What do you think?  3 weeks, 3 months, 18 months, 1 year?

It can be rather difficult for people to understand why it would take a minimum of 6 weeks to build a custom website especially if it’s just a simple marketing website right?  I feel terrible that businesses go through either ridiculously short turn-around time on projects all to just “get what they get and don’t throw a fit” or uncalled for spans of time all to produce a small 10-page website that underperforms or doesn’t represent the brand well. Unfortunately, I have seen this time and time again.

Our Poor Client 🙁

We recently had the pleasure of bringing on a new client who was very transparent and honest about their real pain point with their website and it had a lil’ something to do with their previous agency. They were fed up with waiting, a lack of communication and all to have been delivered a website that was full of issues. And how long did their 14-page brochure website take? Their very straight-forward WordPress website including only one lead capture form minus any bells and whistles took 18 months to launch. Our client had hired [what they thought] was a reputable agency that knew their stuff.

Now, let it be known that from our experience we have seen several website projects get hung up by the client not supplying content on time, delays in approvals, missing login access, etc. (so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt). We took on this client with the goal of re-establishing their trust in the web industry by providing clear communication, setting realistic expectations and delivering in an appropriate amount of time. Their website could have been delayed for several reasons, and I feel bad writing this without knowing the whole story. However, the website that we were hired to take over was full of errors, not easy for the client to update on their own, and lacked security and automatic backups apart from a poor mobile and retina display experience. Now, part of our mission is to set standards in the web industry, and seeing our client’s existing website full of these types of issues and delivered at such a lengthy amount of time really caught us off guard.

Standard Turn-Around Times

We excel in creating strong digital marketing foundations including custom websites that can take anywhere between 6 weeks to 3 months to complete, but honestly, the average is somewhere around 3 months and here is why:

We have a basic process that we know works and it’s important for us to identify and meet our clients where they may already be in this process. We have a new client intake and project workflow that we follow in order to:

  • make things easier on our clients
  • ensure we do not miss anything or that anything should fall through the cracks
  • make sure we are meeting our clients immediate needs and building with their long-term growth in mind
  • have a thorough understanding of all functionality, administrative, customer, software integration, and marketing requirements
  • have a thorough wireframe, design direction, and mockup approval phase
  • make sure our clients are completely up-to-speed on how their website works, how it integrates into their business processes, and, of course, one-on-one training to ensure that they can make updates on their own
  • have a launch strategy to leverage the changes for marketing promotion and to ensure that team members and customers are aware of any changes that can affect them
  • have time for client approvals and collaborative meetings along the way
  • most importantly go through the level of quality assurance testing that our clients deserve


The best word of advice that I can offer is to really take the time to make sure that you understand the process your agency will take and to get comfortable with them on a personal level before hiring them. We are major advocates for planning and spending a little more time upfront to ensure a smooth process and final project success. The same should go to hiring an agency:

Take the time to make sure your agency has the proper experience, that they even have a process in place, and that there is some kind of backup plan should the train derail. And most importantly, make sure that you are confident in what they are saying they will deliver and that it is in line with your expectations. Never assume anything. A good agency will take the lead in making sure you understand all the complexities and potential issues up front.

Also, you can’t disregard the value of a partner who has a good deal of professional experience and having learned from their mistakes. This is what gives us the ability to solve problems that come up along the way quickly (trust me, unexpected problems can arise and it’s really how they are handled that is important).

Here at { ae } Design Co., we pride ourselves in our old-school personal approach, clear communication, and collaboration. Our ability to manage our projects well is something that our clients value. We aim to be an integral part of our clients’ success and not just an agency pumping out one-off websites like a machine with dollar signs in the forefront. We are passionate about creating great experiences that drive business results and happy customers. If you have been through a terrible experience in the past, please share it below. You may not be alone. And if you are reading this and a part of this amazing web community, let’s work together to make our industry shine, to create some quality work and to help make our client’s jobs a little easier.

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About April Edwards

Hello! I'm AE Design Co's lead Digital Strategist & Creative Director. For over 15 years, I've been helping busy businesses get a grip on their marketing to increase profits year-over-year.

Meet me!