When Should You Get Started

Last article, we reviewed ‘Why’ you need a website. In this article we will cover the expected timeframes associated with each step of website development to make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises.

I Want A Website ASAP - How Long Will It Take?

Putting it bluntly, going from concept to functional website usually takes no less than 2 months, depending on your requirements and how prepared you are. If you are told that your website will be up and running within a week, the salesman is either lying to you, or your new website will be based from a template and won’t include many (if any) changes to the template layout.

The website design and development process is usually split into 4 main phases: Concept, Design, Development and Testing.

Concept: (1 - 3+ weeks)

This step has the hardest to clarify as it completely depends on what kind of website you need, as well as which tools you are looking at building your website with. Below are 3 generalised website structures to give you some reference.

Brochure website

A basic, 1 page brochure website shouldn’t take any more than a week or two to conceptualise, wireframe and quote on. Everyone knows what they are and how they work, you just need to know which sections you need and what you want inside of those sections.

5 Pager

Your average 5 page information website shouldn’t take any more than 1-3 weeks to conceptualise. Again, everyone is familiar with the concept but you need to make clear the functionality of the website. Do you need an image/video gallery? Do all of your online marketing channels build towards the same goal? Do you need any third party integrations? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself before you consult with the web designers. Some things take longer to research than others, and your web designers will need to know all of your specifications before they can provide you with an accurate quote.

Custom Specifications

If you need a website that has any specifications that are out of the ordinary such as large integrations, web portals or custom development you may be looking at a longer concept stage. The web designers/developers will need time to formulate an action plan and a specifications document so everyone is on the same page before the design stage begins. Just keep in mind that this is probably the most important stage, so don’t launch the project in the wrong direction just because you want your website up sooner.

Design (1 - 4 weeks)

The same rules apply to the each stage of the website as they do to the concept stage. The larger the scope of the project - the longer each stage will take. Generally though, the design stage should take 2-3 weeks if your feedback is detailed, concise and with a quick turnaround. The more detailed your feedback is, the more information the designer has to give you what you want.

Development (2 - 6 weeks)

The development of the website depends entirely on the web developers. You don’t have much input during this stage, so it is a great time to compile all of the content and images that will go into the site. Just keep an eye on your emails, if the developer needs you to answer something they may be at a stage where they have to stop work until you answer it.

Testing (1 - 2 weeks)

The testing phase usually takes a few rounds, both on the developer’s side and your side. Be patient if you find bugs with the system, it is what the testing phase is for! It is also good to keep in mind that fixing bugs sometimes creates more bugs, so just keep on testing!

Other Considerations

  • You need a merchant account when building an e-commerce site. These usually take 7-30 days to configure so get started on it right away.

  • Domain and hosting usually takes a couple of days to set up. Configure these at the start of the project so it isn’t a rush at the end.

  • The developers may not have your exact screen size, so make sure you communicate which screen size you are viewing the site on.

Next in the series → ‘Where’: Where Do You Find Good Web Designers?