As a someone who sold simple websites to legacy companies (with a few friends), and started multiple eCommerce websites (after listening to those enticing dropshipping videos promising lots of money), and content blogs (on the promise of passive income), I have probably worked almost thousands of hours on websites.
Some asked how many hours you should work on a website?
You should work between a few hours to as long as you need, based on the expected income you can get from the website. For a simple portfolio page, you should not take more than a few hours. For websites for client companies, you can work up to 10 hours since the income will be limited and there are no perfect websites. For content blogs or eCommerce websites, you will need to work tons of hours to keep getting traffic and make money from websites.
But what does that actually mean? How many hours do you spend building each project? Is it worth hiring a developer to help speed up the process?
Spending 10 hours on a website does not mean you finished it in one day. You can spend 2 hours per week (i.e. 5 weeks) or 2 hours per day (5 days) to have a minimum viable website. All websites should be profitable eventually and worth maintaining.
The simplest way to decide how much time to spend is how much money you can make from it.
- Time to Build Portfolio Page (2 hours): Attract your future employer. The focus should not be on the website but rather find meaningful things to add to your portfolio.
- Time to Build Landing page (2 to 20 hours): Getting emails or selling products (not my forte). More hours are catered for improving conversions if paid traffic is not a problem.
- Time to Build Website for Legacy Business (10 to 20 hours): Since you usually get paid a fixed sum (e.g $3,000), you should not work endlessly. Expect unlimited changes but you got to set an end eventually.
- Time to Build eCommerce or Content Blogs (5 to Unlimited hours): Setting up a minimum viable website should take not more than 5 hours, given easy-to-setup websites like Shopify and WordPress. The extra hours are used to maintain and grow the websites.
There are neverending improvements you can make to your portfolio page but what is the point if there is no money from it?
Time to Build A Portfolio Page (Up to 2 hours)
Most people I interviewed have a portfolio page using a free website builder like Wix. Unless you got something substance to share, I would not recommend wasting too much time on it.
People who hire fresh graduates, will hire you and assess you based on your work when employed. It is more important to apply jobs that suit you or learn skills that are useful.
The only time I see someone spending more time is freelancer professional photographers and designers who wish to show the perfect gamut of their artwork and capability.
Time to Build A Landing Page (2 to 20 hours)
Landing pages are one of the most powerful tools you can use to increase sales. They allow you to capture leads and convert them into paying customers. But building landing pages isn't easy and that is why I never do them as I am not a salesman.
You'll spend days creating a great-looking template, then weeks optimizing it word-for-word to improve conversions after paying even more in Facebook Ads or Google Ads to bring in traffic. In the end, you might even find yourself spending too much time trying to make it perfect.
The difficult thing is building the perfect video that fit your audience and will convert.
Most landing page builders like ConvertKit make it really easy to build one with templates and you can even review other landing pages easily by following advertisements.
Time to Build A Website for a Legacy Business (10 to 20 hours)
I started with website building by selling to legacy businesses. You can find many B2B websites that are just outdated and terrible looking. After contacting multiple B2B websites, if you are lucky the business owner had been thinking of a website revamp and you can sell him on your website building abilities.
Unluckily, working on websites for others is really a miss most of the time. There are neverending improvements and you have to carefully manage your client's expectation.
Unless you really like to work unreasonable hours, I would recommend catering up to 10 to 20 hours on each website.
- I have found owners that agreed to the design, change their minds after I made the change, and have more outrageous ideas for the price they wish to pay.
- Many business owners do not know what they want, including content migration
Therefore, just work on these client companies until you cannot stand it. There is (limited) money to be made but lots of frustration for the effort.
Time To Build A Content Blog (5 to Unlimited Hours)
A content blog, like this, is a website with a collection of information. They don’t sell anything directly but provide useful information to visitors. Other examples include news sites or a resource directory.
It is really easy to set up the content blog once you did more than 2. You just spend a few hours to
- Get a domain (some website hosting offers it free or recommends for you)
- Get website hosting to use the domain
- Setup the website hosting (the bulk of the time is spent here)
- Setup email or email forwarding
After that, most of the time is doing
- Topic research
- Writing and publishing content
As simple as that sounded, I spent over 3 years on 9 different content blogs with limited success. They are self-sustaining but not getting enough traffic. The bulk of the problem is writing good quality posts which I am still learning and enjoying thus far (given the potential profit).
If you plan to sell your content blog, you should do the reverse and spend as little time as possible. Buyers want to buy a business with as little effort as possible (i.e. passive income). You can easily delegate content creation if you got a working model (I am still trying to work out on mine since it is a side hustle).
Time to Build A Ecommerce Website (5 to Unlimited hours)
Ecommerce development takes longer than most people realize even for successful eCommerce people. I tried both Shopify and WordPress WooCommerce to understand the amount of time you will keep spending.
The setup time is similar to any website, except that you need to do
- Product research
- Setting up products, and photos and fine-tuning the description
- Marketing products (this is more on Facebook, creating campaigns to test)
I did spend hours of training from self-learning and there is no alternative method to make it work. You need a viable product, the audiences you can target cheaply, and market the product.
As an engineer, I just really disliked selling and it was too much for me. In the end, I just do simple dropshipping locally (e.g. selling in Shopee which is like an Amazon) and it fulfilled my desire to learn about selling (knowing what product sells, customer service) without needing to buy expensive Facebook traffic. There are ready buyers on big eCommerce websites, and you just need to list products, have competitive prices, and buy traffic if needed.