The answer is VERY LONG!
Every now and then people get this genius idea of copying a really large site and thinking it’s easy to do. I remember once developing a Yelp clone but for bars. It took forever!
Somebody on WarriorForum asked…”how long will it take to copy quidco.com?”
Here was my reply:
This is a huge site. It was custom built to fit their needs and when you do yours, it will have to be custom built to fit YOUR needs.
The problem with time and cost is not so much to design and code the site, but rather to figure out what it is that you want. I highly doubt that you will be able to decide even within 1 year what features you want and don’t want. What visual aspects you want and don’t want.
I’ve built several large websites before and every time they ask a tough question, you will easily lose 1 day or several days of work. For example…let’s say you hire somebody in India or Eastern Europe because you can’t afford an American programmer….he will come on at 2am to ask you a question like…….how much traffic should the database be designed to scale to? What aspects of the site do you want to cache? How many dropdowns do you need on this page? How many pages do you need here? Do you prefer this box on the left side or right side? Will you be using a CDN? Etc, and etc. And just to answer those questions alone, you can easily lose one day if you’re not even awake to answer their question right as they ask you. Now imagine them asking 1,000 similar questions.
Even a simple…”how big is your logo?” will take you some days to figure out. In many scenarios, you won’t know, and so they’ll send you 3 mock-ups. And then it’ll take you time to show these mock-ups to your family, friends, and business partners for a second opinion. Again…imagine repeating this process a couple hundred times. There’s no way you can get this done WITH quality in 6 months.
To develop a site of similar complexity to quidco.com CUSTOMIZED TO YOUR NEEDS will probably take you $20,000 and 1 year (and that’s assuming you have experience in developing websites and KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT). That’s my opinion. It’s possible to do it for less but then you’d be suffering somewhere. Maybe the design will suck, or the programming will be done in a way that’s very ineffective, slow-loading, or hard to alter later on.