How long does it take to build a website?

One of the questions we get asked most often here at Vu is how long does it take to build a website? and the answer is never quite as short as people want it to be.

What we will cover

How long does it take to build a website?

The best answer we can give upfront is an estimate as we don’t know whether the website will be built on open-source functionality like WordPress or a bespoke build from scratch until we know your needs.

We also have no idea of your or your team’s ability get through your tasks as part of the project, and even that will only be a guess after we’ve defined the project during our initial meeting.

However, our aim is to give customers as accurate an estimate, and as detailed a timeline, as possible though there is always a level of uncertainty that’s inherent in the web design process.

Being aware of where the time goes is key to understanding why it can take a while to build a website, and to start with we’ll look at why it’s hard to accurately quantify this.

Actual Time vs Elapsed Time

Hypothetically speaking it might be possible to accurately determine the length of your build if:

  1. We work on it from start to finish, and nothing else
  2. All the content for your new site is ready to go from day one
  3. The phone doesn’t ring, no one gets sick, and a meteorite doesn’t strike the office

All three scenarios are unlikely because we’re running a business and if your website was the only one we were working on we’d be in trouble, creating content and getting things signed off takes time, and most importantly – life happens.

While it’s true we’ve turned around websites in the space of a week, these builds tend to be the exception that proves the rule and more often than not it takes us several months from officially launching a project to completing it.

In a way it’s a bit like a game of chess, with the client on one side of the board and us on the other. Everyone from the pawns to the queen will be involved in the final outcome, though there will be some times when pieces get blocked or one side has to open the door for the pizza guy.

The Chess Clock

So we’ve laid out the board, now let’s put the chess clock on the table. Say for example we’ve started building your website and we’ve done our first bit – we’ve designed a template, crafted some killer code, or have put a CMS (content management system) in place that’s waiting for some content. It’s your move now and we can’t do anything until you’ve responded. You should think of this as the time it takes you to build a website.

We appreciate that creating content takes time, and creating good content takes even longer, so we don’t expect clients to rush this part. We also understand that things need to be approved, signed off, and given the thumbs up by multiple people in order to proceed which can also stretch a project out, especially in larger organisations.

Teamwork makes the Dream work

When you’re spending a significant amount on a project where there’s a certain level of uncertainty it can be unnerving, for both the client and the agency. That’s why Vu uses a project management system called Teamwork to ensure that even when there’s a delay you can be sure your site is still on track. It’s our version of a chess clock.

Teamwork is a control panel that allows you to track your project and see exactly what stage it is at. You’ll see what everybody, including yourself, needs to do to make sure everything keeps moving and will be able to communicate with the team through the system. When your project officially starts we’ll create a login for you so you can see exactly where you are and where you’re going from day one.

Quicker isn’t better

If you can find someone who claims they can deliver a quality website in a short period of time (i.e. less than a month) be cautious. If your chosen agency can dedicate the time required to build a site this quickly then it probably means one of four things:

  • They don’t have any other work (a busy agency is a good agency)
  • They’re going to dash out a generic site which looks like 1000s of others
  • They don’t know how to build a quality website
  • They’re bladderless vampires and don’t need toilet breaks or sleep

If they’re promising a speedy delivery, and they do have other work on, it’s highly likely what you’ll be getting is a rush job and not the well-made website you need to grow your business. Likewise while you may be satisfied with a generic site your web-savvy customers won’t be so impressed and it won’t help you to grow your brand. Also if you’re concerned they’re vampires then it might be a good idea to keep a plate of garlic bread in the meeting room.

So to answer the question how long does it take to build a website the best response we can come up with is “at least 2 to 3 months, 3 or more for larger projects”. This gives us enough time to create the well-crafted site that you deserve and which will give you a return on your investment, while it allows you enough time to create all the content that will flesh out your new website.

The fact you want us to give you an idea of how long it will take to build the website shows you are seriously considering hooking up with a digital agency in Devon for a website project so let’s set up an informal chat first.

From there we’ll have an initial meeting which will enable us to create the best estimate possible for your project’s timeline and milestones.

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