How long does it take to build a website?

Craig Greenup 15/12/22, 08:04

How long does it take to build a website?

Three quarters of consumers say they judge a business by its website. So if your site doesn’t present your brand in the best possible light, you should do something about it sooner rather than later. But what sort of timescale is realistic? How long does it take to build a website from scratch?

This is one of the questions our clients ask most frequently. So we decided to put together this post, outlining each stage in the website development process – and the average time it usually takes.

How long does it take to build a website: step by step

When you work with an agency, building a website usually takes an average of two and four months.

But that’s not the whole story. The more complex a website is, the more time a developer will spend creating it. We’ve built websites in a couple of weeks. And we’ve had projects that lasted for almost a year.

Nevertheless, it’s useful to look at the averages – and the various phases involved in building a website.

The website development process can be broken down into six stages:

  • Discovery
  • Design
  • Development
  • Adding content
  • Reviewing and testing
  • Launch

We’ve taken each stage in turn and (with a brochure-style website with around 50 pages in mind) we’ve listed how much time it usually takes for an agency team to complete each one.

Discovery phase: 1 to 3 weeks

Let’s presume you’ve already researched web development agencies and you’ve found the guys you want to work with.

After you’ve got in touch to say you want a sparkly new website, your agency will ask you questionslots of questions – about your business and your new website.

They’ll ask about your offering, your audience and your competitors. They’ll find out about the problems you currently face and the things you want your website to do.

Based upon all of the info you share with your web development agency, they’ll put together a plan of action.

This plan will outline the scope of the project. It will incorporate a site map and all ideas for functionality, UX and SEO. And it will describe a timeline of activities along with approximate deadlines.

This part of the website building process usually takes around 1 to 3 weeks, with back and forth conversation between client and agency.

But you can help to speed things up by prepping the information and resources your web agency is likely to need.

For example:

  • A comprehensive website brief (including details of your target audience, competitors, goals and website functionality requirements)
  • Any brand guidelines you already have in place
  • A proposed site map
  • A draft of your written content
  • A gallery of high quality images
  • Other content you want to include – for example, videos or e-books

An agency can work with you to create all of the above from scratch. But anything you can do in advance of the discovery phase will help you to shave time off the project length.

Design phase: 4 to 6 weeks

Next, designers take all of the information you’ve provided and – using their UI and UX expertise – they create a wireframe.

This is a basic version of your website that gives a good idea of what your site will look like for users across different devices. You’ll get to see how pages relate to one another. And how elements will be sized and placed within each page.

Depending on the complexity of the website, an agency will sometimes skip the wireframe step and go straight into design. They’ll prepare desktop versions of each webpage and, once you’ve approved them, they’ll create mobile and (where necessary) tablet versions too.

Hopefully, you like what you see. But this is the time to raise any and all questions, queries and concerns regarding the design. It’s much easier (and faster) for designers to adjust the website design now, rather than making changes later in development.

This part of the website design process tends to take upwards of a month as you go back and forth with your web development agency to agree and make changes.

Website development phase: 4 to 6 weeks

Once you’ve approved the prototype website, your development team will begin building your website for real.

This is the coding bit. Developers will use approved designs to create a fully functioning, pixel perfect website.

During this phase, a project manager is likely to be in touch every week or so to share how the design is coming along. This is another opportunity for you to point out any issues you’ve identified or request changes.

So how long does website development take?

All in all, development takes around 4 to 6 weeks, before you have an almost-finished website ready for final content additions and testing.

Adding content phase: 1 to 2 weeks

An agency can simply leave placeholder content and stock images on your website pages. You can then replace this content via your CMS at a later date. But that’s the worst case scenario.

To ensure that everything fits perfectly, looks beautiful and supports a great user experience, you should try to provide written content and high quality imagery at the very beginning of the website building process.

Then, at this penultimate stage, your web agency will take a week or two to upload final, additional content and images.

Testing and delivery phase: up to 2 weeks

Time to iron out any problems before your site goes live.

Your web development team will run extensive tests on your website to check that everything is working as it should.

They’ll check that the website functions correctly across all devices. And they’ll optimise loading speeds to ensure the very best UX.

Your project manager will then send over the finished product so you can make your final checks.

