How Long Does It Take to Build and Design a Website From Scratch?
Almost every business decides to get a website at some point as it's a surefire way to fasten online presence. But the time and resources required for creating a website will depend on multiple things, including the website's size, scope, and complexity.
On this page, we'll answer questions like how long does it take to design a website by breaking down the major milestones of the website development timeline.
Assessment by the Type of Website
If you're wondering how long does it take to create a website, the truth is it really depends. First of all, on what you're planning to build.
Will it be a landing page or simple website where you'll place key information about your services? Do you want to run a blog? Or would you like to build a marketplace website fitted with multiple vendors, categories, product pages, a cart, and a checkout? These are just a few of the possible paths that can impact the cost and duration of a website development project.
The thing is that websites are different. They can differ by purpose, type, size, and feature set. That's why it can take several weeks to launch smaller and simpler websites, whereas more complex ones can take months to develop.
Moreover, the timeline and associated costs will depend on whether you're creating a website or a web application. People often confuse the two, yet the development approaches and end results are not the same. Web applications are such types of apps that are browser-run. They are a popular option for building e-commerce, SaaS, social media, management, and other web products as they cater to the needs of users regardless of their preferred devices.
Simple web apps generally take twice as long to build than standard websites. And yet, even standard websites may also range in development time (say, if you're building a landing page or one-page website vs. a full-fledged corporate website with many pages). Here's a sample breakdown:
Other Factors That Influence the Website Development and Design Timeline
On average, you need a month or more to get your website up and running, yet this is a very rough estimate. But how long does it take to build a website exactly? Well, you need to consider several additional points that can affect the timeline and duration estimates, i.e., who will build the application and how.
Custom Coding vs. Website Builders
There is a difference between making a unique custom website and putting one together using no-code builders using pre-assembled blocks which you can drag and drop.
The latter implies choosing solutions like WordPress or Squarespace that allow people without web design or coding backgrounds to quickly construct a website based on a template. Such a constructor-built website may make sense if you need a simple landing-page type of website, say, for marketing purposes. How long does it take to develop a website this way? Even with no prior experience, this can take you about a week or so, based on what you need as a result.
Nonetheless, this approach has many downsides that many people, unfortunately, discover in the long run. The main ones are growing out of what you've built sooner than expected, dealing with security gaps, and not having the chance to modify it the way you need due to the platform's imposed limits.
In this respect, there are multiple advantages of custom software and websites that are yours to keep, change, and expand. This path provides lots of flexibility, but it takes longer and requires the input of designers and developers. Usually, it makes sense when you want to build something unique, long-lasting, and scalable.
The size of the team and their level of expertise matters a lot too. Are many people going to work on the project? Are you hiring in-house or outsourcing development and design work? This will factor into how fast the website will be delivered and how much you'll pay for it in the end.
A bigger team with previous experience in developing websites will be able to complete tasks faster, work on several aspects at the same time, and avoid rookie mistakes, which visibly reduces the time for debugging and fixes. As such, a team provided by an IT outsourcing partner that specializes in web development may have fewer coordination problems and perform more effectively as they've worked on many similar projects before.
Surely, the scope and logic difficulty are integral factors affecting the average time to build a website. If it's packed with many complex features, roles, and integrations, the timeline for delivery will certainly extend. This is specifically why it sometimes makes sense to work on feature prioritization, as developing and releasing the functionality gradually can speed things up.
This point also depends on the available resources, including the tools that a business can afford. At times, linking up a plugin or extension can save time on custom development, but these are expenses that have to be accounted for.
Poor Planning and Many Iterations
If you neglect the planning phase, be prepared for unexpected issues that may arise during the development process. Evidently, constructing a website without a clear plan will extend the website development timeline as you'll end up constantly going back and forth.
The same applies to making frequent changes to the plan you've initially finalized on. Of course, feedback matters, and if there are ways to improve the design or feature set, this shouldn't be ignored. However, non-stop change requests for the development team can prolong the timeline and slow things down.
Average Website Development Timeline Explained
As you see, lots of things can determine the outcome. Let's review the website creation process noting the estimated duration time for each phase. Mind that we'll describe the process of creating a custom website, not one built using a drag-and-drop template.
Research and Discovery
Just as it goes with every project, you should begin with the discovery phase. This is the initial step of the website design and development process that's needed for:
- conducting market research;
- gathering information about the target audience;
- browsing what the competitors are doing;
- studying your users' needs and their pain points.
Surely, this stage is crucial as you hammer out future functionality. Its main purpose is to get a better understanding of user expectations and come up with a clear vision of the website. It allows for making a more accurate project estimation regarding both time and cost.
This is also the time you take to outline the goals, vision, and deliverables and plan how to carry out the project most effectively (i.e., in terms of required resources, time, and inclusions). The team documents the requirements, often with the creative and technical briefs and a sitemap.
Together with the team, you hold brainstorming sessions to select an optimal stack, ponder what the website should look like and which messages it must convey to the audience, and work on feature prioritization. This step is vital for the project as it serves as the foundation and affects the outcome.
