How long will it take to get my new website live?

If you embarked on a new program (whether with us or someone else), you are probably wondering how long it will take to get your website live. Because every project is different, we set up this quiz to give you an idea of how much effort is going into the project. It will also share ways you can reduce the time involved. Our program is designed to provide 20 hours of professional efforts for $795/mo.  This is only $40 per hour, which is below the industry average.  Most professionals estimate between between $80 and $200/hr when bidding on projects.  So ask yourself with each step, how long would it take me to reasonably do this task and how much faster could an expert reasonably do this same task? This will vary wildly by task. If you have no experience in web design or web development, it will take you hundreds of hours to do a mediocre job and an expert may do an excellent job in 8 to 10 hours.  Conversely, content may take you less time than a professional writer because you are more versed in the subject matter. In this quiz, we share the estimated hours of effort our professionals will put into the various tasks based on previous experiences.

Quiz to Help You Estimate Effort to Create New Website

Instructions - Open each question. Answer Yes or No. Tally points based on Answers.

Let’s start!

Do You Have an Active Website?

If don’t currently have a website, you can just assume that it will take at least 80 hours of effort to get your site live.  There is a good chance that if you don’t have a website, you need branding, a market analysis, graphics, videos, a lot of text, and a lot of strategy.  The reality is that even 80 hours is not enough time to make the website stellar, but it is enough time to have a well-organized, live website and keep building from there.  Plus, it is going to require significant contributions by you.

For Yes, Add 0 to Score, for No, Add 80 Hours

If you have a site, was it built in India or by someone on Fiverr?

In most cases, when you hire someone to build a website, they are a developer, not a designer.  These are two fundamentally different tasks.  A designer looks at branding, marketing flow, message, etc.  A developer codes the design so that what is conceived visually on paper shows up on the website and works in both desktop as well as mobile form.  Rarely can you get both in the same person and when you do, it is usually cheaper and easier to design the layout in a different application and have that app convert the look to HTML, which is then pasted into WordPress.  You get the look you want this way, but you can’t make changes without messing everything up.  You will be dependent on a developer forever to make changes.  Typically when coded this way, the first thing we have to do is convert your website into a content structuring app, such as Divi and split the code into blocks so that content can be updated by us or contributed to by you without breaking.  Then, we need to spend some time training you on how to understand how it works.  Sustainability is the key. Contractors can appear cheap, but they are not looking at the project from a sustainability standpoint.

For Yes, Add 10 to Score, for No, Add 0.

If you have a site, are you happy with the design?

Designing a website is a creative task.  You must understand your audience, what your message is, the end goal of each website, and then, you must craft the placement of content to properly funnel where people are going.  Before a design can even begin, we need to solidify the target audience of each page (keywords of the page), identify the product/service offered and perform keyword research, create a branding guide (colors, logos, typekit, mission, value propositions, FAQ, etc.) because all of these need to be placed strategically down the page to tell the story we want to share and create the mood we want the visitor to feel.  Even if you are happy with design, it is virtually guaranteed that there will still need to be changes to flow to accommodate the updated marketing message and content.

For Yes, Add 5 to Score, for No, Add 30.

If you have a site, do you know how to navigate admin and make basic changes?

It is common for sites to be built in a way that makes them almost impossible to manage without a developer.  It is also common that owners are not properly trained on how to mange their website.  The POD program is as much a training program as it is a service program.  We must work together to build a synergistic program that leverages the expertise and time of the company as well as our own team.

For Yes, Add 2 to Score, for No, Add 10.

If you have a site, was it built on a site builder application?

There are many platforms out there for making site building easier.  Most sites are hosted on a 3rd party platform (e.g. wix.com, wordpress.com, shopify.com, bigcommerce.com, etc.).  These sites are great because you don’t have to worry about security and the user interface these websites utilize allow for drag and drop development features. Our favorite platform is WordPress but when using WordPress, you need an app (we use Divi) that helps structure your content.  These apps make managing your content MUCH easier and make it possible to efficiently manage a website and are, therefore, a must.  If your site does not have a structure manager, one will need to be set up.

For Yes, Add 2 to Score, for No, Add 8.

Do you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console setup?

Google Search console is how Google communicates with websites.  If you want to know if you have a bad link pointing at your site or if a page is indexed, this is the place to go.  It is also the place to see what keywords Google ranks your site for.  It is limited to information on organic search results.  Analytics is advanced information about who visits your site, where they are from, where they go on your site, whether or not they click on your call to action, etc.  Both are a must in this day and age, as a sustainable web program is driven by ROI and that requires analytics.

For Yes, Add 1 to Score, for No, Add 3.

Are you happy with the look of your social media account?

You can no longer look at a website as the end all – be all of your internet marketing presence.  If you have a social media account, it should have consistent branding with your website, a proper layout and overall message, and be set up to receive reviews. You should be also be monitoring those reviews. Then, those should be linked to your website and vice versa.

For Yes, Add 2 to Score, for No, Add 10.

Do you have a branding guide?

A branding guide is typically a document that is created by a marketing firm that helps to ensure that all of the members of your team stay consistent in the way they present your brand.  A branding guide can be as specific as when to use a black and white logo and when to use color or the size of the logo in an email signature, etc.  Common inclusions in a branding guide include: the Hex codes for the primary and highlight colors for your brand, fonts, acceptable logos, typeface for H1, H2, title, and paragraphs, background of the company, mission statement, market positioning, and email signatures.  This kind of guide is great for us to use, as it ensures that we design the website and marketing programs within the scope of the whole company.  If you don’t have a branding guide, then we have to ask you these questions and generally will then formalize them for you.

For Yes, Add 2 to Score, for No, Add 10.

Have you updated site security in the last 6 months?

