How long does it take to build a website? Perhaps longer than you would expect, but also rather quick compared to how long it used to take. It all depends on your method of website building, timeline, budget, and your own experience with web development. When you look at all these factors, the timeline for web development becomes clear.
To begin, you must understand the different ways to make a website.
There are three typical ways to build a website:
- With WordPress (DIY/do-it-yourself)
- Using a website builder (DIY)
- Hiring a web developer/designer
So, how long does it take to build a website using all these methods? We’ll outline that below, along with information about the timelines involved with each. In addition, we’ll explain the pricing and the pros and cons of these methods.
Keep reading to learn how long it takes to build a website (and more!)
📚 Table of contents:
- How long does it take to build a website with WordPress? (DIY)
- How long does it take to build a website with a website builder?
- How long does it take to build a website if you hire a developer?
How long does it take to build a website with WordPress? (DIY)
A DIY WordPress website timeframe depends on:
- Your experience with WordPress: This is the key factor; WordPress has a learning curve, so an inexperienced user may spend several hours learning how to change a simple setting. Experienced users, however, could launch a basic website in a few hours.
- The tools you use: Themes make the process faster, as do one-click installation buttons from your host. The timeframe expands once you start adding more customizations, plugins, and content.
- The size and scope of the website: Is this a one-page portfolio with a small photo gallery, simple descriptions, and contact information? If so, you could launch a smaller site like that in an hour or two. A blog that requires dozens of articles to launch could take several months. We’d say the same about an expansive online store.
Overall, we’ll estimate that a DIY website takes anywhere from 1 hour to 1 year ⌛ to make. Someone with WordPress experience, using a one-click installation, pre-made theme, and working on a small site should have no problem launching a DIY WordPress site in a few hours.
The timeline grows to several weeks if you’re inexperienced, plan on heavy customizations, or have a larger project. The main reason you’d spend up to a year working on a WordPress site is if it’s a massive website with lots of content, products, or customizations.
⌛ The timeline
- Find hosting/domain and launch WordPress with one-click installation: 1+ hour.
- Find, purchase, download, and install WordPress theme: 1+ hour.
- Customize WordPress theme: 1-7 days for experienced users on basic sites. Several weeks or months for large scope websites or for inexperienced users.
- Install plugins and activate settings: Several hours to a few days.
- Fill the website with written content, menus, media, products, payment processing, and other necessary elements: Several days or weeks for smaller sites. Months for large projects.
- Maintenance such as security, optimization, and content creation/updates: Ongoing.
It costs less than $100 per year for a basic DIY WordPress website. Ongoing costs may increase as you scale your business. Larger WordPress sites could cost thousands of dollars per month.
👉 Read our complete guide on how much it costs to build a website based on project type.
💡 Where to buy/download everything you need to build a DIY WordPress site
- WordPress software: Official website.
- Hosting: Learn about the best WordPress hosts, then click on each one’s website to sign up.
- Domain name: From your host, or one of the many affordable domain registrars.
- WordPress themes: The WordPress Theme Library, ThemeForest, or by searching online for premium theme developers like Themeisle.
- Plugins: WordPress Plugin Library, CodeCanyon, or through a search online for the type of plugin you need.
How long does it take to build a website with a website builder?
Similar to a DIY WordPress site, online website builders take longer if you’re making a larger site, or if you’re not that experienced with the website builder of choice. Having said that, they make website builders for beginners, so the systems offer faster site-building solutions compared to a DIY WordPress site.
Since website builders like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify and Weebly include everything you need to construct a site in one package (hosting, themes, and a drag-and-drop builder), you spend less time overall. There’s also no need to have experience with complicated settings or code since anyone can understand the visual builders.
- We estimate it could take anywhere from 1 day to 1 week to complete a basic website with a website builder.
- Larger sites require more content, media uploads, and setting customization, so those could still take several months with a site builder.
⌛ The timeline
- Sign up for a website builder like Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify (for online stores): Up to 1 hour.
- Choose and activate a theme and domain: Up to an hour.
- Customize the theme: 1 hour to several days.
- Add content, products, media, and everything else that your website needs: Several days to months depending on the size of your site.
The good news is that a lack of experience doesn’t extend the timeline nearly as much with a website builder. Obviously, a developer would still make a faster website on Wix than a beginner, but there’s a wider knowledge gap with a DIY WordPress site.
It depends on the website builder. These are all SaaS (software as a service) tools, so you typically pay a monthly fee for access to everything.
💡 Where to buy everything you need
First, learn about the best website builders to help you make a decision on which one to use. Once you’ve made your choice, you can go directly to the site builder’s website to create an account. Everything from plugins to themes and hosting gets added inside the website builder’s dashboard. There’s no reason to go anywhere else.
How long does it take to build a website if you hire a developer?
Hiring a web developer or a web design and development agency is, quite predictably, the most costly path you can take, and usually the most time consuming as well.
Granted, in exchange, you get a website that’s tailored to your individual needs and has all the features that you wanted. However, there are tradeoffs to be aware of.
⌛ The timeline
Expect at least 14 weeks for a completely functional website from a paid developer.
Development teams have varying names for the stages of development, but here’s a general timeline:
- Discovery (learning about your brand, collecting assets, and overall planning): 3+ weeks.
- Design (the period when your developer creates the design with formatting, colors, styles, and structure): 6+ weeks.
- Initial development (this is when they make the design interactive and functional): 3+ weeks.
- Modifications (tweaks, optimization, bug fixes, and anything else you want to be added): 2+ weeks.
- Maintenance (like security patches, updates, and optimization): Ongoing.
💡 Where to hire a developer to build your site
You can ask your own business contacts for references or consider seeking out help online from a freelancer or an agency.
These guides will help speed up your search:
Summarizing how long it takes to build a website
To round it all up, you have three ways to build a website:
- Build a WordPress site yourself (and host it on a platform like Bluehost).
- Construct a website yourself with a website builder (like Wix).
- Hire a professional developer.
These methods help decide how long it takes to build the website:
- Timeframe for a DIY WordPress site: Experienced WordPress users can complete a basic site in a few hours, but it usually takes several days to add all the content and optimize everything. Larger scale sites take weeks or even months. Inexperienced users will spend lots of time learning, which could add weeks to the process.
- Timeframe when using a website builder: Most users should complete a basic website within one day to one week. Larger sites may take several months. It also depends on which website builder you use and how intuitive it is for you.
- Timeframe when hiring a professional developer: At least 14 weeks because of the extensive customization (and the fact that freelancers and agencies have other projects to work on, too).
So, how long does it take to build a website? Your choices decide will that! I encourage you to take your time regardless of the method you choose because it’s always best to get the highest quality results before launching your website for the world to see.
If you have experience making a website, share how long it took you in the comments below!
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. Learn more below:
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