When bringing your small business online, you’ll most likely ask yourself, “How long does it take to build a website?” You’ll hear many say that with a website builder, you can get it done in a week or even less—but, truthfully, timing depends on many factors.
This article will help you determine how long it will take to build your website. Then, we’ll compare the time it takes to tackle website creation using a DIY platform versus working with a professional website developer.
How long does it take to build a website?
In general, building a website from scratch can take from around one to six months, depending on your goals and resources. I know that “it depends” may not satisfy you as an answer, especially when you're excited to take your website live. But this section will explain what, exactly, that time frame depends on.
I’ve built a few websites during my time at Wix and for my personal projects, so I’ll use this experience and some expert advice to outline the time each stage of building a website takes. This way, you’ll better understand what to expect and how to gauge your time for this process.
Ultimately, these three basic factors determine how long it takes to create a website:
DIY vs. developer
The time it takes to design a website will largely be determined by what approach you want to use. If you create a site with a web designer or developer, it might take less effort on your part but more time due to complexity. On the other hand, the learning curve involved with building a website will certainly take some time. That said, an easy-to-use website builder can streamline the process.
The more pages you create, the longer it takes to develop your site. Landing pages and one-page websites can sometimes take one to two days to complete, while the extra deliverables required in multipage or multilingual websites could take up to months - and for that period you might need to consider under construction website templates. On top of that, larger websites will require you to devote more time to brainstorming and creating texts, images, decorative elements and more.
Static vs. dynamic
When it comes to building a website, the choice between static and dynamic design plays a significant role in determining the time it takes to complete the process. Static websites can be relatively quick to put together, particularly when you're using Wix website design templates. With pre-designed layouts and ready-to-use elements, you can easily assemble a visually appealing static website in a short amount of time.
However, if you're aiming for a website with dynamic content, such as interactive features, user-generated content or real-time updates, the website development time will be considerably longer. Building a dynamic website often involves custom development work, where coding, database design, and integration become crucial tasks. The process may also require testing and debugging to ensure proper functionality across different devices and browsers.
Your available resources
Resources like an on-call designer, assistant or developer can certainly help speed up the website creation process. Without them, you’ll need to think about contracting a designer or developer for the job or creating the website yourself.
Consider how much a website costs using either option, and how much time you have on your hands. Depending on your availability and budget, you can choose your ideal process.
How long does it take to build a website using a website creation platform?
From my own experience making a website on Wix, it can take anywhere from four weeks to three months to get it running. In some cases, you can feasibly design a website in one day—but only if you work directly with a template and need few custom features.
Below, you’ll find an overview of approximately how long it will take to create a site with a website builder.
Tip: Once you’re ready to take on the task, peruse our step-by-step guide on how to create a professional website.
Devise a concept: One to two weeks
Before you create your website, formulate a clear concept for it. At this initial stage, you’ll map out your website blueprint and clearly understand your site’s purpose. You’ll also plan for additional required functions and design elements.
Now, you must think about what type of website you need as well as its purpose. For example, if you want an online store for your business, consider making an eCommerce website with integrated solutions for customers to make purchases. Or, if you’re designing a service website, plan on building a site with a built-in bookings solution.
Pick a website builder: One day to one week
With many sophisticated website creation platforms available, business owners and freelancers commonly choose DIY development. This can benefit you in manifold ways—among them: cost efficiency, ownership over your design, website security and more.
Choosing between a no-code platform like Wix or a more advanced low-code design software like Editor X will depend on your experience level, needs and budget. Do your research and test out options before you make a decision.
Prepare your content: One to two weeks
After you’ve outlined your website’s concept and goals, get your content ready. Think about what web pages your site will include, as well as how they will communicate your message and enable visitors to complete their goals. This includes written copy, photographs, imagery, CTAs and branded elements like a logo.
Define a website layout: One to three weeks
You’ve got your concept in mind, chosen a website builder, and have your content ready to go—now, it’s time to map out your site’s layout. You’ll need to decide how many pages it will include and outline each individual section.
Unless you already have a clear vision, play around with formats. Test out what it might look like to use an asymmetrical vs. symmetrical layout, or a multi-page website vs. one-page website. When starting from scratch, draft out these layout ideas on paper before you start to “drag-and-drop.” Many professional designers create wireframes for each page, and you can try this method yourself.
Tip: For a simple, time-saving option, start with a professionally designed website template. Browse until you find a pre-made layout you love, then make it your own.
Customize your design: Two to four weeks
Customization truly brings your site to life. In fact, 5% of consumers will judge a brand's credibility based on their website design, highlighting how much visual language can engage visitors.
Whether you start from scratch or work with a template, a website builder allows you to add, edit and customize essential website design elements such as:
You can further uplift your creation with decorative web design features, such as website gradients. Make time to nail down your branding elements, such as the color scheme, imagery, logo and tone of voice, and implement these throughout your design for a cohesive visual brand identity.
