Building a Great Corporate Website for Your Business
Table of contents
What is a corporate website?
A corporate website represents the public face of a medium or large company (corporation). The website’s primary goal is public relations rather than sales or marketing.
Corporations are larger, more complex and more scrutinized, so they need to present a clear and positive picture about themselves.
The corporate website does this by caring for their users (being user focused), being transparent, neutral, easy to use and informative.
Corporate websites have many functions and will provide its audience users with a wide range of information ranging from career, investor and products.
The objectives of a corporate website
- Increase goodwill
- Increase brand value
- Improve business efficiency
- Reduce costs
Characteristics of a corporate website
Characteristics of a corporate website distinct to other websites are:
- Higher role in public relations
- Built to a higher standard
- Lots of different users and uses of the website
- Legal requirements
Some characteristics of a corporation that affect its website design:
- Multi-departmental entity
- High number of staff
- The goal of the corporation
Tips to hiring a web developer to build your corporate website
Being a corporation simply means you are “not small”. Budgets are larger but they also need to be justified – so spending your budget wisely is important.
Here are the best ways to get a corporate website.
- Pay more to get a better service.
- Don’t compare vendors solely on price and features.
- Keep your wish list practical.
- Have a reasonable idea of what you want and why you want it.
- Engage with your agency in early talks (don’t do all the planning beforehand).
- When you start working, collaborate.
Corporate website design
The design of a corporate website is an exercise in compromise and planning. Marketing, legal, human resource and sales departments may all want to use the website for their own purposes.
Yet the modern corporate website is simple because users don’t want to be overwhelmed with information and mobile phones can only display a limited amount of information before scrolling becomes tedious.
How is this to be achieved in a clean and consistent way throughout the website?
There are so many pieces of information that could be put into a corporate website – yet there is only one home page and one primary navigation.
There isn’t a right way and a wrong way to design a website. It isn’t a step by step process either. There are numerous design problems that need to be solved in tangent.
However, the most logical place to start is with a content plan.
With a corporate website, it’s always good to lead with the basic content structure. This will give you a better idea the size and structure of the website.
Clarity and brevity is a must. Corporations are addressing a wide audience and must be understandable by all.
If you need to explain things in detail, you can do that in inner pages or PDF downloads. The main pages should be short and concise.
Avoid being boastful. Be matter-of-fact with your past achievements. No one likes a show-off.
The tone of voice should be consistent. It doesn’t have to be extremely formal (as modern companies need to be more approachable than before) but it can’t be casual either.
Look and feel
The look of the traditional corporate website should be solid, angular, reassuring, timeless.
It should avoid fads unless it has the money to change when fads change.
The overall style and feel will be dictated by the industry of the corporation. There isn’t one “look” but just the general appearance of solidity.
More thought needs to be given to navigation since there are more pages to organize.
Navigation can be split into primary, secondary and tertiary navigation, so that the most important links are more visible and aimed at your primary audience.
An alternative approach is to have everything in “fat navs”: keeping the number of primary links visible small and everything else hidden until a primary link is hovered upon.
All corporate websites will have a similar base structure since they need to convey a lot of similar information.
There will be:
- Investor Relations
- Products and Services, brands or business
About the corporation:
- Who we are
- Management Team
- What we do
Websites come under close scrutiny from legal bodies, regulatory bodies, governments and trading partners.
Compliance of regulations and policies to publish on your website may include
- Investor regulations
- Annual reports
- Share price
- UK modern slavery act statement
- California transparency in supply chain
- Terms and conditions
- Social Impact
- Contact Details
Competitive Analysis for corporate websites
If you’ve never created a website before, or even if you have – it’s good to look around and see the language and general patterns with a particular sector but it’s also good to shop around.
Starfish has a competitive analysis service where we basically look at lots of websites and analyze them. We pick the best (and most appropriate) ideas and then put them in the corporate website we’re creating
How to present your business
If you are large and diverse, present small snippets that users can understand and extrapolate. Leave the generalities to inner pages.
Avoid mission and visions, particularly if they are quite general. Your users won’t appreciate them since they don’t understand the context or the business.
Potential clients, potential staff want to hear interesting things and you want them to remember you, so give present something memorable. If it can’t be made memorable, make it short.
Corporate digital marketing
A corporation will not need to try very hard to get visitors because of they are already established enough to get traffic through searches of the company name alone.
Second to searches of the company name will be searches of their products and service. Some corporations have a separate website for their products and services, whereas other prefer to keep everything under one website.
The choice has to be with brand elasticity and whether the corporate name is associated with the brand product or service.
For smaller corporations – ones with marketing departments but not much experience in digital marketing, the question arises – how do we use the corporate website for marketing?
Tips for marketing departments
- Show the wider purpose
- Give meaningful details and stores
- Show popular products
- Don’t do it all
- Don’t use the website home page for marketing promos, events and news.
It’s not the job of a corporate website to promote products and services. This would be the job of a B2B or B2C website. If there is a corporate component to these website, it will be in the footer.
Corporate website maintenance
Why website maintenance is important?
Websites are always being modified
Corporate websites are continuously being improved and kept up to date with new content and request from the various department within the company.
All this can create conflict and unforeseen errors. With so much at stake, a corporate website need to be kept in top condition. Any fault on the website will tarnish the reputation of the company.
Websites are complex
Corporate websites are technically complex. They will use a sophisticated content management system, content delivery networks (CDNs) like Cloudflare.
The main areas that are of concern are:
Pages that slow to load
Corporate websites are continuously being updated with high quality images. These images are usually not optimized and will slow down the website.
Images that are not optimized
There can be a tendency for corporate websites to be large in terms of file size because all the content that is placed in them.
This can have a negative effect on SEO – and although this is not so important for more famous companies since their domain will have a very strong reputation, there are many corporate websites out there that compete heavily on this front.
Errors in the browser
Problems with the content
With so much content on a website, there are bound to be content-related issues. Spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, mistranslations, inaccurate information.