Dec 11, 2022

Digiteum Team

web portal cost

Digital Strategy, Web

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Web Portal?

You consider developing a web portal for your business. But you are uncertain about the resources required to design and build a quality web product. And want to get an idea of reasonable web portal development costs and timeline. Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this 7-minute read, we break down web portal development process and costs and give you an example of an estimate for a fully-fledged portal. You will learn:

  • What impacts the cost of development
  • How much does a web portal cost on average
  • What cost saving ideas you can apply on your project

We will use a real example from our own web development experience to bring it as close to reality as possible. However, you should keep in mind that this is only an example. To get an accurate estimate for your project, contact an experienced tech provider and give a detailed description of the portal you want to build and how it should fit your business process.
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Before we begin, let’s quickly run through the concept of a web portal and show how it differs from a website.

What is web portal development?

Web portal development is a process of designing and developing an interactive web system for a specific audience – vendors, clients or customers, employees, etc. The key goal of a web portal is to provide authorized users with easy access to information, products and services and enable self-service functions.

Example: An insurance company provides its customers with a web portal where they can track their balance, prolong or change insurance plans, request services, make appointments, and so on.

Features, scale and design of portals vary depending on their types and purposes, which also directly impact the cost of web portal development. But more about it in just a few minutes.

What is the difference between a website and a web portal?

web portal vs website

So why the fancy name? How a web portal is any different from a regular web site? Web portals are focused on a specific target group and provide personalized experience to authorized users. Unlike a website which is usually built for a wide audience.

For instance, a banking web portal offers different features and services to the bank’s customers available only upon sign-in. On the contrary, a website of a restaurant provides general information to all visitors (menu, contact info, news, online booking, etc.). As you can guess, portals are more complex and functional compared to websites. As a result, the cost of building a web portal is usually higher than the cost of building a simple website.

Why do you need a web portal in the first place?

There are many reasons to provide your clients, employees or business partners with an interactive web portal.

  • Create a unified experience. Gather scattered services, information and experiences in one place and provide your audience with easy and secure 24/7 access to it. You can integrate your portal with other business systems in your organization (CRM, ERP, asset management, etc.) significantly reducing the cost of web portal creation and providing your audience with a better experience.
  • Improve engagement. Make it ridiculously easy for your customers, partners or employees to discover your services and products and solve their needs online. Be it booking appointments, making orders or filling applications online, web portals help improve engagement and boost loyalty.
  • Provide self-service functions. Give your audience the flexibility they need to get things done on their own. When they want it, where they want it.
  • Automate processes. Reduce waste and inefficiencies by connecting different data sources and services in one place.
  • Cut costs. Slash customer acquisition and operating costs by creating convenient web tools that are easy to discover and use. Yes, it comes at the price of web portal development and maintenance. But the long-term savings hugely overweigh this cost.
  • Scale your operations. Effortlessly scale your operations to new target groups, services, geo and niches by expanding your web portal.
benefits of web portals

Major types of web portals for business

We’ve already mentioned that there are many different types of web portals depending on their purpose, scale and audiences they target. We will name only a few major categories to give you an idea of how portals solve various business and customer needs in different industries. You probably already use some of them regularly.

eCommerce portal

This is a broad category. eCommerce portals include a range of web systems for B2B and B2B operations, such as vendor portals, client, and customer portals. They usually include a set of eCommerce features such as product and service pages, ordering, tracking, shipping, payment, order analytics, etc. and work as an integral part of the eCommerce process.

Example: B2B vendor portal for Deichmann.

eHealth portal

eHealth portals help both patients and doctors deal with a range of mundane tasks such as updating patient data, making appointments and renewing prescriptions. Functionality varies depending on who the portal is designed for – patients, hospital staff, or doctors. If you plan to build a user-centered portal for patients, consider these must-have patient portal features for your project.

Example: Medicover patient portal

Employee portal

The cost to build a web portal for employees is insignificant compared to the cost of onboarding, integrating, training and retaining staff in modern global organizations. This is why so many companies provide their employees with convenient web portals that help them navigate their careers, get the necessary information on the spot and solve various work-related tasks faster.

Example:
Employee portal for McDonalds' staff and management

Banking portal

Banks provide individual and business clients with web portals for easy and secure access to financial data and services. Banking portals allow users to manage all types of transitions from getting a loan to making transfers in just a few clicks.

Example: Web portal for Citi clients

Student portal

Student web portal is an online space where students can access educational materials and tools, track progress, collaborate and complete routine education-related tasks – fill in an application, sign up for a course, update a curriculum, etc.

Example: Student portal for Harvard Business School

Community portal

Community portals unite people with common interests and provide them with online tools to communicate, set up and hold events, collaborate and share information.

Example: Creatives for Climate community portal

types of web portals

As you can see, web portals may have completely different goals and functionality. To give you an idea of how to calculate the cost of web portal design and development, we will walk you through a real estimate for a web portal project.

How to estimate the cost of web portal development?

To better understand the pricing of developing a web portal, let’s break down the entire process and effort for designing and developing a functional web portal.

Web portal development process

Like any other software development process, web portal development consists of several major stages, including research, UX/UI design, engineering, testing and debugging. Different specialists – developers, designers, QA – are involved at different stages of portal development and therefore have different workloads.

To develop a relatively simple web portal, you will need a cross-functional team:

  • BA and project manager
  • Frontend and backend engineers (or full-stack)
  • QA engineer

Workload breakdown

We use a common example of an eCommerce customer portal to show how the price of creating custom web portal is formed. The portal has a set of features you will find on nearly any eCommerce platform:

  • Sing-in and log-in
  • User profile and dashboard
  • Order
  • Payment
  • Order status tracking
  • Order history
  • Messaging
  • CMS for content management
  • Integrations with third-party services (chat, support, etc.)

