As it is with finding the price, the time it takes to complete your website project depends on a lot of factors. Remember, no two websites are exactly the same, and certainly neither are any two developers.
Time estimates for different types of websites
The examples below define four broad categories of typical websites. By comparing your web project against the list below, you can get a good idea of the amount of time expected to build your website.
Because we hope that everyone wants things done the right way, we based the following examples on a reasonable expectation of quality. Therefore, the low time estimate represents the shortest average amount of time needed to produce quality work.
Simple Small Business Website
A simple website, typically for a small business, will have a limited number of pages (no more than 10-12). It's main purpose is to provide information and represent a company, product or service online. Usually, these types of websites will not have any special features aside from a contact form, and their designs are somewhat generic.
Length of Time: 1.5-3 weeks
Moderately Feature-Rich Website
Websites like these usually contain some special features such as user logins and accounts, a content management system (CMS), multiple forms, and maybe some integrations from third parties. These sites are usually larger in scale and scope, and often are run off of a database. It would be expected that the design of the site would be completely custom.
Length of Time: 3-10 weeks
Moderate Ecommerce Website
This type of website sells products, and sometimes services (or both), online. While ecommerce websites of this size don't compare to something like Amazon or eBay, they still require a lot of consideration, planning, experience and resources. Despite ecommerce having become a lot less complicated over the years, these websites are more involved than most and have a lot more moving parts including everything from product data, security and customer accounts to credit card processing, shipping and returns.
Length of Time: 1-4 months
Large Scale Website, Unique and Custom Functions, Big Ecommerce
Some of the most difficult and time intensive websites to build are those that require completely custom functions (even if those functions aren't unique) and those that have a long list of requirements. These sites are often large in scope and/or scale, and, usually, they focus heavily on security, data integrity and relatively complex programming. The design, look and feel will be completely custom and/or fit to meet branding guidelines from larger companies. This type of website demands a team that is highly skilled and very experienced.
Length of Time: 3-9 months
Things that effect time the most
It's fair to say that the list of things that can influence the time it takes to build a website can be very long. However, we've done our best to outline a few of the most influential culprits here:
- Complexity of the website: The overall complexity of your project will greatly effect the amount of time, and the level of expertise needed, to build your website. And complexity usually goes hand in hand with the size of the site's scope.
- Experience of Developer: It should go without saying that a designer or programmer with more experience will be able to work more efficiently, and therefore faster, than those with fewer years under their belts. They'll also make fewer mistakes.
- Preparedness of Client: If you have only a faint idea of what you want or need, and why, your developer will have to spend extra time in the beginning of the project to discover and outline the scope of your project.
- Changes and Additions: This isn't unique to web development, but nothing complicates and slows down a project like indecision, changes and additions. This is known as scope creep.
- Poor Planning: Sometimes clients and developers are anxious to get the ball rolling, but insufficient planning will always lead to questions later on and potentially things being missed altogether.
- Communication and Availability: This is a two-way street. Both the client and the developer must be responsive to each other. Everything else can be perfectly executed, but if either party is unavailable to the other or is simply a poor communicator, it can negatively effect the timeline of any project - very quickly.
- Testing: Every web project needs to be tested, and testing must take place during development and after the project is complete. Make sure to allow ample time for testing because it is an often missed yet vitally important step in the development process.
Remember, there are exceptions to every rule, and the amount of time it takes to develop any website is no different.