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Custom Website Development Services: Cost vs Value for Small Business Owners

Alekh Verma | March 29, 2023
custom web development

Entrepreneurs are increasingly opting for custom web development to establish their brands in the market according to their preferences, whether they are start-ups or well-established businesses. Even business owners who already have websites are keen on tailoring them to better serve their users. 

To gain an edge over competitors, it is important to focus on your target audience. Customizing your website involves creating a website with improved code, cutting-edge tools and technologies, and incorporating the latest trends in website development.

In this article, we’ll be discussing- 

  • Why You Must Choose Custom Website Development for Small Business
  • Ready-Made Template vs Custom Web Development 
  • Benefits of Custom Web Development Services 
  • Essential Website Costs to Consider While Designing a website 
  • How Much Does Building a Website Cost for Different Industries
  • How would you know if custom web development is for you?

Why You Must Choose Custom Website Development for Small Business

Website modification involves transforming your creative business ideas into practical realities. Using custom web development is highly recommended to ensure the success of your company in today's world where having an active online presence is crucial. Without an online presence, your company may be perceived as non-existent since people rely heavily on online resources to find the products and services they need.

If your website is not optimized for search engines and is user-friendly, you may be missing out on potential customers. Every company has unique products or services, and custom web solutions consider your brand, business goals, and offerings.

To gain an edge over your competitors, custom web development primarily focuses on your target audience. In simple terms, customizing your website means transforming your business ideas into a web solution that incorporates cutting-edge tools, technologies, and efficient code.

The most common question is, "Why is website development necessary for building a custom website when purchasing a website template is an option?"

As a business owner, deciding whether to go with a custom-built website or a template can be challenging. Which option aligns best with your business model? What are the differences between them? It is important to be aware of the distinctions between custom websites and templates before making a final decision. Once you have a clear understanding of these differences, you can make an informed decision about whether to opt for web development services or a pre-built website template.

Ready-Made Template vs Custom Web Development 

Although using pre-made website templates may save time, money, and effort, there are several drawbacks to consider. In contrast, custom website creation is the better option. While using a template allows you to choose from a range of popular designs, your website may end up looking generic and like many others.

Opting for a bespoke website is ideal if you want a unique and distinctive online presence. Template websites have fixed design elements and aesthetics that can be challenging to customize. By building a website from scratch, you have the flexibility to design every aspect according to your preferences and avoid using someone else's ideas. To create a unique website tailored to your needs, you can utilize web development services.

Website Templates:

  • Your ability to customize a template is limited, and you are constrained to what you see.
  • Templates are not inherently optimized for search engines, and according to SEO guidelines, they require optimization.
  • Templates may not work seamlessly on all browsers or devices.
  • Templates are designed to operate on a predefined system and implementing custom technologies can be extremely difficult.
  • Using a template typically requires less development time.
  • Using a template can make it challenging for your brand to stand out, as it is a common strategy.

Custom Websites:

  • Custom website development can be tailored to meet the unique needs and goals of your company.
  • The website has been tested and optimized for all platforms, ensuring a seamless user experience across devices.
  • There are no limitations to how you can optimize or customize your website, and it can be modified to meet your future needs in addition to its current scope.
  • Custom-built websites are search engine friendly, ensuring that your website continues to rank well on search engines.
  • It allows you to establish a flexible website code that can adapt to your business growth. This means that your website can be easily updated or customized as per your changing needs, such as adding new pages or organizing your products or services.

Without a doubt, having a personalized website has numerous advantages. Custom web solutions ensure that your website is always up-to-date and maintained. Although it takes relatively more time to design than a website template, it enables you to provide an exceptional user experience to your website visitors.

Benefits of Custom Web Development Services


1. Meet Specific Requirements and Problems.

Addressing specific requirements and problems is crucial for every business. For example, your business might require a product with unique security features, or you might want to provide your customers with unique functionalities that your competitors do not offer.

Custom software development for small businesses is the ideal solution as it is not just a generic set of features. It considers the specific details and risks of your small business. Tailored products are designed to meet your essential requirements and concerns.

