Create a Website – Estimate Time to Build a Website From Scratch

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A question I get asked a lot is: can you please give me an estimate of how long it will take to create a website from scratch? My answer is always the same – it depends. It depends for what type of website you want to create and what is the website for. I kept track of how long it took me to create my website, so I can use myself as an example to try estimate how long it might take you to create a website like mine.

For this estimate lets have the following conditions:

  • 10 pages of content
  • A simple graphic banner
  • A standard 2 section layout (body and right navigation panel)

The above is a standard website. It is also the same parameters that I used to create my website. So using my website as an example I can give you an estimate time to build your website.

Another important factor is your knowledge of website technologies. Since you are interested in knowing how long it takes to create a website it is safe to assume that you have very little experience – you have never created a website before. When I created my website I also had little experience. This estimate assumes that your experience is as follows:

  • very basic understanding of HTML
  • no understanding of CSS
  • little or no experience creating graphics (Photoshop)
  • little or no experience using website creation software (Dreamweaver)

If your level of experience matches the above then this estimate will be very accurate.

There are 3 major parts to creating a website. First there is content – the words that will fill the webpages. The second is the website itself – the layout and navigation between pages. And lastly there is the graphics – logos and eye pleasing graphical icons.

The first thing you should do is create the content, because without content all the other stuff does not matter. In a word document write all the pages for the website. Creating content can take as little as 10 hours (1 hour per page) to 100's of hours. It all depends how well you write and what you have to write about. For this estimate lets assume that it takes you 2 hours per page to create content. So you have a total of (10 pages * 2 hours / page) 20 hours.

The second thing you must do is the website layout. For this you will need to learn how to use a website creating software and learn how CSS works. The website software I used was Dreamweaver. I spent about one full day going through tutorials learning what it can do and how to use it. So that is another 8 hours.

CSS is hard to understand. I spent about 4 hours doing tutorials and trying it out. I must admit even after the 4 hours I still did not trap it fully, but after a few days of website creation I began to get the hang of it. CSS is best understood by experience. Spend 4 hours reading about it so that you get the general principle of it and then start your website. In time, and in the process of using it you will learn it.

Creating the website layout looks like a simple task. It is. Simply create a template page, choose some colors and fonts. It is simple, but it takes time. Because you need to make little adjustments and tweak things. The general layout takes no more then 8 hours, but the details take days. Making sure that everything is aligned, that the colors contrast each other pleasantly, that logo is centered. It is a lot of little things that add up to taking a long time. For my website all these little things ended up taking about 25 hours.

Using my website as an example, here is an estimate of how much time is taking to create a website:

  • Creating content: 20 hours
  • Learning to use Website Creation Software and CSS 12 hours
  • Creating website layout and basic graphical logo 28 hours

Total hours: 60 hours

In 50 hours you should be able to have a complete website with around 10 pages of content.

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