Where does the money go when you build a website?

people building a website

If you’re looking to build a website that is custom-designed, you’ll need to be prepared to invest in both in the back-end infrastructure and the front-end look-and-feel.

So what exactly are you getting for your money? If you get a quote that is not broken down into phases how do you know how much each phase is costing you?

Here at Red Cloud when we prepare a quote we break down our costings for each phase so you can see what your money is buying. Here is a quick percentage break down of each of the phases of a custom web build.

Scope and discovery work

We spend around 5 to 10 hours prepping and speaking with our clients at the commencement of the project about their web project, their medium and long-term business goals, their business branding as well as other factors such as marketing, project and ongoing budgets as well as any technological requirements (such as database integration, e-commerce or APIs). There is another 5 to 10 hours back at our desks collating and interpreting client information.

Scope and discovery work represents about 5% of the total budget.

Planning and wireframe work

Once we get the go-ahead to start the project we’ll spend between 5 and 10 hours with our clients to determine the content and functionality requirements for the site. From here we develop static documents (word docs/spreadsheets etc) so all stakeholders understand the proposed structure, navigation, pages and other features.

Planning and wireframing work represents about 10% of the total budget.

Front-end design and mood boards

While the wireframe process is bubbling away our designer Nicole will create an online mood board, based on the discussions we had during the scope and planning phases. This mood board (or boards) give our clients an indication of how the images and fonts will render, as well as things like background colours, icons and formatting features like bullet points, quote styles, header styles etc.

Front-end design and mood boards represents about 30% of the total budget.

Click through prototype

One of the most important pre-development stages, when we build a website, is the click-through prototype gives the client a clickable, online indication of what the final site will look like. While it doesn’t show every page in the site, it does show what each page template will look like (with its features and functionality). Once approved by the client we proceed to the development phase.

Click through prototype represents about 5% of the total budget.

Development phase

This is where our developers work from the click-through prototype and other design and planning work we have developed to create the front-end and the back-end. This is the stage where all the detail from the planning stages becomes part of the back-end infrastructure or front-end design. When we build a website we start with building the page templates, building any forms required, linking social media accounts, adding Google maps, undertaking to test on various devices and browsers, integrating any plug-ins required, adding Google analytics, building in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) requirements, adding blogs and news sections, integrating 3rd party and/or databases or APIs plus any other requirements as identified in the planning and prototype phases.

The development phase represents about 35% of the total budget.

Content loading and training

Once the back-end framework for the site has been built we log in (and provide access to our clients to undertake training if required), and alongside the client, we load up images, text and any other content (such as products for sale) ready for go-live.

Content loading and training represents about 10% of the total budget.

Website testing and user acceptance

Just prior to go-live both Red Cloud and the clients will thoroughly test the website for any errors in content or technical bugs.

Website testing and user acceptance represents about 5% of the total budget.

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Red Cloud Digital

Red Cloud Digital is a Sydney-based team, focused on harnessing the web to help professional service providers improve their positioning and increase revenue.



We run a virtual office and partner with specialists who help us help you. Our base is located in sunny Marrickville, NSW but we work all over the east coast of Australia. Want to meet up? That’s easy, we can come to you or connect in our virtual meeting room.

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