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Archive for the ‘Web Strategy’ Category

Keeping your Corporate Web Site relevant and useful

What do you tend to do when looking for information about a certain product or service? Let’s say you’re planning to buy a new mobile phone. Would you look up the manufacturer’s site for information? Or would you turn to your local telecommunication provider’s web site? Perhaps you’d ask your likeminded friends and colleagues first? And maybe you’d look up reviews and comments on the internet, which would lead you to relevant forums and industry gazettes?

With the wealth of information available on the internet, people do not just go to Corporate web sites anymore. In fact, I’ve recently acquired a new 2nd generation HTC Touch. And my buying decision was made without even going to the HTC web site. Yup, I looked up the descriptions and features list on my local service providers’ web sites, as well as those of overseas providers. And to ensure that the phone was not a problematic model and if problems existed that they can be resolved, I did a search on Google and located a host of forums, product reviews and consumer feedback.

This is one of the reasons why companies need to revisit their corporate sites to keep the content relevant and useful. If I’m looking for ‘user reviews’ and did a search for that, would your web site’s ranking come up tops? Unlikely.

I recall several months ago, we discussed putting a forum and blog on our corporate web site. But this is not something conservative marketeers can stomach. There is always a fear of smear comments, negative feedbacks, etc. But with proper moderation, this can be managed. The way we hunt for information online now renders this concern obselete. If customers have a genuine concern and can’t air it on your corporate web site, they’ll vent it somewhere else.

Related articles:

  • How to evolve your irrelevant corporate website” by Jeremiah Owyang
  • Today’s top 10 – “Top sites in Singapore” by Alexa – the rankings shown here is a good indication of the trend I mentioned earlier. People are doing researching and visiting community sites more than anything. Today’s rankings are 1. Yahoo, 2. Friendster, 3. YouTube, 4. Windows Live, 5., 6., 7. Facebook, 8., 9. Wikipedia, 10. MSN. I’d discount the ranking for Windows Live and MSN, as people who use messenger tend to open these pages without even deciding to do so.
  • Slideshare has a presentation which compares the 2005 and 2007 rankings. For a comparison, you can have a look at slide 30.

Great news for Web Analysts!

According to WISTV, things are looking for those of us working in the Internet arena. In her article, “Today’s Top Careers: 2008 and Beyond“, Debbie Strong highlights how technology has been a factor moulding the job markets.

Companies everywhere are allocating resources to developing effective Web sites, says O’Donnell. [GL1] She points to Web analytics as a specific, cutting-edge job choice. “Companies need people who can make their sites easy to navigate and visually impactful, so Web analysts need to understand human psychology and also be slightly obsessed with the Web,” she says. “A coordinator position with a keyword-driven marketing and Web analytics firm may earn somewhere between $30,000-$40,000, starting out, depending on where the job is located,” she adds. With more experience, Web analysts can expect to earn an average of between $52,000 to $75,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Her article also covers other industries. If you are in Sales, Management, Healthcare, Education or Ecoscience, you can refer to her article too.

To microsite or not to microsite?

A marketing and communications director told me recently: “We’re going to have a microsite, as it is the way to go…” and she sited some examples like nike’s and Pepsi-Cola’s  “We should do it as it is the trend now…”, she said.

Well, to begin with, having your corporate slogan as a domain name for a microsite isn’t new.  The site was started in 1994 (wow! that’s over 10 years ago) and was created in 2001!  In internet time, this is old.

I tried telling her it’s not a good idea but she didn’t listen.  She had her heart set on it, and my opinion didn’t matter. Perhaps I wasn’t aggressive enough. Alright, sorry, it’s my fault.

She finally ended up having paying an ad agency for their consultancy services, and they’ll probably tell her the same thing I would. Perhaps I should tell her that these agencies sometimes outsource their consultancy work to me? Hmm…

Anyway, the latest news is… she’s decided not to go for the microsite idea… Yup, let’s just concentrate our efforts to make what we have better. 

Microsites have been around for over a decade.  And it’s easy to see why.  For a company with many business lines, e.g. Nike, it’s a great way to segragate your products and services, so each microsite is tailored for a specific audience. If it’s brand strengthening you desire, then having a tagline microsite will help your customers understand your value proposition better.  Some companies also use microsites to accompany specific marketing campaigns so they can isolate the success of their marketing strategies.

Anyway, unless you have a brand that ‘s strong enough, having a tagline microsite is a no-no.  Apart from resource consumption, it’ll be confusing for everyone who’s already having problems recognising your brand.  Worse still, it can weaken and dilute your brand.  And the numerous competitors, copycat companies and sites out there which add to the confusion.

So, unless your brand is strong, your business objectives clear, and your digital marketing strategy streamlined, don’t waste your time on microsites. But if you have plenty of money to waste, then nobody’s going to stop you.