How long does it take to build a website?
Taking an idea and turning it into a functioning website can be daunting, especially for newcomers. Fortunately, there are a plethora of online solutions to make the process fast and simple. Today, we'll explore the basics of the web development process and show you the fastest options out there.
October 23 · 13 min read
Working with web developers: A typical web development timeline
Many might not realize how much of the web development process is creative. No two clients have the same needs, so no two projects are exactly the same. This makes it difficult to pin down an exact timeframe, though understanding the development timeline will help you predict the length of the project.
Creating a website requires careful consideration upfront by the team or individual building it. Collaboration and communication are key, so it helps to know what you want your site to do before you begin the process.
Whether you’re working with a professional design agency or watching your first tutorial today, these four steps are the fundamentals of launching a website.
1. Plan out your site
One of the most important aspects of building a website happens before any building actually starts, and that’s the planning. Just like you wouldn’t make a house without a blueprint, you can’t start designing a site without a strategy.
The planning phase of web development is a time to ask questions and offer up ideas, either alone or with your web developer(s). This stage takes about two weeks.
Ask yourself questions that will shape your website’s development, including why you’re building a site, what you want to offer visitors, and which services you’ll provide. This is also an opportunity to list your site’s needs and requirements so there are fewer surprises down the line.
2. Design your website
The designing phase is when you take all of your ideas and goals and begin visualizing them. A website designer will use your requirements and transform them into mockups over approximately three weeks.
Mockups are essentially sketches or drafts of how your website will look. Whether digital or hand-drawn, mockups typically aren’t functional. They’re images that give you an idea of how the different pages of your site will appear.
These early images will show how the different web pages will intersect and what they’ll look like to website visitors. Your developers will use the mockups as a template for how to start creating your site.
3. Create your site
With your ideas now visualized as mockups, developers have a frame of reference to begin coding. Similar to a painter’s sketch or writer’s outline, web developers will program a functioning version of the mockups and ideas that you have created together.
During a process that can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, your web developer(s) will build your site. You’ll begin to see animations, layouts, navigation systems, and get an overall impression of what your ideas feel like as a website. Though you want to make the least amount of changes at this point as possible, this is also where the last major changes should take place.
4. Test and launch your website
Finally, once the website has been created and adjusted over a few months, it’s time to prepare for its launch. But before that can happen, you need to go through testing.
Testing involves going through the website thoroughly, both on your own and with unbiased testers, to make sure your site works and communicates as expected. The more complex a website, the longer the testing will take. Typically, testing takes around two weeks.
Ideally, the only changes made during this phase are minor tweaks and adjustments. Once that’s done, you can start displaying your site for the world to see.
How long does building a website take?
The process we just described is the typical web development process, and it takes around four months from start to finish. Though it’s a great way to build a website, for many, it’s too time-consuming and involved. If you’re looking for something a little simpler, here are a few alternatives.
Coding a site from scratch
If you’re not looking to work with any outside support and you want to get your website up and running on your own, consider building it from scratch. If you already know the basics of web design and aren’t in too much of a rush, this might be the best option for you.
Building a website from scratch means you’ll never have to rely on anyone else to update it in the future or pay for changes and new features. Your website will truly be yours.
The obvious downside, however, is that it requires learning how to build a website from the ground up. You can expedite the process with existing frameworks (e.g., Ruby on Rails) but if you’ve never worked with websites before, it can be daunting.
The time this takes will vary depending on your skill. If speed is your concern, we recommend something a little more streamlined.
Using a DIY website builder
Speaking of more streamlined, your next option is using a DIY website builder. You’ve probably seen these all over the internet, as they’re a common and affordable alternative to working with a design agency.
The most popular DIY website builders include WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix. Each of these varies in how much control they give you. WordPress is the most intensive, requiring a significant amount of learning to get up to speed.
Wix and Squarespace, on the other hand, are more straightforward. Many of the design features offered by these sites are drag and drop, which makes building a website more accessible. You can build a website from start to finish with one of these services over just a few days. The downside is that the quality is limited to templates and simple features.
Lastly, there are DIFY (do it for you) website builders, like B12, which combine the simplicity and speed of a DIY solution with the expertise of a web designer. You can build your website on your own using B12’s simplified website editor and then get support from an expert whenever you need it.
This gives you greater flexibility when designing your website and lets you create something fast without sacrificing quality or features. Anything you want to include in your site but aren’t sure how to do on your own can be done with the help of our designers. DIFY solutions like B12 are the fastest, most affordable, and most reliable ways to build a website.
Factors that can affect your timeline
While we’ve outlined general estimates for individual web development processes, these timelines can vary due to outside factors. Here are a few things that can slow down your web design process.
First up is content creation, which is mostly going to be web page copy. Every bit of text on your site has to be written by someone, and it can be time-consuming.
Content also includes things like videos and images. If you’re using graphics, photography, or animations, these need to be created during or before you begin designing your website (unless you’re using a DIY or DIFY solution that offers you graphics).
The less content your website has, the less time this part of the process will take. We don’t recommend skimping on your content. Still, you also shouldn’t feel like you have to fill every page immediately, either. Launch your site with enough content to make it look complete, but plan to add more later.
Functionality and Services
If you’re creating a website that’s solely an online portfolio where people can view your work and contact you, then you can go ahead and skip this section. But if you want your website to have additional functionality, even something as simple as a calendar or calculator, it’s going to add time to your project.
Building a website without services or features is much faster, though not an option for many business owners. Sites with calculators (finance websites), calendars (for scheduling appointments), or chat services usually take extra time to create because these features require programming, which is a different set of related skills. Don’t avoid features and services if you need them, but make sure you plan for them.
The size of your website
The size of your website will be a major determining factor in your timeline as well. Generally, the smaller your site, the faster the build. A small site is one with only a few simple pages (three to four) and takes around two months to complete with a development team. Medium to large sites, on the other hand, can take three months or more to complete. These are more fully featured sites with multiple pages, like online shops.
Build your website faster with B12
If you’re looking for the fastest web-building solution out there, look no further than B12. B12 is a website builder that combines artificial intelligence with a team of web experts to provide you with a beautiful, personalized website fast. You can see a free draft of your new site in minutes.
B12 can save you a substantial amount of time, effort, and money. Our AI automatically generates the basic framework of your site, including copy, in a matter of minutes based on your goals and industry. The time you save setting up your site allows you to focus on the bigger picture.
B12 offers DIY and DIFY website solutions as well, so you can have as much control over the design of your website as you like. Our experts are always available to address any questions, concerns, or requests.
B12 vs. a design agency
As we covered earlier, the traditional web building process with a design agency is extremely time-consuming, taking months to complete even a simple website. These websites are expensive to build and difficult to change.
The result is an inflexible website and an emptied budget. With B12, however, you can get similar or better results for a fraction of the cost in just a week or two. Not to mention that B12-built websites are easily changed, so you can always keep up with the latest design trends.
Build your site overnight with B12
With so many businesses entirely based online these days, having a high-quality website is crucial. If you’re looking for a fast website solution, you can try out B12 for free.