This is usually more of a have you EVER updated security question.  It is particularly important for WordPress.  With WordPress so widely used, a hacker who identifies a single exploit can have access to millions of sites and will send out bots to find WordPress sites and exploit them.  The best way to protect your website from malware is to change the login to admin and keep plugins updated regularly.  We also recommend having us host your site (free for clients) so we can also perform security checks on your cPanel and back up the account.  If you don’t update regularly, becoming affected by malware is something you will need to plan for.

For Yes, Add 1 to Score, for No, Add 4.

Do you plan to run an AdWords campaign?

AdWords is Google’s method for advertising.  It is your access to ads in Google’s search engine, ads on people’s websites, and ads on YouTube.  While ads do not directly affect organic traffic (traffic you don’t pay for), ads are a great way to test your message, increase impressions, and other things, which will lead to more organic growth.  We see ads on multiple platforms as a must for most clients nowadays, so one of our key focuses is developing less expensive ways to design the creatives needed to advertise.

For Yes, Add 4 to Score, for No, Add 0.

Do you plan to advertise on Facebook and Instagram?

Google’s strength has waned as many people utilize social media as their primary source of interaction on the web.  Advertising on Facebook and Instagram can be just as important as advertising on Google.  This is done through business.facebook.com.

If you plan to advertise on Facebook, Add 4 to Score, for No, Add 0.

Also add 1 if you do not have a business.facebook.com account set up.

Do you have a business.google.com account?

Also known as Google My Business, this account is how local businesses are found online.  This is the portal where you update Google Maps content and find the central repository of reviews left by customers.  While not relevant for any internet-only business, this is crucial for all businesses targeting local customers.  Google verifies all new businesses, so it takes an above-average number of hours to get this  set up, as it is more than just adding content.

For Yes, Add 2 to Score, for No, Add 6.

Have you listed yourself in the top directories online?

There are thousands of directories on the internet.  Many companies will actively scrape information from directories and tax records and use this information to capture traffic.  Most directories are not going to add value to your business, but there are plenty of directories that will bring traffic, and you should manage the content on these sites.  

For Yes, Add 1 to Score, for No, Add 10.

Do you want to be able to monitor and solicit reviews?

Reputation management is one of the vital keys to marketing online.  We believe that the key message on your website is who you are, what you do, what makes you different, and why you can be trusted.  This last message is often forgotten. For local businesses especially, this is one of the single most important methods of bringing traffic.  Even if you don’t actively solicit reviews, you should be actively monitoring review sites and responding to reviews (both positive and negative) showing customers that you care about them and are customer oriented.  We used to offer reviews monitoring software for free to customers because we felt it was so important, but it was not being used, so now we charge $40/mo for the software to encourage active use.  You really should use it!

For Yes, Add 4 to Score, for No, Add 0.

Do you have a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy involves researching competitors, identifying target customers, creating products that appeal to the target customer, and then establishing the key marketing message.  This key marketing message is the foundation of how every page of your site should be structured.  Who you are, what you do, what makes you different, why you can be trusted, and what should you do next.  No program can proceed without first answering these questions.

For Yes, Add 1 to Score, for No, Add 10.

Do you have at least 3 images on each page?

Images and video are the best ways to convey your message to the consumer and Google knows this. Images and video play a big role in how they rank websites.  

For Yes, Add 1 to Score, for No, Add 6

Do you have at least 1 video on your site?

Videos are the best medium for controlling the feel of the site and sharing your marketing pitch.  Every site should have video, but the process is very time consuming to do. We understand that most companies should start with one video.  We have been able to decrease the time it takes to create a video to about 8 hours, but the reality is that a well organized program can make multiple videos in a series in about 4 hours each and high production quality videos can take several days to make.

For Yes, Add 1 to Score, for No, Add 8

Are you good at responding quickly to requests for information?

The single biggest factor that causes delays in a website development and launch is responsiveness.  You have probably noticed from this list of questions that there are dozens of different things that must happen to build a website (better said as a web-presence) correctly, and there is a lot of back and forth between our team and yours.  Each delay in responding will delay launch and increase the amount of time our team spends on the project.

For Yes, Add 4 to Score; for No, Add 12

Conclusion

Add up your points from each section for the estimated amount of professional labor hours your project will take to go live.  We budget 20 professional hours each month in the POD program. For someone just getting started, getting your web-presence live may be a multi-month project.  Even for someone already somewhat established it can take over a month using the traditional pod program.

Frequently Asked Questions

I need my site up ASAP. Can you do it?

Definitely.  This quiz is designed to give you an idea of the professional hours involved in each step of creating a well-rounded well-designed internet marketing program.  We can focus on getting a site live without doing everything on the list.  However, it is very rare that a site can be redesigned and sent live for less than 20 professional man hours, so expediting a program will require that we scale back effort in month 2 or bill extra hours at $45/hr.

Why am I getting people who say they can do it for a few hundred dollars?

We used to quote people 7 days and a few hundred dollars to create a website.  However, there was a common disconnect between us and the customer.  Creating a website means installing a new copy of WordPress, creating the pages you want on your site, and adding your content to those pages with some simple design elements added.  Think about it from the context described in the introduction (most people quote $80 to $200/hr) when bidding.  If they are working from India, they may be quoting $30 to $40/hr when estimating.  Divide their quote by this number to give you the number of hours they think they are going to spend on your project.  Do you think they can realistically complete all of the steps we mentioned in this quiz in that amount of hours or just a few steps? 

How long did it take you to create this page?

It took about 4 hours to create this page.  About 2.5 hours was spent typing and reviewing what was said.  This is a basic page with no images, videos, etc. The additional design needs for images and content refinement would add hours to the project.

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