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How Long Does It Take To Build A Website For Entrepreneurs? What You Need To Know

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Over the last few decades the internet has undergone a transformation that has made the once daunting task of building a website a thing of the past.

Gone are the days of hiring a small army of developers just to get a simple business website up and running.

With website builders like Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace and Shopify you don't even need to know how to code in order to create a beautiful, functional website.

Whether you want to start a simple blog, launch an online E-Commerce store or even give your existing business an online presence, all the tools are there for you to get going as soon as possible.

In fact these site builders are so popular Wordpress now accounts for over 30% of all websites on the internet.

This fact is even more remarkable when you consider that there are billions of websites on the internet and Wordpress was only released in 2003!

In today's business world, it is essential that you have an online presence and with the ease at which you can do this you really have no excuse not to have an website.

However, there is a drawback to all this innovation.

It's becoming more and more common to see people quickly overwhelmed and frustrated by the enormous amount of possibilities that are available.

You want the best solution to your needs but you don't want to spend hours and hours researching all of the technical details and different features you can have.

If this is you, don't worry you are not alone we have all been there.

Typical Website Advice: Do you need static site or a dynamic website?? Does it need to be server rendered or is a client side web application acceptable??

Me:

These are questions that can wait.

The guide below will steer you in the right direction and offer you the best solution given your circumstances and what you are looking for.

When starting out online you want to keep things as simple as possible at the beginning.

Once you are on the right path all the fancy bells and whistles can be added as you grow your site and your business.

One of best features about building websites is that you can continually add to them over time.

Whether it's improving the way the look or increasingly the amount of things they can do, you can always add to them later.

The point that I'm trying to make is that it doesn't have to be perfect at the start.

Take a look at Amazon's website when it first launched in the 90s.

Yikes.

Facebook's was even worse.

Remember that these multi-billion dollar sites were done way before online website builders became available.

As I mentioned before, the opportunities today are the best they have ever been.

So let's take advantage of it.

In order to establish how long it takes to build a website we will break down the process into three steps:

  1. Establish the type of website you want to create
  2. Set out your budget for building your new business site
  3. Determine how you want to build your site

These three simple steps will set you well on your way to establishing your online presence.

Step number one and the most important question to ask yourself when considering how long does it take to build a new website?

1. What TYPE of Website do you Need?

Answer this question and everything falls into place.

The type of website you want to build will determine the complexity and therefore the duration of the building process.

It will also be the key factor as to whether you probably need to hire a web developer or whether you could do it yourself.

But what types of websites are there I hear you ask?

You can do almost anything with a website builder these days, but most sites will fall under these broad categories:

  • Blog/Personal website
  • News/Content/Magazine websites
  • E-Commerce/Online store website
  • Business website

There are of course additional types than those listed above but for entrepreneurs and businesses most use cases will fall into these categories.

When it comes to answering the question "how long does it take to build a website?", the basic rule is that the more features you want, the longer it is going to take.

A blog that is to be updated every couple of days can be created within a couple of hours without any coding.

An E-Commerce website that updates thousands of products every couple of minutes and requires lots of custom code to help make the customers' experience as smooth as possible will take weeks and months.

Blog/Personal Website

If your business strategy is to launch a blog or personal website and build traffic to your content over time, then the good news is that there is lots of options available for you.

And I mean lots.

Not only are there a wide range of available website builders (more on them later) but you really can get set up in just a matter of minutes

I can't emphasise enough that we are living in a golden period in website development and it is now easier than ever to build a blog.

You don't need to know code (although it can help a little) and in just a few clicks you can have you blog online.

If this is what you are looking for and want a low cost solution to it, check out our guide below.

News/Content/Magazine Website

These are the 'BuzzFeed' type of news sites that are geared towards creating lots of enticing content with 'clickbaity' type headlines that are updated every couple of hours.

The sites often attract a huge amount of traffic when a few of their articles or content go viral on social media or they get a huge spike in traffic from Google.

With all the traffic they generate, they have become hugely lucrative business operations with many sites selling for millions of dollars.

No wonder you have seen so many of them pop up in recent years.

Should this be the type of website for your new venture, you need to consider how you will handle all the millions of visitors to your site.

The last thing you want is a call in the middle of the night saying your servers are down and your customers can't access your site.

10 years ago, hosting a standard Wordpress website that could cater to millions of users from around the world was possible, but it was extremely expensive.

