8 Factors That Are Driving Up Website Design And Development Costs In 2021


Our original article on the price discrepancy is one of our most popular articles to date. In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the factors that determine the pricing of web design and development projects based on the type of entity your developer is a part of. A large-scale agency, freelance writer, or group of companies all obviously have different business models, overheads, and processes that can affect their pricing.

However, this article will look at the price divergence from another angle. There are two types of web projects: the short, the quick, and the easy, which pay less attention to compliance, validation, accessibility, etc., and the holistic, holistic approach, which addresses the above items. above and others. When I meet a new client for a presentation call, I often talk about budgets and deadlines as quickly as possible. The reason is not that I am looking for some kind of advantage or that I am maximizing my income. This is because I am curious as to which category the customer falls into. If you’ve had a call like this with me, you’ll know this line because you’ve heard it before: there are literally hundreds of ways we can make a project happen.

As I mentioned when referring to our previous article, the agency or developer can definitely affect the cost. But the methodologies and areas of interest to carry out your project are even more important. This week we want to focus on specific feature requests that result in additional production time for design and development projects. Since this list can be constantly evolving, we are focusing on the issues of importance right now, in 2021.

build or buy Biggest cost differential:

One of the biggest cost variances we see is when the build versus buy debate is at play on a particular project. Typically, we see this when a project’s use cases are more complex than what standard software can handle. A good deciding factor in making a decision is usually trying to figure out whether software customizations would make it unstable or make it untenable from the perspective of future updates and upgrades. When these factors become issues and a customer determines that a customized version is the best option, the cost can increase dramatically.

We have already written on the subject of construction versus purchase and limitations of standard software. As I have always said, there is a time and place to license or buy, and so is construction. The value that a good agency or a good developer brings is to help you calculate the way forward that makes sense. In many cases, the maintenance required to maintain a complicated out-of-the-box scenario would over time cost the same as a custom solution that had fewer ongoing issues. It is a formula that must be carefully considered if you are to enter into a debate on which direction to take.

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Prototyping and UI / UX Details

Which avenue you take to get to a finished design can have a huge impact on overall pricing. Companies can choose to simply design interfaces and then approve them based on criteria they care about internally on the low end. Often times, it’s just how visually appealing the design is. I’ve seen this process take place from the mom-and-pop business down the street to the companies with ticker symbols that you recognize. And it’s good if they’re okay with that.

But UI / UX can get so much more complicated. User studies, persona development, analytical research, wireframing, UX tests, revision… And in some cases, fully functional prototypes. It all adds up. For example, a website with twenty unique designs can cost a business $ 500,000, and the same footprint can cost a small business $ 25,000. I’m not making any recommendations on what’s right or wrong with you, just highlighting the obvious and reinforcing what I said in the intro: there are literally hundreds of ways to get these projects done. .

Compliance requirements

We have frequently written about compliance with the various standards in force today. More recently, we covered the CCPA, and before that, the GDPR. This among the various other standards such as PCI (more on this in a bit) and HIPAA all add up to serious issues that need to be considered. The general rule of thumb is that the more you look to address compliance, the more things will end up costing in terms of development, design, and administration time. Fortunately, many small and medium-sized businesses stand out for their compliance. Specifically, if you examine the details of the application of the CCPA, you can see that it explicitly excludes companies below a certain scale. Understanding what you should and shouldn’t respect is essential. But, as you realize that you will require that some of these standards be met, know that they will be a factor in increasing the cost of a web project.


Accessibility has become, over the years, one of the main pillars of our service offerings at Digital Marketing Lahore During this time, we explored how we can cost-effectively introduce accessibility as a service that doesn’t break the bank. Overall, we believe the most economical way to achieve compliance is to design for it from day one you start your project. However, this still means that extra effort is put into design and development to achieve compliance. As such, strict adherence to standards such as WCAG 2.1, at AA level, will constitute a cost differential when carrying out your project. This is for several reasons. First, more work will be required during design and development. Second, internal audits will need to be carried out and, finally, any remaining issues will need to be resolved. While this process is a bit like an audit and patch later on when initially designing a website or app, it is much more efficient and takes a fraction of the time and effort. Despite this, however, it adds to the net price of a web project.


