How long does it take to build a website?

The burning question

One of the (very few) boilerplate sections in our website proposals comes in the Project Management section near the end: “Website projects should be given the time they deserve to achieve the required objectives and provide a good ROI for our customers.”.

How long does it take to build a website?
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This is a round about way of saying that we don’t like rushing things to reach nearly impossible deadlines and that we hope our clients can truly appreciate the project requirements and adjust expectations in order to receive the best possible website at the end of the project that’s going to work in the best possible way for the clients’ businesses. But, we are often asked, ‘How long does it take to build a website?

Part of what we do at initial meetings is to try and explain to clients the project milestones we follow and get them to engage with the process. Doing this, they usually fully appreciate what’s involved with a market targeted website project with measurable intended outcomes and then can see why things takes weeks, or months, depending on the complexity of the project. The main thing that a lot of people don’t realise is their part in the project. Web designers can’t do everything – content is required, images, staff photos, payment gateways need registering for, etc. – and we rely on participation from the people we work with to push projects through as quickly as possible for them.

We frequently have enquiries from potential customers who need “a bespoke site and a logo with ecommerce functionality for 1000 products” by the end of the following week. These enquiries are fine, albeit unrealistic, because lots of people don’t know what’s involved, and why should they? I don’t know much about the process my dentist has to go through to get a retainer for my youngest son’s teeth (which he needs) and would need educating as to why it takes two years. I’m sure there’s a reason. Actually, I have asked and apparently ‘it just takes that long’. We, as web design professionals, therefore need to educate our clients as to why we can’t achieve the above ecommerce website in that short period of time and why it’s worth taking the time to do things properly. Rush jobs are messy, prone to errors, liable to need loads of desnagging, frustrate designers and customers and, ultimately, won’t be a good use of clients’ money.

If you’ve made it this far through this article, you’ve read 392 words and probably spent a couple of minutes doing it. To reinforce and to answer the question, ‘How long does it take to build a website?’ this outstanding one-minute video perfectly illustrates the answer which is, ‘As long as it needs in order to succeed’.

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