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19 January 2021

How Much does it Cost to Build an Online Community Website or App like Twitter?

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In this article, we'll take a look at the average cost of building a social network like Twitter, broken down by the specific features of a website or app. We will calculate the budget based on how much time it takes to develop each individual feature and the  average hourly rate of developers in the US ($ 95/hour), Western ($ 67/hour) and Eastern Europe ($ 32/hour).

Average cost of creating apps


According to Clutch, who surveyed representatives of leading software companies, the average cost of launching applications ranges from 38 to 171 thousand dollars. Most of the costs are associated with the development of infrastructure, functionality and design. Also, quite a lot of effort goes into testing the created software.

Such widespread in development cost is explained by the difference in functionality and the complexity of the implementation of a particular project. Here's the estimated cost of building a clone site or app based on complexity.


Development cost of Twitter clone functions


The development of a social network involves the creation of a three-tier architecture, consisting of a server side, a database, and a user interface implemented as a website and / or a mobile application. Below you will find a brief description and development cost of the main functions that users want to see in similar software.

Account authorization




When creating a clone application, you can implement the user authorization function in one of two ways: by registering a new account (including login, password, email address and phone number) or by logging into the system through an existing account on your social network.

The development of the authorization function can take about 110 hours to implement the server side and mobile application, which will be spent on such functions:

Create / Edit Profile




Your social network should allow users to create and edit their profiles, where they can provide basic information about themselves: first name, last name, age, gender, date of birth, contact information, school, university, location, and more. Implementing this function will require approximately 80 hours of development, 60 of which will be spent on iOS code development and 20 hours on the backend.

Messaging (online chat)




Your users should be able to communicate with other members of the social network. This function will take up to 60 hours based on what kind of chat you need. For example, whether it will be an exchange of messages between only two people or several at once, whether it will be possible to transfer files, whether the message history will be stored, whether there will be notifications (sent, viewed, downloaded, etc.). You also need to consider the time to develop chat design.

Pop-up push notifications




Various notifications that inform users in real-time about any activity related to your social network. Such notifications can be implemented in several ways: simple text notifications, with images and/or video, as well as with buttons for any actions. In addition, the logic of the application matters, such as when and to whom notifications are delivered. All this affects the development time of this function, which is why the time frame can vary from 20 to 200 hours.

Search, search filters and categories




The cost of implementing a search function and various search filters for a social network like Twitter starts from $ 800 for Eastern Europe or $ 2375 for the United States since it takes 25 hours of development or more.

Site and/or app navigation




Navigation determines how users navigate from one screen to another, how they take actions, how they return to the main menu, how they close the application, and more. In addition, it is also important how users will understand exactly where they are now (for example, in the search menu or the chat menu). The implementation time of this function on a Twitter-like social network is about 10+ hours, the cost is from 320 to 950 dollars.

Content streaming




This function is optional for a Twitter clone, but many social networks support it, so you might want to consider implementing it as well. Its development time is from 30 hours, depending on many factors, from the type of content (audio, video) to whether the content is played in real time or using the "Record and Send" option.

Orientation (portrait / landscape)




This function is only needed for mobile applications. It is responsible for the way to provide users with a list of items in the application, which in the Android environment is called master/detail flow, in the iOS (Apple) community - portrait/landscape orientation. Depending on the design, developers can implement this function in 20 hours, which will cost from 640 to 1900 dollars.

Loading and displaying media content




Members of social networks such as Twitter need functionality to download, share, and publish images, videos, audio, and other media content. It is also desirable to give users the ability to edit this content, add effects, emoticons, etc. Developing all these features and capabilities will take at least 30 hours, or $ 960 to $ 2850.

Geolocation of users




Using this function, you can automate some aspects of the system's interaction with the user, for example, what interface language the user will have on the first visit or which advertisements to show him. In addition, geolocation improves the quality of marketing data.

When it comes to cost, it depends on the accuracy of geolocation and is usually divided into general area, average proximity and exact location. Expect at least 50 hours of development, which will cost you between $ 1,600 and $ 4,750.

Integration with Google Maps




If your project, along with geolocation, involves the integration of Google Maps into your website and/or mobile application, then the developers will need about 20 more hours. The cost of such integration into a Twitter clone is from $ 640.

Advertisements




Advertisements can be in plain text, banner, or full-screen popup. At the same time, advertising can be implemented to order or using special external services (Google AdMob, InMobi, Tapjoy, Flurry and others), SDK and API. Depending on the approach, the development of this function will take 20 to 50 hours. The cost range can range from $ 640 to $ 5700.

In-app purchases




This could be a purchase of items, services, content, or premium functions. Developing this function doesn't have to be difficult for the hired agency or developer, and the time it takes to do this mostly depends on the number of items in the sales listing. This usually takes about 25 hours.

Internal payments




In order for users to be able to buy something within the social network, a payment system must be integrated into it. Typically, this function is added via APIs Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, Square, Intuit, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Google Wallet or other payment service providers. The timing of this task depends on several factors: payment processing method, data storage approach, transaction security, PCI compliance level, etc. So, if it is 2 standard payment methods, the development will take 20 hours.

Multiple language support




The two main aspects that most affect the time and cost of developing this function on a social network like Twitter are data volume and user interface design. So, if you just need to translate only the text, then it will take about 15 hours, but if you need to reconfigure the interface (for example, for the Arabic language), it will take more time - another +10 hours.

Social network database




To store data about users, as well as images, audio files, videos and other content uploaded to the social network, you will need a database implemented as a connection to Amazon or Google cloud storage. Integration with these services will take at least 30 hours.

Using phone sensors




To enhance the user experience and implement some features, integration with various phone sensors is required. This will take at least 10 hours of development for each integration. Here's what you can use on your phone:

Sleep/standby mode optimization


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