Duration: 1-2 weeks on average
Designing the Website
Once the project plan is developed and you have a basic view of what you're going to create, the designers begin working on the website's visual side according to the gathered information. This implies not only picking appealing fonts and colors, but thinking through usability in-depth and selecting optimal solutions to make the customer journey impeccable. Generally, designers use various startup tools for creating website designs, including Figma and InVision.
In turn, the website design timeline can also be split into smaller steps or sub-phases, especially if you haven't created the first design streaks during the previous discovery stage. Hence, here are the possible blocks needed to develop a website's clear visual and functional design:
- mapping the customer journey and user stories;
- creating wireframes to show the basic structure and layout;
- designing mockups to blueprint the functionality;
- creating prototypes to test how the features will work;
- putting together a UI kit with colors, fonts, and other essentials;
- working on the final detailed design for developers (this includes the design system of repetitive elements and blocks, separate page designs, and mobile and desktop views).
Duration: So, how many hours does it take to design a website? This stage usually takes at least two weeks (often more) according to the website's complexity and size. Plus, note that the designs have to be optimized for various screen sizes so the website is equally easy to navigate from any device.
Moreover, the duration will also depend on how many iterations are required, as the MVP design versions are often altered based on feedback from the team. As such, the developers might flag that some features are impossible to carry out the way they're shown in the designs using the chosen tech stack, so the design has to be changed.
A website will be useless without quality content. Therefore, set aside enough time to craft the content to fill the site with. You'll need to work on internal page content, including the homepage, About Us, Contact Us, and other pages depending on the business niche (e.g., service pages, case studies, pricing, etc.). Branding elements are crucial as well, so you may need a Logo Creator need to design them. Also, consider using an AI story writer that can help businesses to create more engaging and informative content that will capture the attention of their target audience.
Make sure to choose the best wording to make your messages concise, engaging, and clear for the audience. Don't neglect double-checking your spelling and grammar to avoid mistakes in your copy, headlines, buttons, calls to action, and body of text.
Nonetheless, the duration of the content step may vary greatly based on how big your website is and what you wish to include. Do you plan to post articles? Do you need product categories with dozens of product pages? The larger the scope, the more work you'll have ahead.
Likewise, you have to mind the SEO side too. Working on search engine optimization will also require extra time. You'll need to include the right keywords, metadata, and titles and optimize other information on your pages to make it searchable. The good news is that we’re entering the age where AI powers personalized web experiences, and this applies to content creation as much as anything else. It’s easier to conjure up bespoke, relevant content to attract and retain visitors with the latest AI tools and techniques.
Duration: 2 weeks minimum
Website Coding and Development
Keep in mind that development and coding may be carried out in parallel with stages like content writing (i.e., these aren't consequent but overlapping phases). Nonetheless, having a sitemap complete before development work begins really helps.
In essence, the developers are responsible for turning the designs into a functioning website. Here are some of the things developers may do during this step:
- set up the website's framework;
- create the front-end and back-end code;
- connect a content management system;
- work on linking up third-party integrations or APIs;
- create backups for code and data;
- set up the domain name and configure the hosting;
- and lots of other things.
Duration: So, how long does it take to code a website? The average time needed to code and test a simple website is three weeks to a month (sometimes more). The duration may, of course, vary according to the tech stack and the complexity of what you're building.
Website Testing, Brush-ups, and Review
As a rule, once some of the parts of the features are coded, the Quality Assurance Engineers perform QA testing to ensure there are no bugs. They test-run the website to make sure:
- the features function the way they should;
- the solution is secure;
- everything works well when launched on various devices and browsers.
This step may be carried out in the course of development (as opposed to checking the solution only when it's completely coded). QA Engineers can run checks in chunks and then run final regression testing too.
Before the website goes live, you also have to make final tweaks to ensure that everything is of due quality. You may hold additional beta tests during this time, fill the website with content, optimize the parts that require improvement, and refine those areas that need fixing or debugging.
Duration: 1 week or more
Website Launch and Maintenance
Once everything is ready for the website launch, developers deploy the solution so it becomes available for public use. Oftentimes, this takes less than one day if the website is small, but it may take longer for more weighty and complex websites.
What happens after your website is released? Well, it requires ongoing support. It's probable that the website might encounter problems or errors that'll need fixing. Plus, it's considered a best practice to run after MVP or after product release health checks once in a while to ascertain that there are no issues with the website as it grows. Apart from updates, you may also continue improving the website after the launch, for instance, by adding new features, tweaking the design, optimizing performance, and posting new content.
Duration: ongoing, 1 month and up
Concluding Thoughts on the Timeline for Website Development
How long does it take to build a website? Count on at least a month or a month and a half to design and launch a website from start to finish. Multiple factors affect the final website timeframe, including what you'll be building, the scope, project goals, and design complexity.
If you're in search of an experienced team to bring your ideas to reality, feel free to contact Upsilon. We've been providing web development services for over a decade, and our diverse professionals, from designers to developers and QA engineers, have created successful products for clients in various niches. We can advise you on how to optimally carry out your project, help you choose the right tech stack, and cut costs and development time.