UPDATED FOR 2018 - INCLUDING PRICE UPDATE!
The most common question a Dubai website development company receives: How much does it cost to build a new website in Dubai or the UAE?
Every time we embark on a journey to build someone a website we always get asked one simple question, how much does it cost to build a new website in Dubai? This is a very difficult question to answer but I will do my best to answer this important question.
Much like a lot of products and services in the market there are a lot of variables involved that change the price of a website in Dubai. For example, let's look at buying a car, a Jeep Wrangler. The base model starts at AED 125,000 brand new. However, with add-ons and extras the price can quickly jump to AED 155,000 and above with varying roof-types, wheel options, rims, seat quality, engine add-ons etc. The 2 images below help to illustrate the differences between the 2 models:
The most important question to ask yourself when building a website is 'What do I want to get out of my website?'
Are you looking to use your website to:
- build awareness
- create a shop front for your business
- showcase your work
- build your credibility as a business
- generate traffic
- generate new leads and sales
- sell your products online
Once you understand exactly what you need, we can the design and build your website to do what you need to achieve these goals.
The factors that affect the price of a website in Dubai
- The number of pages on the website - the size.
- The number and types of features your website will have
- The expected number of users / traffic on your website
- The technology to be used to edit your website (the content management system).
- Marketing features (do you need a CRM, Email Marketing, Personalisation or Automation?
- Content. Will you provide the content on the website or do you need the agency to provide this for you?
The price of the website varies on some of these key elements that make up your website and the length of time it takes to build or implement them.
What technology will be used to build your new website?
There are various technologies out there but the most common platforms are ASP.net and PHP. The arguments about which one is better have been discussed for years, we personally prefer ASP.net and this is where the strength of our team lies. When we build a website, we build it using ASP.net from the ground up to suit your brand. There are several reasons for this but I will mention a few:
- The website is tailored exactly to your business (we do not use templates and drop your company information into it and hope it works).
- Your business and business needs will change therefore the tailored approach is completely scalable to suit your requirements now and in the future.
- The technology applied (ASP.net) is built and supported by one of the biggest companies in the world, Microsoft, therefore if hackers or viruses are trying to attack your site Microsoft quickly release patches and updates to overcome these (not just sit and wait and hope the community will fix them).
The size of your new website
Size is important! Or so they say. The same applies with websites in Dubai. The size of the website is going to directly affect how long it takes to make and how much it will cost. If you have a 300 page website it will take much longer to build than a simple five page website. Also, with a large website there may be interactivity and links between pages, which again makes the process more complicated and longer.The Website Design
What is your new website going to do and how will it do it?
When it comes to a basic corporate site, the site may only have 5 - 10 pages and it is a simple online brochure of the company which shows the company, its staff, the products and services and the contact details. However, with these simple sites, bad design and over complication can cause the customer to get confused. The customer would normally back out of your website and choose the next option on Google - probably your competitor.
The website design and how complicated it is can also affect the price. For instance, largely image/text based websites are built faster than websites where every single page is hand drawn/designed. Again revert back to the question I asked previously, 'What do I want to get out of my website?'. If it is simply to show that you exist and have a web page then go simple. If the website is to show off your abilities, for instance with companies that provide services like branding, then a more artistic and creative approach may work better allowing you showcase your creativity and other important talents.
The most important factor with design is to get your website to do what you want it to do. Make sure the design allows your customer to make the transaction you want them to make whether it be to contact you, buy a product, submit their details, subscribe etc
The functionality of your new website
Two factors are predominant here; function of the website and interaction with third parties.
The function of the website will affect the price. The more complex - the more expensive. With site likes e-commerce sites you are using the website as a shop. There will often be many product categories, products, brands, sub-products etc. Therefore, there will be a lot of work involved in E-commerce Website Development. E-commerce sites also have the ability for your customers to build their own profile and add all of their details. After this the customer also wants to shop, therefore you need a link to a payment gateway so they can actually pay. Here the web company needs to communicate with either a payment gateway provider or a bank so you also have to expect delays for interaction back and forth with these. Lastly, with e-commerce sites an important area to consider is the security issue. The website needs to be stable and all transactions made need to be safe and secure otherwise you will lose the trust of your customer.
Other third party integrations can range from talking to your CRM or ERP system. For example, hotel and restaurants want integration with room booking and table booking applications. As a bare minimum, you should connect your website with a database system, like SQL or MySQL, this allows you to store information that has been put on your website.
