Building a website can take anywhere from 2 hours on a website builder like Wix or Squarespace if it’s a super simple informational site to 2 years when it’s a complicated E-commerce site with numerous levels of categorization. An average amount of time for most professional website design and development projects is 2 to 3 months for small to mid-size businesses.
My process is generally 2-3 months to factor in time for feedback and iteration
It’s not that it can’t be done any quicker, it’s usually on the client side that there is some stutter-stepping and the back and forth is often vital to make sure the project fulfills the goals of the organization. I want clients and their employees to be super proud of their website and feel like it represents them culturally and exemplifies their strengths well to their customers as well. This massaging and building, requires tweaks that can’t be hammered into place in two weeks.
My process consists of 4 distinct phases:
- Discovery – basically we meet up and jam out about what makes your company special, I get visual assets from you such as photography and branding elements that have already been created – we catch up on keys to the kingdom like what exactly the main goals of the site are.
- Architecture – I create a wireframes and plot the general structure of the website. Depending on how large or small the project is, this could include deep detailed Adobe Illustrator files for websites with different menu systems and complicated hierarchies, or sketches that I use ‘internally’ for simpler marketing websites.
- Visual design – taking the structure and applying the visual polish, coming up with ways to showcase your brand and what you do that’s remarkable in a visual way that grabs people attention, and also creating the designs for inner pages that make sense to make templates for. We go back and forth a bit, tweaking the designs to perfection with your feedback.
- Development – The website gets coded, while I consider what needs to be readily available to edit – and what should probably be separated so that you don’t accidentally mess up the website. This goes back to the discovery, I always consider what you’ll be updating regularly when creating the website in the content management system (in my case WordPress.)
There’s always some revision that happens in development as well
There’s always things that you or I didn’t consider during the design phase that crop up, and as much as I like the design to match up perfectly with the final developed site – with real content being entered sometimes new scenarios crop up. I plan for some adjustments after the site is developed.
Most of the time when a project goes beyond the initial agreed upon timeline, in my experience, it’s because a client has a bit too much on their plate and communication lags. This isn’t ideal, but is definitely not uncommon – that is why there is a ‘cold project restart fee’ that is assessed if this occurs.
Not fun, but necessary – as the time in the project queue was taken up by the project (and other projects may have been passed on because the time was ‘spoken for’), regardless of whether the time was used or not.