Are you looking to build a website for your business and wondering how long it will take? Developing and launching an effective, professional website is a process. It requires careful planning and research upfront, as well as technical and creative skills in building the actual site (although website building platforms can remove or minimize some of these barriers).
Building a website can take anywhere from one day to six months (or more), depending on its complexity, customization needs, content organization requirements, integration goals, and other factors.
Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about how long it takes to build a website.
- Building a website takes anywhere from one day to six months (or more), depending on a combination of factors.
- Possibly the biggest factor influencing the timeline is whether you hire a professional designer or developer to create a custom site, instead of using a no-code website builder like Squarespace.
- Modern website builders allow you to create a professional site in as little as a day or less if you have all the content and materials ready.
- On average, you should expect a custom build to take at least 2-4 months from start to finish.
- Website builders will meet the needs of most small businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs. However, certain projects require a professional designer or developer.
- Several factors are outside the control of a designer/developer. Clients can speed up the process by having all content ready ahead of time (or getting it ready quickly) and providing feedback and approvals in a timely manner.
Looking to build your website quickly? See our guide How to Make a Website which walks you through the process.
Understanding the Factors That Affect How Long It Takes To Build a Website
When creating a website, these are the most significant factors that will determine the length of the process.
Custom Build vs. Using a Website Builder
Creating a website from scratch with custom coding requires far more time and effort than using a no-code website builder like Squarespace or Shopify. A custom build is much more involved because a designer, developer, or team is needed. They’ll do much of the work manually. While this gives you more control and flexibility, it also adds significant time and expense compared to using a drag-and-drop website builder.
By going with a no-code website builder, you can avoid the need to hire a designer or developer. You’ll start with a pre-designed template, enter your content, and customize the design by changing simple settings or using a drag-and-drop interface. The process is generally very quick, and it’s easy to create a professional site.
Complexity and Scope of the Website
The complexity and scope of a website are key factors that impact how long it takes to build. This includes the design, functionality, size, and features – all of which require varying amounts of time.
Functionality such as forms, interactive elements, custom widgets, or tools (like custom calculators) can add days, weeks, or even months depending on the required level of customization.
Other factors include database integration, support for user accounts, and other features that aren’t standard on a basic website.
Customization and Integrations
When building a website, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Customization and integrations are essential in ensuring that the final product meets the distinct needs of your business.
Integrations can include links to payment gateways, shipping services, or even social media accounts. Some integrations are simple, especially if it involves a pre-coded element. For example, integrating a payment gateway with an existing e-commerce platform is simple. However, integrations that must be coded from scratch or significantly modified will require more time.
Customization allows you to tailor unique features like colors, fonts, and logos. For a custom design, this is just part of the process. If you’re using a website builder like Squarespace, most customizations will add a small amount of time, as they’re relatively easy to make. More significant customizations that require coding will add more time to the process.
Content Creation and Organization
Content is important in website building because it helps attract and retain customers, improve search engine rankings, and ultimately lead to increased conversions and sales.
Businesses with a website presence must create content that adds value for their audience, as this will keep them engaged longer on the site.
Creating effective content starts with mapping out a simple yet informative organizational structure. This helps visitors find what they’re looking for in fewer clicks than if the content were disorganized.
Content needs to be well thought-out before making it public. Taking time during the planning phase allows businesses to consider keywords, CTAs (call-to-actions), visuals such as images or infographics, customer reviews/testimonials, etc. All of these can help create engaging content tailored toward user needs.
The time needed for content creation varies depending on the site’s size. You can speed up the process by having much of the content ready before starting the process of building the site. For example, building your website with Squarespace is very fast if you have the page text and images/videos created ahead of time.
Most design projects require some approval process. If you’re working with a designer or developer on a custom site, there may be several times when the client must sign off or give approval before moving on to the next step. And if you’re using a website builder and taking a DIY approach, other teams or individuals may need to review and approve the pages or the site before going live.
The approval process can significantly impact the timeline for building and launching a website. Faster approval with less back and forth will reduce the time needed before launching.
The Website Development Phases and Timeline Estimates
The website-building process generally consists of four distinct phases:
- Planning and research
- Visual design
- Testing & launch
The time needed for each will vary, but we’ll present a reasonable range below. We’re leaving out content creation because it’s a good idea to have the content ready beforehand (as much as possible).
Planning and Research
Before beginning any website-building project, careful planning and research are necessary to ensure the project has a strong foundation and clear direction. An effective website strategy involves exploring the client’s or stakeholder’s requirements, examining competitors’ websites, and developing a creative brief to guide the process of designing, developing, and testing the website.
This process is mostly the same regardless of whether it’s a custom build or you use a DIY website builder.