Third party integration can often cause the cost to rise but the integration will mean automation for your business and less manual work which will free up your own resources to help you make more money!
The Content Management System (or CMS) is often overlooked in the buying process but it remains one of the most crucial parts of your website. This is the system that allows you to edit or update the information on your website once it has launched.
As with the technologies of the platform, the technology that could be used for this is extensive. The players in the market are companies like Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress and many more for CMS development.
The best way to approach this subject is to consider who will be managing the website once it is launched. If the person is very technical then one of the above CMS could work. However the majority of the time the website is being updated by your marketing or even administrative staff. These groups of people are generally less technically minded and just want something simple to use. We would build a custom CMS in this case. A simple editor that allows you to click on what you want to change and then change it. Easy-peasy!
In 2018, technology continues to evolve, and the number of website content management systems continues to increase. While budget consideration can impact the choice of content management system, its important that businesses consider the following elements to help them select the best CMS for their business:
- Will you need to create additional pages on your website?
- Would you rather manage your website's content and pages instead of an agency?
- Will you need additional features for your website in the short to medium term? These can include e-commerce features, website personalisation or other marketing automation tools.
Based on these answers, a website development agency can help you determine the best CMS for your business requirements and budget.
So some examples of typical website types and approximate costs:
Basic corporate websites in Dubai
In some industries, such as Oil and Gas, the new website may serve as nothing more than a shop front to the business. The relationships the businesses have with their customers are often long established and these relationships are used alone for lead and sales generation.
Also basic corporate websites are often used when a company is newly established and simply doesn't have the budget yet for something more extensive. In these cases, the website can be just 5 - 10 pages long and very simple in terms of features and functionality. For this 5 - 10 page basic corporate site, a guide price can be between AED 15,000 - 30,000 and delivery can be expected in less than 2 or 3 weeks.
Medium corporate sites in Dubai
With these sites, it depends on some of the factors mentioned abaove, but for a 10 - 30 page website you should expect to budget for AED 35,000 - 60,000. These types of websites may take slightly longer to design and build, but you should expect delivery within 4 to 6 weeks.
Large corporate sites in Dubai
The bigger they are, the more interactive and complicated they become, therefore you are looking at AED 60,000 and above for more advanced website that include more functions and interactivity.
E-commerce sites in Dubai
The costs here depend on the level of complexity, the more products, the more expensive. If you are looking to build Amazon number 2 you could set aside millions to build it. The range of cost really varies but can go from AED 30,000 to AED 200,000 dependent on features and license requirements. If you are considering to build an e-commerce site then speak to an expert to figure out exactly what you need and how it can work. They can also build it in phases to try to help you out with your budget and to test if your products really work online.
The following summarises the information below to help you budget for a new website:
- Small, uncomplex 5-10 page website: AED 15,000 to AED 30,000
- Mid-sized 10 - 30 page website with limited complexity: AED 35,000 to AED 60,000
- Larger websites with greater complexity and features: From AED 60,000 upwards.
Website costs vary hugely based on what you want to get out of them. It is best to talk to an expert and get a real cost evaluation of your project. Consider some key expectations from your web development company.
- Profile and experience in Dubai and beyond. Look at the web company's profile and work they have completed, which is similar to your model. They will be able to tell you exactly how much each one costs and why. You can also get a good idea of how they are by playing with some of their websites and seeing how they work.
- Fit. If a web company doesn't get you from the start they probably won't at the end of the project and you'll end up being unhappy with your final website. Make sure your web company understands you and your ideas otherwise you probably aren't the right fit. Remember that this isn't a you versus them situation - you are building a project together. If they don't come off as a potential partner to your business then they probably aren't the best fit.
- Budget. Tell your web company how much you have to put towards this project. Most of the time they are not trying to use all of your money but seeing how they could apply it best. Good web design companies will have a budgeting formula, get them to show you how it works and how they calculate your price.
- Communication. As with anything in life, communication is key. In the UAE, there are many communities, races, religions and languages and this makes communication difficult. Make sure your web design company is based in and works in your region. If they outsource to other countries where they are paying lesser salaries to cut cost then you are likely to lose time (and money) in communication and your project will be delayed and probably won't be what you expected. You may pay a little more for 100% in-house but you will reap the rewards of a timely delivery of what you actually want! Don't underestimate the value in being able to sit face to face with those actually working on your project!
Some more resources that may be helpful: