The Ultimate Guide to Building a Website in Singapore (2019)
The definitive guide to understanding the costs and decision factors behind building a website in Singapore
Your website is one of the most vital places where you can introduce your business to a large audience. As almost every company has its own website to present its products and services, it’s inevitable for other businesses to do the same. After all, the majority of today’s Internet users are researching certain products and services online before making their purchase decision. So, not having a website could be a fatal error for your business!
But, building your own website can be pretty overwhelming. That’s why many businesses hire professionals to do that for them. Not knowing the costs of building and maintaining a website is one of the biggest concerns for them. So, we’ve decided to answer this question once and for all: How much does a website cost to build in Singapore?
Table of contents
- Domain name
- Web host and software
- How to create a website in WordPress
- How to create a website in Wix or Weebly
- Design and production
1. Deciding factors
The final cost for web development services can vary depending on several factors. It’s very important to be aware of all these costs because it will help you decide whether you will hire professionals to do the entire website or you will do it on your own. Here is a breakdown of costs you need to consider if you’re building your website in Singapore.
1.1 Domain name
The first step when building a website is purchasing your domain name. The registration itself is not expensive and is paid annually. As you’re doing your research online, you will notice a lot of registrars offer various discounts if you register your domain for a few years ahead. This is an excellent option as it saves you money and ensures you don’t lose the domain name you’ve chosen because you forgot to pay for another year. After you’ve checked if a certain domain name is still available, you will need to choose among various domain extensions. If your business is focused mostly on the market in Singapore, consider choosing .sg or .com.sg for your domain extensions.
The following are typical annual costs based on the choice of your domain extensions:
- .com – S$20
- .net -S$20
- .com.sg – S$60
- .sg – S$60
1.2 Web host and software
After you’ve decided on your domain name and domain extension, you should focus on web hosting and software. With numerous hosting options, you can even choose between free and paid options. Your choice will be determined by the options you need and the service level you want. Besides the hardware, you will need software as well. With Content Management Systems (CMS), it’s easy to create a professional business website without coding. One of the most popular CMS platforms is WordPress, as most hosting providers support it, so it takes just a few clicks to install it on your chosen hosting. If you’re not a fan of WordPress, you can choose Wix or Weebly which don’t require purchasing a separate web hosting package because it’s already implemented in your Wix or Weebly website. Below, you can find a comparison of costs for Wordpress and Wix or Weebly.
- Domain name: S$5 per month (for .com.sg or .sg)
- Hosting: S$10 per month
- Website software: free
- Maintenance: S$80 per month
Wix or Weebly
- Domain name: the first year is free
- Hosting: not applicable
- Website software: from S$6 to S$65 per month
- Maintenance: S$80 per month
1.3 How to Create a Website in WordPress
If you’re considering building the website on your own, you can easily do it with WordPress in a few simple steps. Below is the process broken down into four main steps essential for the creation of your website:
1.3.1 Get a web hosting and register your domain name
There are plenty of web hosting providers that are cost-effective and a great start for your business website. Some of the most popular ones are InMotion hosting, Bluehost, HostGator, Hostinger and GoDaddy. Then, add your personal information – first and last name, street address, city, zip code, country, phone number and email address. To continue with the process, you will need to add your payment information and finally, make a payment.
1.3.2 Set up your website
You can install WordPress with a one-click installation which makes the entire process a lot easier. Log into your account on your chosen web hosting provider’s platform, go to control panel, find the WordPress icon, choose the domain name and click ‘Install Now’.
1.3.3 Design your website
Once you’ve set up your website, you’ll notice a plain, basic design. If you want to avoid having a website with WordPress templates, you will need to find adequate design template. There are plenty of free and paid templates to choose from.
1.3.4 Add content to your website
Your website will be useless without quality content. To add a page like ‘About Us’ or ‘Services’, simply find in the dashboard option ‘Pages’ and then click ‘Add New’. Here, you can add text, images and other multimedia and press ‘Save’ when you want to exit. If you want to add pages to your navigation menu, click on ‘Appearances’ and then choose ‘Menus’. Find the page you’ve previously created and press ‘Add to Menu’.
