— June 30, 2017
“I need a website as soon as possible.”
A statement we hear more and more as businesses recognize that a lack of online presence equates to a strong reduction in, well… customers in general.
But what is it you should expect when asking for a website ASAP?
How long is the ‘as possible’ part of your request?
What should you expect when it comes to timeframes and the completion of your web design?
And more importantly, what can you do to help speed up the process?
How Long is ‘As Soon As Possible?’
No matter how urgently you want your website up and running, if you’re having it professionally designed and built (that’s if you are using a web designer), you’re going to have to expect they will spend a decent amount of time working on it, to ensure it meets your needs and design brief.
As web designers ourselves, we can tell you that you’re looking at around 6-8 weeks for a basic, non-complex site built to showcase your services. More complex sites, such as one that has an ecommerce (shopping) function, can take up to 10-15 weeks.
Of course, there may be times where websites can be completed sooner, or even take longer depending on your requirements; either way, you should be given a realistic timescale by your web designer well in advance.
You also may have to include additional time allowances for optional services, such as user acceptance testing which allows the site to be refined following beta tests.
So why so long? Isn’t this going to be detrimental to your business plan?
Well, no not really.
A website that is poorly designed, completed on a common template and thrown out into the worldwide web won’t achieve your marketing goals and is highly likely to damage your brand reputation, rather than improve it.
So why will it take a good few weeks before you can go live with your website?
Well this is because of the stages involved, including:
Planning: This requires finalizing your design brief and clarifying your business objectives. A sitemap is developed that outlines the structure of the website and the linkages between each page, and then wireframes, the skeleton of the site, is put together.
Web Design: Careful adherence your brand guidelines are followed and color palates arranged during the design stage of the website. A mock-up of the visual elements of the website is completed, with layouts, image ideas, graphics, headings, and menus. This alone is a long process of careful planning and preparation to ensure the customer journey within your site is seamless and meets expectations. This is also the time where written content is prepared and organized for each web page.
Website Development: The final build of your site requires the coding and programming of the site complexities. This is the stage where everything finally comes together, the design, the layout, the content, and functions to make sure that the website is operating exactly to your specifications.
Testing: Initial tests are carried out at this stage to identify any potential problem areas so that the website can be refined and improved before the final launch date.
As you can see, the process of completing a website in the right way is complex and time-consuming, which you may expect considering the cost of a professionally designed and unique website.
However, the process for completing your website shouldn’t just be dependent on your web designer, there are things that you can do to help speed up the process and ensure your website is completed ASAP.
Helping to Speed up Your Web Design
To help the process of building a website move along as quickly as possible, there are some things that you can do to help, such as:
Preparing content: If you’re planning on writing your own content for the website, the design and development stage is a good time for you to complete this. Getting the content of a website written out properly can take a lot longer than anticipated; especially if you’re writing case studies, blogs or additional articles. In fact, waiting for content to be written can be one of the main delays in a website completion. In this case, you may wish to use a professional copywriter that will work with your web designer to create search engine optimized content, expertly articulate your marketing messages and do so within the agreed deadline.
Choosing your images: Images, graphics, photography… these are all powerful ways to build your brand and inspire your website visitors; however sitting through a catalog of options is also extremely time-consuming. By carefully selecting the images you require early on, either from your own archives or from an online photo stock service, you can save your web designer a large amount of time and help to move the process along quickly.
Keeping regular communication: Throughout the process of a website design and build, you should be contacted to clarify ideas, answer questions and issue approvals. Responding quickly to your web designer and maintaining regular communication will help avoid any unnecessary delays (as will prompt payment for design milestones, funnily enough).
Making specific requests: It helps immensely when you can be specific with your requests for changes and the timescale you expect them to be made. Sending an email saying you’re “not keen” on a certain aspect leaves your web designer unsure of the approach you actually want. To help move the design and build along rapidly it helps to keep an eye regularly on the process, identify exactly what you would like changed, how you want it changed and why. This also allows your web designer to offer suggestions and ideas for improvements that you may not have thought about; as well as ensure your alteration can be made to your exact requirements.
Planning with Realistic Expectations
In a world of “I want it (July 12, 2017),” it may be a surprise for you to learn just how long a professionally designed website can take. However, having that realistic expectation of the timescales involved, as well as an understanding of how you can help speed up the process is essential to avoid unnecessary frustrations.
Yes, there are web designers out there that use a one-design fits all strategy for shorter timescales, but the fact is, every business is different, as are your needs and the needs of your customers, so for a website that delivers, you should expect longer timeframes and be prepared to give prompt responses to help move the process along as quickly ‘as possible’.