According to research, 90% of corporate websites fail. Most corporate websites fail to provide detailed company information, have poor layout and navigation of information, no search facility, or clear explanation of corporate activities. Improvements to corporate websites means people can find information without using up valuable staff time.
Corporations are also losing valuable public relations by failing to provide information for their shareholders, stakeholders, the media, investors, potential investors and their brightest potential employees.
Corporate websites like many small business websites fail usability testing. Information is badly written, badly ordered and almost impossible to find. Information is also vague and even basic webforms may or may not work.
Corporate websites also fail in accessability. According to a study of 100 FTSE corporate websites
- 79% failed to achieve even the most basic of guidelines set out by the international web standards body the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
- 78% of corporate web sites were not compatible to multiple browsers.
- 99% of corporate websites used invalid HTML coding
- 100% failed to implement access keys - helping people who cannot use a mouse to move around the site.
- 5% of web sites were completely inaccessible and impossible to access using a screen reader
Most corporate websites like many small business websites are no more than electronic brochures - presentable enough to say 'yes, we have a website' but they fail to be regularly updated, and fail to enhance customer service or provide useful functionality.
In a time where shareholders are becoming increasing wary of investing money in corporations that lack accountability, and customers are feeling increasingly alienated by the complexity and size of modern corporations - the corporate website reinforces rather than dispels these beliefs. Some corporate websites have even abandoned email support for customers altogether - distancing themselves further from customers, journalists, stakeholders, and shareholders.
Corporations need to re-evaluate the goals, purpose and scope of a public website. Fostering a positive attitude towards the corporate website must come from the executive level and management need to fully understand the benefits of electronic communication and e-commerce.
Rather than relying solely on newspapers to communicate to customers, corporations should use their website to publish their own news, employment vacancies, and shareprices. Especially in times of uncertainty, keeping the corporate website up to date will effectively reduce the number of customer service phone calls and will provide a unified, reassuring response to customers' concerns. Full control over the way customers are kept up to date, will prevent organisations from becoming victims of media misrepresentation. You cannot control how the media uses the press release or what page it gets printed on or the title of the article. Nor can you control how the final article reads. When a corporation publishes its own news, it not only controls the public explanation and details of an event but provides reassurance and confidence in the corporation's management. At these critical times, email lists of customers can provide corporations with substancial benefits.
To create an effective corporate website, some steps would include -
- Conduct usability, accessability and statistical analysis of current website, identifying goals, purpose and scope of each study.
- Identify purpose and audience of website.
- Develop effective web copy that is concise, accurate and that reflects the goals of the organisation.
- Plan navigation of website - important information should appear on the homepage
- Review plans and copy and ensure that important information like contact details and real time share price information is not missed.
- Implement functionality that will enhance customer service.
- Conduct usability testing of corporate website
Source Passion Computing