Knowing the answer to the question ‘how long does it take to build a website?’ may be crucial for a project’s success.
Software developers need a preliminary time estimate to give a price quote. Knowledge also means the ability to plan ahead. Many freelance developers offer to complete a WordPress website in 2-3 days. Others say they can launch one ‘within hours.’ However, this declared super-speed should be an alarming signal. A functional custom-designed website indeed takes more time to build.
Table of contents
We are about to suggest some ranges for informational purposes. The first calculation is based on essential milestones followed by most designers and developers and our web development experience.
The second method is based on the average time to build a website of a specific type. Bear in mind that neither estimation can be precise or universal. Every project is different because the business needs and resources behind it are unique. Therefore, project delivery timelines will differ too.
This post should give you an idea of what to expect and a better understanding of how long it takes to design and develop a website. Let's dive into it!
The time it takes to develop a website ranges from 150 to 500 hours. The amount of time spent on each stage corresponds to its set of objectives and complexity. Let's take a look at each step and calculate how long they might take in total:
1. Discovery and planning (80+ hours)
The initial stage is the project’s foundation for success. The designers and developers need to understand the client’s needs, goals, and target audience as early as possible. A project team can estimate web development time rather precisely at this stage, provided that:
- User Stories are assembled into a Prioritised Requirements List (PRL)
- High-level wireframes that closely resemble the final design and its flow
- Performance requirements are listed
- MVP scope (its milestones and timelines) is defined
Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Usually, we have to start with research and reviews of the project requirements, technical specifications, and/or designs. The client may have to fill out briefs and answer questions relating to their vision and goals, critical design elements and preferences, the business’ value proposition, selling process, and so on.
The details may be discussed during phone calls or video conferences. The team usually develops a site map to identify the overall content structure. Once the client has approved it, the team can decide on the necessary technologies and make wireframes. Two rounds of project specification reviews and wireframes of the main pages are typically required.
Note that this phase is very intense in terms of communication: a lot of calls will be made to clarify details and decide on the next steps. Responsiveness and active participation of the product owner are crucial so the team can work seamlessly, having a clear product vision before its eyes. It will define the overall seamlessness of the project’s flow.
At the end of this phase, the team developing the site should possess sufficient documentation to begin the design process. Finally, the team sets the milestones and timeline for the project.
The timeframe of this stage starts from 80 hours. Multiple revisions take extra time.
2. Content Creation (80+ hours)
A successful website must have practical and appealing content. It’s not limited to visual, video, and audio content, texts, and possibly content migrated over from existing sites. Key messages, calls to action, page titles, headings, and keywords must be placed to optimize its performance on search engines.
For large projects, the procurement of content is lengthy and, in some cases, the most time-consuming aspect of building a website. Moreover, it’s often determining and overlapping with other stages. A good content plan speeds up web development and will eventually increase the website’s presence and usability.
Project teams should start writing content after planning the site and before (or at least during) the design phase. It saves time and saves from nasty surprises down the road. For example,
- Designers plan the layout to further fill it with various elements
- The team creates architecture, plans the database size, query format, etc.
- QA engineers create test cases based on the designers’ and team’s efforts
Content accuracy is pretty vital since every omission leads to overtime and budget-stretching.
The timeline for this phase varies greatly and depends not only on the number of web pages. The content creation can take 80 hours and more, so it’s reasonable to start as early as possible.
3. UI/UX Design (48+ hours)
This stage aims to create a visually appealing, user-friendly interface for the functionalities the client needs. The designer uses the information, wireframes, and content from the previous stages to make pixel-perfect representations of the website's intended look and navigation.
The mockups usually include the landing/homepage design, internal pages, and mobile views. From color pallets to fonts, the design should match the company image and business needs. The mockups are presented to the client, refined following the feedback, and finally approved.
Businesses need to be very careful when it comes to their online presence. The highly competitive environment leaves little room for mistakes, especially for eCommerce websites.
If the discovery stage is successful, UX/UI design is fast. However, in some cases, this step can take a few days more or another week, depending on the required revisions. The design stage may last around 48 hours.
4. Web Development / Coding (16+ hours)
Front-end development can start as soon as the design and content are ready. If the website requires complex queries, integration with third-party services, non-standard data processing tasks, and so on, the backend development time will be significant. Testing throughout the phase must ensure the quality of the product.