This is why many businesses prefer to work with firms that specialize in custom software development. It is important to identify the requirements you need to fulfill, and if there is no ready-made solution that fits your needs, custom software development is the best option for your small business.

2. Reduce Costs with Custom Web Development. 

Some people assume that using a pre-made platform is more cost-effective than creating a custom product from scratch. However, in the long run, bespoke software development for small businesses may be the better choice. The key is to have realistic expectations about the time and cost savings that custom software development can provide. By specifying the exact features, you need, you can design your product to include only the necessary functionality. This approach eliminates unnecessary features that can add extra cost.

It's important to assess whether your business requires all the features included in pre-made solutions before starting a project. You might find that some features are unnecessary, and paying for them is a waste of money. It's also important to consider that ready-made solutions often come with licensing fees that can be charged annually or monthly, depending on the provider. This means that while initial costs may be low, the expenses can accumulate over time.

As a small business owner, investing in a product tailored to your specific requirements and goals can be a wise choice, ultimately saving you money. With custom software development for small businesses, you can easily add new functionality as your business grows.

3. Add Extra Features When Needed. 

When it comes to functionality, ready-to-use platforms may fall short of meeting your requirements, which could be problematic in the future. However, for small businesses or startups entering the market, off-the-shelf solutions may be the better option. As your company grows, your needs will also expand. 

Custom software development offers more options compared to pre-made solutions, which can be a user-centric, flexible, and efficient approach. This approach can be especially beneficial in the long term. Therefore, you do not have to limit yourself to the features offered by off-the-shelf platforms.

4. Automated Manual Operations.

It's important to consider that as your business grows, the complexity and volume of tasks will increase, potentially leading to inefficiencies and manual effort in workflows. This can create a need for automation to save time and money and improve overall efficiency.

For example, let's say you run a small catering business with a variety of products and vendors. Your employees spend hours analyzing balances and product needs to provide instructions to suppliers without excess.

Custom software development for small businesses can be tailored to your specific needs and help automate manual tasks, streamline workflows, and improve communication between departments such as procurement, accounting, and finance.

5. Make Your Data Secure. 

Cyberattacks are on the rise, and hackers target vulnerable enterprise systems to steal valuable information such as intellectual property, personal data, and credit card details. This poses a significant threat to small business owners and customers, resulting in reputational damage and financial losses. Statista data shows that finance, manufacturing, and healthcare are the most targeted industries.

To safeguard sensitive data, such as personal or financial information, custom software solutions are the way to go. Custom software is much harder to hack because it is not publicly available like off-the-shelf software. Therefore, custom software development for small businesses can help minimize the risks of cyberattacks and protect valuable data.

Moreover, custom software solutions incorporate specific security measures and encryption protocols to ensure optimal protection for your product. In contrast, pre-built platforms are more vulnerable to external attacks and require less effort to be hacked. This is because they are designed for general use, making their source code more accessible to hackers in comparison to custom software.

Thus, it is crucial for small businesses to invest in custom software development. With a specialized agency, you can expect them to analyze potential risks, apply industry best practices and standards, and deliver a highly secure and tailored product.

6. Get Technical Support and Improvements. 

Custom website development is an essential aspect of keeping up with the evolving needs of your business. With the help of a skilled web agency, you can easily add desired features and functionalities to your website.

One of the advantages of choosing custom website development for small businesses is cost-effectiveness. Upgrading your custom product with a development team is more reasonable than customizing an off-the-shelf solution. When using ready-made solutions, you are at the mercy of the platform developer and the prices they set. Quick renewals may come with extra costs, leaving you in a difficult position.

Working with custom website developers allows you to improve your business performance and streamline your operations. In case of any problems with your online platform, you can be confident that they will be solved promptly and efficiently.

Overall, custom software development companies are responsible for managing and updating your project, ensuring that it remains robust and high performing.

7. Helps You Create a Unique Brand Identity. 

Opting for custom website development brings several benefits to your business. Firstly, it enables you to create a unique website that resonates with your target audience. Secondly, a custom website can be tailored to fit your specific business requirements and brand identity.

Using a pre-built template for your website can make it look like many other websites on the internet. This can make it challenging to distinguish your business from others. However, this is a challenge you can overcome by opting for custom website development.