Today there are so many low cost solutions that are able to scale to amounts of traffic that even the big established news websites can't reach.

E-commerce/Online Store

There has been an explosion in the amount of E-Commerce websites in recent years.

The trend in 'drop-shippers' has mainly come about due to the fact that it has become ridiculously easy to start your own online store.

All the tools are there for you.

From setting up your online store to directly notifying suppliers and distributers of your orders, Shopify has taken care of everything when it comes to E-Commerce.

It's no wonder there are so many online millionaires on the platform.

So how long could you realistically get started on the platform.

As mentioned previously, this depends on how many features and products you have.

Are you selling a few niche items or are you going the full Amazon and trying to sell everything under the sun??

Both strategies have the potential to become very lucrative but one will take longer than the other to set up.

Business Website

Every business should have a website.

But it may surprise you to learn that there remains a huge amount of small businesses in the US alone that don't have websites.

According to research firm Clutch, around 36% of small business don't have a website.

A few decades ago, having an online website for your business was an afterthought but today it is a prerequisite.

It allows you to connect to your customers to tell them who you are what you are about.

Not only that but it can help grow your brand much more effectively than any other method of marketing.

Most of your new customers are already online and 70-80% of them will research the company's online website before making a purchase decision.

The key point to emphasise here is that your business website is like the shop window to your business.

It needs to look good.

A professional and clean website says a lot about your business and can be the difference in making a sale.

Similarly to a personal blog all the necessary tools are already available for you to get started and build a business website yourself.

You can start and build a Wordpress business site in minutes.

Add in some customisable themes and you can have a professional looking website ready to promote to a new online audience.

You will save on the costs of hiring a developer and it will take up more time but you can grow and develop the site as your business improve.

2. Set Out The Budget To Build your New Site

Now that we have established the type of website you want we need to figure out how we are going to build it.

In order to do that we need to talk about budget.

You may have noticed that I have been banging the drum about the amount of opportunities there are today (apologies if I have gone over the top).

But when it comes to budgeting this is where the industry really shines.

The main takeaway is that you can achieve any website you want on a small budget.

It all comes down to a question of time.

A larger budget will always speed up the development time but it's not always necessary.

This is an important concept to understand as it responsible for so many entrepreneurs failing to succeed in business.

Your time is of the utmost importance and you can't spend most of your day updating product labels or making sure that your online store is working for mobile users.

You need to know when to set a budget aside and hire a professional to do the work.

Very often think that we can do it ourselves, you know how the saying goes.

"If you want something done, do it yourself".

But if you have a lot of things to manage, which you will have with an online business, you have to set aside a budget.

The important choice you have to make is whether the time saved is worth the extra money.

This is a judgement call.

In terms of a blog where you are going to build the traffic organically over time, the answer is probably not.

A blog is simple to set up and you can learn the ropes as you go along very easily as you build traffic to your site.

In terms of a news website the vast majority of your time will be dedicated towards creating more stories.

In this scenario it makes sense to set aside a budget and hire a developer to get you up and running as soon as possible, whilst you focus on getting your content out there.

For a Shopify store it can be tricky.

If you are building a store with only a limited range of products then this is absolutely something you can achieve yourself.

If you are planning on building the new Amazon.com, better to get team of developers to custom build your online store front.

3. How You Should Build Your Site

The final stage.

It's time to decide how to actually build your site and who can do it.

I'm going to say it again.

The options available to you are vast but now we have narrowed down the type of site you want and the size of budget.

We have a clear path to go down.

When it comes to building your new website you have a number of potential routes to go down.

  1. Build the website from scratch and learn to code
  2. Use an all-in-one online website builder
  3. Use a customisable website builder like Wordpress
  4. Hire a web developer to build your site

All these options have their advantages and disadvantages which are set out below but each one will get the job done, its just a question of choosing the most suitable for your project.

Build the Website from Scratch and Learn to Code

Advantages:

  • Minimises the cost of building a website
  • You can customise the site to anything you would like

Disadvantages:

  • You need to know how to code
  • Will take longer to get started
  • Have to manage ongoing maintenance of backend servers

Estimated time to build site:

  • Blog: 1-2 weeks
  • News/Content Website: 2-4 weeks
  • E-Commerce Store: 4+ weeks
  • Business website: 2-4 weeks

Estimated Cost To Get Started:

  • Blog: Less than $100
  • News/Content Website: Less than $400
  • E-Commerce Store: Less than $500
  • Business website: Less than $300

Conclusion

If budget is an issue and you have the time to learn the necessary code skills to build the website from scratch then this is the best option.