In the table below you can find an indicative estimate for web design and development of this custom portal. The entire project timeline is 4-5 months.

Phase Time (hours)
UX/UI design (design, clickable prototype, design system) 160
Backend and APIs 240
Integrations
(payment, support, chat)
120
Interactive interface
(dashboard, ordering features, status, messaging)
480
QA 240
Project management 240
Total 1480

Web portal development cost

So how much does it cost to make a web portal with this set of features? Using the detailed workload breakdown and team composition, we can calculate the preliminary cost of this project. And this is where things get interesting. Based on the average hourly rates for hiring designers, engineers and PMs in the US, the total cost of this project may start from $77k.

Average hourly rates (source: salary.com):

  • UX/UI designer $50
  • Frontend developer $58
  • Backend developer $50
  • QA $34
  • PM $65

NOTE: We use the average rates in the US for a generic position. Real wages vary greatly depending on the qualification, skills, and location of specialists. For instance, hiring a senior .NET engineer in the US may cost twice as more as hiring a specialist with the same skills in Eastern Europe.

Many factors impact the estimate for a web project. The pricing structure, type of contract, tech stack, team composition and even location determine the final cost of the project. Let’s see how it works in detail.

Get accurate estimate for your web portal

Start with a detailed estimate of your project to get a clear idea of resources and time you will need to develop a quality web portal.

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What impacts the average cost of custom web portal development?

Scope

Project scope is the primary factor that determines how much time and effort it will take to develop a portal. Evidently, the more features you add, the more it takes to build a system. This is why it’s essential to analyze and carefully prioritize requirements (essential features, performance, scalability, etc.) when planning your project. It helps balance the cost and make sure you won’t go over your budget.

Tech stack

Technology stack determines the skills and resources you need to build your portal. Some skills and competencies are more expensive and harder to find than others. Compare, for example, hiring a PHP engineer at $35 per hour (US, source: salary.com) or a Node.js engineer whose hourly rates range between $45-$56 (US, source: salary.com). This difference affects the cost to develop a web portal.

Integrations

Web portals rarely exist in isolation, especially if we talk about B2B web portals. You may want to connect your portal with other systems in your company or add functionality by integrating third-party services. What is interesting though is that integrations may both increase and reduce the average cost of custom web portal. You will find out how in a minute.

Hiring strategy

Team composition, seniority and location have a massive influence on the cost of your project due to the difference in rates and hiring costs. Will you put together an in-house web dev team from scratch? Scale your existing tech team to develop a portal? Or outsource your project to a nearshore or offshore provider? Choosing a suitable hiring strategy will help you develop a web portal at an affordable cost.

We’ve talked about how to estimate web portal development and mentioned major factors that influence the bottom line. Now let’s go through a few tried-and-true strategies that can help you reduce the cost of your project.

4 tips to reduce the cost of developing a web portal

Start with profound business and tech analysis

Sounds trivial but this is a necessary step that will help you avoid cost overruns. Research and analysis help lay out project goals, select the right tech stack, prioritize features, and create a cost efficient design and development strategy for the project.

Leverage integrations and API

We’ve mentioned in the previous section that integrations can help you reduce the cost of developing a portal. In many cases, integrating third-party platforms or external services is cheaper and faster than building features from scratch. Often, businesses already use some tools, data storage, or other business systems. Engineers can connect to these systems via APIs to extend the functionality of the portal without stretching project budget and timeline.

Choose agile development

Agile approach is an industry standard for cost effective software development. It implies building a product in a series of cycles, frequent testing and dynamic adjustment based on user feedback and changing requirements. As a result, it helps create a value-driven product and avoid building irrelevant features.

Outsource to a reliable tech partner

Outsourcing can help you significantly cut the cost of creating a web portal thanks to the difference in rates. Depending on your location, you can reduce the price of your project by hiring an offshore or nearshore web development team or extending your in-house team with a reliable tech provider.

web portal vs website

Build a quality web portal with Digiteum

Provide your customers with a quality web portal that helps them access your services and product faster. We can help you design and develop a user-centered portal on time and on budget using over a decade-long experience in agile web development company services.

  • Dozens of web projects developed for enterprise and startup clients from the US, UK, EU, and Canada.
  • Proven track record of successful deliveries for such clients as Printique, Oxford Languages, Lodgify, Origin Digital, Oracle, Mercans, Takeda, Tui, and more.
  • In-house user-centered design and end-to-end project development.
  • Senior engineers and dedicated teams on demand.

We will help you estimate the pricing of web portal development with a strong focus on your business goals, delivery targets, and cost quality.

Kick off your web portal project faster

Bring clarity, flexibility and speed to your project with a battle-tested web dev team.

Hire web portal developers

Quick round-up

  • Web portals help companies in various domains engage with their clients and customers, reduce operating costs, automate processes and improve customer experience.
  • In this post, we answered a few key questions about web portal costs: What includes in the estimate? How much does a portal site cost? How to reduce the cost of portal development?
  • Project scope, tech stack, team composition and location, hiring strategy and contract are some of the major factors that impact the cost of web portal development.

FAQ

How much does it cost to build a web portal?
The cost of web portal development varies depending on the scope, tech stack, development strategy, team composition and location. An MVP for a fully-fledged custom portal may start from $50k.
How long does it take to build a web portal?
Design and development of a feature-rich portal start from 4-5 months up to one year depending on the scope and development strategy.
How to reduce web portal development cost?
Outsourcing to a reliable tech provider is one of the industry-proven methods to drastically reduce the final cost of the project. Along with that, the agile approach, cost effective design, reusable components and integrations with other business systems and third-party platforms help optimize the cost of web portal development.