With a custom website, you can create a distinct web development solution that is unique to your business. This makes it easy for your audience to identify and remember your brand.

8. Custom Website Development is Better for Complex Websites. 

Designing a complicated website with a template can lead to various issues. For instance, let's say you built a WordPress website using a pre-built theme. If you want to add more features, you may use plugins, but using too many plugins can decrease the website's speed. Hence, the website can cause frustration due to slow loading times.

On the other hand, custom web development can help you create a website that loads faster without any unnecessary features. This method allows you to incorporate the required functionalities directly into the website instead of relying on plugins or add-ons.

9. Curate Excellent User Experience. 

User engagement is crucial for the success of any website, and the user experience plays a significant role in this. A poorly designed website can have a negative impact on your business, leading to lost opportunities and decreased revenue. However, with custom website development, you can create a website that is tailor-made for your ideal customers, with features and functionality that meet their unique needs.

Moreover, a custom website can be optimized for fast loading speeds and compatibility with a variety of devices and web browsers. This ensures that your website offers a seamless user experience, encouraging more user engagement and ultimately helping your business grow.

10. Better SEO with Custom Web Development 

A website built with a pre-existing template may not be optimized properly for search engines, resulting in poor performance on search engine results pages. However, with custom website development, you have a better chance of creating a highly optimized website from scratch. Your web developer can help you incorporate all the necessary SEO metrics to ensure your website performs well on search engines.

11. Helps Create a Standards-Compliant website

When developing a custom website, web developers adhere to various standards such as W3C, WCAG, GDPR, and many more. In contrast, if you choose to build a website using a pre-built template, it may not comply with these standards. By opting for custom website development, you can ensure that your website is compliant with industry standards and regulations.

Essential Website Costs to Consider While Designing a website.

When setting up a website, several essential requirements need to be fulfilled, such as registering a domain name, finding a website hosting provider, hiring a professional designer, or utilizing a website-building platform. 

Additionally, you may need to obtain an SSL certificate, along with other necessary add-ons like an eCommerce portal. Although it is possible to create a website inexpensively, it may lack the essential components required to make it searchable, engaging, and secure. It's crucial to ensure that your website is a safe and trustworthy space where visitors feel confident purchasing products or services and accessing information.

1. Domain Name 

Obtaining the appropriate domain name is crucial for establishing your website. This is particularly significant if you are aiming for a .com URL or a desirable top-level domain (TLD). TLDs can be expensive since they indicate the first step after the root zone, resulting in a domain name followed by .com. To register, you generally need to pay an annual subscription fee to a domain registrar, ranging from $12 to $60 per year. 

Keep in mind that premium domains can be considerably more costly, based on the popularity of the keywords used in the domain. Some domains can even be sold for thousands of dollars, while most business owners can find a suitable domain name for under $60.

Several exceptional domain services are available, including Namecheap,, Google Domains, DreamHost, and Hover. Some website builder services may offer a free domain name as a bonus for the first year, while WordPress charges an additional fee for this feature.

2. Web Hosting 

To have a website, it's not sufficient to simply have a domain name. You also require hosting services to enable visitors to access and view the site. Hosting is a separate expense from the domain, although some plans may include it.

If you're using a drag-and-drop website builder, hosting is typically included in the annual subscription fee. However, if you're creating the pages yourself or using WordPress, you'll need to subscribe to a web hosting service provider. Some of the best web hosting services include MochaHost, Interserver, A2 Hosting, TMDHosting, and DreamHost. The subscription fees for these services vary between $100 and $500 per year.

If your website receives a lot of traffic, it's advisable to invest in a more robust web hosting plan to ensure it doesn't crash. A high volume of traffic is generally considered to be over 100,000 visitors per month. If your hosting plan doesn't allow for a lot of traffic, you may experience issues as your visitor numbers grow. While baseline plans are adequate for the initial stages of your website, be prepared to upgrade as your site gains more traction with visitors.

As your website expands, you may consider investing in your servers to keep all the data in-house. However, this is an expensive option, with costs ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 per year. Generally, most small companies don't need to take this route.

