How Long Does Website Design Actually Take? [BONUS: Project Guide]

You decided you want a brand new website, or you have a website and you’d like a website redesign or refresh. You have a vision of what you want and when you are going to have it, but then you run into minor bumps along the road. Your teammate does not like the color scheme. You find out at the last minute that you have to change the homepage content in order to meet some new regulation.

Do you really know how long your website design will take? There is no way that you precisely can, so you must plan with some stretching space.

Setting a realistic timeline for quality website design includes ample room for change and updates. Here we’ll talk about some of the biggest pain points we see all of the time, and what to expect on how that may affect a website design timeline.

Plan for Any & All Trouble With Design

No matter who you are and what your website is about, anything can go awry with your website’s design. It is virtually impossible to create the perfect website design without any revisions desired. Make sure to consider that at least one round of revisions will happen. We’ve noticed website revisions are most often needed because:

  • More than one person is providing conflicting feedback
  • There isn’t one point of contact to facilitate the communication process
  • Company updates occurred during the design process, or after the design was signed off
  • Minds simply change


How Many Revisions Should You Expect?

Your website design work should go through the following design process:

  • Kick off
    • Initial planning
  • Sitemap
    • Website outline
  • Buyer persona
    • Determining your audience
  • Content
    • Shape your website’s message
  • Design

Following that process, typically two larger rounds of revisions work well. With clear and consistent communication between everyone involved, there shouldn’t be more than a couple of rounds of revisions needed. If you, for any reason, anticipate that you will need more than a few rounds of revisions, this should be communicated in the beginning stages of obtaining a website design firm.

Figuring out What You Like

From the moment you’re thinking of updating or creating a new website, a good first step to take is to create a list of what you like, and what you don’t like. This includes design preferences as well as overall content style and length. This will save time further down the road, avoiding unnecessary revisions.

While the website isn’t necessarily about you, but about your audience, you still want to consider what website design you like and dislike so that the designer can best consider that when looking at what your audience likes. This will create a perfect blend of your personality and your audience’s needs.


Website Design Goals

Create a list of 3 to 4 websites that you like. These can be any kind of website, just pick your favorites. Note exactly what you like about these websites, and how you would imagine those features working well on your website. Consider your goals, and how the design of your website will support those.

Website Design to Avoid

Just like the list of websites that you like, create a list of websites that you do not like. This list would be most beneficially comprised of websites from your direct competitors or someone within your industry. Note why you do not like those websites so that you have a good list of specifically what you will need to avoid.

Download our website design help guide stacked with checklists for each month, tips, and extremely helpful resources to guide you through the entire process.

Quality Website Design Involves Transparent Planning

The right designer(s) will know how to cater to your needs in the most efficient and effective ways possible. They’ll work closely with you to determine the results you’d like, and the timeframe in which you’d like to accomplish those results.

Avoid designers who aren’t transparent with their website design timeline. You should know what is happening, every step of the way.

What If You’re Struggling With Revisions?

What if you created a list of what you like and what you do not like, and you are in close communications with your website designer, and you are finding yourself frustrated on your tenth revision? What can you do then?

Hire the Right Professionals for You

If you have done your homework and have communicated all of your preferences and dislikes with the designer(s), and you are still not where you would like to be, then you may be working with the wrong talent. It is imperative that communication works well both ways between designers and website owners.

When that magic happens, you will get the best website for your needs, in 3 months, on average. Larger websites take 4 to 5 months. Smaller websites, such as a one-page scrolling site, may take no longer than 2 months.

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  1. Albert David on June 24, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Love the idea on listing the website design we don’t like. I think this would help figuring out what we don’t like or what the users don’t prefer to work with.

  2. Patrick on July 22, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    There are many design styles to choose from and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I think its best to know the content you want then do some research like you said and write down what you like and don’t like. Good topic to cover.

  3. Danielle Iera on July 23, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    @Albert – YES. This is just as important as ones that you DO like. If there is a specific element that you know your target audience may not vibe with (colors, types of info included etc) it’s important to personalize that for them, too.

    @Patrick – Absolutely. We often tell clients who have trouble figuring out how to notate their ideas on design, to grab their phone and record their thoughts AND have also done things like – give them our own list of resources/links that include a myriad of design choices and go over it all live over a Zoom meeting to dig deeper into the likes/dislikes.

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