How long does it take to build a website?

Our clients often ask us how long it takes to build a website. It’s a good question, and the answer depends on many variables including: design, functionality, interface, quantity and quality of existing and planned content, as well as the size of the production team. The websites we work on can take anywhere from 24 hours to 6 months.

If you want a brochure website for your cousin’s new burrito stand by the beach, with a photo, hours, a menu, and a map to the location, let’s say one day. Perform light customizations to a template, upload a photo or two, register the domain, and you’re done.

Of course our clients are looking for something a bit more complex. Generally, we’ll kick off a project with a meeting or series of working sessions to determine the general scope. From there, we’ll assess how much time is needed for each phase. Roughly, the phases of producing a website are:

• Kickoff and preliminary planning
• Design,
• Formulate the UI,
• Create or curate the content,
• Build, code, develop the website framework
• Develop or customize any applications or functionalities required
• Input the content
• Test, test, test
• And finally, launch.

The production team can be working on some things concurrently, but other aspects contain dependencies that need to be factored in. For instance the user interface, messaging, content production, and design may all be happening at once during your initial phases, but you cannot be uploading and formatting content if you don’t have your framework built to hold it.

Personally, I get a bit aggravated when trying to find answers and getting vague “it depends” responses, so to be a bit more specific, we like to plan 2-3 months for most mid-sized website projects. It will pay off to leave adequate time for revisions, approvals, testing and quality assurance. As a client, you’ll probably have a lot more additions and changes than you can imagine at the outset of the project. And I can think of at least one good example right now of a big failure to thoroughly test a website pre launch.

If you have questions or comments or want to get a more concrete timeline for a project you have in mind, don’t hesitate to call us. We’re always ready to talk!

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