3. DIY Website Design 

Website builders offer affordable packages that allow you to design your own site without any technical skills required. These packages typically use drag-and-drop features and can save you a significant amount of money if you are on a tight budget. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, most people can build their first website to their liking with just a few minutes in the DIY program.

While some website builder platforms may be free or inexpensive for basic features, you may need to pay higher subscription fees to access premium features such as unique themes. The cost of these subscriptions can range from $100 to $500 a year, with most averaging around $200 a year. Popular website builder platforms include Squarespace, Weebly, GoDaddy, Wix, and Shopify.

However, it is important to note that customization options for website builder sites are limited compared to building your site from scratch or using WordPress. If you want a unique design aesthetic, you may need to hire a graphic designer familiar with HTML coding. Graphic designers usually charge a flat fee or an hourly rate, which can range from $30 to $100 an hour depending on their expertise in coding for your website.

4. Professional Website Designers

If building a website on your own is not your forte, you may choose to hire a professional website designer, even though it may cost you more. This can take a huge burden off your shoulders and result in a unique and visually appealing website.

Professional designers may charge per hour or a flat rate for the entire project. It's important to select a designer with a strong portfolio, as this can lead to fewer design reverts and increase the likelihood of your website meeting your vision. When working with a designer, it's helpful to provide examples of websites that you like and that are like what you want. This gives the designer a starting point. It's also important to discuss color schemes to ensure that the site aligns with your brand and message to your readers.

The cost of hiring a designer can vary greatly depending on their experience and the project's needs. It's common to receive quotes ranging from $30 to $100 or more per hour.

5. SSL 

Small businesses often underestimate the importance of obtaining an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for their website. This certificate provides digital authentication of your website's identity and establishes an encrypted connection for enhanced security. It's also essential for accepting online payments, making it a must-have for any online store.

An SSL certificate safeguards your visitors against unwanted cyberattacks. Some web browsers even direct users away from sites lacking SSL certification and display a message stating, "This site may not be secure," which can deter potential visitors. By changing your site's web domain from HTTP to HTTPS, the certificate shows web browsers that you've invested in your website's security.

Many web hosting providers offer SSL certificates for free, but you can also choose to purchase them from third-party providers. Popular SSL service providers include Comodo,, DigiCert, Sectigo, and AlphaSSL.

Obtaining an SSL certificate can also benefit your website's search engine optimization (SEO) and data flow. SSL fees vary from free to around $249 annually. Some website builders even include SSL certification at no extra cost, making it a valuable perk to look out for. Regardless, having an SSL certificate is crucial for instilling confidence in readers from all over the web.

6. Add-Ons and Plugins 

If you're building a website with a website builder, WordPress, or planning to set up an eCommerce site, you'll need to consider using plugins. Plugins can add a range of functionalities such as contact forms, on-page testimonials, and newsletter subscriptions.

Both free and paid versions of plugins are available, but you'll need to assess which features are worth investing in. The cost of a new function can be a one-time fee or an annual subscription fee of over $100.

It's important to use plugins judiciously as too many plugins can slow down the website's processing speed, negatively impacting the user experience and SEO. Only add plugins that will enhance the visitor's experience on your site and remove any plugins that are no longer in use. Regularly updating plugins will ensure that they meet the most current standards and speeds.

7. Hiring a Content Manager or Webmaster 

To handle a big website effectively, it might be necessary to employ a webmaster or content manager who can oversee the website and its content and ensure that it is always up to date.

The expense of employing a webmaster or content manager varies based on your company's requirements and whether you want to employ them on a full-time, part-time, or contractual basis. Depending on the circumstances, it may require only a few hours per month or as much as $6,500 per month for a full-time position.

8. Taking Care of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 

Ranking well on Google requires effort and doesn't happen by chance. If you aim to get your website on the first page of SERPs, it may be necessary to hire an SEO specialist, who can cost anywhere from $250 to $6,000 per month, depending on the amount of work needed to optimize your content and web pages.

An SEO specialist can provide valuable assistance in suggesting content and keyword targets, as well as delivering monthly progress reports on the effectiveness of the strategy. Choosing WordPress as your hosting platform can offer more flexibility and potentially result in higher rankings on Google.

