This is one of the top questions often asked by prospective clients who are thinking about or are at the beginning stages of creating a website. How much time does it take? Is it quick? There are lots of parts to a website which will add to the complexity of building one. This article will go on to talk about this.
Think of a successful website as one giant puzzle. And this particular puzzle is no ordinary 10- piece structure. There are hundreds of unique pieces that look vaguely similar yet all of which are responsible for certain roles.
The website is an important yet a valuable piece of the puzzle. The eyes, mouth, ears- face of the business. With that being said, wondering how much time you are required to invest in creating a website is a step in the right direction.
Before you jump to conclusion, note that on average, it takes roughly around 12-16 weeks to create a fully functioning website.
Considerations impacting delivery
As you consider making a new website or updating your existing one, ask yourself questions like:
- Who is my target demographic?
- What are the goals I would like to achieve with my website?
- How do I make sure that my website benefits my business?
The primary purpose of your website can affect the amount of content you need to include. The more content you add, there more pages you require. Note that with certain websites, the audience expects a certain degree of content. Having said that, the aim of your website is to help your client’s business grow, provide help and guidance to their customers and to add something beneficial to their bottom line.
The design of your website is important, however not right at the beginning stages. After the content itself has been established, you can then focus on catering the design to your audience/ readers.
“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” -Jeffrey Zeldman
With regards to the size of your website, you’d often have to figure out how many people are required to work on your project. In summary, the number of people required depends on the size of your website. Usually, the client will assign a project manager who will be in control of the content and manages everything on behalf of the client. That manager will work with the client directly.
Depending on the nature of the website, these factors can determine whether you need to spend more or less time than the rough estimate mentioned above. In other words, when saying, ‘how much time does it take to create a website’? the answer is, it depends.
In this article, I will cover the four factors that affects the amount of time required to create and develop a fully functioning website.
If, however numbers have more meaning than words, I present to you, numbers:
A 25-40 page website can take anything from 6 weeks to 6 months to make.
A standard brochure-ware marketing website (link to glossary page) will take around a minimum of 1.5 months (roughly 6 weeks) to create from start to launch.
The 6 phases of a website project
Phase 1: Discovery
The first stage is dedicated to discovery, meaning the baseline of the website: what you include (content gathering, e.g. branding materials, content structure, lists of content to appear on each page, etc.) and what you may add further on down the line, what it will roughly look like and how it is going to be presented.
Phase 2: Wireframes & Design
The next stage/ phase is dedicated to design. Web design combines many features within the production and development of websites. You’d often find that these stages blend together at times, therefore content gathering may overlap with design, which can overlap with development.
Different sectors of web design include:
- Web graphic design
- Interface design
- Development phase
- Optimised coding
- User experience design (UI/ UX buzzword)
- The optimisation of how the search engine functions- This goes at the end of the project.
After that, the following 3 weeks consist of design revisions. Usually, the design revisions are carried out through video call or face-to-face meeting where the designs which have been sent prior are discussed and the client provides their feedback. Any requests will be discussed then either accepted, modified or rejected. At that point, the mock-ups are updated and sent to the client for approval. Any further or major revisions requiring more time and or budget would then be discussed on a case-by-case basis at this point.
Phase 3: Development
After the design revision period, we move onto the initial development phase/ stage. This stage is where the website is created. We will combine all of the creative elements from your prototype to use for the final website.
WildPress will develop your home page to an extent and then look into creating a “shell” for the more information-heavy pages. The initial layout/ structure is there as a guide for the content pages of the website. These are the types of pages that contain the main navigational structure for the website. When the shell has been developed, you can then take your content and allocate specific information to your chosen areas.
It may be preferable to make your in-progress website available to view throughout the development stages. This is particularly useful when you wish to see at what stage the website is currently in, how you could improve the design and seeing which types of changes and corrections are required.
We set up a staging website for our clients to review progress and add content at the beginning of the development phase. They can get acquainted with WordPress and their site structure/ content. We also send them training videos as we add new functionality, so they know how to update the content/ page elements alongside the development.
