Surveys that matter: FTSE All Share Index: Why should a successful major company need an efficient, well-maintained web presence?
26 May 2012
The last thing you would expect from the cream of Britain's industrial companies is that they would apparently neglect their major channel of communication with customers, shareholders and the outside world. But that's exactly what new research from Sitemorse would seem to suggest.
Our quarterly review of the websites of around 500 companies in the FTSE All Share index - due for publication in two weeks - shows many of the best-known brands languish at the bottom of the table, while smaller companies with less to spend on their websites take the honours.
We'd say it's essential for a successful major company nowadays to have an efficient and well-maintained web presence - either one site or more likely a number of allied ones.
Why? For a start there's reputation - whether multinational or UK-based, most major companies have spent a huge amount of time, money and effort to get to where they are - so surely they are unlikely to risk their reputation by condoning a poor website.
Then there's often a bottom-line reason to have a decent site. If your website is transactional, for example, you won't want your customers deserting in droves if they think your site isn't working properly. Even if you're not actively selling online, your shareholders, potential employees and other stakeholders will think less of you if they can't find their way around your main channel of communication with the outside world.
Small companies may have the "no budget for that this year" excuse- major ones usually have agencies, designers and web teams armed with decent budgets already working on the site.
The above makes the results of the latest Sitemorse survey of FTSE All Share websites all the more mystifying. More than 320 companies, including some very well known names, couldn't manage a score of even five out of ten on our criteria. Although the very best sites in this survey scored between eight and ten, only nine websites out of more than 500 could be classed as error-free. And a dozen failed accessibility tests on every page.
Full details of the survey will be published on the Sitemorse website in mid-June.
Other recent surveys have included:
Swiss Banks: Our quarterly review of the websites of well over 200 banks in this sector found that more than 10 per cent were classed as 'error-free' by our methodology, a high score compared to other sectors such as retail or FTSE companies.
Retail top 500: The very best websites among UK retailers are largely unchanged, with Anoushka, selling jewellery and high quality evening wear in the West End of London, on top with nearly 9.5 out of ten possible marks. Others at the top are DFS, Pownall Carpets, high class shirtmakers Turnbull and Asser, and high street grocer, Spar UK.
Consumer Finance: latest research from Sitemorse shows that only a small percentage of the main players in the consumer finance sector have efficient websites, with less than ten per cent of the 264 we surveyed in April scoring more than 7 out of 10 in checks to quality, user experience, accessibility, performance and search engine optimisation.
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