There are two components to website development: front-end and back-end. The front-end is what users see on the screen: it is the user interface and experience they interact with. For more about that, check out our first part of this series!
The back-end is where the magic happens. It is the system behind the content, the e-commerce platform, and any other function you can think of. The back-end is what connects your database to your website. Each different website connects to a database through programming languages such as PHP or HTML. (Everyone’s heard of HTML right?) Each feature of a site can require anywhere from five to hundreds of files, and hundreds to thousands of lines of code, which must be scripted to perfection.
Some elements that influence the cost of development on your website include:
- Project specification and scope. What is the purpose of the website? What does the client hope to achieve? Who’s using the site, who should be using it? These are all questions that need to be thoroughly thought out and well-defined before even getting started on a concept.
- Choosing device support. How important is it that your site is accessible (and usable) across all devices and screen sizes? How many times have you opened up a website on your phone, and it has looked completely broken? We need to consider, plan, design and develop for many, many more screens, browsers and visitor settings than ever before, using responsive website design.
- Choosing a content management system (CMS). Will the site be created on WordPress or ExpressionEngine? Magento or Shopify? This decision is based on our research for your project, how much customization your project requires, and how well the platforms fit your needs. Which one we choose will determine how much integration and custom code we have to write.
- Third-party integrations. Do we need to integrate with your merchant account and gateway processor to accept payments? How about a calendar of events? Google maps or Facebook? Do your users need to login and be remembered? We can plan for our own code, but when we are relying on third-parties, we are dependent upon their documentation and ability to integrate in the way you want them to – which can drive up the time we need to spend to make it right.
What’s With The False Perception?
Well, with SaaS (software-as-a-service) offerings such as WordPress out there that remain sustainable by selling a high volume of sites built on automation and templatization, people now think it’s “easy” to build a website… and that’s probably fine if you’re Joe the Builder or Alice the Hairdresser.
In reality, an effective, modern website requires a lot of planning, time, attention, effort, and skill. If you’re looking for a branded site that tells your story, reaches your target audience, and is easy to manage, then you should be ready to pay a little bit extra – but keep your expectations in check as well.
We hope you now know a little more about the “whole” process of web design and development. For more information on your next project, get in touch today by heading over to the Contact us page!