CRN's website was down earlier today. And we were basically tearing our hair out because our website is at the heart of what we do.
Without it we cannot get on with our core job, which is to provide interesting and relevant industry content on a daily basis.
We have spent days analysing our website in the past and it is constantly evolving to provide the best user experience possible. Of course there is always room for improvement- as there is with almost every product out in the market today.
But after the CRN Sales and Marketing Awards judging yesterday the judges had a very interesting conversation about the state of many channel companies' websites.
A lot of people have invested serious poundage in their sites and while many of them will look fancy with lots of bells and whistles - how many of them have been designed with the customer in mind rather than to satisfy company vanity?
How many of you can honestly say that a potential customer will visit your website and know instantly that you are the provider they are looking for?
With our site, www.channelweb.co.uk, we have our simple strapline that explains what we do.
Do you even have a strapline?
A lot of sites just assume the visitor already knows all about the company they are visiting, when quite often, a simple description of what the company actually does would be a welcome addition to any homepage and it would cut out a lot of customer frustration when they are trying to find the best supplier for their IT needs.
Also the 'less is more' approach is often quite welcome - throwing too much information on one page and confusing visitors with where they should look first, really isn't the way to impress them.
Instead having a site that is easily navigable should be a priority.
If someone is looking for an infrastructure refresh or a particular cloud-based solution - and you are more than capable of delivering that - can they actually find that out by visiting your website? Some of the sites we checked out yesterday proved that definitely wasn't the case.
Of course I'm not professing to be a marketing or website expert, but as a potential customer I know what I wanted to see in many of these sites, and more often than not I certainly didn't get it.
We always ask for feedback on CRN - we don't always get it and sometimes we get too much on the wrong things - but at least we ask.
Maybe it is time for some channel firms out there to ask what their customers think of their website and what it says about their company?
After all, if someone is window shopping on the web for a new supplier, and the only thing they see is your homepage - how confident are you that they will take the next step and actually get in touch?
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