How Long Does It Take to Build a Website?
It's a question that clients ask all the time: how long does it take to build a website?
Here's the short answer:
- 2 - 4 months for most small business websites
- 4 - 6 months for most eCommerce websites
Here's a realistic answer: It depends.
But we wanted to provide an overview of the typical website development process, so you have a better idea of what to expect.
In this blog post, we'll discuss the different phases of website development and how long each process typically takes.
We'll also give you some tips on how to shorten the duration of your own website project.
Website Development: Run-Through
Most businesses choose to outsource the design and development of their websites to professional web design companies or freelancers to guarantee that the site is secure and user-friendly.
Many websites appear to be simple from the outside: a few menus, a few buttons, some links and pictures, and you're finished.
Typically, there are 5 steps to building a website:
- Discovery and goal setting
- Creating a solid game plan
- Design mockups and feedback
- Responsive development
- Review and revision
Let's look at each of these phases in more depth, as well as how long they typically take.
Discovery and Goal Setting (1 - 2 weeks)
The first step in any website development project is to set out the goals and objectives of the website.
This is done through a discovery process that includes interviews, analysis, or other research methods with the key stakeholders of the website.
The discovery process helps to answer important questions such as:
- Who is the target audience?
- Who are your competitors?
- What are the website's main goals?
- How do you plan to drive traffic to the website?
- What features and functionality are required?
After the discovery process is complete, the web design team will have a better understanding of the project requirements and can begin to create a plan.
You can expect this process to take anywhere from one week to two weeks.
Tip: The discovery process is an important step in the website development process, but it can also be one of the most time-consuming.
To save time, try to provide as much information as possible upfront and be available to answer any questions that the web design team may have.
Creating a Solid Game Plan (1 - 2 weeks)
After the discovery and goal-setting phase, it's time to start putting together a solid game plan.
This includes nailing down the project requirements, functionalities, content, design direction, target audience, user experience flow, and more.
All of this information is used to create a detailed project plan that will be used as a roadmap for the entire website development process.
You'll also set realistic expectations for what can be accomplished within the budget and timeline.
Expect this phase to take one to two weeks, as you communicate via email with your developer about the best course of action.
Tip: Creating a detailed project plan upfront can help to save time and money in the long run.
Make sure to communicate your vision clearly and be available to answer any questions that may come up.
Design Mockups and Feedback (2 - 3 weeks)
After the project plan is complete, it's time to start working on the design mockups.
These mockups are a very basic version of the finished website product and provide a sense of where things like text, images, and buttons will appear on your website along with the general scale of these elements.
You'll want a mockup of each page if you're hiring a developer to build your homepage, about us page, service pages, and product pages.
Once the mockups are complete, you'll need to gather feedback from the stakeholders and make revisions as needed.
This feedback loop can take a few days or even a week or two to complete, depending on how many revisions are required.
Tip: Try to provide clear and concise feedback as much as possible so that the revisions can be made quickly and efficiently.
Taking the time to get the design right is the best way to avoid common web design mistakes and major changes later on.
Responsive Development (3 - 4 weeks)
The most important stage of website development, in terms of functionality, is the responsive development phase.
This is where your developer takes the approved mockups and turns them into a fully functioning website that includes all of the content you've approved.
The developer will consider how users will interact with the website and create a responsive website ( meaning it will look good and function as it should on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices).
Depending on the size and complexity of your website, this phase may take three to four weeks — or even longer if problems arise.
You can expect frequent interactions from your developer during this period, as he or she should be keeping you informed on the project's status and providing screenshots of how things are progressing.
If something doesn't appear to be progressing as planned or isn't looking like the mockup, bring it to their attention.
Although this may cause minor delays, it's preferable to taking your entire site offline after it goes live because the problem wasn't addressed initially.
Tip: Pay attention to how your website looks and functions on all devices. If something doesn't look or work right, don't hesitate to reach out to your developer.
Catching problems early on will save time (and money) in the long run.
Review and Revision (1 - 2 weeks)
After the website has been built, it's time for you and your team to take a look at the final product.
This is where you'll evaluate how well the website meets the goals that were set during the discovery process and make any necessary revisions.
In this stage, you'll also test how easy it is to use the site and identify any areas that need improvement.
Some changes, such as font size or color choice, can be easily modified before your site goes live while others may require more significant changes that could cause delays.
The revision process can take anywhere from one week to two weeks, depending on how many changes need to be made.
Tip: Be thorough during the review process and identify all areas that need to be revised. The more revisions that are required, the longer it will take to launch your website.
Creating a Website Yourself (DIY)
If you have a limited budget or simply can't afford to wait several months for your website, you may be tempted to create it yourself.
While there are some great DIY website builders out there, such as Wix and Squarespace, they do have their limitations.
For example, unless you're a web developer yourself, you won't be able to create a truly custom website using these tools.
And while they may offer templates that look professional, they aren't always optimized for SEO (search engine optimization) or conversion rate optimization (CRO), which means your site may not rank as high in search results or perform as well as it could.
Having said that, using DIY website builders can significantly cut your website costs and time to several weeks.
See Also: Should You Build a Website Yourself? Or Hire a Professional?
Great Things Take Time
Building a website is a complex process that takes time, effort, and money.
How long it takes to build a website depends on how big and complex your site is, as well as whether you're using DIY website builders or professional help.
In general, you can expect the entire process to take anywhere from two to four months.
While it may be tempting to try and save money by creating the website yourself, keep in mind that doing so may result in a less than optimal experience for your users.
Hiring professionals may cost more upfront but will likely save you time and money in the long run.
If you have any questions, let's chat! You can find more information on our web design process to see if we would be a good fit for your business.
Contact us today to get a free website analysis or book your non-sales call.