How much does it cost to build a web application today? Well, it would take a little to imagine the whole idea of making a traditional website, especially with free tools like WordPress.
However, you might need to learn how much money and effort it would take to build a business-tailored web application. Besides, estimating the web app development cost in terms of the team, technology stack, and delivery model would be best.
This guide will help you estimate the average cost of building a web application in 2023, highlighting the main factors affecting it. We'll cover the basics of web app cost estimation—from the definition and types of web apps to team composition and skills and how to reduce your web app's costs with Intersog, giving quotes and examples.
Let's begin with the definition: what is a web application, and why do companies need it?
What is a Web Application?
A web application is a computer software program that runs on a cloud or on-premise server and is accessible using a web browser on desktop and mobile devices.
Here are some examples of web applications:
- eCommerce portals like Amazon.com and eBay.com
- Social networks like Facebook and Twitter
- Content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Joomla
- Search engines like Google and Bing
- Online help desks like Zendesk and LiveAgent
- Utility services like Gmail, Hotmail, Google Calendar, and Apple iCloud.
Types of Web Apps
The average cost of web application development depends on the type of apps you choose for your business. For instance, if you need a simple informational site with static content like landing pages, contact forms, and blogs, the cost to build this web app type would be around $3,000-$10,000. And you'll pay 3 to 6 times more when developing a full-fledged eCommerce platform.
Here are three common types of web applications:
- Single-page application: SPA is a lightweight and fast web app that dynamically loads and updates a target HTML page as the user interacts. It's prevalent for utility and business applications like video editors, email tools, and file managers, requiring complex and interactive content like data visualizations, quizzes, and maps. The most popular SPA development frameworks are React.JS, Angular.JS, Vue.JS, Angular.JS, and ASP.NET.
- Progressive web application: PWA uses Ionic, Vue, React, and other technologies behind the scene to deliver a streamlined and user-friendly web experience similar to native mobile apps. These are essentially HTML5 applications that load instantly (like SPA) and work offline for a specific time. PWAs work well on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops.
- Multi-page web application: MPA is a classic web app that contains a series of individual pages with various types of content, such as product landing pages, blogs, and news. This type of app is often used for general-purpose websites and web portals. MPA is usually built on CMS platforms like WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, and BigCommerce.
Why You Need a Web Application
Companies need functional web applications for various reasons. For example, eCommerce platforms like Etsy and Walmart need an online store to allow shoppers to browse, search, and place orders. Airlines need booking systems for passengers. Physicians need comprehensive web-based systems for patient health record management. Real estate agents need a web portal to manage listings and clients.
Unlike simple websites with static content, featured web apps allow users to interact with each other and the company's services in different ways: search for products, place orders, make secure payments, share and save information, give feedback, interact with various types of content like contact forms, quizzes, and sliders, and much more.
Here are the top three reasons companies build a web app or website.
#1. Online presence
The web is present in our everyday lives. People live and breathe on the web: we shop, communicate, work, learn and play online. So a company that wants to stay competitive and expand into new markets must have an online presence. A web app is a perfect tool to give your company a presence on the Internet.
#2. Content management
A web app can house a company's all content (e.g., documents, emails, client profiles, web pages, etc.) and act as a secure access point for sharing information with customers, employees, vendors, or other stakeholders.
For example, Microsoft 365 delivers a full-fledged office package to create, store, and share documents and files from a single platform.
#3. Custom development and scalability
Some web apps need to be customized. That's why many companies build their applications from scratch or outsource app development tasks to a specialized IT company like Intersog.
Customizing a web app gives you more control over its functionality and design. Besides, customization can bring your company's business ideas to life faster than using 'off-the-shelf' solutions and make those ideas scalable. However, client-tailored apps entail a higher web app development cost.
Factors Affecting Web Development Costs
So, how much does it cost to build a web app? Let's shed some light on the following factors to answer this question.
1) Type of web app. As mentioned above, different types of web apps require adequate work efforts, so the web app cost varies, too.
For instance, developing a traditional MPA, such as a corporate website or content-rich portal, would cost $5,000 to $10,000. On the other hand, a PWA app with animated screens and functional elements for eCommerce platforms could take $50,000 to $60,000 of the development cost. A nimble SPA app with rich graphics and a MongoDB backend database for multi-user content management, CMS tools, business intelligence tools, and various real-time services would cost $60,000 to $100,000.
As a rule of thumb, the more complex the web app is (i.e., the more functional pages, data integrations, and customizations), the more expensive it becomes. In this context, custom web application development cost is usually higher than the average app cost.
2) Technology stack. Estimating the cost of building a web app for every technology stack takes work. However, most applications require similar technologies, including:
- The backend stack for designing stable and efficient web architectures and making API calls. This stack includes Python, PHP, C#, Rust, Ruby, Java, NodeJS, Go, and other server-side languages.
- The database layout for storing, managing, and retrieving data. This stack usually includes MongoDB, Redis, Firebase, MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL.
3) Development team. Another factor affecting web application development cost estimation is team composition. Most projects are estimated based on headcount and time, usually determined by the development team's experience and proficiency.
