Things such as content population, production, image sourcing and user research are key areas of the process which take up time. The duration is also dependent on whether you build the site yourself, hire a freelancer or commission a web design agency.
In this blog, we break down several of the key considerations of a website project, as well as some estimations of how long it might take depending on which route you choose.
Key considerations of a website project
Each of the following points is a critical consideration for any website design and build project regardless of whether you employ and freelancer or agency or choose to do this yourself:
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Domain purchasing and pointing
- SSL certificates
- Data and privacy regulations and ensuring compliance (GDPR)
- Web accessibility regulations
- Content such as copy and images for the site
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) activities
- Use of images and copyright laws
- Responsive design to work across multiple devices
Each of these points requires serious thought. Your website has to be compliant with certain legal requirements, such as privacy and accessibility regulations. You’ll need to research this or seek expert advice before commencing your build, especially if you’re going to do it yourself. SEO is the process of being found on search engines, so if you haven’t factored this into your plans, then your website may not get as much traffic as you’d like. Copyright laws are also really important as any content on your website, both written and visual needs to either be licensed (i.e. using a stock image provider for commercial images) or produced internally (i.e. writing your own website copy and taking your own images). If you fail to adhere to these regulations, you could face a penalty.
Doing it yourself
If you’re on a budget, then creating your website yourself could be the route to go. In this case, make sure you’re familiar with each of the above points, and you could always get some external advice either online or via a connection (LinkedIn is a great way of reaching out to people to get free advice). The biggest decision you’ll need to make is which CMS to use. We recommend using a well-known one such as WordPress.com, Wix, or Squarespace, where there will be lots of online support forums and tutorials to help you along the way.
A DIY website could take anything from a couple of hours to a few days to produce. This will vary depending on which platform you choose, your technical abilities are and the volume of content, features and functionality you choose to use.
Using a freelancer
Hiring a freelancer is a step up from doing it yourself, and not as expensive as hiring an agency. Like agencies, freelancers are used to working on multiple projects and can be booked up in advance so if you’ve got a deadline in mind, we recommend approaching them well in advance with your content ready and a good idea of what you want so that they can hit the ground. Otherwise, you might find yourself waiting months as you move down the priority list.
There are a couple of important things to bear in mind with freelancers. Firstly, you’re only getting the expertise of one person, so no matter how long they’ve been creating websites or how many projects they’ve worked on, it’s unlikely they’ll be experts in all of the areas required to deliver a top-notch website. They’ll either be very good at one or two areas, or a generalist in all of them. The next thing is that they don’t tend to set up service level agreements (SLAs), and can work unconventional hours, especially if located overseas. Which means if you try and call or email, it could be a couple of days before they get back to you, which can be frustrating.
Because you’re generally only dealing with one person, they also have limited capacity so may be busy with other projects if you need their input. This can also affect how long it takes a freelancer to deliver your website. Even with a clear schedule, they’re only one person so they’ll need to work in a linear way which means it will take longer to deliver your website compared to an agency with multiple team members working simultaneously to deliver a project.
Commissioning an agency
If you choose to work with an agency, they’ll generally work to your deadline (as long as it’s realistic). They can support you with each of the areas listed above, utilising the skills and experience of their wider team members to consult on the project. To give you a rough idea of how long a website project might take with an agency, we’ve listed out our services and timings. However, these are based on our work schedule, working with the WordPress platform. Other agencies may take a different approach which can impact timings.
- UX research – This service typically comes before the design and build stage and is an add on but can also be run in parallel if required. A research phase can take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks, depending on which methods you choose.
- A package website – Essentially a template site designed and built by our team to utilise the most popular functionality and kept up to date with the latest design and layout standards. These projects are essentially a reskin of our pre-created package site with your branding, visual style and a selection of functionality, features and content layouts that suit your business. These sites can be delivered in as little as 3 to 4 weeks, and this includes full designs using your branding and front-end build.
- A fully custom brochure website – A website built entirely from scratch using the WordPress platform to suit your unique business requirements. These websites tend to take around 2-3 months to design and develop but can take longer depending on the volume of content and technical requirements.
- A fully custom eCommerce website – Also built entirely from scratch using WordPress and WooCommerce. These sites can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to design and build.
It’s important to note that these timings are purely for the design and build work we carry out and do not include the time it takes from clients to produce and input their content, which is often a big factor that can cause a delay in getting projects across the line.
We hope this blog has helped you gauge an insight into the different components that make up a website and how long the design and build process could typically take. If you’d like to stay up to date with the latest insights, please join our mailing list.