How much does it cost to build a website? Prices compared.

Advice on partner selectionAt North Patrol, we assist our clients in finding the right technology and the right vendor for their website. After comparing the prices of intranets in a previous post, we now went through the website renewal project proposals from the tendering processes we have been facilitating from 2013 to early 2015. We compared the prices and estimated workloads, calculated the averages and medians. We also took a look at the interesting differences between the CMS products. The data shows the CMS market in Finland is splitting into three groups.

So here are the average prices of building a website. We hope this helps you budget for your next website renewal project!

Websites and projects tendered

This comparison includes websites of different sized organizations, varying all the way from globally operating companies with several thousand employees to quite small non-profit organizations acting locally in Finland. The needs for websites were of course very versatile, but all the sites had some special difficulties from the CMS point of view. That is to say that this comparison does not include straightforward simple and small sites with just few pages.

Typically the websites were the organizations’ main websites with news and/or blogs, and content pages presenting, for example, services, products, references, contact information, recruitment, or other information. The sites of public sector clients were very information intensive. Most of the sites were multilingual. About half of the sites also had subsites for local subsidiaries or the like. The sites had various levels of integration, such as with a recruitment platform, Active Directory, or CRM.

In this comparison we did not include online stores nor extranet services.

The prices compared here include the project and implementation costs for the website. Prior this the websites have been concepted and the requirements specification is written. The tenders required the vendors to complete at least the following tasks:

  • plan and manage the implementation project,
  • refine the requirements specification with the client at a more detailed level required for technical implementation,
  • design the user interface and visual layout,
  • test and document,
  • train the super-users and editors-in-chief of the client and provide training material, and of course
  • install and implement the technical solution, set up and configure the website(s) including templates, basic structure, and creating the first sites/pages/or the like.

I must point out that the prices in this comparison do not include the software licenses, no hosting, no servers, nor the cloud service fees. Nor do the prices include technical solution support or troubleshooting costs, or costs for technical solution development and service tasks.

Neither do the prices or workloads below include the client’s resources spent on project kick-off, website concept design, defining requirements, nor for the competitive bidding process. Obviously, these prices also don’t include the work done by the client itself, which would include, for example, content creation and launch communications.

Altogether our comparison analysed 110 tenders from 2013 until today. Each competitive bidding process included 4 to 18 tenders. Around half of the tendering processes were for public-sector clients. Typically profit organizations ask tenders from 5-7 different vendors, while the tendering process for public-sector clients is open to anyone to participate, and that leads to more tenders (on average 9.25 tenders per tendering process).

CMS products

The comparison included some competitive bidding processes where the CMS product was predefined but mostly cases where the vendor could propose a product best suiting the project. EPiServer and Drupal where the two products mostly offered (please see the graph below).

CMS products offered

Average and median prices

The overall prices of a website varied from 13,000 to 904,000 euros (VAT 0%).

The estimated workload of building a website was 169 full-time workdays on average, with a median of 119 days.

  • Workload estimations in the tenders varied from 16 to almost 1,086 full-time workdays.

The average hourly rate in the tenders was 99.30 euros, and the median 98.99 euros.

  • If only the winning tenders are taken into account, the hourly rate was 94,58 euros and median 94,50 euros.
  • The hourly rate varied from 52 to 145 euros. There were only few vendors stating they would use offshore work with low hourly rates.

Prices by CMS product

When comparing different CMS products (see table below) offered for a website renewal project, there is considerable variation especially in the project size.

Product Project size full-time workdays (average) Project size full-time workdays (median) Project price in euros (average) Project price in euros (median) Hourly rate in euros (average) Hourly rate in euros (median)
Drupal 176 135 137,913 109,125 106 107
EPiServer 175 154 125,747 108,497 97 98
Liferay 154 111 102,986 70,940 88 88
WordPress 68 56 52,803 50,625 104 100
CMS developed by the vendor 75 64 51,933 45,656 94 83
Other 275 106 220,430 84,995 101 99
All 169.42 119.00 127,897.40 92,415.00 99.29 98.99

It is not a surprise that different CMS products are used for different-sized projects. The market seems to be splitting into two or three groups.

The data proves the fact that smaller websites are typically done with WordPress or with unique CMS products developed by the vendor itself. It seems WordPress is quickly becoming the standard platform for small and even mid-sized websites. WordPress is very hot and trendy also in Finland today, and that seems to lead to a bit higher hourly rates offered by the vendors.

The products developed by the vendor itself included Crasman’s Crasman Stage, Galaxo’s Galaxo, Koodiviidakko’s Sivuviidakko, Poutapilvi’s P4 and Pl@za by Teamware Plaza.

In the middle- to large-sized projects there is clear competition between Drupal and EPiServer, where EPiServer vendors have a bit lower hourly rates. On the other hand, EPiServer license fees (which Drupal does not have) must be included in the overall costs.

The category ‘Other’ included CMS products offered mainly for very large projects; only some small projects were present here. For example, platforms like SDL Tridion, SharePoint, Sitecore, and Sitefinity were present in the ‘other’ category.

Hourly rates

When taking a closer look at the hourly rates (please see the graphs below), Drupal and WordPress vendors have the highest rates.

The lowest hourly rates for website projects are from the vendors who offer the project to be done with the CMS product developed by themselves. These vendors have a different strategy; the implementation project itself might be cheaper but later yearly license and maintenance fees might be higher. Also the hourly rates of Liferay vendors are lower than the average. It might be explained by the fact that Liferay vendors are mainly located in other cities in Finland than in the Helsinki capital area, which of course leads to lower costs.

Hourly rates by CMS product

Other costs to be compared

The comparison here can be used for budgeting purposes. When preparing for the competitive bidding process it must be remembered that it is not wise to compare just the costs of the implementation project itself. License fees, hosting, and yearly maintenance, development, and user support etc. costs must also be considered. At North Patrol, we assist our clients to calculate the total cost of ownership.

It is very typical today that the development of a website is an ongoing process. That requires a content management solution that perfectly fits the client’s needs today and in the future, and a smooth and trustworthy cooperation with the vendor. At North Patrol we help our clients to find the perfect CMS and the implementation partner for the client’s needs. As an independent consulting company, we can assist in assessing technologies and vendors without bias. We have exceptionally wide-ranging expertise and experience with different platforms and CMSs globally, and the vendor market in Finland, and can suggest suitable technologies and partners for each particular need.

We hope this comparison helps you in budgeting your next website renewal project!

See also: How much does it cost to build an intranet? Prices compared.

Summary

At North Patrol, we went through the website renewal project proposals from the tendering processes we have been facilitating from 2013 to early 2015. Altogether our comparison analysed 110 tenders. The data shows the CMS market in Finland is splitting into three groups. WordPress is challenging the unique CMS products developed by the vendors itself in the small and even mid-sized websites’ category. In the middle- to large-sized projects there is clear competition between Drupal and EPiServer. Also platforms like SDL Tridion, SharePoint, Sitecore, and Sitefinity are present in some cases.

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