Whether they have built their websites themselves or hired designers, almost everyone I have spoken with reported that it takes much longer than they expected.
We’re talking double, triple or longer than expected.
And as a web designer myself, I know projects, if they aren’t well planned, can easily double in time to complete.
Why? Many reasons.
But the top three reasons that come to mind are:
- The newness of the endeavor as most sites are the coach’s first. There’s a lot to do and learn.
- Jumping in blind without a clear vision of what you want to create. There’s no defined end.
- Various mental luggage pieces such as perfectionism, fear of being judged, the unknown.
In a study I did, I found that projects fell into three categories:
- One third of website projects were done fast, in a matter of weeks with an intense effort.
- One third took many months to over a year to get launched and it was a painful struggle.
- One third never actually made it to prime time. I call it “failure to launch”.
But there are many more factors, and to make your website planning life easier, I’ve created a quick calculator in the form of a series of questions.
The main pieces that take up time will be:
- Creating content, most of which will be writing.
- Getting visuals together including design of site and preparing images
- Technical setup and testing it out
- Strategy or vision for the site, which is often ignored and causes you to be confused as you create your site.
Let’s estimate your time to launch …
Step 1. Start with 8 weeks.
I’m going to assume you’re not a total technophobe but also not a computer geek.
You’re somewhere in between where you are comfortable using email, Facebook and buying online and you are using a computer at least an hour or two a day at home or work.
Also, I’ll assume that you have a full-time job and family obligations like a spouse and a child.
I’ll also assume you can find 3 to 5 sittings of 1 to 2 hours per week for yourself to work on your website.
If needed, you could skip an event during the week or make use of upcoming holiday time.
And so, let’s start with an 8 week launch estimate.
Step 2. If you have a part-time job, subtract two weeks.
If you’ve got more time on your hands than than the average person such as …
- a single person with a job that isn’t demanding on time
- in a relationship without children
- or working part time
- or retired
… then go ahead and subtract two weeks.
Step 3. If you never built a site before add four weeks.
There’s a bit to do including creating content, gathering visuals, designing and technical setup.
And for many people, much of this stuff isn’t in their skill set. So you’ll need to learn as well as do.
Step 4. If you have built a website before, subtract a week.
If you’ve built a site before, you’ll have less to learn and fewer tech issues.
Go ahead and subtract a week.
Step 5. If you have no deadline add four weeks.
Without a deadline, I’d bet against you ever getting it done.
Without time pressure, the project will just expand on forever.
In this modern world, there’s just too much distraction to derail you.
If you look back at life, you’ll see that most things that actually get done, had some sort of deadline or timeframe for completion.
If no time pressure (like a firm launch date, or a paid-for training course, or you just lost your job), then add four weeks.
Step 6. If you have extra family obligations, add four weeks.
If any of these time pressures exist in your life …
- You need to take care of a sick family member
- You are a single parent
- You have a big family, 3+ young children
- Or, you work long days (you don’t get home at 4pm) or always bring work home
… then add four more weeks.
Step 7. If you resist writing, add four weeks.
If writing frightens you at all, you’ll struggle to puts words on paper.
It will be rough going.
The biggest tip I can give here is get clear on what you plan to write so it’s not a mystery.
If writing worries you, add four weeks.
However, if you love to write, and can actually get writing done without over thinking it, second guessing yourself, subtract two weeks.
Step 8. If you have a techy on hand, subtract a week.
If you can call someone for help who has built a coaching website, this can be a huge help.
This will prevent you from getting stuck, getting side-tracked.
Just be sure to bug the hell out of them for help as people are busy.
If you’ve got tech help within easy reach, who WILL respond, subtract one week.
Step 9. If you have someone who will do it for you for free, add four weeks 😉
Sadly, your website project (for free) will be last on their priority list.
I’ve never seen it work out where someone (even with a well-intentioned friend or family member) builds your site for you for free and it gets done at all.
I’ve spoken to at least 10 people over my career who have said it didn’t work out OR it’s still under construction (and when asked, it’s already been 6 months or more).
Yep. Never seen it work out. But I expect somewhere it must have at least once 😉
So add four weeks if you think a friend will do it for free.
(If you prove me wrong, please come back here and post. I still await someone getting their site built by a friend for free).
Step 10. If you love researching technology, add four weeks.
The lust to tinker, even one little side plugin or technology, can easily derail you.
There’s so much out there (plug-ins, apps, tools, etc.) and more of it every day. 99% of which you do not need.
One of my pet peeves is calendar software. It’s just not needed at the start.
But the big problem here is you’ll research and research because it’s fun to do and not get much done.
Add four weeks.
Step 11. If you’re a perfectionist or are worried about what others will think, add four weeks.
Perfectionism is a productivity slayer.
If you need things to be right, perfect, pristine, you’ll struggle to get your website done.
Even if you hire someone else to do it, your perfectionism will just transfer on to them.
As a tip, consider websites as an ongoing “work in progress”.
They just need to be good so you can get them out there to see how people respond. Then tweak and improve.
If you want it done “right” the first time, add four weeks.
Step 12. Got no sitemap? Add four weeks.
You’ll probably spend an extra month redoing things, rethinking content, reorganizing pages because you have no vision for what constitutes DONE.
Yes, you need what is called a sitemap or wireframe. This is an outline of the content, pages, visuals, calls to action, layout and functionality for your website.
It’s just like setting a goal or envisioning your dreams.
This will keep you focused.
If you have no sitemap, add four weeks.
Step 13. If you HAVE a deadly deadline, great …
If missing your deadline will be very painful as in a loss of a lot of money, or a bit of hit to your public image, then good, you can set your time to complete to that deadline.
Here’s what must be at play …
- Your deadline must be within 8 weeks from start
- Your deadline can’t be too unrealistic, like done in a week if you have a job
- You must have at least 10 hours a week available
- The loss for missing your deadline has to send chills down your spine
Set your time frame to that launch date.
Step 14. If you’re taking a course or structured class.
If you’re following a program and you’re good with sticking to the program, then good.
You can set your launch time to match the course time.
If you’re not such a good finisher of classes, then skip this time adjustment.
Ok. What’s your time estimate? Post it below!
This might have been a crazy exercise to do and you may be a bit shocked at how long it will take you to complete your site.
But, from my experience, the reality is that many sites never launch, and many take months to over a year to go up.
What’s your time estimate?
I’d love to hear from you about how your calculation went and what interesting thoughts popped up as you went through the exercise.
Just post below.