1.4 How to Create a Website in Wix
If you prefer to create a website in Wix instead of WordPress, you’ll be thrilled to hear that the process is also very simple and, more importantly, free. To help you do it right, we bring you steps you need to follow to create your business website in Wix.
1.4.1 Create an account
Just as it is with every other platform, you will need to create your account and sign up before you start creating your website. All you need to do is enter your email address and choose a password or you can simply sign up with your Google or Facebook social account.
1.4.2 Choose among Wix website types
Start by browsing your options and you’ll see a business website, blog, online stores, and so on. Also, you can choose the website type based on the nature of your business, so it might be photography, accommodation, restaurants, etc. Keep in mind that your selection will impact the options and templates you will be able to choose from later.
1.4.3 Select a template
You can find the template for your website by searching for something specific or you can go through some of the most popular templates on this platform. Also, Wix has various categories so you can find templates specifically for your type of business.
1.4.4 Change your details
Update your business name and all other text elements of the page to make it specific for your business. It’s very simple to change these details as all you have to do is to add your text wherever you need and save it.
1.4.5 Update Media
Visual elements of the site can also be changed. If you want to include photos in your chosen template, just click on the place predicted for photos and make it more customized. Also, you can change the background of the page by clicking on the background option and choosing a color or even uploading an image or a video that will serve as the background of your website.
Both WordPress and Wix allow you to make this an ongoing process. Change the elements when you need to, update the website with new content and add more features to it. Take care of your website as it’s a powerful platform that can turn numerous visitors into your loyal customers.
1.5 Design and production
When talking about web design and production, the cost can also vary significantly. With Microsoft Office Live Small Business, you can get free website templates or spend around S$270 to purchase a premium template for your business. Alternative vendors offer various packages starting from S$10 per month for hosting with a free domain name to S$50 for monthly website maintenance. However, if you want a professional designer to work on your web design, be aware that an average cost is around S$7,000 for a basic site and much higher for a complex one. Before investing your money in web design, be certain what your requirements are to make the project cost- and time-effective.
When going through the prices of many web design and web development companies in Singapore, you will notice that functionality is another crucial factor. Depending on your website functionality, the final cost can vary from S$4,000 to S$30,000. Simple web design can cost you as little as S$60 per month, but you will need to build a website on your own. For basic or medium functionality, the price will vary on required features, but the average price is between S$7,000 and S$10,000. Of course, for complex sites, you will need to pay a significantly higher amount of money as they are based on custom management systems.
There are plenty of other factors which will impact the final cost of building your website. One of them is your site content. What content will you add to your website? Who will work on that content? After all, a nicely crafted sales copy is vital if you wish to engage your target audience. If you don’t have the time or skills to write your own content, consider hiring a professional copy or content writer. Most of them charge per hour or by the word, and their prices also vary depending on their expertise, years of experience, achievements, geographical location, etc. Don’t forget about the video which is the most engaging type of content right now. Crafting and implementing videos into your website will be another cost you need to add to your list.
Other factors which will determine the cost of hiring a web design and web development company or a professional are:
- Need for multiple languages
- Navigation structure
- Responsive design
- Frequency of updates
- Database integration
- Number of pages
- E-commerce functionalities
- Special features or animations
Choosing between template and custom solutions
You can have impeccable content, but without quality design, it will be impossible to have a strong impact on your customers. Investing in your web design and development is a priority for every business that wants successful results. The only question here is whether you will invest in template-based solutions or create a custom built website. Both solutions will provide you with great options and benefits for your business if you implement them the right way.
However, custom website design will be created specifically for your business and it will provide your customer with a unique experience. Having a template-based solution is great if you don’t have enough money to get a customized one or if you think your business doesn’t need a professionally designed website. But, if you can choose among these two solutions, always choose a custom built website.
