Once I started thinking about this riddle I actually came up with a few answers. The first one being extracted from the term ‘vehicle’
- a thing used for transporting people or goods, especially on land, such as a car, truck, or cart
- a thing used to express, embody, or fulfill something.
Well, that’s pretty obvious – our website expresses who we are and what we do, it conveys an understanding of our products and services, and hopefully it drives our audience (excuse the pun) to join us on the drive ahead.
Think about the process we go through when purchasing a car. We consider factors such as our budget – what is available that we can afford? And then our needs – are we after a little run-about just to get us from A to B, or do we need something larger to fit the whole family and the camping gear? We research, compare and discuss our options and once we have created a short-list we start thinking about things like colour, accessories, etc.
That is pretty much the way many small business owners approach the creation of a website. Budgets and needs are considered, then research is carried out and discussions take place.
And eventually we enter the internet highway in a vehicle that, hopefully, is just what we wanted.
Surprisingly though, this is not where the similarity ends.
Just as your new car demands your constant attention to keep it running smoothly … so does your website.
First there is the petrol… let’s call this content. Just like you regularly need to top-up the tank of your gas guzzler, you also need to continually top-up your websites content – otherwise you’ll be left by the side of the road and easily overtaken by your competition. And don’t use some discount, recycled fuel that you got cheap from a friend … make sure you fill your site with quality, top grade content that ensures it will run at its best. Sure it might cost a bit more, but ultimately it will result in improved performance and handling.
Then there is the regular service. Just as the fuel gauge needs your constant attention, so does the tyre pressure, spark plugs, radiator, etc… etc…. Yep, you guessed it, your website isn’t going to be able to run at its best unless the mechanics that make it work, like the CMS, plug-ins and spam filters receive attention as well. Updates are useless if they are not installed on your site, spam filters need cleaning – just like air filters – and broken links need to replaced or removed regularly.
The more I think about it, the more ways I can see similarities between websites and cars – and I am sure you can come up with a few as well. But the final one I want to share with you is this…
Gone are the days when most car owners have the skills, let alone the time, to pop open the bonnet and give their car a simple grease and oil change every couple of months to keep it on the road. And we all know that if we skip a service or two – fuel efficiency drops, it gets harder to start in the mornings and the maintenance bill is only going to get bigger in the long run.
Just as your car benefits from being in the care of a qualified, knowledgeable mechanic for ongoing service and maintenance – so will your website!
Some web-designs are like car salesman who are keen to sell you the vehicle you want, and might even throw in some bonus extras at no cost, but once you are out on the road they are more than happy to wave farewell and move onto their next customer. Others, however, offer follow-up assessments and Service & Maintenance Packages to their clients to ensure that their website continues to run effectively and efficiently. I like to think of it as a type of insurance policy.
So if you are in the market for a new website, or if you are looking to upgrade your current mode of (marketing) transport remember it certainly does pay to shop around, do your research and compare notes. But don’t be so focused on getting your vehicle on the road that you forget to plan for the trip ahead. Book your mechanic and organise your insurance before you enter the internet highway and travel safe in the knowledge that someone else is keeping your website on the road.
If you are interested in talking to me about what Papier Mouse Designs can do for your web presence contact me for a no obligation quote.