Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Web Design | My Hamburgers and Gasoline Philosophy

Hello from Allan at and I hope this post finds you all well!

I get asked a lot from people who are just starting with web design and wanting to put up a website, "What should my website be about?". Over time my answer has gotten shorter and shorter because its really up to you, skies the limit. Now you do want to have a website that attracts people based on something they need or want or have an interest in but in this vast world and with so many people, you can hardly go wrong these days.

Many people think that if its already out there, it can't be done, or they think that if someone else has already thought of their idea, they have to find something else. So I often give what I like to call, "My Hamburger and Gasoline Philosophy for Web Design" speech. this deals with a fact of society that we often overlook or take for granted. The next time you are at an intersection waiting on a red light, take look at all four corners of the intersection, more often than not, there will be 2-3 fast food places or commonly, hamburger joints, or there will be 2-3 sometimes 4 gas stations at the same intersection.

Fast food restaurants sell hamburgers, yet even if they are all in close proximity to each other, they are all making money selling the same "product", why? Because not everyone will like hamburger #1 from one place and prefer to buy hamburger #2 from another place right across the street and so on. 

This is simply called freedom choice or to each his or her own. They are all selling a common product or providing a common service that has much in common but not everything in common. Hamburger #1 might fry theirs while hamburger #2 might grill theirs and use a special spice combination which makes them uniquely different thus appealing to a different demographic of the same market, people who like hamburgers!

This in my opinion applies to everything in life. One person could look at somebody and see the most beautiful person they have ever seen, while another person looks at the same person and see the most hideous person they have ever seen, I think we have all experienced that at one time or another, LOL. And so it is with everything, what you like is not always going to be liked by the next person for whatever reason.

Uniqueness is what sets us apart and this is essential to understand when deciding to create a venture of any kind. How many hamburger joints can you think of right now off of the top of your head? We all know the giants and most popular, but think of all the mom and pop hamburger joints in between who are providing their own unique version of the same product. The common denominator is, they are all making money!
Now lets look at gas stations, they all sell gasoline for our vehicles right? Yet there are gas stations everywhere, commonly at intersections and you will see cars getting gas at each one. 

Not everybody will buy gasoline A and prefer to use gasoline B instead. I think we all have our favorites or preference that we try to adhere to and sometimes, if you are poor like me, you'll get gas whenever or wherever you can based on price, which is a "unique" characteristic that appeals to me and those frugal like me. 

Some gas has a better reputation than others when it comes to performance or additives that help your vehicle run better, some high-end cars are even required to use only a certain type of gas or you will end up with poor performance, etc.

I use this Hamburger and Gasoline Philosophy for web design lecture if you will, to encourage people not to worry if someone has already thought of your idea. Don't worry that there are hundreds, sometimes thousands of other sites doing what you wan to do or selling what you want to sell or providing the service you want to provide, none of them will do it the way you do it. Your individual uniqueness will set you apart and appeal to a portion of the same market.

So when you are discouraged because you find out that there are other sites doing what you wanted to do with your site, push forward and use your God-given uniqueness to do it your way, not theirs. Look inside your creative self and make a way for your site to be unique in some way that will set you apart. It doesn't matter with 7 billion people on the planet and websites capable of reaching an international market that is not restricted to using just one product or service. 

Of course if your site is geographically specific, the global market isn't a factor but still, you can set yourself apart from the guy down the street and even across the street, this is capitalism and why it can work for each of us.

So dig that idea you just threw away out of the trash and un-wrinkle that piece of paper or draft and look at it from a now different perspective. Build it and they will come. Concentrate on how you are different from the other guy or gal, know that someone will like your site and not like the others because there is room for everybody on the world wide web, thats the beauty I think, on a brick and mortar job, the competition is or can be fierce, but on the Internet, skies the limit! Good luck and do your best to be the best at whatever you decide and forget about the competition.

Just remember, My Hamburgers and Gasoline Philosophy for Web Design and you'll do fine!

Allan Whitney