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How Long Does It Take to Build a Website?

PublishedJan 18, 2022
Read4m 30s
Stopwatch on a white computer keyboard
A typical small business website takes 30-60 days to build.


A typical small business website takes 1-2 months to build. A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending one month for every five web pages. That means a simple 5-page website takes a month, a 10-page website takes two months, and a 20-page website takes roughly 3-4 months. Since most small business websites are 5-10 pages, 2 months is 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 mainly upon the following:

1. Number of web pages

A typical small business website is 5-10 web pages. Most web design firms can build smaller websites with a handful of web pages in about 30 days. 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 forward and when to allow time for creativity and editing. Inexperienced firms often lack procedures and discipline, leading to delays, confusion, and projects that drag out for months beyond promised deadlines.

3. Your content and turnaround time

If you're still working on your website content as you start a web design project, it will likely be the biggest driver of your timeline. Most small business owners prefer to spend their time doing something other than writing marketing copy, so it often gets put off. Also, content usually requires multiple sets of eyes or sign-offs from various team members. That's a common source of delays, as the project sits idle, awaiting content (e.g., team bios) that must be written, reviewed, and approved.

How many hours does it take to build a custom website?

For a standard 10-page business website, design and development typically takes 20-40 hours.

Why does the project take so long if it only takes a week to build a custom website?

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. Unexpectedly busy weeks, a vacation, or an 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 more complex collaboration. A real-world project involving two businesses almost always includes lag time. This is especially true in building a website because a company website rarely gets (or deserves) top priority in a busy small business.

Is a website redesign quicker than building a new website?

A redesign will always be faster because content and other assets (logo, images, PDFs) will already exist. Even if you recreate the design and content from scratch, any existing assets will serve as a starting point and reduce project time.

What goes into building a custom website?

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

Step 1 - Setup

During the setup phase, you'll offer your thoughts on the direction of the overall look and feel of the website. You'll point out websites you like and list the features and elements you want. Your designer will put together an outline (sitemap) of your website's structure and requirements. You'll provide any logo files and domain info.

Step 2 - Design

During the design phase, your designer will design your website home page and a sub-page and ask for your feedback. Your designer will tweak the design based on your feedback and make revisions until you're happy with the look. Once the design is approved, the remaining sub-pages will be built out.

Step 3 - Development

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.

Step 4 - Launch

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.

How quickly could a custom website be built?

A custom website could be built in a day, but we recommend something more in-depth 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. However, it will need to be more professional to compete for business against competitors with custom-built websites. A freelancer-for-hire (Fiverr.com, Freelancer.com ) could do it in a day if you can provide them with content upfront. An efficient and agile small web design firm could build a 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 $20,000 to build. The cost is primarily driven by website size (number of web pages) and features desired. A simple website with a few pages can be created for a few thousand dollars. Larger websites (20 pages or more) can cost upwards of $20,000 and take months to build, refine, and launch.

Additional considerations

Web design has increased in complexity over time. While the finished result may appear simple, there are more requirements than ever before. Web designers must consider various 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 for business. Professional web design takes time and money, but it's worth the investment.