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The Value of Company Sites

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A recurring theme here at the New Communications Forum (in Las Vegas) is the value of corporate websites.

Speakers from David Weinberger to John Bell (from Ogilvy PR) have reiterated the point: People will search Google and engage in the blogosphere to find out what’s what with a company before they visit the company’s website. Even if they do visit the company website, it’s only to get the company’s point of view, not to make an ultimate decision or establish an opinion.

I’m not sure about this. Media rooms continue to be well used by journalists, investor sites by investors and analysts…

There also are ways to make the corporae site more of a destination. Microsoft did this by creating a bias-free clearinghouse of content related to the federal and state lawsuits it was facing a few years back. By offering all content—not just that which was pro-Microsoft—the company ensured that, for at least some journalists and others—the Microsoft site would be the go-to destination for documents and other materials dealing with the lawsuits.

I’m not denying the use of third-party sources for a balanced view—whether it’s Google News, whatever comes up on Google, Technorati, or epinions –and I know that a lot of content is being consumed by people reading feeds (and widgets will also be a source of company content that doesn’t require a visit to the company site), but is the importance of a corporate site diminishing that much?

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