Comparing Websites and Racecars

Web Design

Do you offer any kind of website design services? You must surely have noticed that educating your clients about web stuff and understanding the concepts related to your work and your expertise is at the core of your relationship with them.

The technicalities, processes, and technologies involved in making a website will often appear abstract to most business owners outside your field. Your ability to simplify these subjects for them has a direct impact on the trust they will put in you.

After more than 20 years of successfully selling website design services, our sales team have developed a interesting vocabulary to which they attribute part of their success. The idea is to simplify the universe of websites design in the minds of customers by making comparisons relative to an area that most people are very familiar with: the automobile.

It is therefore common in our discussions with them to draw parallels between the sale, the manufacture and the driving of an automobile and the sale, the design and the management of a website.

Body, paint and aerodynamics

Website structure

The body, with its various choices of colors and configuration, is what is called the "frontend", that is, what the website visitor can see and admire. Like the tires, the headlights, the hood, or the trunk of a car, some elements of a website pretty much always end up in the same places. For a website, we think of the general structure, the position of the logo and the navigation menus which, according to good practices, should always be where visitors expect to find them. For the color palette, we suggest limiting the number of different colors just like you would for on a car. It’s a simple matter of good taste.

Refrain from using texture for you website’s background. Wood veneer texture is a big no! Refrain from using texture for you website’s background. Wood veneer texture is a big no!

The cockpit, with its dashboard, pedals, steering wheel, controls and various tools to control and drive the car, is reminiscent of the CMS, the editor or the website builder, which allows the user to manage his website. It is important to ensure that this environment is intuitive and comfortable for whoever will be responsible for operating the car.

Designed by engineers and usually invisible to the public eye, the engine block and everything under the hood of a car is like the programming code of a website, more often called the “backend”. To access it, it's better to be familiar with it or you’ll risk breaking something that you can't fix.

Because not all mechanics speak the same language or work the same way, this programming code is different from website to website. Parts from a Ford probably won't work on a BMW; a programmer cannot copy lines of code from a random website to add a specific functionality on his client's website.

Preparing for the race

SEO and performance

For many businesses, the primary goal of their website is to rank high in search results to reach more new customers and make more sales. In the automobile context, it is a race against competitors.

Depending on the client's business domain and the scope of their market (local, national or international), the level of competition for this race can be totally different from one company to another. We don't prepare for a F1 race the same way we prepare for the yearly tour organized by the social club of our village.

Before even starting its production, you have to determine which model of car your customer needs to win HIS race. You have to select the right engine, the right technology and the right tools. A website under $2000 can do the job very well if there are few competitors locally and their web presence is limited to a single page in a local directory. If there are only two other dentist offices in the race for a town of merely 30,000 people, you don't need to build a car that can compete with the websites of the biggest dentist offices in New York, London and Paris.

And what about the budget required so that car is allowed to participate in the race and make sure it’s competitive!

Who will take care of oil changes and tire rotation? Who will be responsible for updates and performance monitoring? Should the client drive his car himself for this race or should he leave this job to the professionals of a marketing agency?

You get what you pay for


Just as it is possible to get a website for $500, there are also $5000, $50,000, $500,000 and $5M websites.

As in the realm of websites, the cars with the highest prices are aimed at a very particular, rare clientele who place a great deal of importance on their uniqueness or their performance. For some of them, paying $5M to build an absolutely unique website that will perform 1% better than its competitor's $500,000 website, is a mathematically rational bet. For a company that generates several hundreds of millions of dollars annually, each additional percentage point in terms of the performance of their website might represent $10M per year!

The budget for a website should be directly related to the type of race the client needs to win. It is essential to take into account as much the manufacture of the car, as the wages of the pilot, the team in the pits, the person in charge of maintenance, and the engineers in charge of optimizing the car. The best copywriters and the most successful digital strategists will demand higher salaries, better technologies and a better level of service will also cost more.

Educating your customers

The automotive world

Although they might be easier to differentiate and identify in the automotive field, there is also in the field of websites a whole ecosystem where legitimate experts and charlatans cross paths. There are also some lemons, brothers-in-law who know best, big brands that aren't worth much and small garages that work great miracles. There are amateurs who want to do well, and connoisseurs who want to profit from idiots.

If you've taken the time to read this far, we're guessing you're one of those who want the best for their customers. We are counting on you to contribute to their digital education, to manage their expectations with regard to their budget and to give them the advice that corresponds to their situation and their needs.

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