2. Custom-built websites
Benefits of custom built websites
When you have a custom built website, you also have a unique design which is created just for your business. It will highlight all your strengths and values so your customers can understand your business better. Being able to communicate your key messages the way you want and where you want is crucial for maintaining successful communication with your target audience. If you choose a custom built website, you can have an impact on the final design. Providing a designer with your feedback will ensure you get the web design you want.
Designers know which elements they need to cover in the web design process to ensure the best results for your business. For instance, they will work on the design and also make it search engine friendly. After all, website architecture is a crucial factor that will determine the website’s ranking on result pages of popular search engines, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. Neglecting the importance of it by not hiring a professional web designer might have negative consequences for your entire online presence.
When thinking about what your website should look like, you probably already have an idea about features you would like to add. If you hire a professional web designer, your website features will be prioritized the way you want them. Keep in mind that the website will be active for a longer period and some features might be even added later. Being aware of your future plans or even the possibility of enhancing the website at some point, a good web designer will use the technologies that make your website easy to upgrade.
There are five main elements when talking about custom built websites that you have to be aware of. By going through each of them, it will be easier for you to understand why custom built websites are also called complex websites. Determining your budget, duration of the project, the importance of your brand to your business, the level of user experience and scalability will be the first phase of your custom web design project.
Of course, your budget is the most important factor when talking about a custom built website. If you’re certain you don’t want to have a template-based website but your budget is really limited, explain it to the designer. Keep in mind that you can always add more features later. Having a customized solution is not too expensive if you think about all the benefits it will provide for your business in the long run. Think of it as investing in a very powerful platform which will engage your target audience and encourage them to purchase your products or services.
Building a customized website takes time and you can’t expect to have a quality website in a week or two. That’s why many businesses choose a template-based website as they don’t have time to go through the entire web design and development process. However, being a part of this process will ensure only the best solutions for your website as you will be able to review the project and make adjustments when necessary.
2.3 Your brand
You have probably already built the brand of your company and website is the perfect place to showcase it. The only way to stand out from the crowd and present all your brand strengths is by hiring a professional website designer. Your brand’s personality depends on the relationship you have with your customers. But, a template-based solution can’t provide you with a tailor-made approach that will impress your target audience. To establish meaningful relationships with your customers, you will need to build a unique website just for them.
2.4 User experience
Nowadays, it’s all about user experience. Having a bad website where your customers can’t find what they are looking for will have negative results for your business. A custom website will provide you with the needed optimization and accessibility. Setting yourself apart from your competition is easier if your website has a fantastic level of user experience. After all, making the entire customer journey enjoyable is the key to success.
2.5 Long-term scalability
We’ve already mentioned you should think about adding more features after your website has been built. As your business grows, your website will grow as well. With template-based solutions, it’s very difficult to add elements and features after your website design and development have been finished. Not to mention that adding elements on such websites will result in slower loading times, which you simply can’t afford to happen. Instead, if you’re planning on increasing scalability to a wider audience, your choice should always be a custom built website.
2.6 Custom-built website costs
If your website needs to be developed from scratch, the price can be anywhere from S$4,000 to S$10,000 or even more, depending on the level of customization your business needs. However, there are components which can be adjusted so the final price fits your budget and provides you with a professionally designed website.
- Number of pages – the lower the number of pages on your website, the lower the final cost will be.
- Style of design – the website can have a simple, moderately stylized, high-end or world-class design.
- Copywriting – the price will depend on the number of pages that need a copy.
- SEO – the price will depend on the number of keywords for placement on search engines.
- Responsive design – websites with responsive design will be an extra cost to consider.
- E-commerce functionality – you can choose among basic, advanced or enterprise option.
- Database integration – the website can have basic, advanced or full development integration.
- CMS – you can choose among standard, advanced or enterprise option.
3. Different Types of Websites
Your website will depend on the nature of your business and all the features you wish to include. This also means that the price will vary from one business to another. Of course, the simplest websites will also be the cheapest whereas adding additional elements or customizing the entire website will increase the overall price.
3.1 Basic Websites
These websites are usually the ones that are created to provide information about something. Most of the time, their goal is not to convert customers or engage them into action but to offer information about a certain topic or organization. Basic, informative websites will usually be created for law firms, hospitals, restaurants, travel organizations, etc. As they’re solely interested in providing essential information to their target audience, they will lack other elements such as captivating, interactive design or integration with other applications.