Required time: 1 to 4 weeks
The visual design of a website is essential to create an engaging online presence for businesses. It can capture visitors’ attention, stimulate their interest in what the business offers, and even encourage them to take action.
Visual design elements include colors, typography, imagery, and layout, or how these elements are arranged on the page. Choosing the right combination helps set a cohesive mood throughout the site while creating an effective user experience that keeps people engaged.
Responsive web design must also be considered as today’s users access websites from many different devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones of varying shapes and sizes.
A responsive website will automatically adjust its resolution based on the visitor’s device, making sure content remains visible no matter how big or small screen size they have available.
The length of this stage depends on whether you’re creating from scratch or using a website builder. For example, Squarespace offers a selection of beautiful templates. If you choose a template that closely matches the visual design you want, there’s almost no time needed for this stage.
However, if you build a custom site with a designer, everything must be done from scratch.
Required time using a no-code website builder: 1 day to 1 week
Required time for a custom design: 2 to 4 weeks
If you go with a DIY website builder and use the base functionality of the platform or template, nothing must be coded because it’s already done for you. This represents a huge savings in time and money.
Required time using a no-code website builder: 0 days
Required time for coding a custom design: 2 weeks to 2 months
Testing and Launch
Testing and launch is the last phase of web development. This stage involves rigorous testing of the developed website to ensure its functionality and usability.
All features must be tested thoroughly, including forms, payment options, analytics systems, plugins etc. Look for any errors or bugs that may have been overlooked in earlier phases.
Of course, the site’s complexity will impact how much time is needed for testing. A simple website, like a five-page site with no interactive elements, will be much faster to test than a larger and more complex site.
Sites built with no-code website builders are usually simpler than custom sites, so they are typically faster to test.
Required time using a no-code website builder: 1 day to 1 week
Required time for a custom site: 1 to 2 weeks
How Long Does It Take for a Professional Developer To Build a Custom Website?
A professional developer’s timeline for building a website depends on several factors. The complexity and scope of the site, customization and integrations needed, content creation and organization, and the approval processes are all important components that can make or break the time it takes to get the job done right.
On average, expect it to take at least 2-4 months before a new website is live and online. This includes planning and research (1-4 weeks), visual design (2-4 weeks), development (2 weeks to 2 months), and testing and website launch (1-2 weeks).
Ultimately, projects vary considerably on an individual basis. However, the process takes considerable time no matter who’s doing the work or how the project is approached. There’s no point in rushing the process. If you’re paying for a custom website design and build, you’ll want it done right.
How Long Does It Take To Build a Website Using a Website Builder?
Using a website builder like Squarespace is the quickest way to get a professional website up and running. Generally, creating a basic website can take as little as a day if you use a template that closely matches the look and layout you want. For the process to go this quickly, you’ll need to have the site planning and content ready ahead of time.
However, larger sites may take several days or even weeks, depending on what features and functionality you need for your business. No-code website builders offer plenty of options and possibilities for customization, so you can make the process as involved as you want.
Is a Website Redesign Quicker Than Building a New Website?
A website redesign can be quicker than building a new website from scratch, but this isn’t always the case. Much of the process remains the same regardless of whether it’s a redesign or a new build from scratch. Unless the redesign only impacts minor aspects of the design, all of the stages covered above are still needed.
Factors such as the complexity and scope of the project, customization requirements, available content, and organization and approval processes will all influence how long the task will take.
One factor that can speed up a redesign is content availability. No time is needed to create content if you’re making changes to the design and layout but using the same content.
What’s the Quickest Way To Create a Website?
The quickest way to get a website up and running is by using a website builder, which can take as little as a few hours for the most basic sites. Squarespace is our favorite website builder because they offer an excellent selection of templates that make it fast and easy for anyone to create a professional website. The typical small business website can be set up very quickly if you have the content ready.
You can see our list of the best website builders for more options besides Squarespace.
Website builders require very little technical knowledge. All users need to do is pick from pre-designed templates, enter their information, and start customizing it with images or text blocks. With these platforms, websites can easily be deployed without code or development work.
On the other hand, designing and deploying a custom-built website could take several months due to the complexity of the design and development process involved. Of course, this also significantly impacts how much it costs to build a website.
The amount of time needed to create a website depends on many factors. The most significant factor is whether you hire a designer or developer for a custom build or go with a DIY approach and use a no-code website builder. Creating your site in as little as a day is possible by using a drag-and-drop builder and a good template.
No-code website builders won’t give you the same flexibility that you’ll have with a custom site, but you might be surprised by what they’re capable of and how good they can look. These platforms can easily meet the needs of most small businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs. You’ll also save thousands of dollars compared to hiring a designer or developer.
If you decide to use a website builder, we highly recommend Squarespace because of its outstanding templates and easy customization options. They also offer a free trial so you can build your site without commitment.