How Long Does a Website Take to Build?

How Long Does a Website Take to Build? (With 11 years experience)

Building a website can take anywhere from a few weeks to half a year, and we’ve found that this tends to vary depending on a variety of factors, including whether you decide to build the site yourself or pay a professional to do it for you.

Many businesses ask a developer to code them a website from scratch, which can take several months, while others simply use a beginner-focused website builder instead, which can end up being significantly quicker. The size and complexity of your site will also drastically affect the timeline as well.

In this guide, we’ll have a closer look at exactly how long it takes to build a website, what might impact your timing, and whether you should hire a professional to help you.

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How Long Does It Take to Build a Website?

As we’ve mentioned above, building a website can take anywhere from a few weeks to half a year depending on the size of your site, the complexity of content you plan to publish, and whether you pay a web developer or build it yourself.

We’ve split our timelines for how long it takes to build a website into two separate pathways – the do-it-yourself route, and the developer route – as they differ quite significantly.

The route you choose to take will also impact the costs associated with building your website.

Route one: do-it-yourself

Generally, as you have more control over the process and the website building won’t be as “in-depth”, the do-it-yourself route is a little quicker. Here is an example for this process.

1. Nail down your concept & build an action plan (1 to 2 weeks)

Generally, as you have more control over the process and the website building won’t be as “in-depth”, the do-it-yourself route is a little quicker. Here is an example for this process.

First up, you’re going to need to decide on a concept – but if you’re already looking to build a website, you probably have one in mind. This could be anything from a blog, to a news site or an ecommerce store.

Next, you’ll need to use that concept to inform the purpose of your site. What will your blog be about? What will your store sell? These are all questions that have to be answered before you move on to the next stage in the process. Starting without a proper plan in place is a recipe for disaster.

The core purpose of your site will affect things like your site structure, content, and other important aspects of your site architecture. It’ll also affect what add-ons function you end up implementing on your pages, as well as possible revenue streams (such as advertisements) you might want to explore.

2. Choose a website builder (1 to 3 days)

As you might have guessed, choosing a website builder is one of the most important parts of the process. Website builders like Wix have AI tools that can make the initial setup process really quick, whereas providers like Squarespace are focused more on design.

You could also opt for a provider like Hostinger, which is a lot more affordable than the two mentioned above. We’d also recommend opting for a website builder with SEO prompts if you’re new to the world of optimizing content for search engines.

Whatever you need, there’ll be a website builder to suit your requirements. Just make sure you’re comparing its advantages and disadvantages before parting with any cash. Free trials can help you to test without strings, and make the right final decision.

3. Create your content (1 hour to 1 week)

The timeline for this stage will vary wildly depending on how big you plan to make your site, how many pages you plan to make in advance, and the components, copy, and media that you’d like to insert into these pages. In other words, the bigger your site, the longer the content creation stage will take.

If you’re looking to make a simple blog, and you’re familiar with your topic area, then you’re going to be able to generate your content relatively swiftly. If you plan to prepare video content for every page on your site, you’ll need time to film, edit and render it.

The more content you prepare before publishing, the less you’ll have to do immediately after your site goes live. Putting an online store live without uploading half of your product descriptions, however, would lead to a poor user experience. Calmly working through your to-do list at this stage is crucial.

4. Design your site (1 hour to 1 week)

Many years ago, if you wanted to design a website yourself, you’d have to be fluent in at least one coding language in order to tackle building a lot of the back-end functionality on your own.

However, in 2023, you can just use a no or low-code website builder, such as Wix, which even has an AI tool that will complete much of the initial setup for you. Most website builders deploy a “drag-and-drop” technique, which effectively means you can just move components around on your screen however you like.

If you want to get up and running quickly, simply select a pre-designed website templated made available by your website builder. If you opt for a design-focused provider like Squarespace, you’ll have a much wider choice than a provider like Hostinger, and you’ll probably be able to create what you had in mind a little quicker.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Wix? Here Are the Pros and Cons

5. Test it out (1 to 2 days)

It’s essential that you test your site before publishing, or you’ll just end up spending all your time mopping up your mistakes after it goes live.

What’s more, if you publish your site and something goes wrong that subsequently affects the experience of visitors to your site, that will send negative signals to Google, which is particularly bad if you’re primary goal is to rank highly in the search engine results.

6. Publish your site!

Finally, it’s time to publish and list your site! By this point, you should have rigorously tested it and have absolutely everything ready to go. If you don’t, it’s time to go back a step.

However, now you must turn your focus to maintaining and enriching your site with more content, as well as updating existing pages.

Route two: Pay a professional to do it.

If you end up opting for a professional over building a website yourself, then this will change your timings and process. If you do choose this option, your process will look a little bit like the below.

1. Nail down your concept & build an action plan (3 – 4 weeks)

This will be a similar process to the one you’ll complete if you take the DIY route – you’ll need to map out your concept and goals.

However, if you do go for this route, you may have to put a little more consideration into how you’re presenting your action plan while you write it, to ensure it’ll be clear enough for someone else (i.e. a website developer) who’s not yet been privy to your plans.

2. Choose a web developer (2 – 3 weeks)

The website developer(s) that will end up building your website will control its front-end style and back-end technical setup, ultimately determining its success, so you’ll want to choose carefully. You’ll probably want to review a given developer or agency’s previous work to ensure that they deliver high-quality websites. You could visit websites they’ve recently made to see how they function, and get a feel for their skill level.

Furthermore, you can find a capable, reliable developer with an excellent resume via a marketplace or freelance platform. Of course, it also needs to be within your price range, and you may need to consider hiring two different web developers to deal with the front-end design and the coding on the back end respectively, so whether they’re able to collaborate is also important.

3. Agree detailed designs with your chosen web developer (1 to 4 weeks)

After choosing your developer(s), it’s time to clue them in on the full details of your project plans, and start working out how to make them a reality.

It’s extremely important in this phase to communicate clearly what functional features and visual elements you want and don’t want, especially with regard to your design, or you won’t get a good return on your investment. It can be very time-consuming going back and forth between different ideas, and some developers charge by the hour or day, rather than the end result.

Likewise, it’s good to ask your chosen developer to map out a realistic timeframe for building each part of your website, and discuss elements of the project they think may become challenging. If you have relatively little experience building websites, you may not realize the length of time that certain tasks could take to complete.

4. Website development (1 to 6+ months)

Your developer(s) may share previews or test pages as they go, to reassure you of their progress. If you change your mind on the designs once work has already begun, you might need to pay more to redo the previous steps of the development process.

5. Test your site out (2 to 4 weeks)

Once your pages have been fully built to your designs, you can head into the final review and testing phase. This is a chance for you to make sure everything is up to standard and working as you expect, without any ‘bugs’. You should stress-test it, while you still have developers to hand to fix any potential errors. Click on everything, fill out all the forms, use all the buttons and menus, and make sure they’re reacting exactly as you envisaged, meeting the design and specifications.

This will be your absolute, final chance to provide any remaining feedback, if you need to, so it’s vitally important that you test every relevant component of your site.

7. Publish Your Site!

Once you’re happy with how everything is looking and working, the website will be handed over to you. You can now input and upload your unique written or visual content and put it live (unless you’ve requested a basic site without any editing and publishing capabilities, and already handed over all the content as part of the previous steps).

You can share your website’s address with others (for example, add it to your business cards) and start generating traffic to reach new audiences and potential customers.

Just like the do-it-yourself route, after publishing, you should keep adding fresh content to your site on a regular basis, as well as updating existing content, to enrich your site structure and grow its online presence.

The Pros and Cons of DIY Website vs. Professionally Developed

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