Today’s the day. In the back of your mind, you knew it was coming, but the day is finally here. It’s finally sunk in. Your website sucks.
So, you’ve decided you need a new one. Or, maybe you’re the last holdout in your industry and you’ve finally decided that you need a website for your business. (Welcome to the 21st century. We’ll be your host. Who are we kidding, that guy’s not reading our blog!)
The question is: How long does web design actually take?
We get that question a lot.
The answer is frustrating. Naturally, it depends.
Once you’ve decided you need a new website, there are a host of decisions that need to follow that one. Do I do it myself? Do I hire a freelancer or a company? What’s my budget? Is it too late in the day for a latte?
Ok, that last one had nothing to do with web design, but who doesn’t want a nice latte?
One of the decisions you’ll inevitably need to make is whether you’ll do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Here, you have to consider the time and effort it will take to design your website compared to the ease of having an agency or web design company do it for you. And then there are some other things you’ll have to consider, like your budget and what type of web design company you use.
All of these factors affect the time it takes for your web design, so let’s dive in.
Do-It-Yourself vs. Hiring A Web Designer
To answer the question of whether you should design your website yourself or hire someone to do it, it’s helpful to begin with some honest self-reflection. Ask yourself, “Am I really a ‘do-it-yourself-er or do I just want to be really badly?”
Think about whether you would hire a carpenter to install new kitchen cupboards or whether you would do it yourself? The question may not seem related to web design, but the principle stays the same. If you’re still cooking in a kitchen with no cabinets, then you have your answer.
Obviously, you could install kitchen cupboards yourself, but most of us would be far better off when we hire a carpenter or cabinet installer. So, although you can go out, buy the tools necessary, and find many helpful tutorials on the Internet, the carpenter is an expert in working with wood and will be able to install your cupboards in the best possible way.
Likewise, web design agencies are the experts in web design and, as such, can design the website you want without you having to go through all the hassle of doing it yourself. We understand the science behind web design (some of us actually are nerdy enough to study that stuff) which means our sites are more likely to get you the results you’re looking for. In addition, we have the knowledge, skills, experience, and are up to date with the newest technologies to design a modern website.
Different Types of Web Design Companies
Typically, there are three ways to go to get a website designed.
The first is to find a web designer or freelancer. There are just shy of a million ways to find this person- from your nephew’s best friend to finding someone on Craigslist. There are even sites out there where you can find freelancers. But, as with most things, there are pros and cons to going this route.
The biggest plus is that you will usually pay less for a freelancer (although not necessarily. Wait for it…) This would be a good time to inject the old saying of “You get what you pay for.” In our retail shop, roughly 75% or more of the people that come talk to us have been burned by “a guy”, so you have to be very careful when going this route. While there are definitely great freelancers out there, it seems there are far more that are just learning or starting out. Do you really want to be somebody’s “first site”?
Next, there are small companies that only design and build websites and don’t offer any other services. In many cases, they also use website builders and templates. As a result, they often charge less compared to the other types of web design companies.
Like freelancers, some of these companies understand the science of web development and some don’t. This includes things like responsive web design, user experience design, graphic design, etc. Again, there are children out there who can build websites, but they may or may not know what it takes to help your business be successful.
The next category is going with a digital marketing agency. These agencies typically have in-house web designers that will be able to design and build your website. In addition, they have all the resources and expertise to help determine your marketing strategy and execute it.
Let’s face it- having a beautiful new website that no one ever sees isn’t worth much is it?
This is where basic tools like search engine optimization, Google ads, Facebook ads, and other social media tools are brought into your marketing efforts to build your business. More often than not, these agencies also integrate your website with your marketing campaigns. In simple terms, you can think of these agencies as an all-in-one solution to your website and marketing needs.
Questions You Should Ask Web Design Companies Before You Hire Them
Now, if you decide that you’re not up for the challenge of designing your website yourself, and you want to hire a web design company, there are some crucial questions you should ask before hiring.
