Online Presence Score/10?
Your company has a presence online in the form of a single website or multiple ones. Potentially it has social media presence and perhaps apps as well. Whether the company has a singular online offering or multiple ones, the big question is whether the company’s online presence is effective or not?
Of course large budgets could have been spent on building the site(s) and varying degrees of effort may be spent on social media. Perhaps the company has an app on Android and iOS and maybe even BlackBerry and Windows Phone too.
But the amount of spend on a company’s online presence does not equate to effectiveness, so how do you know whether your online presence is effective or not?
Traffic and activity will be one way, although maybe people use your sites because they have to – take financial institutions for example. Just because people use financial services websites doesn’t mean that they’re completely happy with the experience, merely that they use it because they have to.
Social media activity does indicate interest, but that might be because the brand is fairly well known, or it has drawn the ire of consumers for some reason who have taken to social media to complain about it.
So how do you know whether your online presence is effective or not?
The answers begin to come when you take a step back and start to look at why a business is successful and who is using its services. Understanding a business’ offering is and why that company succeeds, is the beginning of conceptualising the way forward for a company’s online presence.
The company does X, it wants to achieve Y online so that its target audience can get ABC.
Once the business goals are defined, an online strategy can then be created. How does the online offering complement/correlate to an offline offering (if the business is not a purely digital one)? And even if it is digital, there are numerous ways to evaluate the effectiveness of a purely online offering.
Most companies have an online presence already, so the first step is to evaluate the effectiveness of the current online presence.
Understanding the current context
The best way to do this is with a two part process. Firstly, the online presence of the company has to be evaluated against leading practise online.
- What platforms and technology is most appropriate and are they being used or do they need to be implemented?
- How does the design and usability of the site compare with leading trends?
- Was the content created for an online audience and is it clear and effective in its presentation?
Secondly, context can be provided through comparative or competitive studies. Therefore while a company’s online presence is being evaluated against leading practise, it should also be evaluated with the context of the company’s competitors and other sites on the Internet known to be leaders in areas that could prove useful in the benchmarking of a company’s online presence.
However, while usability testing and benchmarking are key elements around understanding the efficacy of a company’s online presence, an online audit has to go far beyond these elements and look at the effectiveness of the company’s online presence based on a holistic view of the company’s online presence from a user’s perspective.
They key to benchmarking the effectiveness of a company’s online presence therefore lies in heuristic (expert) analysis from several trained online experts who are not connected to the project.
Whether a company is a SME with a single website or a corporate with multiple sites, social media pages and apps, the development of a company’s online presence is an immersive and complex process involving multiple people from inside the company and often from outside agencies as well.
Without perspective in the revamping of a company’s online presence, the end point of revamp may not necessarily be the intended destination and the results are not always what were originally envisaged.
One of the best places to begin is with a dipstick test of how effective the organisation’s online presence is: that can be done here with Strategy Worx’s tool to test some of the key elements of your online presence.
Once that’s done if you want to chat more, then why not request an independent use of the tool by Strategy Worx consultants which can then form the basis for a discussion around how to take the company’s online presence forward?