The coding, validation, and cross-platform and browser testing take a large portion of the overall website timeline. Much depends on the client because they must communicate with the team, provide feedback regularly, and request changes. Depending on the scope of work, the technology used, and whether the requirements are changing, coding may take 16 hours for web developers or more.
5. Beta Testing & Modification (8+ hours)
Before launch, the complete and fully functional product must go through a final period of testing. The team has to make sure the product matches the approved designs and specifications. They run through sets of tests and review the code.
Typos, slow-loading pages, and non-loading elements are the easiest to detect. The users and investors provide feedback as to any design, functionality, or content improvements. The team must check the correct functioning across multiple web browsers, devices, and screen sizes and perform search engine optimization if needed. Final approval by all involved in the project is required before they can have the website launched. Incomplete content is the number one cause of delayed launches.
The modification phase may take from 8 hours, or as long as the client requires to perfect the website. Once a minimum viable product (MVP) is up and running, the client can start earning money and improving on the website following the end-users feedback.
6. Official Launch (8+ hours)
Once all parameters of the beta testing are fulfilled, it’s time to launch the website for the public. This is a task for a day or two unless the site is complex, involving a variety of apps and components. After launch, the site may require some tweaks and revisions until it looks and works properly.
That gives us a minimum of 240 hours in total.
It’s no accident that we had explicitly mentioned WordPress. Its ready-made themes and site builders streamline and accelerate the development.
In WordPress development, after the universal ‘milestones’ of discovery and content creation, the website timeline is a bit different:
- Find a web hosting and purchase a domain. This step shouldn’t take more than 1-2 hours.
- Set up WordPress and choose a free or premium theme. After a few hours of comparing the options, it shouldn’t take you more than 4 hours.
- Build the necessary pages, install the plugins, and customize the theme. With a site builder, the phase can take you 4-8 hours. Otherwise, expect to spend at least a week. Revisions or small changes may take a few extra days.
- Test the website and make the necessary adjustments before the launch. Take at least 2 days to go over your site on a granular level.
With the same amount of time allocated to the discovery phase and content, that totals in a minimum of 190 hours.
Read also: Why Project Discovery Phase
Looking over both website development timelines, one can conclude that a simple website with content can be done in about a month, while large and complex projects may require months of work. From the initial planning to the launch, each stage may take more or less time. A site’s purpose and complexity is a significant factor. Ironically, the same can help to find out a feasible amount of time to build your website.
The term ‘tech stack’ refers to a set of technologies, namely programming languages, including their modules, libraries, frameworks, etc. They are tools that help effectively create a website.
Today, there is no shortage of technologies to choose from, making selecting the right one a challenge. In all Onix’s years of development experience, we have had a chance to use all kinds of tech stack combinations. In this article, we will share the most popular tech stack models for developing a website.
Still, your options aren’t limited by the tech stack models listed above. Choosing a tech stack that parallels your projects’ objective and decreases the average time to create a website could be something to place your focus on. Here’s a little chart you can use as a guide when choosing a website development stack:
There are dozens of website types, from landing pages to complex enterprise solutions. Logically, there should be dozens of ‘typical’ time frames. Some agencies publish the average time to create a website to give potential clients an idea of what to expect.
We’ll also try to give several ranges for the types we encounter most often:
Landing Page (35+ hours)
A landing page may be a single-page website or a separate page on a multi-page website. It’s created for promoting or selling a product or service and should motivate visitors to take action. Therefore, the discovery, content creation, and reviews take less time than usual. The web design time estimate ranges within 15-80 hours. The time of landing page development starts from 24 hours. It can vary depending on the animation complexity and other project requirements, rough estimate might look as follows:
- Design - 15-80 hours;
- Development - 24-80 hours;
- DevOps - 8-24 hours;
- QA - 8-16 hours.
Website for a Business (165+ hours)
The informational site must promote the brand and increase the customers’ loyalty. The time of developing the site depends on its complexity. The simplest one has 4-5 pages: About Us, Services, Blog, etc.
With WordPress, it’s feasible to create a basic website within 5 hours, provided that all requirements are precise and the content was available beforehand. Membership features, subscriptions, downloadable content, and similar functionalities increase complexity. Each additional function takes more hours to build. A website for a large business with multiple functionalities can take months to complete.
Ecommerce Website (350+ hours)
Ecommerce requires more significant investment into every step of the website timeline, especially the UX/UI aspect. The technology stack can also differ significantly from project to project, depending on business objectives. All these factors contribute to the total time to build a custom website.
