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Launch Schedule

website_building2When I give a presentation on developing websites, a popular question always comes up.  They ask me how long does a website take to create.  There are many factors that come into play when developing a website.  And each element has an effect on the time it will take to design and build the site.

Before you begin designing your website you need to outline the sections you will need on your site.  We call this a sitemap.  This process helps you outline the content and flow of the website.  Next you should create a wireframe to illustrate where you want your information to be placed and the functions your website will need.  Check your competition and identify the right keywords for your website.  Depending on how much time you can devote to these steps, then can take a few days or a few weeks.

When building a site you may have to ask yourself what comes first, the design or the copy,  there really is no rule on this one as everyone works differently.  Some people need a design to write their content to match.  A different approach is to write out all your website content first, and through this process you can find the inspiration for the design in the word.  The important thing is that there is some alignment between the two areas.

You don’t have to have your copy finished to start the design, however having a sizable percentage will help you have a strong idea of the direction you want for your design.  When doing this all yourself you need to commit to tackling your content for an hour or two a day.  Use your wireframe and sitemap as a guide to help you.

When using a pre-designed template instead of customizing a look for your website you may want to spend time finding some stock photography to add to your site to differentiate the look and enhance your content.

Custom designed sites  need to be converted to the code that makes them work online.  The process of doing that can take from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the complexity of the code.  The next step is to drop in content.  It’s not just copy and paste, but styling the text and creating cross links within the copy.  Even with prepackaged solutions you will need to spend some time looking over your content and finding ways to make it work better.

It does not matter how your website is built you absolutely need to take the time to test its functionality.  Browser testing is one of the most important things to check.  Is your site looking and acting correctly in the main browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome?  If your site uses security make sure that is working correctly.  Also do a few test orders to make sure that the transactions are working properly.

As you can see, how much time it takes to build a site depends on many factors.  You can set dates and milestones, but make sure they are realistic.  Leave time for revisions and testing. Websites are meant to change, so it is acceptable to launch your site even if you feel like it is not completely finished, as long as all the testing is done.  You can always add more content as you go, which will give you some new reasons to send emails out to your customer base.