DO COMPANY
WEBSITES NEED A
NEWS SECTION?
Toon Lowette
Grid Online Publishing Consultancy
www.grid.be
Well, you don’t need a news section on your
website
and this is why:
• News sections are counterproductive and
confusing
•...
• News sections draw the attention
away from the customer’s task.
• News articles spoil search results too
often. They sho...
From countless Task Identification
surveys, we at Customer Carewords
know
• that news always is a tiny task
• that news ne...
What is the purpose of a news section
• To let the visitor know that your
company is active
• That the organisation has ne...
DON’T FOLLOW THE
POPULAR
MISUNDERSTANDING
THAT THE WEB IS
ABOUT NEWS
WOULD
CUSTOMERS
REALLY BE
WAITING FOR
THIS?
What is the chance that this
news helps me with my task?
Or this?
What if I need another report
than these in the news
selection? Is it immediately
clear where I can find it?
• If your organisation is not in the news
industry, your website is not about
news and never will be.
• Associations and N...
And yet, they have a lot of newsworthy
messages.
Almost every day.
They are in whatever media all the time.
Have a look.
T...
BY THE WAY…
BUT FIRST
CONTINUE…
there is something else about the previous four
examples.
They all have these horrible sli...
It probably took a good
discussion or two, but there is
no news section on the
national government home
page! Only direct ...
The world champion of the one-
super-top-task-home-page.
• Don’t have company news on your
site.
• Focus on customer service and top
tasks, rather than on organisation-
centric me...
• Only have news on your site if you
have many frequent visitors and if at
least every week there is a relevant
story to t...
What they do need:
• To bring the customer’s top tasks up
front
• If possible, to make the single most
important task doab...
Top Task Management helps you to truly
understand what the top tasks of your
customers are when they come to your
website ...
• Identify your visitors’ top tasks and tiny
tasks
• Measure how customer-centric the site is
• Measure how efficiently cl...
Do company websites need a news section?
Do company websites need a news section?
Do company websites need a news section?
Do company websites need a news section?
Do company websites need a news section?
Do company websites need a news section?
Do company websites need a news section?
Do company websites need a news section?
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Do company websites need a news section?

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News sections on company websites are ubiquitous. However, hardly any visitor reads anything in the news section. Worse: often, it is counterproductive as it clutters the pages and makes search less relevant. So, why keep the news section?

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Do company websites need a news section?

  1. 1. DO COMPANY WEBSITES NEED A NEWS SECTION? Toon Lowette Grid Online Publishing Consultancy www.grid.be
  2. 2. Well, you don’t need a news section on your website and this is why: • News sections are counterproductive and confusing • Hardly any visitor reads anything in the news section • News sections are about the organisation, not about the customer DO YOU HAVE OR CONSIDER HAVING A NEWS SECTION ON YOUR ORGANISATION’S WEBSITE?
  3. 3. • News sections draw the attention away from the customer’s task. • News articles spoil search results too often. They show up in product search but are hardly relevant. • Old news confuses readers, may even lead to taking a wrong result for the good one – a disaster task performance. COUNTER- PRODUCTIVE AND CONFUSING
  4. 4. From countless Task Identification surveys, we at Customer Carewords know • that news always is a tiny task • that news never is a top task (except in intranets – intranets are another matter) • that news is more important for the management than for the customer. NOBODY READS NEWS SECTIONS
  5. 5. What is the purpose of a news section • To let the visitor know that your company is active • That the organisation has new products and offerings • That they innovate • That they get awards • To tell the world about how important the organisation is. It’s The Good News Show. And it’s all about the organisation, not about the customer. NEWS SECTIONS ARE ABOUT THE ORGANISATION, NOT ABOUT THE CUSTOMER
  6. 6. DON’T FOLLOW THE POPULAR MISUNDERSTANDING THAT THE WEB IS ABOUT NEWS
  7. 7. WOULD CUSTOMERS REALLY BE WAITING FOR THIS?
  8. 8. What is the chance that this news helps me with my task?
  9. 9. Or this?
  10. 10. What if I need another report than these in the news selection? Is it immediately clear where I can find it?
  11. 11. • If your organisation is not in the news industry, your website is not about news and never will be. • Associations and NGOs may want to have a news section. They may want to show how well they work and lobby, and thus convince members and donators that their money is well spent. • All others better spend their energy in convincing their customers by service quality rather than by telling them how good they are. NEWS IS THE PRODUCT OF NEWS MEDIA
  12. 12. And yet, they have a lot of newsworthy messages. Almost every day. They are in whatever media all the time. Have a look. THESE ORGANISATIONS DON’T HAVE NEWS SECTIONS
  13. 13. BY THE WAY… BUT FIRST CONTINUE… there is something else about the previous four examples. They all have these horrible sliders and carousels occupying almost half of the home page. Another fad. Not a good idea. Learn why not:
  14. 14. It probably took a good discussion or two, but there is no news section on the national government home page! Only direct links to countless citizen and business tasks.
  15. 15. The world champion of the one- super-top-task-home-page.
  16. 16. • Don’t have company news on your site. • Focus on customer service and top tasks, rather than on organisation- centric messages • Try to get in the press and social media with good reviews, reactions and recommendations. Let customers do the PR work, rather than brag about the organisation on your own website RECOMMENDATIONS
  17. 17. • Only have news on your site if you have many frequent visitors and if at least every week there is a relevant story to tell. • Don’t give it a top prominent place, as customer top tasks deserve the best places. • Build trust by listing all kinds of reports – positive, negative, indifferent, critical. • Tweak the internal search engine to block news, press releases and media reports from product search results • Don’t forget that customers are not coming to your website to read your news. • They come to perform their task. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO HAVE A NEWS SECTION (OR MUST)
  18. 18. What they do need: • To bring the customer’s top tasks up front • If possible, to make the single most important task doable on the home page • To test and tweak the website architecture until every task can be completed efficiently. CUSTOMER- CENTRIC WEBSITES DON’T NEED NEWS SECTIONS
  19. 19. Top Task Management helps you to truly understand what the top tasks of your customers are when they come to your website and how well these tasks are performing. By continuously testing and improving the performance of your customers' top tasks, you will maximize the performance of your website. THE WEB IS ABOUT THE CUSTOMER’S TASK
  20. 20. • Identify your visitors’ top tasks and tiny tasks • Measure how customer-centric the site is • Measure how efficiently clients can complete tasks • Design for successful navigation • Test, measure, tweak, test, measure, etc. These are the challenges that Customer Carewords helps you with. Manage the task. Not the content, not the website. The task. Facts instead of opinions. Contact Toon Lowette toon@grid.be - 0032 474 285 849 www.grid.be TASK MANAGEMENT WITH TOON LOWETTE AND GERRY MCGOVERN

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