creating own website

Websites can be expensive if you go with an agency to make it, and so you wonder if it would be feasible if you could create your own website! Would it be easy? How long would it take? Could it be good enough?

Based on my 6+ years of experience in making websites, I can tell you the difficulty depends on what kind of website you want.

It’s quite easy and feasible to make your own website if what you’re doing is plopping in content into set layouts/themes with website builders like Squarespace, but if you want something more customized and exactly the way you want, it takes time to learn the platforms and technologies it takes to do that.

Using website builders

If you’re making your own websites, your most likely going to be using a website builder instead of learning how to code it with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. However, with those website builders come limitations.

For example, a limitation with Squarespace is that you can’t easily add in sliders. Sliders are something that a lot of people love, but if you wanted to build your own website without experience that’s not something you can easily implement without knowing some coding.

Varying on website platforms, here are some more examples of features you wouldn’t be able to add without web development/coding experience:

  • Have the website look exactly the way you want
  • Sliders and carousels
  • Image popup galleries
  • Custom pop-ups
  • Complex layouts
  • Complex web forms (like step-based or logic-based)
  • Custom checkout page features
  • Tons of e-commerce features like add-on items at checkout, X for X deals (like 5 for 10), pricing based on the number of items in the cart, bundle discounts, non-basic coupons, free shipping based on location, and more
  • Non-basic animations
  • Various kinds of widgets (calculators, “share this”, printing features, data visualization, quizzes, anything interactive)
  • Mobile-specific content
  • Custom CMS features (like adding easy to manipulate interfaces for frequently added content)
  • And many, many, more.

On top of all those limitations, there is one part that people always leave out when it comes to making a website on your own, and that’s good it will actually be.

I personally have been doing web design/development for 6+ years, and I feel I only have started to breach the surface. Not even just in terms of different web technologies and programming languages (because those will always change and require constant learning), but in terms of purely website design like:

  • What website elements are and aren’t effective
  • What truly makes a good website
  • Conversion optimizations
  • Good design
  • Accessibility and meeting peoples design expectations
  • User experience (huge topic!)

So yes, creating a basic informational website can be quite easy, but once you begin trying to make the website what you specifically want while the website still being effective and polished, that’s where it gets hard to make.

You may be able to make a website, but will it be a good one? Will it get the point you’re trying to make to the users? Is your website good enough that the users convert into sales/leads? This takes time and experience to learn and master.

How much time does it take to make a website?

This depends on what method you go about making your website.

MethodTime to learn Time to developTotal time
Squarespace2-5 days3-10 days5-15 days
HTML + CSS4-6 months1 month5-7 months
Agency (have professionals do it)0 days10-35 days10-35 days

If you go with Squarespace you could learn the platform after 2-5 days of playing around with it. Within that time, you would quickly see its limitations and what it can actually do. But making the website can take you around 3 to 10 days to set up everything and add in the content, even considering a learning curve.

If you were daring enough to want to learn code to code it yourself, it could take you up 3-6 months to learn and get good at HTML and CSS + even more if you wanted to learn JavaScript (which isn’t used much for informational-based websites). From a business decision perspective, I wouldn’t recommend coding it as it would just take too long to learn and set up. From a personal growth perspective, coding can be a very fun hobby and skill if you desire to learn it!

If your website is done by a professional agency (who have experience) it can be done around 10-35 days considering the planning and methodology that would take place. They would most likely be hand-coding your website or using WordPress to make it, which will influence how long it takes as well. The reason why it takes professionals longer to do it is that there will be planning, methodology, and custom designs behind it.

You’ll find that whether you go with an agency or do it by yourself, the real time-consuming factor to making a website is how fast you give and make the content of your website.

After being on the receiving end of many different clients, I’ve seen content for a single website page delay the website launch by 2 weeks. Not to mention, when content is added later in the development cycle it can take even more time than it would have if the content was given at the beginning of development for a number of different reasons. So be sure to get as much content up-front as possible to make the development as fast as possible.

Is it hard to build a website from scratch?

Making a website from scratch requires an uncommon group of skills. Usually when it comes to the making of a website professionals usually branch off into either the design aspect or the development aspect. It’s uncommon for professionals to excel at both, as typically design is more creativity-orientated and programming is more analytical-orientated.

So if you choose to build a website from scratch alone, you will have to do and able to do double the work.

Making a website from scratch involves a lot of different skills. Skills, that if one falls behind, will make a noticeable impact on your website. Building your website from scratch would involve:

  1. Learning 3 programming languages
  2. Learning web design and user experience (planning and final presentation)
  3. Learning photo editor fundamentals (like Photoshop)
  4. Some server stuff (like your website hosting, FTP, SSL)

The 3 fundamental languages used to make websites are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you wanted to build your website from scratch you’d have to learn HTML, CSS, and most likely JavaScript to get anywhere.

HTML and CSS come off as quite easy to learn programming languages, but they have a lot of depth to them, making them time-consuming to get good at.

After you get good with the programming, you’d have to learn some design. Most likely, you’d have to wireframe your website to begin the design process.

website wireframe elements

Then after your wireframes, you’d (if you want it to be good) make a refined high-res finished design of the website in photoshop before you finally code it.

Overall, I would say it’s hard to make a website from scratch, not to mention time-consuming. You know, there are full degrees for this kind of thing?