Starting the process of designing (or re-designing) your company’s website can be really exciting! Many clients ask us the same question as soon as we start: “How long until my website is done?”. This is a great question, however the short answer is: “It depends”. We always give a timeline estimate to each client when they start a project with us that is based around their specific needs for their website. This timeline is determined by the amount of work we need to put into design, functionality, and overall communication.
Each Project is Different
Since we work with so many different clients from so many industries, it’s important for us to approach each project in a personal way. Some clients need a wider variety of page types, while others just need similar looking pages with different content. Some sites have photo galleries, online stores, blogs, message boards, and other custom functionality that all plays a part in determining development time.
We create a realistic timeline estimate for each of our clients after we go over everything they will need for their site. Once we have a clear idea of what you want, we can assess how long it will take us to complete your site. The timeline is divided between the design and development stages and can vary based on a variety of factors.
Phase 1: Design
Building a website is a rather free-form task and the process is made up of many steps. When you start the design process with us, we will take time to get to know you and your brand. We go through our concept development phase where we find out what kinds of designs you like and what you dislike. We figure out what parts of your business you want to highlight and showcase on your site and we start to develop a concept.
This design concept, based on your preferences, is taken and applied to the mockup phase. In the mockup phase we create exact mockups of what your website will look like through a graphic image creation program. We work back and forth to make these mockups look exactly the way you want before finalizing them and moving onto the development phase.
The design phase requires a lot of back and forth communication and adjusting, so it can range in the amount of time it takes. Between actually creating the graphics and requesting feedback from the client, design time can vary greatly.
Phase 2: Development
Developing your website can take a variable amount of time depending on a wide range of factors in a few key areas:
- Design Complexity
If your site has a very intricate design style, it may increase the amount of time it takes to code the site.
If your site has more complex functionality like eCommerce, a blog, or custom features, it will definitely increase the development time.
- Content Creation
If we’re redesigning your site, you may already have content that we can pull from your old site. This can save a good bit of time in development. If you’re site is brand new, however, content will need to be created for every page of the website. The amount of content that needs to be created and formatted will affect development time substantially.
What Can You Do As a Client?
Clients can do a lot during the design and development process that can help move the project along more quickly. First and foremost is to communicate with your designer! Be sure to let us know everything you will need your website to do from the beginning. Introducing new ideas and functionality after the project is already under way will not only (most likely) increase the cost of your website, but will also create confusion and frustration for both the designer and yourself. Make a list for yourself before you even contact a designer/developer of everything you need your website to include. Be sure to think of any functionality you may need and an come up with an estimate of how many pages your site will need.
Another step you can take as a client is to stay on top of communication. Once you engage in business with a web design team, there will be lots of communication including requests for feedback, site content, and more. Be sure to keep your lines of communication as open as possible. Email is the most valuable method of communication since we will be able to send files and images, so be sure to check your email regularly.
Follow communication threads carefully and try to focus on only one or a few topics at a time. Multitasking is great for speeding things up, but it can also cause a traffic jam if it’s not properly managed. Keep messages as short as possible while still conveying your point clearly and be sure to focus on a single topic in each email/message.
If you have questions or concerns, voice them quickly. Your designer’s job is to make sure they are creating the vision you have for your company. There is no shame in asking questions or clarifying something with your designer and they won’t have any issue helping out!