If there has been good communication between yourself and your project manager up to this point, only minor changes should be necessary (if any at all).

But this is your opportunity to ask for any last minute amendments before you show your site to the world!

Launch phase: from 1 day up to 1 week

Once you’re 100% happy with the finished website, it usually takes around a day to get it live.

For more complex websites, launch tends to take a little longer. But you’ll still usually have an up-and-running website within a week.

How long does it take to build a website for ecommerce?

Based upon the timescales we’ve provided above, you can see that the average website takes between two and four months to build.

However, the time it takes to build a website varies depending on project complexity.

For example, our averages are based upon a small to medium sized brochure-style website with around 50 separate web pages.

A much smaller website, with just a handful of pages, might take a web developer six to eight weeks (depending on how quickly a client provides feedback and content).

Ecommerce websites generally take a little longer to build. That’s because they need to incorporate website extras like product pages, an account dashboard, a basket, checkout and integration with chosen payment providers.

A completely bespoke application, that includes lots of custom development, will take longer still.

But you don’t have to go into it completely blind. By outlining the website you have in mind, a web design agency should be well-placed to give you a rough time estimate.

How long does it take an agency to build a website?

Another factor in how long it takes to build a website? The agency you choose to work with. When reviewing prospective web development agencies ask:

  • When could they start work?
  • What is their average lead time?
  • How many projects are they juggling alongside yours?
  • How many developers do they have working for them?

If you’re in a hurry and an agency with only two developers says they can only start work on your website in six months, you may want to look elsewhere.

But don’t be tempted to opt for a developer who promises you a website in super-fast time.

It really does take time to build a website that meets the needs of your business now – and into the future.

You want to work with people who understand the importance of discovery, design and prototyping, rather than people who are prepared to jump straight in and start developing.

How long does it take to build a website using a DIY template?

Of course, you can bypass a development agency yourself and build a DIY website.

This tends to be a faster website building option. With templates you may be able to create a simple website in a couple of weeks.

However, there are some downsides to this approach:

  • Limited customisation
  • Takes up a lot of yours or your team’s time
  • A steep learning curve (if it’s not something that you’ve done before)
  • No access to design, UX and SEO expertise
  • Poor website performance (because templates come with clunky external plugins and functionality you don’t actually need)
  • Template sites can be difficult to maintain
  • Template websites don’t tend to scale well

If building a website quickly is your priority, choosing a DIY site over bespoke web design is tempting.

But just bear in mind. You’re unlikely to get the same high quality product – designed to maximise traffic and sales, and able to adapt as your business grows – without the support of a pro web development team.

Find out how long it would take us to build your website!

Here at Radical Web Design, reliability and customer care (as well as impeccable web design) are our priorities. So when we provide a timeline, we do our best to stick to it.

We’ve built hundreds of brochure and ecommerce websites for our lovely clients, which means we have a pretty good idea of how long any given project is likely to take.

Dreaming of getting your website off the ground? But want to know how long the web design process will take? Then we can help!

Simply fill in this contact form, tell us about your business, and we’ll be in touch soon.


How long does it take to build a website from scratch?

How long it takes to build a website depends upon website complexity.

A brochure website with a site map that includes around 50 pages will usually take a web development agency between two and four months to build.

But business owners can speed up the process by having all of the right resources ready to go.

That means, before you approach an agency, you should try to collate the following:

  • A detailed website brief
  • A bank of high-quality images
  • Written webpage content

What happens if I want to make changes to my website after it goes live?

There is lots of opportunity for you to raise issues and suggest changes during the website development process.

But sometimes it’s only when a site is up and running that you spot an issue or want to add new functionality.

The best website development agencies will offer a website maintenance service, providing ongoing expertise and support, and making website changes where you need them.

How long does it take to redesign a website?

The answer to this question depends upon how extensive a website redesign you need.

For example, if you’re simply updating colours and fonts to fit with new branding, this can be done in a matter of weeks

But if you’re redesigning your site because of more serious issues – such as low levels of traffic, an ineffective user journey or poor functionality – it will take a little longer (a month or two at a minimum).

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if a website is in really bad shape, it’s sometimes quicker to simply start afresh.