Website as a real estate
I am an architect. Developing websites was my hobby, and finally became my bread and butter, but I have finished 5 yr studies at Cracow’s University of Technology. This is probably why I have considered websites as web estate properties from the very beginning and this parallel makes perfect sense for me.
Website is your home on the net
I have created the first website for myself, and wanted it to become my home on the net. We all need to have our own shelter (that’s the basic need of security). I think this is the secret behind the popularity of some type of browser games, where user receives his own castle / home / farm / garden / appartment and is allowed to decorate it and make it his own. Websites have their structure, that could be compared to house parts – almost always we have a header, some content and a footer (well sometimes we don’t, but there are also houses that don’t follow the rules).
Building a website like a house
Any building must start with a plan – and the same rule applies to web design. If you want a top-notch website you will need an excellent web developer. He should be able to carry the function of an architect, engineer and the construction company (well, websites are somehow smaller than buildings and don’t tend to crash on people heads, so it can be one person or a small team). House construction must start with footing, website development should begin with a layout frame. When I was studying history of architecture, I have admired work of Vitruvius. He stated that any building should implement three basic qualities: utilitas (utility), firmitas (firmness) and venustas (beauty). To me this Vitruvian triad applies to websites perfectly – web design is the beauty, coding stands for firmness (construction of the website) and utility is the functionality of the website. Employing this simple rule and taking care of the harmony between those three commandments has never failed.
How to become website owner
Just like houses, websites can be bought, sold, rented, or built. The good part is you can even build it yourself (which I wouldn’t recommend when it came to building a house). You can build it using prefabricated elements (for example wordpress and some wordpress theme, this is pretty easy to do it yourself). You can hire someone to do it, if you don’t have the time. I can even compare using a third party service like blogger or wordpress.com to renting a house, or building it on a leased land. As you see the similarity is striking.
Website, just like a house is an investment
And this is probably the most important conclusion of the above musings. I will repeat: a website is an investment, and you should treat it as such. First of all, before you spend any money, do your research and calculate how much you can spend. With all proportions reserved, you can determine how much money should be spent on your personal website (a home), how much on your business website (an office) and how much on an ecommerce (a shop). If you can forecast future profits – you should be able to nail down the quote you are willing to spend on the website. Second important point of the above statement is that you should take care of your website, just like you would of your home or your office. The content should be fresh, you should update the code if it becomes deprecated and remove obsolete scripts. Generally, if this is your business website and you don’t have the time to do it yourself, it would be a good idea to hire someone to do the maintenance work for you.
Websites are very equal to real estate properties, and I am surprised no one has ever written about this analogy. What do you think? Am I right?