- You may need to create a website quickly for an event, a marketing campaign or proof of concept.
- Landing pages, one-page websites and microsites are some examples of sites that can be built in a day.
- There is also the option to hire a web developer with the know-how and experience to set up a site quickly.
- Keep reading to learn about your options if you need to get a website up in a day.
Is it possible or feasible to build a website in a day, and why would you want to?
The quick answer is yes, it is both feasible and possible to not only build a website in a day, but the tools and technology are now available to allow anyone to launch an online business in times that you would only dream of in the past. We'll go into the details about how you can achieve this outcome later, but for now let's cover some of the reasons why you may want to.
3 Reasons Why You Might Need to Build a Website Quickly
There are several reasons you may need to create an online presence at short notice. Here are three common reasons:
- You need a proof of concept to apply for a grant or funding application
- You follow the Lean Startup Methodology and need a minimum viable product.
- You have an event or marketing campaign
1. You need a proof of concept to apply for a grant or funding application
There may be times when a business will not proceed unless some level of funding is available. This may be in the form of a grant, joint venture or seed funding. A presentation of some kind may be suitable in this instance; however, you may also be asked to provide a proof of concept.
To increase your chances of getting your application over the line, a website may be an ideal way to showcase your initial service offering in an environment that closely resembles the finished product.
Your draft website can be used to host an explainer video/s, show processes, offer evidence of research and development, or introduce the team and expertise around the business concept.
2. You follow the Lean Startup Methodology and need a minimum viable product
Sometimes in starting a business you neither have the time or resources to complete research and development of your market and wish to use your first website as a testing tool and gather expression of interest.
There are several approaches to the Lean Startup Methodology, but the general focus is along the lines of “Build faster, measure faster and learn faster”.
Launching your website quickly covers the “Build faster” component early and allows you to concentrate on the data gathering process through split testing and other metrics and then breaking it down for analysis, resulting in on-going tweaking of the website.
3. You have an event or marketing campaign
There are no rules that say a website must exist for a long time. You may only require a website for the lead up to an event and for a short time post-event. Think perhaps in the vein of a conference or expo where you collect booking and other relevant details of the attendees. You interact with the audience before, during and after the event, but then there is no need to continue the operating the website after.
In this example, you may wish to keep production costs to a minimum as well as avoid long-term hosting and web developer commitments.
What Type of Websites Can You Build Quickly?
So, what type of websites are we talking about here?
Are we trying to tell you that you can build a fully programmed, database-driven website in a day?
Well, believe it or not, it’s possible. Realistically, we don’t recommend you rush that type of project through, however, with the help of an expert, it is still achievable to build a site that is fully featured including a shop front.
What we are generally talking about here are micro to small, brochure-style websites where you mostly have static pages consisting of text, images and webforms.
Here are three styles that can typically be built within 24 hours:
- Landing pages
- A one-page website
- A microsite or mini-site
1. Landing pages
A landing page is typically used as an end destination in a marketing campaign to track and gauge success. Think about the expo/conference scenario where you may be running a short-term event and therefore not require a fully dedicated, on-going website.
In this instance, you will direct traffic through to a landing page where you can promote details and agenda of the event as well as attract interest in your product/services. Typically, you would see a booking or sign-up form on a landing page that captures name, email addresses and other required information necessary for the organiser of the event.
A forewarning before you start building your landing page though… The landing page itself is the easy part. The more difficult and time-consuming part is the follow-up processes after a sign-up.
For example, an email that confirms registration or booking information or a series of emails. Unless this is a very small event, you may also have to invest in an email marketing, automation program or CRM tool at least.
2. A one-page website
In line with the rise of smartphone usage across the world, the way we shape a website has also evolved. The typical format of a website 5-10 years ago would have been having content spread over several pages.
Since mobile devices scroll vertically, we are much more at ease having a large amount of content feeding from a single page, so many promotional websites you may encounter are based on a one-page design layout. You may still have the navigation to select from but clicking a heading takes you through to a section within the page as opposed to a separate page itself.
One-page websites are often quicker to build but require some thorough planning to avoid overloading the user with too much information and endless scrolling.
3. A microsite or mini-site
For those sites that have too much information in a single page, the next step up is a multi-page micro or mini-website. An example may be your local tradesperson, where they don’t need to present a lot of content – simply, this is who we are, this is what we do, and this is how you can get in contact with us.
A skilled web developer or a well-organised business owner can quite easily produce a 5-7-page mini-website.
How to Build a Website Quickly
Follow these steps to build a website quickly:
- Choose DIY (Do It Yourself) or DFY (Done for You)
- Choose a Platform
This is an abbreviated list, but if you have these elements sorted prior to creating your website, the process will go much smoother:
- Register a domain name
- Set up an email address (this may or may not be part of your website hosting package)
- Design a simple logo
- Get a payment gateway if you are selling goods or services. If your website platform does not include built-in payment processing, you can use PayPal or Stripe.
- Text, images and/or video, or in other words, your page content
- Terms and Conditions prewritten for legal and privacy reasons
2: Choose DIY (Do It Yourself) or DFY (Done for You)
If the whole 24-hour thing is more a goal rather than a deadline, then you probably have some room to move and can run with a DIY version.
If you must absolutely have this thing completed in a set timeframe then you may want to consider hiring web developers who know what they are doing.
The reason? The last step in launching your website is pointing the domain to the website host. It often requires changing domain zone records which can be temperamental due to inconsistencies between providers.
What makes this worse is that domains can take up to 48 hours to fully propagate. In layman’s terms, this is the amount of time it takes for the computers around the world to update their servers to see the changes. It’s usually much quicker than that but getting it wrong means trying again and then waiting another few hours to see if it worked.
In a 24-hour period you have limited scope to get it right the first time, so at a minimum, you should have a web development expert to help with this part.
3. Choose a Platform
If you have made the decision to go with a hired gun, then they will usually have their preferred platform that they work off and you won’t need to worry about making that decision on your own.
If you are going it alone, however, I would lean towards a choice of platform that requires zero to minimal installation, has a good range of pre-set themes and page sections with good access to support. We also suggest a platform with an easy pathway to the launch sequence and includes easy installation of an SSL certificate (which is necessary on all sites these days)
Remember, in Lean Startup mode we are going for speed and the last thing we want is barriers. For this reason, we recommend going with one of the prominent website builder platforms on the market.
There are plenty of players in the market (believe me, I’ve tried most of them) but if you stick with these market leaders, you’ll have a much easier path.
We recommend having a look at Duda, Weebly, Wix and Squarespace.
It is possible to launch a brand new website in a very short time – even under 24 hours.
The average tech-savvy person should also be able to achieve most aspects of launching a website themselves within the same time period, although the learning curve would be quite steep.
The complete novice would find it much harder to achieve a result within that timeframe and may be better off seeking some guidance in the way of an online course or assisted services from a qualified web builder.
The pre-work I’ve mentioned is not usually included in the 24 hours web development phase as it may take longer to create a logo and plan out the site. If time is of the essence or if you are a laser-focused type of personality, then anything is possible, including a business with a shiny, new and functioning website.
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