It’s the million dollar question. How long does it take to build a website? Whether you are a business owner who needs a website or a web designer the real answer is probably a little longer than you think. So whichever end you are on make sure you are being realistic when calculating your time and/or cash flow.

[infobox margin_bottom="0" margin_top="0" border_radius="all" color="white" title=""] iNoobs is a series of articles for those new to web design and web development, created by Zach Katkin, founder of Promana.net, a brilliant resource for small business software news. [/infobox]

Of course there are many factors that come into play that will determine just how long it takes for a  website to be built. It depends on what type of site is being built, how large it will be, what functions and features need to be custom coded and more. Your web designer will obviously be motivated to finish it as quickly as possible in order to get paid and move onto the next client but there are things that can hold them back.

So when commissioning a website what can you do to make sure things move as smoothly and quickly as possible? For a start you can make sure that you are crystal clear on exactly what you want. Provide examples and references for the look, tools, functionality and features you want otherwise you could not only see it taking a lot longer than planned because work needs to be re-started but that the costs escalate quickly as well.

Perhaps the biggest time killer though is content. If you are responsible for providing the content whether it is text, logos, images or videos it doesn’t matter if the web designer created everything else in two days, it isn’t going to get launched. Recognize this and make sure that this is one of your top things on your to-do list.

Also make time for interacting with your web developers and providing feedback. Both parties need to be aware of challenges here and allow time for changes. Each of which can take a couple of days. A basic site with content all ready to go could take just hours, though something really complex may take 8-12 weeks by the time it actually goes live and all issues are smoothed out. A friend recently redid his companies website, having no prior experience (in web design – but a lot of computer know-how), using guides like the iNoobs series he was able to finish his site in roughly 2 months. Granted he was doing a lot of other work at the time, but that should give you an idea. Additionally, I would start from scratch the very first time…

  • Plan out the sitemap (the pages/navigation)
  • Develop the design
  • Cut up the HTML & CSS yourself (hand code in notepad++ or another simple HTML editor)
  • Install on a server and test in all web browsers

As for you buyers, those of you looking to commission a site – you should beware of those quoting extremely short turnaround times and designers should always strive to under promise and over deliver.