Aside from cost, one of the most important considerations when setting up a new website is the timeframe. It is an aspect of web design that can cause tension between the client and the web design agency, as expectations are often unrealistic, and promises can be hard to keep. This is especially the case if the process has not been planned carefully, or the schedule has been allowed to slip. Ignorance of the nature of web design and the amount of work involved in producing a quality website is a major cause of tension.
Web design agencies also experience their share of frustrations, particularly when clients change their minds, are unresponsive, or take a long time to sign off on key stages. It is therefore important for both sides to be well informed about the process, and clear from the outset about what is expected from each party at every stage.
The exact amount of time that a client can realistically expect their website to be ready for launch is hard to pin down. As with costs, the timeframe depends entirely on the size and complexity of the website. Here is a quick guide to the sorts of timeframes that a client could reasonably expect a web design agency to create a website, depending on the scale of the project.
From around two weeks minimum a web design agency is typically able to produce a small scale website, perhaps consisting of between five to ten pages. It is likely to be predominantly text-based, as with a fairly standard WordPress site. For the agency to produce such a project in a period that is less than one month they would expect the content of the site, i.e. the written text and any images, to be delivered by the client and ready to implement from the outset of the project.
This longer timeframe is realistic if the content of a small WordPress-type website is to be produced by the web design agency. Employing a copywriter takes time as well as money, but it is an essential step if the website is to achieve its potential of reaching as wide an audience as possible. Three months is a standard amount of time for a website that requires up to 30 pages of content creation.
Within this longer period of time a lot more can be achieved, both in terms of the amount of content, and the extent of the website’s functionality. A minimum of three months is likely for a fairly straightforward e-commerce platform to be delivered, one with a shopping cart and individual pages for each product. A good deal of the time developing this kind of website is spent populating the site with the products and testing the payment and shopping cart functions. Naturally, the more products that are to be sold, the longer the website will take to be completed.
Large organisations whose websites include hundreds of different pages of content, or larger e-commerce websites, with hundreds of individual products, can expect to wait at least six months for the web design agency to create a website ready for launch. With such projects, the truth is that the website is never truly completed. Online platforms such as these are continually in need of updates, renewals and tweaks, and the development process is ongoing.
For a high-quality and reliable website to be ready for launch in as short a time as can reasonably be expected, both client and agency need to be clear, consistent and responsive with one another from the very beginning.
On the agency side, it is important to be honest about how long the project will take to be delivered, and to maintain contact with the client throughout the development process. The web design agency’s project manager needs to have a good relationship with their client-side contact and to make sure that they have everything they need from the client as soon as it is needed.
On the client side, it is important to know exactly what you want the website to be, and to have realistic expectations about it. The web design agency needs to know that the client will deliver all of the content needed from the outset and that sign-offs and approvals will be prompt. The best way for a client to find the right agency is to consult more than one before making a final decision. If a client can tell an agency exactly what they want, the agency will be able to give an accurate estimate and timeframe.
For everything to be on time and on budget, a clear plan needs to be agreed on from the outset. This way, both sides can enjoy a fruitful partnership and the website that is being developed stands every chance of being a success.