Rome wasn’t built in a day, and chances are, neither was your favorite website.
Most of the time, creating a website from start to finish takes time, energy, and money.
Once you decide you’re interested in building a website, there are two common questions that should come to mind: how much does a website cost, and how long does a website take to build?
Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is it depends. The cost and the timeline can be related, but there are dozens of other elements that come into play. For instance, do you plan on hiring an agency to build it for you, or use a website builder and do it yourself?
The timeline, that is either given to you by an agency or that you draft yourself, for a website should list each important milestone and stage in the process of creation. Each stage within the timeline should have a set length of time that corresponds with the size and complexity to the website you’re looking to build.
How long does it take to build a website?
There are many factors that go into creating a timeline for your website. If using an agency, it can take as little as 18 weeks to launch. If you're using a website builder, you can create a basic website in as little as two hours.
Know which direction you'd like to take? Jump ahead to:
As I said, there are a lot of factors that go into the timeline for website building, starting with if you are going to use an agency to build it for your company, or use a website builder program. If you aren’t sure which direction you’d like to go, just keep reading for a breakdown of both options.
Hiring an agency
If you’re looking to create a larger scale website, you may be interested in hiring an agency to build it for you from start to finish. When you do, the agency will conduct an introductory meeting with your company to construct a timeline. During this stage, they will need certain aspects from you before they can begin, including brand assets, like your logo, marketing goals, and information regarding your target audience.
During this meeting, the agency will most likely stress the importance of communication and client feedback with you. If you’re looking to move their timeline along as quickly as possible, providing feedback when they have updates that need your approval is vital to ensures the timeline stays on task.
Since any given timeline will vary depending on the type of website you are looking to build, how much feedback you’re giving, and how many individuals within the agency are working to build it, below is an estimated timeline for the average website.
The proposal stage within the timeline could last anywhere from 6-10 weeks. During this stage, the agency will have action items, like conducting keyword research, plan out content, provide technical recommendations, do a technical audit of your current site, and more.
The architecture stage could last between 2-4 weeks. This is when a draft of the site architecture and wireframes are made. This consists of an outline of the pages on the site and a visual layout of how the on-page content will fit together. It’s important that feedback is given from you during this stage.
The timeline for the web design varies by the scale of your actual website but could take anywhere from 4-10 weeks.
This is when the homepage and subpages are designed, as well as the layout of how the website will look on various sized screens. The design stage is absolutely crucial, as the first impression of your site from visitors is based on the design alone. It should be visually appealing, user-friendly, and memorable. This is another stage in the timeline where quick approval on the design mockups is necessary.
The development stage is when the agency will start building the website. Not to sound like a broken record here, but this stage will also depend on the size of your website with a range of 6-10 weeks.
Of course, this is an estimate. Smaller websites can be built in less than a month, while larger eCommerce sites can take three or four times as long. This stage is when content is created with SEO in mind, call to actions are made, page titles and headings are written, image tags are drafted, and more.
Once the development stage is complete, your feedback will again be crucial, as if there are any changes before launch, they will be done during this stage.
The support stage in the timeline is ongoing, as the work of creating a website shouldn’t stop at launch. You want to make sure your website is kept looking shiny and new, and that includes writing fresh and unique content often, swapping out images, reskinning designs, and adjusting the overall user experience.
Using a do-it-yourself website builder
There are many website builders to choose from should you decide to go this route. Whether you’re building a smaller website, or need something truly basic, this is most likely the direction you will go.
If you’re looking to build a super simple blog, with an average theme and no customization, it could take you as little as two hours to create. For a website a little more thorough with a homepage, a contact us and about us page, a blog, plus a customized theme, the minimum would be about eight hours. In this example, think of a website for a side job, like a yoga practice or a pet groomer.
Interested in creating a simple eCommerce website? This will take about 20 hours, seeing as you’ll need to properly list and categorize your products and process various customer transactions.
Another factor when it comes to a timeline for website builders is if you’ll be including a blog. The average blog post takes about 2-4 hours to create. A blog post that needs some planning and research takes anywhere from 4-7 hours. And an unusually long, thoughtful, and high-quality blog post could take 7-20 hours to draft and write fully.
Time is of the essence
No matter which direction you decide to take when building a website, the timeline has many factors that you need to consider. There are pros and cons to both hiring an agency and using a website builder, but at the end of the day, your goal will be the same. And that’s to have a website that embodies your brand, fulfills your business goals, meets your user’s needs, and is visually appealing.
Don’t forget to keep these 42 must-have website features in mind, regardless of your timeline! And hey, take a look at G2's comprehensive hub on website building.
Mara is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. In her spare time, she's typically at the gym polishing off a run, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, going on walks with her rescue dog Zeke, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable. (she/her/hers)