Safety standards are important and that usually means you will have to pay two types of costs. The first will be the upfront costs of hardening your software and securing it to industry standards. From there, you are also likely to have to pay ongoing fees to maintain a secure infrastructure and react or respond to any issues as they arise.

Security is a spectrum. Small businesses can rely on their host and developer to provide reasonable security. But larger businesses, or businesses whose customers demand additional levels of security, will often be subject to more stringent requirements. For this reason, the cost of securing your site can vary widely. A WordPress plugin to detect threats and a host with automated updates may suffice on the low end. At the high end, you look at coding changes, infrastructure security, monitoring and response, and of course, a series of documented policies that outline your security procedures.

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An important area of ​​price differentiation often comes from the mechanisms in place to manage the procedures for developing an application or website. DevOps can be described as a series of practices that involve both developers and IT operations. So the name “DevOps”. It is not unusual for small agencies or freelancers to have no approach to this subject. They just build something, deploy it, and then are on their way.

Large agencies, which work with more sophisticated clients, have a series of steps and procedures to manage the entire development, testing, deployment and monitoring lifecycle. Much like security, there is a spectrum here, and depending on where you are, it can dramatically affect pricing.

Most small and medium businesses today without InfoSec requirements would benefit from a rudimentary DevOps scenario. This means code repositories or source code management tools, testing procedures, and additional deployment procedures that take into account approvals, cancellations for issues, etc. Large organizations, on the other hand, will spend a lot of time integrating developers into their procedures, which will add to the overall project budget as the new team becomes acclimatized to the process and policies.


Performance has always been a factor for customers – no one wants a slow loading site. Today, however, Google is taking it to the next level, forcing sites to to focus on user-perceived “speed” and to take a more in-depth look at how a site is built. These new standards are known as “Core web vitals” and are a series of performance indicators that judge the performance of a website. And believe me, in order to pass these tests, you need to deepen your site’s structure, coding, and even server infrastructure.

Respect for these new vital values ​​was announced as a new ranking factor, to be taken into account in May 2021. Webmasters will have to comply to stay in Google’s good graces. At this point, I don’t have an educated estimate of how many sites are compliant, but I guess over 90% don’t. I haven’t come across many sites that pass the PageSpeed ​​Insights test. As such, it will be an area of ​​opportunity for those who wish to compete organically in the short term. But, regarding this article, developing Core Web Vitals is a tedious task. It requires a tighter development methodology and a ton of testing to perform. All of this translates into time which, as you already know, increases budgets.

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Third party integrations

I would say that at this point almost every project we do has some level of third-party integrations. It means using a product or service that meets your needs and fits perfectly into the project you are building. For the most part today this happens through API connectivity. In the past, we had to get a lot more crafting in these scenarios. Even today, we have to go back to our old tricks – but not as often.

API integrations and time required can vary based on three factors. The first factor is most obvious: how deep is the integration. This means how much integration work will need to be done. Ideally, this is defined and specified before the development of a project begins.

The following two points are based on our experience of doing hundreds of integrations. Is the system we are integrating well documented? Almost every platform these days promises an API. However, do they document it and is the documentation up to date? I’m always amazed at how bad some APIs are when we first explore them, even large organizations that promise them as a selling point. A poorly documented API means a lot more time to work – especially if the system does a poor job of giving us verbose responses to our requests.

Finally, is there a human or quality support methodology that a developer can turn to? Even the best-documented API can often require assistance, and it’s always better to know there’s someone we can talk to rather than leaving them guessing or trying our own fixes.


While writing this article, I also thought of a dozen other things that would make sense. But I believe the items mentioned above are the most timely factors, things that you will be forced to think about if you are doing a project this year or next. The key to making sure you get a fair price and compare your options is to make sure that you are very clear on how you want to accomplish the above. Unfortunately, many agencies today don’t even mention all of these elements in their proposals, which should get you to pause and determine if they are capable of completing a project, keeping your best ones in mind. long-term interests.


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