If this sounds like too much work let's look at the other options.

Use an All-in-One Website Builder

Advantages:

  • The costs are kept to a minimum
  • You can customise the site to anything you would like
  • Quick and Easy to get started
  • All hardware is managed by the provider

Disadvantages:

  • The more customisation you require the harder it is to implement
  • Vendor Lock In - Once you are started on the platform it becomes hard to transfer out

Estimated time to build site:

  • Blog: 1-2 days
  • News/Content Website: 1-2 weeks
  • E-Commerce Store: 4+ weeks
  • Business website: 2-4 weeks

Estimated Cost To Get Started:

  • Blog: Less than $25
  • News/Content Website: Less than $100
  • E-Commerce Store: Less than $200
  • Business website: Less than $100

Conclusion

All in one website builders have changed the way websites are created.

When they first started out, these all-in-one site builders like Wix.com got the job done but the websites they produced weren't anything to shout about.

However, today they have the ability to generate beautiful, professional websites for a tiny cost.

E-Commerce and larger sites are still a bit of challenge on these platforms but other than that they are great.

Use a Customisable Website Builder like Wordpress or Shopify

Advantages:

  • Produces great looking, professional websites
  • Very easy to customise the themes and layout
  • Easy to add new functionality as and when you want it
  • Integrates with social media very well
  • Produces lightweight fast websites - great for SEO
  • Low cost to get started
  • Can get up and running very quickly - in some cases with just one click installation

Disadvantages:

  • Steep Learning curve at the start if you don't know how to code
  • Themes and plugins ecosystem can get confusing and expensive

Estimated time to build site:

  • Blog: 1-2 days
  • News/Content Website: 1-2 weeks
  • E-Commerce Store: 2-4 weeks
  • Business website: 1-2 weeks

Estimated Cost To Get Started:

  • Blog: Less than $25
  • News/Content Website: Less than $250
  • E-Commerce Store: Less than $250
  • Business website: Less than $100

Conclusion

Building a Wordpress site or a Shopify store is easier today than it ever has been.

Sure there are some technical hurdles to overcome at the start but once you are over them it really does become a breeze to maintain.

The servers and hardware are all managed by your provider.

They are the cheapest that they have ever been and there is a huge marketplace behind the scenes which offer you the best themes and plugins for almost anything you want.

Hire a Web Developer to Build your Site

Advantages:

  • Get exactly the site you want - customise everything and anything
  • Ongoing maintenance of site can be outsourced
  • Don't need to learn to code or learn the platform
  • Get your products to market as soon as possible
  • Website will handle all amounts of traffic
  • Allows you to focus on growing your business

Disadvantages:

  • Most expensive option
  • Need to find a developer who is trusted and fits in your team (which is not always easy)

Estimated time to build site:

  • Blog: 1-2 days
  • News/Content Website: 1-2 weeks
  • E-Commerce Store: 2-4 weeks
  • Business website: 2-4 weeks

Estimated Cost To Get Started:

  • Blog: $250 - $500
  • News/Content Website: $1000+
  • E-Commerce Store: Less than $2500+
  • Business website: Less than $1000+

Conclusion

This is by far the most expensive path the go down but it also the most comprehensive.

You will get the website you want without having to learn any code...so if that appeals to you then this is the option for you.

The budget can vary widely but I would always recommend against going for the cheapest option.

Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com are all sites that full of web developers looking to help build your next project.

Not only that but they give a brilliant ratings system where you can choose the developer with the best job completion rate and how much they have earned on the platform.

A final point is to make sure that if you hire a developer, get them to sign a contract or non disclosure agreement.

The last thing you want is for the developer to steal your idea.

Takeaway

When it comes to the question "how long does it take to build a website", it's not as simple as an answer as just stating X amount of days.

There are a few qualifying questions you have to take in order to get a relatively accurate answer.

After you decide the type of website, the budget you want to spend and how you want to build the site you can give a reasonable estimate of how long your new website will take to build.

If you want a fancy website, it will take more time.

If you have a big budget, it will take less time.

The final judgement is with you and how much you want to involved in the process or not.

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