Some of the questions include:
● How much experience do they have? Sure, experience isn’t everything, and there are less experienced web designers out there who can design a modern and beautiful website for you. However, experience shows that they’ve designed many websites before, and they know what works and what doesn’t. It’s also probable that, with experience, they’ll be up to date with all the latest technologies.
● What kinds of websites have you designed? It’s simple – it’s better to hire a web design company specializing in the type of website you want. For example, it’s of little use hiring a website design company that’s an expert in building blogs and landing pages when you actually want an e-commerce site.
● Can they show you some websites they’ve designed? If they can’t, this is an immediate red flag and a warning that you should stay away. If they can, you’ll be able to see the quality of their work and whether what they do aligns with your goals.
● What results have other clients had with their websites? This question is essential for you to see whether they can build websites that convert. You do want some sort of return on investment on your website, after all. And let’s face it, it’s no use having a website that doesn’t convert. All this means is that you’ll have no return on your investment. Having a pretty website that doesn’t convert looky-loos into customers just doesn’t pay the bills.
● How will the process work? This question will show you how the process will work and what the web design company needs from you to design your website. So, this question will clarify what you will have to give to them and by when.
● Who will you communicate with during the design process? This is crucial as you’ll need to constantly communicate with the web design company to give feedback and follow-up on progress. As a result, there should be a dedicated project manager to guide the design process.
● How much will the website cost? This is probably the most critical question to ask. This is simply because web design companies differ when it comes to pricing. For instance, some companies charge a few hundred dollars, while others charge well tens of thousands. In addition, some companies also require a sizable down payment before they even start working. This will give you an idea of what you have to pay and whether that aligns with your budget. If it doesn’t, it’s no use pursuing the specific web design agency any further because you can’t afford them. Here, it’s also helpful to clarify exactly what the price includes and what the payment terms are.
If a web designer asks for the full fee upfront, run. Don’t walk. Run away.
How Long Web Design Usually Takes
There simply isn’t one answer here. For example, a simple website built on a website building platform using a template can take a day or two. In contrast, a custom website with lots of custom code and design elements may take far longer. So, depending on your needs, requirements, and goals with your website, the time to design your website will vary.
Also, there needs to be an initial discussion and agreement about two things essential for a successful website: images and copy.
For example, at Make It Loud, we’re happy to buy stock images for any and every site we build. This protects the client from copyright infringement lawsuits down the road. Obviously, if the client has a specialized product or process, we’ll need images from them for the site. Another example of that is when the person wants staff pictures. That’s clearly not something we can go purchase.
For years, we would ask the client for the text before we realized that this slowed down the process considerably. In fact, we had one client who waited nearly over a year to give us content for his “new” site.
While we’ll still let clients give us content they want on the site, we do most of the writing for them. Our writers are expert SEO nerds which helps the site’s overall visibility.
Finally, it just makes sense that the more complex your website is, the longer it will take to complete it. For instance, a website for a dentist typically displays the services offered and the staff while an e-commerce website not only displays products but has an entire shopping process attached. Naturally, this type of site will take longer to complete depending upon how many products you sell.
The Bottom Line
Designing a website is an exciting process where you’ll be able to see your idea come to life. However, during this process, you’ll need to ask a lot of questions and make many decisions. For example, you’ll have to decide on a budget and decide on what type of website design company you’ll use.
Then you should decide how your website should look to effectively portray your brand. You’ll also have to ask the web design company several questions to ensure that what you want aligns with what they can offer.
Inevitably, you’ll also wonder how long it takes to design a website. Hopefully, this post helps illustrate that the time it takes to design your website depends on various factors, including everything from your design to the company you use and how many custom or complex features you want. So, ultimately, how long it takes depends on your requirements and goals for your website.
That being said, a straightforward, “brochure” website that has no integration issues (no need to “talk” to another platform) and simply advertises your business should take no longer than 4-6 weeks. Some agencies are able to get it live earlier, but a lot of times, you’ll pay for the privilege.
If you want to know more about website design or our other services, visit our website or contact us for more details. At Make It Loud, we’ve been helping businesses establish and improve their online presence for more than 15 years.