Driving a forklift over the threshold of even the most modern and well-built luxury apartments would likely forfeit the security deposit.

Woman on the phone sees the image of a forklift in a highrise apartment near a window on her imac
“Yeah, I’m doing the claim for Unit j4, you’ve gotta take a look at this”

It’s similar the moment a business owner needs to handle large scale or data-intensive tasks with their site. Although many of these platforms have chatbots and contact forms, they may not integrate exactly with their CRM of choice. Maybe even something as simple as the data structure of the site would prevent certain Analytics events from being captured.

How much does it cost to maintain a website?

That can vary wildly depending on the needs of the business, the platform chosen, and the types of features included in the site. Consider the fact that some businesses spend thousands of dollars on just one of their many integrated services. It would be reasonable to consider that the platform used for the website may need similar investment.

Owners of larger operations, by measure of capital, volume of goods, or both, usually realize they won’t be able to use a managed platform with a cost of less than $10,000 per year. For them, it’s important to ensure quality and safety to avoid a much larger loss of revenue, credibility, or time, regardless of website development costs.

When considering website development, it’s essential to determine whether the costs should be capitalized or expensed.

Actual Website Development Cost: Legalities

Legal Blind Scales of Justice image on an iMac

Besides GDPR, CCPA and other Cookie Laws, the ADA has added guidelines for website compliance for people with a range of disabilities. Besides this being a law, usability is good for everyone. Google actually factors web accessibility into its criteria for ranking sites. 2023 is going to be a huge year for Web Accessibility.

Making sure a website is compliant can be time-consuming, even with the best, quality-built tools available. Planning ahead helps the process immensely, and the experience of an expert practitioner should command an appropriate rate.

Compliance is for everyone, no matter what they choose as their platform

Responsibility for compliance lands on the owner of the organization. Make sure the website builder, site subscription model, or web developer puts the correct measures in place to stay compliant.

Actual Web Development Costs: $0??!?!?!

Shifting the perspective on web development pricing is crucial. Instead of viewing it as an unnecessary expense, it should be seen as a strategic investment in business growth and success. By allocating a sufficient budget for web development, one positions themselves for long-term value, improved functionality, and a competitive advantage in the digital landscape.

Have the conversation about current revenue, projected revenue, and target revenue, and then set the investment amount as a function or percentage of that. This investment allows dedicated resources, talented developers, and cutting-edge technologies to be employed, ensuring exceptional results. With this investment, seamless user experiences, intricate integrations, and ongoing support can be provided, aligning your web presence with your business goals.

Our Commitment

We are committed to delivering top-quality web development solutions tailored to the unique needs of our clients. Our expertise, attention to detail, and dedication to excellence enable us to create remarkable online experiences that drive results.

The truth is, not everyone is going to be our customer. And that’s okay, honestly, it sounds exhausting. We prefer to work with clients and agencies that need what we have to offer and plan their projects around results that justify the investment. We truly believe the sites that used to cost a few thousand dollars are going to be automated away very soon, and that gives us the opportunity to build cooler stuff, more complex stuff, faster stuff.

Those who say “$2,000 for a website is ridiculous!” are absolutely right…

…For them.

No one is being forced to spend any amount of money. Not everyone needs expertise.

Avoiding unnecessary website development costs doesn’t necessarily mean finding the lowest price. Asking the average cost of website design for small business is like asking what desk everyone uses or what size jeans a drywall contractor uses. Everyone is going to arrive at a different conclusion, even if they do end up on a platform like Squarespace. As with anything else, it’s a good idea to get the best version of the available options within a budget.