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How Long Does It Take to Build a Website?

PublishedJan 18, 2022
Reading Time4m 30s
Stopwatch on a white computer keyboard
A typical small business website takes 2-3 months to build.

Summary

A typical small business website takes 2-3 months to build. A good rule of thumb is to plan on one month for every 5 web pages. That means a simple 5-page website takes a month, a 10-page website takes 2 months, and a 20-page website takes roughly 3-4 months. Since most small business websites are 10-15 pages, 2-3 months is a good estimate from initial contact with a web design firm until your website is published and live.

What impacts the completion date?

The timeline to build your website depends mostly upon:

1. Number of web pages

A typical small business website comes in at around 10-15 web pages. Smaller websites with a handful of web pages can be built in a month. Larger websites (20+ web pages) can take several months to create.

2. Experience of your web designer

Any web design firm can build a decent website, but more experienced firms are also skilled in project management. They know when to push, and when to allow time for creativity and revision. Inexperienced firms often lack procedures and discipline, leading to delays, confusion around next steps, and projects that drag out for months beyond promised timelines.

3. Your content and turnaround time

If your website content hasn't been created before you begin a web design project, it will likely be the biggest driver of your timeline. Writing marketing copy for the website is something many small business owners don't like doing, so it gets dragged out. Also, often times the content requires multiple sets of eyes or sign-offs from various team members. That's a common place for delays to occur, as the project sits idle awaiting content (for example team bios) to be created, reviewed, and approved.

How much time is actually spent creating my website?

For a simple 10-page business website, design and development tends to be in the 20-40 hour neighborhood. That means over an entire 8 week project about one week (10%) is spent coding or building the website.

If it only takes a week to build the website, why does the project take so long?

Because it's a collaborative effort between two companies, and everyone these days is busy. Building a website is a joint project between you and your web designer or web development firm. This back-and-forth process inherently includes lag time because you still have a business to run (and a life to live). That means everything from long weekends to busy days to an absence or illness can easily extend a project by weeks or months.

So while the actual web design work may only take a few days, a web design PROJECT is a collaboration of two businesses. This is something that will always include days and weeks of lag time between tasks. This is especially true in building a website because creating a website rarely gets top priority in a small business.

Is a website redesign faster than making a brand new website?

Yes, a redesign will always be faster because content and other assets (logo, images, PDFs, etc) will already exist. Even if the design and content will be completely redone, existing assets will serve as a starting point and reduce project time.

What goes into building a website?

Here are the steps involved in creating a new website, or doing a website redesign/revamp:

Setup (1 week)

During setup you'll be offering your input on the overall look and feel. You'll point out websites you like, and list the features and elements you want. Your designer will put together an outline (sitemap) of the structure of your website and your requirements, and will be requesting things like your logo and domain info.

Design (2 weeks)

During the design phase, your designer will go off and design your website home page and a sub-page to present for your review. During review, you'll provide feedback and the designer will make revisions until you're thrilled with the look. Once the design is approved, the remaining sub-pages will be built out.

Development (4 weeks)

This is where the design and your content merge. If your content needs work, you will be working on that over the next few weeks. In the meantime, your designer will be coding the website and adding content as you provide it. The website will be optimized for mobile devices and SEO at this stage.

Launch (1 week)

The website launch includes a final review of the website and testing of all the elements. You'll make any final edits or additions before your web developer runs your website through a complete QA checklist.

Can I build a website in a day?

Absolutely, but we wouldn't recommend it as a permanent solution for your company's web presence. Building a website with DIY software like WIX or Squarespace will allow you to get something decent up quickly. But it probably won't be professional enough to allow you to compete for business among competitors with custom-built websites. A freelancer-for-hire (Fiverr.com , Freelancer.com ) could certainly do it in a day if you can provide them with content up front. An agile web design firm could build you a very simple custom one-page or even 3-page website in a few days, although you'd likely be paying a 'rush' premium.

How much does it cost to hire someone to build my website?

Most small business websites range from $2,000 to $10,000 to build. The cost is largely driven by website size (number of web pages), and features desired. A simple website with a few web pages can be built for a few thousand dollars. Larger websites (20 pages or more) can cost upwards of $10,000 and take months to build, refine, and launch.

Additional considerations in 2022

Web design has increased in complexity over time. While the finished result may appear simple, there are more requirements than ever before. Web designers have to take into account a wide range of devices, technologies, and design trends. The focus on user experience continues to grow, with users expecting to be able to find answers online quickly and easily. Accessibility is finally getting higher priority as businesses recognize that being inclusive is good for everyone and good business. Professional web design takes time and money, but it's well worth the investment.