Moreover, hiring an SEO specialist can also help you identify any issues with your website, such as a 404-code error, which can harm your SEO rankings and the user's experience if left unresolved.

9. Images and Designs 

Another expense associated with website creation is artwork, including corporate branding, product, and lifestyle photographs. These assets can accumulate quickly, and while you can use royalty-free images from websites like Pexels or Pixabay, they may not differentiate your business from competitors.

Using royalty-free images can be less expensive than hiring a photographer for a photoshoot. A royalty-free image can cost anywhere from zero to $100, while a product photoshoot may require a photographer to charge between $25 and $500 per hour to capture exclusive images for your website.

If possible, it's always best to hire a professional photographer or graphic designer or subscribe to a comprehensive stock library such as Shutterstock. However, it's essential to ensure that the professionals you work with are knowledgeable in their field. Even a simple mistake can result in website downtime, causing you to lose revenue.

How Much Does Building a Website Cost for Different Industries

The price of custom website development services can vary depending on the industry in which you operate. Specific industries may require features to be included, which could increase the overall cost of design. Additionally, the total number of pages needed can also affect the cost and the amount of work required to launch the website.

Business TypeWeb Design CostsAnnual Site Maintenance Costs
Small business website (up to 16 pages)$2,000 to $9,000Up to $1,200
Corporate Website (Up to 75 Pages)$10,000 to $35,000Up to $15,000
ECommerce Website (Up to 1,000 Products)$5,000 to $55,000Up to $30,000  
Website Application (Up to 2,000 Pages)$6,000 to $75,000Up to $60,000

It's important to note that the costs mentioned refer to completely outsourcing the design, coding, and maintenance of the website. Many website owners start with a limited budget and prefer to handle most aspects in-house. As the business grows, it may upgrade and delegate some management tasks to an external party. It's wise to save money while the business is still in its infancy and invest in additional features as revenue increases.

Most websites fall under the category of small business websites, providing information about the company, its mission, history, and products or services. It may also have a shopping cart or response form for visitors to purchase or request additional information.

Corporate websites tend to be more detailed and can include studies or independent research on their pages. Since there are more pages involved, the cost is typically higher.

E-commerce websites are also popular, with many budget-conscious website owners opting for subscription services such as Shopify at $29 per month, to begin with. As they expand their business, they may consider custom solutions to enhance the user experience.

Applications are the most expensive type of website, requiring extensive coding to accomplish specific tasks. Creating a custom solution is more costly than purchasing a template and integrating it. Additionally, you may need to develop your customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage content and providers on the platform.

How would you know if custom web development is for you?

Building a website from scratch offers numerous advantages, but it can also be costly. As a result, you may find yourself in a predicament as to whether custom web development services or a template website is the best choice for you. To make an informed decision about developing your website, consider the following factors:

  • Business Goals

The primary factor to consider when determining whether to create a custom website or not is your business objectives. It is crucial to determine the type of website you want to create and its intended purpose.

If your goal is to provide basic information about your business, a template-based website may suffice. However, if you require a more sophisticated website with specific features, opting for a custom website would be the better choice. Consulting with a web development company can also assist you in selecting the optimal approach for creating a website that suits your business needs.

  • Budget

To determine the appropriate approach for building your website, it's essential to consider your budget. As the cost of developing a website varies based on the type of website, tech stacks, features, and web development services required, it is important to assess your financial resources before deciding.

After evaluating your budget, you can choose between custom-built and template-based websites. To get an estimate of the possible cost of building a website, you can refer to a comprehensive guide on website development costs. This will allow you to plan your budget effectively and select the most suitable approach for your website development needs.

  • Requirements

Your website requirements are also a significant factor to consider when choosing between ready-made templates and custom web development. If your website needs more complex features and functionality, creating a website from scratch would be the better option. Template-based websites can provide only a limited set of features and lack the flexibility to accommodate more complex requirements.


The cost of a website can vary significantly depending on the project's scope, the need for updates, and unique functionalities. If you're willing to learn new skills and have a limited budget, using an all-in-one website builder can be a cost-effective option. However, if you're looking for a highly functional and personalized website that meets your specific business needs, choosing custom website development services is a smart choice.

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