A basic website has anywhere from 5 to 10 pages, such as ‘Home page’, ‘About Us’, ‘Services’, and ‘Contact Us’. Most of them also include blogs where they publish their content on industry trends and business-related topics. If your business needs a basic website, you will need to pay between S$2,000 and S$10,000. The lowest price is for websites that have up to 5 pages and a basic functionality while including the content and more complex elements will easily increase the price.
3.2 Community Websites
As their name says, community websites have a huge community that regularly checks the content of these sites. They are incredibly popular with their target audiences and are focused on encouraging the interaction and engagement of the audience. One of the most vital features on this type of websites is account sign-ups where users can upload their own images and interact with the business or organization on a deeper level.
Community websites will cost from S$15,000 to S$50,000, depending on the features your business needs for your website. Of course, if you have your own app for business, the integration will also increase the overall price.
3.3 E-commerce websites
Building an E-commerce website is much more complicated than creating a static, basic website. These websites imply a high level of customization, functionality and fluidity. All your products have their corresponding content which usually includes text, images and sometimes videos. The more content and subpages your websites has, the more complex it will be to build it. That’s why the cost of these websites can be very high when compared to other types of websites.
E-commerce websites should allow your customers to easily log in, go through dozens, hundreds or even thousands of your products, and easily go through all the phases until they can finally make a payment and order the product. Building an E-commerce website will cost you anywhere from S$10,000 to S$50,000.
4. Hiring Professionals
When building your business website, you will need to consider some other costs that are vital for the quality of your website. From hiring a designer who will work on your product photos, background images and other visual elements to a copywriter whose words will engage your audience, a good website is never actually completed. It’s an ongoing process and you need people who will help you to maintain it.
Of course, you can hire these professionals when you need them, but to reach the best possible results for your business, consider having them as a constant part of your team.
4.1 Web Designer
A web designer is a creative individual with technical skills to rebuild or design your business website. They are focused on making the website simple to use and ensuring all the elements function perfectly. To hire a freelance web designer on an hourly rate, you will need to pay from S$25 to S$50, depending on the designer’s experience and your requirements.
4.2 Web Developer
To turn your design into a functional website, you will need a web developer. They will write endless lines of a complicated code by using programming languages, such as Python or HTML. When talking about web developers, you need to think about front-end and back-end as both are equally important for your website. To hire a freelance web developer, you will need to pay between S$40 and S$100 per hour, depending on the developer’s experience and your requirements.
To make your website truly engaging, you will need a skilful copywriter who can create magic with his or her words. A copywriter is a person who will be responsible for all the textual content on your website, from headlines, blog articles, product descriptions, call-to-action messages, landing pages, etc. To hire a freelance copywriter, you will need to pay from S$25 to S$50 per hour, depending on the copywriter’s experience and your requirements.
4.4 SEO Expert
As the optimization of your website is becoming increasingly important, you will need an SEO expert who will ensure your website has a high ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). From knowing which keywords to utilize to following trends in your industry, an SEO expert will collaborate with your copywriter and designer to ensure the content and the entire website are completely optimized. To hire an SEO expert, you will need to pay anywhere from S$50 to S$75 per hour.
While building a website might get expensive, keep in mind these are not your only costs. You will need to maintain your website, so it’s better to invest in quality solutions in the first phase to reduce the additional costs that might pop up in the future. In today’s digital age, it’s critical to ensure your web design and web development efforts are flawless, regardless of who you hire to work on these projects.
Luckily, there are numerous web design and web development companies in Singapore to choose from. The final cost will vary from company to company, so make sure you find the one that fits your budget but, more importantly, understands your business and has the knowledge to provide you with what your business needs.
Joel Koh is the director of One X Tech's Technology Management & Digital Solutions practice. He leads the firm's Asia Pacific office efforts in continually evolving and growing new capabilities to serve clients in technology-led transformations.