4. What is a revenue-generating website?
Let’s be honest and clear. Every website can be thought of – in the larger ecosystem of the company’s operations - as a revenue-generating website. Obviously e-commerce websites that sell physical products are direct revenue generators. And just as obviously, a website that brings new business into a consulting company by capturing customer contact information is a revenue generator. Non-profits and NGOs use websites to bring in donations, or contributions to a political campaign. Their websites are revenue generators too. While it’s not their primary function, news and literary websites are also revenue generators. Looking at this in the broadest way possible, it is actually the essential job of every website to generate revenue. When we define “revenue” as a measurable return on the investment made in the website it all becomes obvious.
The “revenue” from a non-profit organization’s website, for instance, may be the real-world positive impacts when the organization’s mission is achieved. Additionally, such successes when broadcast through the non-profit’s website may prompt additional funding, donations, volunteering, and memberships.
What about when such websites don’t succeed? Remember the prelude to this book; the healthcare.gov website. It was not even slightly reliable. It didn’t load, or it took a ridiculously long time to load. You’d sign in successfully one day, then have no success the following day. The site crashed spectacularly anytime it was hit with any significant traffic. Parts of it appeared not to have been completely built or were simply missing. It was a disaster, and the site had to be fixed in a real hurry or taxpayer funding would be revoked. The President of the United States ultimately had to get involved in that Web Reliability problem, pulling together and deploying a high-level tech SWAT team to come in and save the day.
Servers, hosts, desktop computers, virtual machines, routers, the electricity that powers them, and the teams who support them all require money in order to maintain baseline function. Every website is a revenue-generating website insofar as every website must generate income for the website owner. Most websites generate much more revenue than the cost of simple upkeep, but that is, of course, the minimum. Most websites generate enough revenue to support entire companies and staff of employees. In all cases, reliably generating revenue is the key metric for website success.