How much does it cost to develop a web app?
How can you build a web app without spending a fortune? In this article, you’ll learn about different approaches to web app development and ways to save money. In addition, you will learn how to calculate the approximate cost of your web application by the end of this lesson.
You won’t find a precise figure here. Apologies! Additionally, if someone is ready to tell you the exact cost of your web application immediately, run away.
It doesn’t work like this in software development. It is impossible to find a list of prices for each type of app on the websites of development companies. Since we create custom solutions, we approach each project differently. Without factual information, it is impossible to predict how web app development will go for a particular task.
The article provides detailed information about how web application development works and which factors affect the development costs. As a result of reading it, you will be able to estimate the cost of building the type of web application you desire, to know what kind of budget to allocate.
Why build a web application?
There are three development approaches you can choose from if you decide to create an application for your business:
Native app development
For the best app performance, develop native apps for each platform: iOS, Android, Windows, watchOS, AndroidTV, and others. Of course, the total development cost will be much higher with this approach than with other systems.
Hybrid app development
A hybrid app can be built once and then adapted to every platform. A hybrid app for multiple platforms won’t cost as much like native apps, but it will not have the same performance. The hybrid approach is ideal for developing MVPs. It allows you to quickly release your app to a large audience and test your concept without investing significant money.
Web application development
Web-based applications are the answer. Any device with a built-in browser can run them, whether a smartphone or a smart fridge. The power of web apps will grow as wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices become more prevalent. What’s even better? The web app development costs much lower than the cost of developing either a native or hybrid app.
Clockwise Software sees a lot of potential in web applications. Additionally, 80% of our current projects are web apps, including complex e-commerce apps, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, online marketplaces, data visualization tools, and data analytics.
Types of web applications
There are numerous types of web applications you can develop if you choose web app development. Multi-page applications (MPAs), single-page applications (SPAs), and advanced web applications (PWAs) are the three main types.
A multi-page application (MPA) is a web-based application that consists of multiple pages. Different features of an MPA live on different pages, so clicking on a button or link will cause a new page to load. Marketplaces, eLearning sites, and other platforms can benefit from multi-page applications. If you want to build a web app, you should choose multi-page.
Single-page applications (SPAs) consist of just one page. As all functionality can be accessed on one page, users can easily navigate the app. Moreover, the page doesn’t need to be refreshed by clicking a button, saving traffic and time. SPAs include Google services (Gmail, Google Calendar) and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter).
Progressive web applications
The terms “web application” and “progressive web application” are often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. PWAs are all web applications, but not all web applications are PWAs. Web applications with advanced features have the characteristics of both web and native apps: they function as web apps and include native features such as offline access, push notifications, and access to device hardware. PWAs include Starbucks and Flipboard.
You can see that each type of application meets different objectives, and the cost of custom web development will vary based on the type your business needs. So let’s take a closer look at one more factor that impacts development costs: the technology stack.
Scope of work
Indirectly, the cost of developing a web application depends on its complexity and the services required to build it. Creating a web application from scratch will likely require you to go through all stages of the software development lifecycle, which include:
The business analyst helps you understand the market and build a strategy to enter it successfully by listening to your expectations about your web application as a project stakeholder. You also communicate with a project manager who clarifies your requirements, analyzes risks and prepares a mitigation plan, provides you with cost and time estimates for your project, and manages a team of web application developers. Finally, during the discovery phase, you receive a prototype of your product to ensure your idea can be implemented from a technical standpoint.
At this stage, a UI/UX designer works on your web app interface, taking into account the characteristics of your target audience and the business goals your web app must achieve.
Now that you have a working prototype and a ready design, you can work on the actual product. The MVP development is when fundamental software engineering takes place. Whether you are building a classic web app or a Progressive Web App, backend developers and frontend developers work closely together. Additionally, quality assurance engineers test every new feature to ensure that your app works correctly.
Maintenance and support
Launching your MVP lets you get feedback from early adopters to see if your target audience is happy with the first version and what you can improve. You can also raise funds for further development by presenting your app to investors. An MVP is just the first step in making a great product.
Composition of your web app development team
If you are developing a web application, you will need to hire different specialists for your team based on the scope of work involved. You will likely need the following team members to start from scratch:
Your business analyst will help you analyze the market, define your target audience, determine the core functionality, etc. Please don’t overlook the possibility of working with an experienced business analyst, as they will likely prevent you from making strategic mistakes.
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of an app’s look and feel. An experienced UI/UX designer is the best way to increase conversions.
Quality assurance engineer
Quality assurance engineers are responsible for testing your product and identifying bugs before they become a problem for your users.
The project manager brings team members together. Project managers coordinate the work of all team members, moderate communication between you (the project stakeholder) and your team, and ensure deadlines are met. With a project manager, you eliminate your headaches, free up your time, and can focus on your business strategy.
How much does a SaaS web application cost?
SaaS apps can be used to build ERP systems, project management tools, marketing software, and CRM applications. Each app has its features that affect the cost of web development. For example, to approximate the cost of developing a similar app, consider the functionality of a post-scheduling app like Buffer (a measure of SaaS marketing software). Among its key features are:
- Social networking integration. Almost all post-scheduling apps are integrated with social media, and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn integrations are the most common.
- Almost every app needs authentication. For example, an app that uses personal or company profiles on social media platforms for post-scheduling must be authenticated.
- Post planning and scheduling are core features of apps like Buffer, and they must be included in the MVP.
- Analytics and reporting in marketing software like Buffer allow users to track the performance of their campaigns and plan their marketing more effectively.
The encryption of data is one of the core features of web applications like Buffer. Such apps require security for two reasons. First, users want their data to be secure. Secondly, app owners do not wish to collect and process data they don’t need.
A Buffer-like app should implement the features we listed above as a minimum viable product (MVP). A SaaS product like this requires hiring a team, starting with a market analysis, and developing the app’s interface and functionality. An MVP version may cost $45,000, while a full-featured web application may cost $100,000.
Many factors affect the cost of a web app, and trying to save money might be risky.
If a vendor’s app development estimate is lower than you expected or lower than other candidates, don’t rush to sign a contract. Instead, get a detailed estimate first.
Contracting companies tend not to include support, bug fixes, project management, and other necessary services in the initial estimate and then surprise you with invoices. As a result, the final price may be much higher than you expected in such a case.
When it comes to web app development, don’t hesitate to ask for a detailed estimate. A small step like this may save you time, money, and nerves.