If you are looking into getting yourself a shiny new website by hiring a website developer, you may wonder how long it actually takes to get one built from quote to go live. And, depending on the size and scale of your website, the answer from your chosen developer may vary.
If your site has a complex custom design, many pages, or has complicated features which require hand-coding or extra plugins to set up, then it’s going to take longer to build than a simple 1-3 page brochure website. And, no matter how long is quoted, you certainly shouldn’t rush any stage of the development as this could result in things not working correctly or it not looking like you wanted it.
How do you maximise the use of time and get your new website built a bit quicker?
Nevertheless, there are some steps I can suggest, when commissioning a new website, to make sure it gets completed quickly with as little stress as possible – and to help you get the results you want.
1. Set realistic deadlines
The first step is to discuss the schedule with your developer, and advise of your deadlines. And, then between you, decide on a realistic go-live date. It might be that you include a bit of contingency time too – i.e. ‘We’d like it before the end of November, ideally, but if we could say no later than the end of December’. This ensures that, should there be any unforeseen delays, you’ll still be on target.
To be super organised, put it in writing and track it using a calendar or a project management tool. If using the latter, you might want to set up ‘important stage dates’ too, like ‘first draft complete’ or make a note of any important payment dates.
2. Write a thorough brief and go through it with the developer
The second step is to ensure you and your developer are on the same page from the start.
Ensure that you have written down exactly what you want from your developer in a proper briefing document – and try not to change the goal-posts along the way.
If you do want an additional page or feature along the way, during the build, does it have to be done before the site goes live or could it be done afterwards? If it’s fundamental then you may need to review the deadline as these extras may not have been accounted for in the timeline.
Make sure your developer has gone through the briefing guide and has had chance to clarify anything that they’re not sure about or that might need further discussion. A briefing document will also ensure that you’re paying the right amount so try and get this completed prior to booking the developer. If you’ve never written a brief before and need help with what to include, then take a look at my website planner guide which not only helps you plan a website that works for both you and your customers but also, tells you what to include in a brief.
3. Gather your content and images in advance
The biggest thing you can do, to speed up the process, is to have all your content written and your images picked out. Most of the delays when building websites come from waiting for content to be ready.
You should know in advance which pages you want building, and although you may not know the design at this stage, you should know roughly what information the page will need to include.
If writing isn’t your forte, you may wish to hire a copywriter and this again, will take time, as you’ll need to approve the copy at every stage and re-write it where necessary.
Or you may wish to commission custom photography or graphics which will need briefing and editing as well. Another time-saving technique is to introduce any third parties to your web developer so they can ask any questions they may have/
Having all this done in advance will help the developer get the website built without any delays from your side and it can be done in one smooth run rather than stopping and starting waiting for the next lot of information.
If a project drags on past a few weeks or months, then it’s understandable that motivation will start to lag as well.
But try to keep as motivated as possible and do keep your end goal, and deadline, in mind.
It’s not very fair on the website developer to not prioritise the website development in your workload but expect them to and meet the same deadline – especially if they have had to schedule in other work whilst they are waiting for you to do something at your end.
So, always provide regular and timely feedback, if asked so that the developer isn’t sat waiting for you – they may not be able to move on without it which means the build stops entirely and they’ll be looking for other tasks/work.
Why not ensure your calendar is free to be able to answer questions or provide feedback by scheduling some regular time in, right from the start. Previous smart-thinking clients of ours have set aside a set a couple of hours or afternoon per week to work on the website. Otherwise you may find that essential work and admin takes over and you’re struggling to fit it in, resulting in days or weeks going by.
5. Schedule regular meetings but don’t rush the developer
With time management in mind, why not set regular meetings with your team or developer in advance? This will not help the developer manage their time and projects but will also help you keep motivated as well. And, if you have a team or board that needs to be consulted at each stage, then their time is already factored in without having to synchronise diaries on the fly.
Meetings should be set a reasonable distance apart to allow the work to be completed in between, and try not to ask for updates outside of these times, as this may make the developer feel rushed which is when important steps or processes get missed.
At the end of the day, remember that most developers want the build to finish as quickly as you do because this is also when they get their full payment and can show off their handy-work in their portfolio.