January 2020 Newsletter

**** The 4specs Perspective

Is Your Website a Glossy Brochure or a 3-ring Binder?

The web design and search articles I read generally focus on:

  1. Search Engine Optimization - how to attract Google visitors to your website
  2. How to update your website to be indexed by Google with the optimal results from Google
  3. How to select and focus on key words for best sales results from clicks and search results
  4. Evaluation of your competitor's websites and their SEO performance
  5. Google AdWords and other pay-per-click advertising places to generate visits to your website, and how to track the click to a purchase.
  6. Design for mobile phones requiring page-down movement to see the information
  7. Assumption that the user will come from a Google search and land on the page they want so there is no need to have easy to find and use internal links, much less an internal search engine.
  8. Using registration, phone call or other action as a meaningful metric. The articles focus on tracking conversion of your online ads and search engine optimization to a sale.
  9. Active updates on social media portals to increase the popularity and brand awareness. [From an email received this morning]

These articles ignore who makes decisions about products being specified and how products are later evaluated by contractors.

I look at 100's of websites a month as part of the 4specs maintenance. I see specified product websites tending towards glossy-brochure designs and away from useful and easy-to-use design and specification resources. The norm has become a large image on top of the first page with the need to scroll down to see more information. The internal navigation links are not always obvious to me. For some manufacturers I find it difficult to understand what they make and how I can classify their products using the CSI number system.

https://www.duraseinusa.com/ is an example of a glossy-brochure website I looked at recently. Virtually no technical data - what size sheets are available, thickness options, flame spread, what is available from stock in the United States, etc. The US email and phone contact info was not easily found.

There are many websites like this one. Envision having an architect select this company's products and liking their visuals. The specifier later writing a spec needs to find technical data to support the selection of comparable products for bidding.

In last month's newsletter I asked Does Your Web Designer Understand How to Get Your Products Specified? This is a great question when deciding on a web designer in an interview.

I advocate a "3-ring binder" website - or at least an internal target page (with a simple url) oriented to the specification process with links to all the internal information.

What is a 3-ring binder - I see a 1990's 3-ring binder as containing

Look to incorporate 3-ring binder information into your website.

Questions, comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

Colin

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Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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