Editing with a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) software like Wix allows you to view your changes in real time. As you continue developing your site and reviewing these changes, make sure the design and content complement each other and tell visitors a clear story.
You can also use website under construction templates as you move through the process.
Test and publish: One to two weeks
You’re almost there. Now that your website satisfies you, see if other visitors feel the same. Share your site’s domain name with trusted friends and colleagues and ask them to use the site as if they were the average visitor.
Take their feedback seriously, noting both the compliments and criticisms. Make necessary changes and resolve issues these users have encountered. This all ensures your site will offer visitors a great user experience before your site goes live to the public. Plus, it is less risky to test this out on people you know than new and potential customers. All in all, testing may last about one to two weeks.
When you feel confident in your design, run through our website launch checklist to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. Ready for takeoff? Press the “publish” button to share your creation with the world.
Tip: Web accessibility is an important, yet overlooked factor of the user experience. Check your site by following best practices and auditing it using a checklist or tools like the Wix Accessibility Wizard.
How long does it take for a professional developer to build a website?
Overall, making a website with a professional can take anywhere from two to five months. Knowing how long it takes to design a website with a designer/developer, agency or team can help you decide if you’ll complete the process on your own or hire a professional.
Review the timeline below to set the right expectations for your upcoming project and better prepare for a smooth process:
Setting goals: One to two weeks
You likely understand the “why” behind your site, whether it’s building an online presence, selling products or creating a blog.
Whatever your site’s purpose, you must narrow down your specific goals before you start. For example, you might want to use a portfolio website to bring in new clients and build your online presence.
Specific goals might include:
Getting your website live in three months
Landing your first sale one week after you bring your website live
Building a strong social media presence to bring more visitors
Increasing traffic to your website by 10% in one month
This stage should last between one and two weeks. Take the time to understand what you want to achieve with your website. It’ll help you think about your design details and what qualifications a designer or developer would need to meet your goals.
Finding a developer: One to four weeks
Time to research and find the perfect designer or developer for this job. You can ask trusted friends and colleagues or look on well-known job posting sites such as the Wix Marketplace.
In this case, you will likely hunt for a front-end developer or web designer who can collaborate with a back-end coder, or uses a platform with integrated back-end coding.
You’ll know you’ve found the perfect professional match when you find a developer or agency who:
Will be responsible for ensuring back-end functionality, and manage front-end development and web design of your site
Work within your budget
Has a reputation for delivering on time
Matches your desired skill set
Shares a similar aesthetic
Don’t be afraid to interview multiple designers/developers or agencies, review their work and compare candidates. Take your time researching—it should take approximately one week to one month to find a qualified and trustworthy collaborator.
Outlining your needs: One to three weeks
Once you’ve hired a website professional, you’ll need to brief them on your project’s full scope. Over a one-to-three-week period, meet with your designer/developer, agency or team to develop a vision, set expectations for deliverables and run through your content creation timeline and deadlines.
Come prepared with any specific content and requirements you decided during your goal-setting stage. Your collaborator will likely ask you for direction for your site design, as well as any needed functionality. They’ll also want to understand what your site must display—from logos to written copy and product photography.
Designing mockups: One to three weeks
Now that you have a clear vision, the designer/developer will take the reins and start building your website. At this stage, they will present you with wireframes and design mockups, as well as individual web pages. These drafts provide you with your website’s basic structure, functionality, visual design and user flow.
As the site owner, you must review the mockups, which can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks to complete. Carefully attend to each page’s layout, aesthetic, design elements (such as images and buttons) and offer your feedback to your collaborating designers and developers.
Main development: One to two months
Your website developer will take the reins at this point. Turning mockups into a functioning website can take at least 1-2 months, and sometimes even longer depending on your site’s complexity.
Generally, a developer will overestimate the project’s length and leave some cushion for unexpected changes. They know that the iterative process will require back and forth between developers, designers and you, the client.
As a client, you should stay in the loop during this phase. Be proactive, ask for updates and point out potential issues with the site—it’s better for designers and developers to integrate these changes into the development process, rather than waiting until they’ve completed the site.
Final review: One to two weeks
Just before you publish your site, your collaborator will send over a completed and tested product to review. Since you’ve worked with them from the beginning to devise a clear plan and offer your feedback, they likely won’t need to make any time-consuming changes.
Take about one to two weeks to inspect your site on your own, and with your team or friends and colleagues. An extra set of eyes can immensely help your design. From the overall user experience, to small details like colors, font sizes and micro-animations, developers will anticipate making small changes at this stage.
Once all parties are satisfied, you can publish the final product—but, truthfully, your website will never be finished. Over time, you’ll want to perform website maintenance, update the visual style, tweak certain content and more. For that reason, speak with your designer/developer and decide if they can perform these future tasks, or alternatively, if they can grant you access to a CMS that will allow you to make these adjustments on your own.