Content management systems (CMS) allow website owners to create, manage, and edit content on their resources. If you want a custom CMS, the extra development time will be roughly 60-180 hours. CMS engines like Drupal, Shopify, or WordPress help cut development hours and reduce the required cost to build a website.
The method of ‘average hours to design a website’ looks attractive and helps plan the budget. Unfortunately, the number may not prove accurate in the end. Moreover, there are different technologies, development teams differ in size and skill levels, and the developers practice different methodologies. Therefore, ‘average hours’ cited by one can be irrelevant for another.
What about changing the perspective? Surprisingly, ‘thinking small’ can help you to control the web development timeline and budget. Don’t plan an entire project for months, let alone a year ahead. Negotiate with the development team for a month of work. At the end of the month, they should deliver an MVP. It’s ready to launch and start working for you. Every month, the team will add features and improve the product according to the current requirements, such as end-users needs or performance requirements. You enjoy a working product and the ability to plan your time frames and budget.
Are you having trouble with the question of ‘how many hours to design a website is needed?’ without mentioning additional factors that may influence the overall duration of the development. They are:
The clarity of the requirements
A technical requirements document for a website should outline its functions, features and capabilities, steps to build it, and the budget and deadlines. There are no definite rules for how the document should look, but it aims to build a common ground for website owners and development teams. Your website development team can help you create such a document that will be a guiding light throughout a project.
The goal of the website
A website aimed only at lead generation (also known as a landing page) will take less time to develop than a web app that provides users with the required utility. A typical landing page is a one-page site that contains just the critical information about the company, its products, or services and has relatively limited functionality. Such a website can be built in a couple of weeks. On the other hand, a full-fledged website with complex functionality, various add-ons, plugins and features may take no less than 4 weeks to make, plus it will take more time to test compared to a landing page.
Even full-fledged websites differ by complexity. For example, an eCommerce website will take around 1,000 hours to build, while a social media website can take 2,000 hours or more.
Services you’ll provide through your website
Services affect features you may need and their complexity. E.g., if you want to create a service for users to send messages and chat with other users, it will take longer to create a website since it should be end-to-end encrypted. A contact form simply emails all the input information to an email address you provide. It also needs to be secured, but it is a one-way communication that makes it significantly easier to secure the form.
Average hours to design a website can grow if you want your website to run seamlessly on different platforms (e.g., Windows, MAC, or Android).
The expertise level of your team
For example, Onix can apply its vast experience to create a website in time and on budget as we have professionals who can make the entire development process predictable. We provide a full cycle dev team, so you won’t need to hire any additional specialists or dive into the management process, for that matter.
Embarking on the journey of website development demands a strategic approach to ensure efficiency, functionality, and user satisfaction. By adhering to a set of essential guidelines, developers can streamline their processes and create websites that excel in performance and user experience. Here, we present a series of valuable tips that pave the way for efficient website development.
Clear Project Planning
Before you start coding, invest time in comprehensive project planning. Define the website's purpose, target audience, features, and functionality. Create a detailed sitemap or wireframes to outline the site's structure. Having a clear plan helps prevent scope creep and ensures everyone on the development team understands the project's goals.
Design your website to be responsive, meaning it adapts seamlessly to various screen sizes and devices. With the increasing use of mobile devices, a responsive design is essential for delivering a consistent and user-friendly experience across all platforms. Test the website on different devices to ensure it looks and functions well everywhere.
Utilize Version Control
Version control systems like Git are crucial for efficient collaboration among developers. They allow you to track changes, manage different versions of your code, and collaborate effectively in a team. This ensures that multiple developers can work on the project simultaneously without overwriting each other's work.
Website speed and performance are critical for user experience and search engine rankings. Optimize images and other media, minimize code and scripts, use caching techniques, and employ content delivery networks (CDNs) to reduce loading times. Regularly monitor and analyze your site's performance to identify areas for improvement.
Security should be a top priority. Implement secure coding practices to prevent vulnerabilities and potential breaches. Keep software and plugins up to date, use strong authentication methods, and employ HTTPS encryption to protect user data. Regularly audit and monitor your website for security vulnerabilities.
Keep the user experience at the forefront of your development process. Design intuitive navigation, prioritize accessibility for users with disabilities, and ensure the content is easy to read and understand. Conduct user testing to gather feedback and make necessary improvements based on real user interactions.