In order to create a successful website, it is best to have a good grasp on front-end web development. This can involve writing lawful HTML/ CSS codes that abides to current web standards, maximising the capability of operational activities and maximum access for a high number of viewers at once. We at WordPress can do this for our clients. We adhere to industry-best practices while building our client’s websites.
Phase 4: Testing, Training & Publishing
And finally, you’d have a few weeks of modifications. This includes making adjustments and improvements with the content included, the design, the layout and the amount of information that is provided. Modifications can be either minor, extreme or anything in between, it depends on your personal preference. But extreme modifications at this point would require separate invoicing/ scoping, and would be a different project.
Phase 5: Launch
Below are the 4 factors that can determine the timeframe of your website build/redesign:
One of the most important aspects of a website is the content. Content happens to have a huge influence over the clock. Depending on the amount of content provided and required to be implemented into the website, this factor has the power to extend the time frame you had previously put in place to create and launch your website. This is often the largest obstacle since the content is often provided by the client.
Delays in getting the content ready will significantly impact the project. If the client knows roughly what type of content they want to have included, it’ll speed up the design/ development phase as we can use placeholder text/ images in the meantime, but the website can’t launch until the content is ready and signed off by the various stakeholders.
Time is of the essence. Depending on the size of the project, the timing of the launch of the website can be affected. Larger websites can take much longer to launch than smaller websites. The more pages you include in your website, the bigger the project is considered and ultimately the longer it will take to launch. This is because the more pages you include, the more QA, mobile design, graphics, SEO tagging, etc is required to continue with the launching process.
Usually it’s the unique layouts which take the longest time to build. If you had 50 pages with different content, but 1 layout, it’ll be pretty quick. But 50 pages, with unique layouts/ functionality for each one will take 50 times as long.
Unique Page designs
A 16- page website may take some time to develop if every page is significantly different than the next. The total number of pages as well as the combined number of unique page designs are both important. Unique designs have varying layouts and designs especially when compared with other pages on the website. Often with most websites, the home page has the most intricate detail. This is because it incorporates elements from each section of the website and needs to do it in an eye- catching way to entice prospective clients to do business with them. However, their inner pages have a reoccurring theme with regards to design, meaning they all look vaguely similar.
Websites that have uniquely designed inner pages are often complex and more expensive to create and develop. These types of designs require more hours to plan and improve. Referring back to how long a website takes to be created, by having an extremely detailed project affects how quickly you can launch your website.
Usually the layout isn’t what takes too much time, it’s the functionality required to get the layout working, e.g. custom slides for prices, filters to sort articles by category, animations, special business logic, like complex web forms, etc.
The functionality of the website can take time to develop, especially if the goal for the website is to have the type of structure where many can access and view at the same time.
What is functionality? Whatever may come across as vibrant and dynamic on a website is the direct by-product of efficient functionality. Effective functionality can be expressed through high performing filtering functions including project categories and portfolio items.
Custom business logic is unique to each client. Usually clients need a custom website because they have very specific requirements which are unique to them. This is what takes time and skill to create, otherwise they could do it themselves or pay someone a lot less to do it.
Now that you have a better understanding of what contributes towards the timing of the creation of a website, you can then begin to plan effective ways to reduce time-consuming factors that may arise during this process. You can ask yourself what you should consider in order to move the project along in a timely manner.
Remember that in most circumstances, time is money. It is one of the hidden costs when it comes to attaching a price tag to your website. When the intention is to get the site up quickly, focus on your sitemap. This is the structure that all of the pages of your website will follow, allowing each and every one of them to relate to each other.
Ensure that the sitemap is clearly outlined. Identifying the number of pages and how their designs will relate to each other which will be proven worthwhile in the process of figuring out the aim of the website. The important step is to be clear as to how punctually the final product will be delivered.
REQUIRES FURTHER EDIT
If the client is not sure, WildPress can help. This could be a soft-sell call action for them to contact us to book a consultation call to discuss their requirements, or just send us an email if they need help. We offer a service where they can discuss their idea with us and we can help them turn it into an actionable project specification/ brief, which can be used to build a website.