A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Building a Website: Why It’s Not Hyundai vs. Rolls Royce

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

We get the question a lot: “I need to build a website for my company. How much will it cost?”

And we know that a lot of development shops answer with some form of the “Hyundai vs. Rolls Royce” comparison. Or “Swatch vs. Patek Philipe” if you prefer.

But that’s a pretty crappy answer. Because choosing what you want to do with your website – and, therefore, what to spend on it – isn’t a question of mass vs. class, or top quality vs. good enough. It’s a matter of utility and ROI.

To stick with the car analogy, what you need to decide  is whether you need a half-ton pickup truck or a dual-axle dump truck. Both are heavy duty, both haul stuff, both are built to work. So why spend double or triple for the dump truck?

Because it provides a better return on investment. Or it can, depending on your needs. If you run a landscaping business as a sole proprietor, the dump truck is almost certainly overkill. But if you have 3 or 4 different crews at different job sites, then being able to deliver all of the, say, mulch you need for a project in one trip – and have that mulch off the truck and on the ground in 90 seconds instead of 90 minutes (dumping it rather than using shovels and wheelbarrows) – you save money every time you use it. Your crews stay busier, they finish projects faster, and you can take on more work.

The dump truck allows you to increase your revenue.

Getting back to your website, you have to determine what your website needs to do and how it will increase revenue. You may find that an inexpensive website does all that you need and provides an excellent return on investment. You may also find that investing in a more powerful tool provides an even better return, even with the higher web development cost factored in.

Either way, you should base your decision on the value the investment brings to your organization. If the value isn’t there, don’t make the investment. But don’t underspend, either. Your bottom line rarely benefits when you focus on costs alone rather than costs along with ways to generate more revenue.

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