Here are a few roles you'll likely need to fill:
- Web developers to code and build your web application.
- UX/UI designers to create the app's look and feel.
- The project/account manager to plan, manage, and control your development process.
- QA engineers to test the web app's performance, efficiency, and load speed.
4) Delivery model. Finally, you'll have to decide on the delivery model, which is crucial in determining your web application cost. The delivery model defines how to build the actual web app.
You will have these three options:
- Deliver the project with in-house staff
- Recruit remote freelance developers to help your team
- Outsource the project to a trustworthy vendor like Intersog
Whichever option works best for you, you will have to choose between three delivery models, as follows:
- Fixed price: this is a no-burden contract where you pay upfront for the app's development and then get it delivered. Price is not dependent on the time spent building and doesn't factor in scope changes.
- Time and materials: you pay for the hours actually spent developing your web app and any approved scope changes. This approach gives the "you get what you pay for" feeling—you can get a quality product, and the vendor's team will work harder to develop your web app.
- Mixed: this model is a combination of the previous two. The client pays a fixed price for the app's prototype and will pay more if changes are required.
When it comes to building high-quality custom web apps, Intersog provides all three delivery models.
Average Cost of Web App Development
So, after reviewing the factors affecting web app cost, you can get an idea of the average cost of building a web application.
Below is the average cost of building various web apps in the United States in 2023. Feel free to send us your RFQ or request an intro call to get your quote for your project.
- Static web application: $3,000-$10,000
- eCommerce PWA: $50,000-$65,000
- Utility SPA web app: $30,000-$35,000
- SaaS cloud app: $45,000-$55,000
- CMS application: $25,000-$35,000
- ERP SPA app: $45,000-$55,000
- CRM app: $25,000-$35,000
Note that those are average website development costs across industries. The cost of your web project may vary depending on the factors described above, including:
- Technology stack
- Team composition and expertise
- Delivery model
Tips to Reduce Web Development Costs
Here are a few tips you should consider to reduce web app development costs:
- Build the app for your business, not for functionality. The time, effort, and cost to create a web application for specific functionality will vary. Instead of developing a super functional, all-in-one application, define and refine the critical functionality your business needs now and keep the backlog updated for other features.
- Discover whether it's reasonable to use open-source solutions. The market is full of existing license-free tools and technologies you could use to support your business with minimum development efforts. Perhaps, you could take an open-source system and customize it to your unique business needs.
- Prototype to save time and money. Prototyping has been known as an excellent way to reduce web development costs without sacrificing application architecture, user experience, and functionality in the long run. It's much easier and faster to refine and test a new web app based on prototypes than to build a complex application trying to guess what the end user wants.
- Keep the team on point and scale it as needed. Whether you build your web app with in-house staff or outsource it to Intersog, you must keep the team on point. To avoid scope creep, you'll have to define and code the core functionality before adding new features. Also, don't hire more developers than you actually need—you will end up overpaying for unused skill sets.
- Keep your scope in check. The project's scope will help determine its cost, delivery time, and functionality. First, you'll have to carefully consider the project's timeline, budget, resources, and alignment with the client's business goals. Then, keep all changes to the scope on track and agree with your business goals so that you don't end up paying for more hours than planned.
- Finally, make sure you nail down the deliverables. The delivery terms should include specific details like the successful completion date, deliverables, and any documents needed to support the work performed. Also, be prepared to negotiate with your vendor over their work quality. A few issues can lead to increases in cost or delays in delivery time.
Developing Web Apps with Intersog
Intersog has been providing professional custom web development and IT staffing services to North American clients since 2005. Our teams of certified web developers, engineers, and project managers have helped Mitsubishi, Bosch, and CDW, among others, deliver high-quality web applications on time and within budget.
Our app cost estimation process is robust and transparent, and we'll be happy to provide a rough estimate during a 30-minute introductory call. Then, after discussing your needs, we will share a more accurate estimate within 3-5 business days.
In a nutshell, our goal is to ensure that we deliver the best service for you—we do so by:
- Sourcing top developers from Mexico and LATAM countries at affordable hourly rates.
- Avoiding any compromise on quality by utilizing state-of-the-art technologies and software design patterns.
- Building dedicated teams of passionate developers and engineers to deliver your web app within budget.
Building a high-quality custom web app for your business is easier said than done. Before you start the development stage, carefully evaluate your needs and budget, and ensure that the application will be cost-effective and meet business needs.
Key takeaways to keep your web app development cost-effective:
- Your project cost savings depend on at least four factors: technology stack, team, delivery model, and commoditization.
- Consider using open-source technologies in your web app.
- Try prototyping and performing user testing in early MVP versions to validate your assumptions and cut down on design, development, and testing costs.
- Keep the team on point to avoid scope creep and unplanned changes.
If you are about to build a new web app or have an existing one in mind, you can use our experience and expertise to deliver a high-quality product. We aim to develop your web application with an adequate budget, reliable technology, and state-of-the-art best practices.