The Sunk Cost of Websites

I recently met with a Realtor that just got a new website for their business. They showed me their website, which was an outdated boilerplate-plain-Jane template website with old-fashioned web 1.0 graphics. These type of websites look and function ok, but they typically have not been set up for best practices search engine optimization. The agent was interested in having us do some on and off page optimization so they could get found by Google and other search engines.  I suggested that their best strategy was to start a new with a WordPress website.  My opinion was that there site was not really set up in a way that would have a good shot of converting visitors, even if it could get organic search traffic to it. It would not be something that I would invest money in or take money for services for. The Realtors were unwilling to start over, so we turned the project down.

Sunk Costs of Websites

We meet a lot of Realtors that have really bad websites. Many of which are victims of what economists call the “sunk cost fallacy.” This refers to the phenomenon where people have invested either a lot of time, money or both with little or no result, but they stick with it simply because they have already sunk costs into it.   People in this situation basically have a horse that is not going to get up. Many have a hard time quitting and starting something new simply because of what they have invested in the past.  What these people do not consider is the opportunity cost they are losing.  The opportunity cost of a sunk cost is what you are missing out on by not trying something new that could work better. You would have to invest more but you would end up with more in the long run.

If you have a website and a web marketing strategy that is not working, it may be time to put that horse down for something new.  Having a successful website really does not take as much time and money as people think. It does take work, but it can definitely be done. The first thing that you need is a desire to share what you know. Doing a website in order to get leads will not keep you motivated after the first week. Who wants to go on a diet in order to lose weight? Write about your hobbies, civic issues and industry information that you are passionate about.

It is often better to cut your losses than to continue to lose more time and money on an unsuccessful pursuit.  Knowing when to move forward with the best technology and best chance for success is part of the skill set of a good businessperson.  A skilled search engine optimization professional will help you make those decisions necessary for your success.

Back to the Realtors discussed at the beginning of this article:  I also questioned their desire to do what it takes to have a successful website in the eyes of the search engines. We talk to a lot of people that want to get to the tip, but when they find out the reality of what its going to take they really don’t want to do the work. The reality is that only a small percentage of agents will succeed. They aren’t committed enough. This is the same reason so many small businesses and even marriages fail. The commitment is not there. When you are committed you become bigger than your circumstances and your justifications.

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