Cost of Web Development: Price, Quality, or Time (Pick Two)
Cost of Web Development

Choose the Most Important Elements for Your Web Development Project

Cheap, Solid, and Fast aren’t all obtainable

Websites are complicated beasts, with many moving parts. There’s the database of all the settings and content, stylistic theme files, functional plugin files, hosting configurations, domain settings, SSL, SEO, and more all working together to create even a single page on the Internet. All of these different aspects require different knowledge and coding languages, too: HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, SQL, and even more for more complex sites or programs.

This isn’t meant to discourage, but to illustrate the depth of even a simple web development project. It’s natural to want a cheap option, with highly-tested code quality with a fast turnaround time. But the reality of the situation is that it’s only feasible to achieve two of these options for any given project when considering the full cost of web development. Therefore, it’s important to determine which of these aspects are most important for your project, and set your expectations accordingly.

The Opportunity Cost of the Cheap Option

While shopping for anything, one of the most common criteria is money. How can I get what I need for the least cost to myself? We’re people too, we understand the desire to save and cut costs wherever possible.

But in web development, that saving comes with a hidden cost of its own. Oftentimes, it’s built into the quality of the code. Web development is more complex than just typing up a storm of code and pushing it to a site. Research is required, to find the right hooks for the job.  To find the best solution.  To find out if any existing solutions exist. And so forth. In addition, testing should happen every step of the way, to ensure the code is doing what’s expected and doesn’t conflict with anything else on the site. The code should be optimized at the end, minified and combined to ensure it doesn’t affect the site’s performance.  These are just a very few examples pulled together quickly and often are many more factors to consider.

More to do means more tasks invoiced, so the “budget” developers will cut out some of these steps and push subpar code out the door. It’s not that they’re subpar developers, it’s that they don’t have the funding necessary to be thorough enough in their project.

An alternative to this could be to spread out your budget over more time, allowing you to save up more and make it more affordable over the long run. This is a valid option for high-quality code without such a big hit to your wallet, but you can’t expect your turnaround time to be fast if the budget is spread out.

In short, if you want it done both quickly and well, it’s not going to be the cheapest option.

The Opportunity Cost of Quality Code

It’s natural to want your website to work. Any new feature should integrate seamlessly, not causing any bugs and working without a hitch from launch. And this is certainly achievable!

But it costs something to get there, namely time. We covered all the different aspects of web development above, and each task on the list just takes time. With all the moving parts of a website, even a slight change has the potential to cause cascading issues that have to be tracked down and resolved. We always hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, it’s not always clear how much time it will take to fix. That’s not even re-covering the usual time-consuming tasks like testing and optimization.

As the old saying goes, time is money. All of these tasks go into creating a quality end product, which means you’ll see them on the invoice at the end of the day. Unfortunately, there’s not really a way around this requirement. Each site is a different environment for development, with its own unique caveats and restrictions. There aren’t many shortcuts – if you want the quality end-result, the work needs to be done. And the work takes time.

In short, if you want it done cheap and fast, it’s not going to be a quality product.

The Opportunity Cost of a Fast Turnaround

With the excitement of getting a new project rolling, it’s understandable to want the project done fast! Most people thrive on momentum, and there’s a strong desire to keep pushing forward and get things done fast.

Like quality, this is certainly achievable! But compressing a large project into a small deadline requires a sacrifice of either cost or quality. To get it done faster in normal work hours, some corners will have to be cut. Whether that’s in testing or optimization, time has to be shaved somewhere.

Or if sacrificing quality is not an option, you may be able to work out an arrangement where the developer can work overtime, or bring in a larger team, or some other options to bump up the timeframe. But all of those options inherently require an expansion to the budget.

In short, if you want it done well but inexpensive, it’s not going to be fast.

The Mr. WPress Recommendation

At Mr. WPress, we can’t recommend quality enough when considering the cost of web development. So many times we’ve seen people go for the cheaper option, and end up having to pay more at the end of the day anyway because the first round of development just didn’t work or caused other issues on their website. If you reach out to us for a free quote, we’re happy to work with you on budget and timeline as much as we possibly can. But at the end of the day, quality is what drives us which ensures you are happy with the product you pay for.