Modular Development and Code Reusability
Break your website into modular components and develop reusable code. This not only speeds up development but also makes maintenance and updates more efficient. Utilize frameworks, libraries, and coding patterns that encourage code reusability.
Implement continuous testing throughout the development process. Write unit tests, integration tests, and perform regular quality assurance checks to identify and fix issues early in the development cycle. Automated testing tools can help ensure consistent and reliable results.
Web development services at Onix are well-established methodologies combined with vast experience in conveying superior web solutions on time and within budget. Our talented and dedicated teams of developers match current technologies with customer anticipations and requirements to implement a user-friendly interface that brings a unique user experience. For over 20 years, Onix has brought hundreds of website ideas to life. Here are some of them:
- Learning Pool. It is a Learning Experience Platform: large data warehouse and video streaming and video hosting service with elements of machine learning (something like Netflix for education). The project was based on an Agile approach with a Kanban board familiar to our team and made them accustomed to constant changes on Agile projects.
Thanks to their experience in rapid development under the pressure of deadlines, the team has helped speed development and task execution at Learning Pool without compromising quality. Various challenges and opportunities arose in the process that required our team's attention and crafty skills, such as technology updates, entire project review with leaks fixing, structuring the existing code, and rewriting the query builder.
- MiPaddle. One more example of website development we made is MiPaddle. The project idea was created by two friends who bonded over their love of paddle tennis and teaching. They saw a need for an easy way for people to connect, find paddle partners, and be a part of a like-minded community. The client came to Onix by the recommendation of their friends, also our client. The founder of MiPaddle requested our team to create a paddle tennis website, Android and iOS apps, and Admin Panel for content management.
One of the primary goals of the design was to make users feel the dynamic of sport through the interface. This was reached by the beveled edges of buttons that imitate moving. Also, it was required to keep the design simple and friendly. We managed to achieve this by color scheme and forms of elements. As a result, the MiPaddle website is now more than just a website; it’s a community of like-minded paddle tennis enthusiasts where they can share common interests and track the progress of their play.
Read also: Guide to Micro-Investment App Development
How long does it take to make a website? The amount of time varies depending on the goal, size, and complexity of the project.
Moreover, projects of the same type differ from one another. Someone may spend months preparing content for an otherwise ‘simple’ project, whereas others build an online store within days leveraging the benefits of WordPress. The latter specifies the answer to the title question: it depends, but it is shorter with WordPress.
Regardless of the project's scope, it's crucial to establish a timeline of stages and objectives to ensure the optimal result within the shortest amount of time. The developers should deliver on time and budget. If you wish to get your website launched on time, prepare the product requirements and content beforehand.
Many developers cite 30-45 days as a ‘normal’ time frame and agree that software development depends on a vast number of factors. An experienced PM should help you consider all the elements and estimate the optimal time and cost to build your website. Contact Onix — we’ll be happy to help!
- What is the best way to get a website developed?
There are three common options available: hire a freelancer, hire an in-house team or hire a dedicated outsourcing development team. The decision you make depends on many factors, such as the availability of additional resources if the project gets stretched or whether you have precise requirements or still need assistance, etc. The critical advantages of each are:
- In-house team: A high level of dedication since they work only on your project.
- Freelancers: the most cost-effective option.
- A dedicated outsourcing team: such a team can assist you at every product development stage, from validating your business idea to the very launch.
- Is the development time for the front end typically longer or shorter than the development time for the back end of a website?
On average, about the same. Yet, the backend will take longer for an extensive eCommerce web application that uses various payment methods, CRM, and some more complex features and functionalities. All the same, if your website is design-centered, the front end may take longer to develop.
- Which part of website development eats up more time?
Contrary to the popular belief that the most time-consuming element of website development is coding, in actuality, it is getting the right requirements for the project. If they are dealt with properly, the team will have an explicit estimation and definite hours to develop a website, so it doesn’t consume time but takes as much as it requires.
- Does WordPress reduce a lot of time in website development?
As it was mentioned above, the average time to build a website using WordPress is around 5 weeks or 200 hours, while creating a custom website takes 240 hours at the very least. So yes, WordPress can save you a lot of time. However, WordPress is suitable just for basic and mid-level websites; it won’t be very useful for a tailored-made website.
- How can a non-technical person estimate the time for website development?
It’s more about knowing a website development lifecycle and inner processes than being a technical or non-technical person. How long does it take to code a website? To estimate and answer this question, developers need as many details on a future project as possible (e.g., project requirements, technical specifications, and designs).