Continuing on our series about the process behind bringing a website to life, we thought that we should talk about how long it actually takes to develop a functional, beautiful, and professional website. Whenever you are in the position of having a website made, you obviously want it done as soon as possible. However, building a custom site from scratch takes time and the one thing that you really don’t want to do is rush it. If you have not caught up with our previous blogs on website development, make sure to take a look at them for a realistic overview of the process leading up to publishing a functional website.
So, how long does it really take to build a site? Well, this is a difficult question to answer, simply because websites are not simple. Websites vary in complexity, depending on what kind of site you want to put out there for your consumer. It is impossible for us to look at a wishlist for a website and tell you that it will take exactly two months to build, because often things arise during the development process that are added, removed, or even changed completely. Therefore, you have to be aware that good websites take longer than you might think to get running
What influences the process?
If you have read our blog on What it Takes to Develop a Website you will know that there are many different variables that can be included or excluded from the site. Depending on your target audience, what your website will be used for, and what you hope the site will look like, the amount of effort and time it will take will change. There are three main areas of the site that will influence the length of the process, which is something to keep in mind when you are looking to develop a site for your brand.
The complexity of the site will obviously play a large role in how long it will take to develop your website. This includes elements such as:
- Will you be including an online chat interface?
- Can your visitors purchase products directly online via an online store?
- Does your site need to be multilingual? Does it need translation or localisation options?
- Does it need regular updates for content, such as a blog or other resources?
All of these elements will need to be designed and carefully thought out before the website is coded and published. Therefore, the more elements your site has the longer it will take to produce a smoothly functioning website. However, it is important to remember that this is not a reason to exclude elements from your site – it is all about creating the perfect site for your brand.
After you have decided about what function your website will have, and which elements you will be including, you will have an idea about what information your visitors will be looking for when they visit your site. The structure of your website comes from this information, combined with that of your target audience (e.g. younger generations preferring more complex websites, versus older generations looking for simple intuitive sites).
This information will determine how many pages your website will have, and how they will be organised. If your company is large and has an extensive range of products, the structure of your website will be more complex and will take longer to produce in a way that is still easy and functional for the visitor. A website can be made up of anywhere between 5 and 35 pages, and this will influence the timeline of site creation.
Therefore, each page on your website needs to be carefully thought out, in that each element of the website needs to be useful and functional. There is no space for elements that are not necessary or are merely there because you might think you need it. A fully functioning and successful website should have no weak piece; it is better to start with the necessary items and add in extras later.
Even if you choose to use an online web hosting platform, like WordPress, we still like to design and build everything from scratch to make sure that your site has longevity. This takes time, but it is worth it in order for us to build a site that properly represents your brand and has a theme that does not become outdated (as some pre-made themes tend to do when they are not updated regularly).
Other areas of the back-end that can be time-consuming are on-page SEO and SEO tracking, which is incredibly important in order to optimise your website so that it will rank higher in future online searches.
Lastly, integration of social media into a website will take time but is a crucial part of having a functional website that can act as a successful brand home for your company.
So, how long does it really take?
As we have mentioned, it is hard to give an exact period of time, as it can differ greatly between different brands. But as a rough guide, it could take up to 4 months to develop a complex website. Much of this time will be taken up with planning and testing how your site will be constructed. That is why it is so important to have a clear understanding of your corporate identity and branding before starting this process. If you know what you are looking for, it is much easier for a web designer to put together a website that you can be proud of. Of course, do not become too attached to how you want things to look, as sometimes it is not feasible or just does not really work with your brand.
This is why at G2Design we work with you to create a test website first, that is not visible to the public but can be viewed by you, the client. This test site works as a “prototype” for the real thing and allows you to move through the site and check the way that your target audience will be interacting with it.
This process will help you to understand how the website works, whether some elements are unnecessary, or whether there are things that are obviously missing. Only once you, the client, are completely happy with every aspect of your website will we move the site to your domain and open it up to public use.
There is no one way to make a website, and it may take longer than you might want to publish the site of your dreams. The main take away from this should be that it takes time to make a site that will properly represent your brand, so in order to help this process go as smoothly as possible make sure to start with a clear picture in your mind. Knowing what your brand needs from a site, what your consumer will be looking for on your site, and what elements are necessary can really help your website developer to create a brand home with ease.
If you have any questions about website design and development, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org