Having been in the website business for years, it was always amusing to me when a prospect for a new website would delay their decision to go forward with our web proposal, but then would hound us about how quickly it needed to be up and running as soon as they signed. While this may be human nature to want satisfaction from your purchase quickly, it is important that you have reasonable expectations about what it takes to build a proper website and how long it may be before your site is launched.
When you decide you want a new website, the first thing you need to decide is what you want to accomplish with your new site. That process alone can take weeks to months but that is on the shoulders of your in house marketing team or outsourced marketing resources. Assuming you have made this decision, there are 5 basic phases of site development; Design, Content Gathering, Implementation (coding), Testing, and Launch. Let’s look at each of these independently.
If you are using a template design for your site, this phase of the project can be compressed greatly. Choosing a template and getting buy in from the stake holders can be done in just a few days to a week as long as they are motivated to make a decision. If you are having a custom professional design done however, this process will take a little longer. Generally you will discuss your company’s image with the design firm who will come back with 2-3 design options to choose from. That can take a few weeks to a month to accomplish. Once you have chosen he basic design, there will likely be tweaks that you request which could take another week or two depending upon how extensive they are.
A large portion of this burden is on the company who is buying the new site, While you can hire a writer to decide what actual words need to be on the site, the onus is on you to determine what you want to say to your audience. This phase can often bog down a website project so it is good to start this early and make sure there is a business “owner” of this phase. It can take one to several months to get final content written.
This is where the actual coding of the website happens. This is a tough time for the customer because they are just waiting for their “new toy”. Depending upon the extensiveness of the custom controls and the numbers of pages, this phase can be a few weeks to a few months.
Once the basic site is up and coded, it needs to be tested. The responsibility for this phase falls mostly on the web firm, but the client is also usually asked to participate in some of the testing to ensure that the site is meeting their expectations. This can be a week to a few weeks based upon what is found during testing that needs to be fixed.
This is the “big day”! After all of the work and waiting is over, the site needs to be launched. Depending upon whether or not there is an existing site that is being replaced or if there is any functionality that needs to be migrated, this can take a day or two. But is usually very quick and satisfying.
As some of these phases can be running in tandem, if the customer is motivated to get the site together and makes decision quickly, a basic site can take as little as 90 days from start to finish. The more complex the site and the slower the decision making process, the longer it will take beyond that.
Michael Giuffrida from Southington CT has been operating businesses since 1997. He is an experienced entrepreneur in business management, profitable growth, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology managed services