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Research Area Website Performance

Fig 5. Overall Website Effectiveness

Chart showing website performance

Basis for Assessment

The chart above refers to 585 of the 860 businesses profiled in fig 4 on page 4. Those with their own websites of whatever type.

To categorise the websites, we used a scoring system developed by the Website Report Service. An 80 point checklist, taking into account technical efficiency and configuration, design, user experience, content quality, search performance and page speed.

Nobody has a perfect website and we took a reasonably lenient stance where possible. Detail on technicalities would fill a report in itself, a little follows on the spirit of the rationale adopted.

Performance Margins

Technically Not Viable - To fit this category, sites had to be poor, in terms of content, usability, design and search performance, a struggle to find, or read. These websites add little to a business and are likely to cause damage to reputation.

Technical & Wider Issues - Basic configuration and structural issues the common trait. They may provide reasonable content, or value. Just hard to see the wood from the trees, for visitors, search engines and the website owners themselves.

Serving Some Purpose - Of value to a business, allowing current, or a few potential customers to get to know them and easily contact them. Core technical flaws still there, many ways they could help themselves further but meeting basic needs.

Quite Capably Managed - The point at which a website definitely adds value and produces a return on investment. Often run by the business, their effort to acquire practical skills and deeper knowledge clear to us, along with their users.

Professional Standard - Odd aspects may still be imperfect, further development possible but a solid representative for their business. Technically good, helping keep customers and as importantly bring more, via search and general perception.

Overall Impression

A fair number could benefit from improvement but 40% of the websites are simply in poor shape. When added to 32% of businesses without a website, 58% of the original 860 are missing out.

They may also be the businesses least likely to seek support. Perhaps disillusioned by past efforts, or believing the problem is too complex, that success on the web is unobtainable.

A perception of costs being high for web design, or support is also common. This is not always the case, most businesses can add real value for a limited spend.

Dispelling myths is a core need. Taking advantage of the web is not only vital but with a reasonable approach, a profit centre. The cost of a decent website is recoverable for most quite quickly.

Moving Forward

The last two pages have been about establishing a picture of where we stand, rather than in depth analysis. More helpful to look at what a business should have, rather than what they do not have.

Businesses can move forward, by helping themselves and by agencies of all kinds encouraging them. In the next section we focus on ways to source support for website requirements.

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