How Long Does it Take to Build a Website? The Truth from a Seasoned Website Developer

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and build a website for your business. First off, congratulations! If you are building a website, you must have something exciting that you are up to: either starting a new business and you need a new business website, you might be helping out a fellow colleague, relative or friend, maybe you are getting married or you have another fun event coming up, or there is some other reason.  Whatever the reason, it is probably exciting!

Now, you might be wondering, “How long is building a website going to take?” Well, that’s a question I’ve heard a zillion times.

I have personally been building websites since 1997, and as someone who has been through the process more than once with hundreds of clients just like you, I can tell you that the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might hope, but there are some reasonable time frames that I can give you, so read on!

Let’s first start with a common misconception being promoted right now by some of the big players in this space.

What people say online about how long it takes: The myth of the “weekend website”

If you’ve been doing your research, you’ve probably seen those ads claiming you can build a website in a weekend or a few days.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s not entirely accurate – especially if you want to build a website that will be found organically online. Sure, you can slap together a basic site in a short amount of time, but will it be effective at attracting customers and ranking on search engines? Probably not.

So, let’s dig into a more realistic timeline for building your website.

Step 1: Get set up – The nuts and bolts (1-2 days)

Before you can start designing your masterpiece, you need to lay the groundwork.

This includes

  • registering a domain name
  • deciding on a platform
  • finding hosting if needed
  • and setting up your email.

 

Each of these tasks can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on your level of experience and the responsiveness of the companies you’re working with.

After you get all of these things you need to document them, and we help you do that in the Toto Coaching course.

So, let’s budget about 1-2 days for this step, just to be safe.

Step 2: Get your messaging on point – Channeling your inner wordsmith (1-2 weeks)
(No, it is not time to start designing)

Now that you’ve got the basics in place, it’s time to focus on the heart of your website: your messaging. This means identifying the pain points of your customers and figuring out how your product or service solves them.

It is crazy how many people build a website and skip this step or make assumptions. You need to put down in writing how you are different than your competition, and how you understand the wants and needs of your potential customers.

In the Toto Coaching Course, we have two exercises we walk you through: creating buyer personas and creating a table of pain points, benefits and features to help you establish this message.

It may sound simple, but crafting the perfect message can be time-consuming, especially if you’re not a professional copywriter. So, give yourself a solid 1-2 weeks to brainstorm, write, and refine your messaging.

Step 3: Discover and gather keywords – Becoming an SEO ninja (1 week)

A crucial part of building an effective website is making sure it’s optimized for search engines. That means finding and gathering the right keywords. This task can take a bit of time and research, but it’s well worth the effort.

You need to find your keywords, but there are other steps you need to do here: set up a Google Business Profile if you are a local business, set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts, as well as learning how to use each of these tools. You need to think about backlinks and understand structured data.

Expect to spend about a week on this step, including time for research, planning, and implementation.

Step 4: Decide what you’d like to put on your website pages and gather that content – Time to get creative (2-8 weeks)

Now comes the fun part – deciding what you want to put on your website pages and gathering that content. This might include written content, images, videos, or other multimedia elements.

Depending on the complexity of your site, the amount of content you need to create or source, and most importantly, how organized and computer literate you are, this step can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

I can tell you from over 20 years of experience working with people on building their website, THIS is the step that will take the longest.  I have clients that have taken 2 years to complete this step.

If you are having problems writing your content, Toto Coaching can get all your content written perfectly for your website. Our proprietary process has proven successful.  We will interview you about your products or services, we will request your keywords if you have them, and we will return your content properly written and ready for your website. You do not need to be in our course to take advantage of this, contact us if you need help writing your website content. Don’t take a year.

Remember, quality is key, so don’t rush this step!

Step 5: Optimize your content – The fine-tuning phase (1 week)

Once you’ve gathered all your content, it’s time to optimize it for search engines and user experience. This means tweaking your text, images, and other elements to ensure they’re as effective and SEO-friendly as possible.

You don’t want to take a photo on your phone that is 4 MB in size and upload it. This is a huge no-no.  There are many other things you need to do to optimize video, images, text and more.

This step typically takes about a week, but the extra effort will pay off in the long run when your site starts ranking higher on search engine results pages.

Step 6: Design your web pages – Unleashing your inner Picasso (2-4 weeks)

With your content ready and optimized, it’s time to bring your website to life through design.

This step can be both exciting and challenging, as you’ll need to create a visually appealing site that’s easy to navigate and aligned with your brand identity. Depending on the complexity of your design and whether you’re doing it yourself or working with a designer, this step can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

You will want to match your branding, be consistent, and employ modern design trends. We go over all of this in our course. This is super important so that visitors to your website stay on your website because they can get the information they are looking for quickly and efficiently!

Remember, first impressions matter, so don’t skimp on the design phase!

Step 7: Go Live – The moment of truth (1-2 days)

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for – launching your website! After all your hard work, it’s time to show your creation to the world.

This step typically takes 1-2 days, as you’ll need to perform some final checks and tests to ensure everything is working as it should. At Toto Coaching, we provide a “Going Live Checklist” and we go over all of the items you need to do to go live. There are a bunch of steps and you do not want to skip any of them.

Once you’ve ironed out any kinks, hit that “publish” button and celebrate!

Normally you can do these steps in a day or an afternoon, but you need to follow up and check the next day. There are other things that may be out of your control such as the propogation of your DNS records, so we say 1-2 days just in case.

The reality of building a website: It takes a while to build a website!

 

As you can see, building a website is no weekend project.

In reality, it can take anywhere from

7 weeks-4 months

or even longer, depending on your experience, the complexity of your site, and the quality of your content and design. But don’t let that discourage you. Remember, everyone is busy and wants to spend the least amount of time on building their website, but taking shortcuts will only hurt your online presence in the long run.

A well-crafted website is a lot of work, but it’s an investment that will pay off by attracting customers and helping your business grow.

So, take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to embark on your website-building journey. With patience, persistence, and a bit of fun along the way, you’ll be well on your way to creating a website that you can be proud of.

If you feel alone and don’t know what to do first or second, take a look at our Toto Coaching program. We are here to help people just like you figure out how to build a website yourself that is successful and works for your business.  You don’t have to be doing this alone!

Good luck, and happy website building!

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