Although the list of sites on the 2018 eBusiness Index roster is a carbon copy of the one used in 2017, our analysts will be working with a trimmed benchmark during 2018 evaluations that could cause some disruption in long-established results by Category rankings. We’re also adding results by Industry to the reporting mix to show how sites perform when measured against direct competitors. Let the games begin!
First, Let’s Review
The siteIQ eBusiness Index is an ongoing independent study that audits the Websites representing the best-of-the-best on the IT Web. Each year siteIQ analysts evaluate the Websites listed on the Index using the siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark, which was built based on years of exhaustive & continuous research into the Website design elements, information architectures, features & assets deployed by the most successful sites in IT. The Benchmark includes 18 distinct categories ranging from Design Basics to Training & Education; within each category sites are scored based on three unique criteria including:
- Website Features: The content, resources, assets and collateral provided on any given Website
- Website Usability: The overall practicality, versatility, usefulness and convenience of any given Website
- Website Performance: The aggregate suitability of any given Website that factors Website Features and Website Usability scores
This multi-faceted lens provides a comprehensive overview of Website performance, which is the basis for competitive scoring used to rank & rate the eBusiness Index Websites within each evaluation category.
Traditionally, the siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark identified & tracked a total of 1,509 types of Website Features and included 146 metrics that measured Website usability from the visitor perspective.
That was then…
Have You Got Change for a Paradigm?
Approximately 18 months ago we began to witness a revolution on leading IT industry Websites. The prevailing wisdom that “More is Better” suddenly started shifting toward a “Less is More” strategy. As a result, text-heavy content packed pages began to be replaced by leaner more graphically engaging offerings.
Given this new paradigm, traditional templates that deliver information sequentially are replaced by pages that include breathing grids that allow the visitor to direct the path of their journey. Typical navigational approaches that led directly to products are replaced by interesting — and innovative — options that focus instead on visitor task or objective.
Dense paragraphs of explanatory text are out. Catchy headers and brief descriptions that link to downloadable details are in. Gone is prose that waxes poetic about the company, its products and/or services. Here are scannable sentences that put proof points forward. Perhaps most significant, the tone of the writing is now visitor — not company — centric.
In other words, the look, feel and composition of leading IT industry Websites are dramatically different from where/what they were even two years ago. Subsequently, competitive requirements have also changed.
Now that things have shaken out and leading IT industry Websites are settling in for the next long haul we felt the time right for revisiting the siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark with a focus on identifying competitive requirements based on the current paradigm.
To do this we conducted a deep dive analysis of our latest eBusiness Index scoring, which recorded the performance of eBusiness Index Websites during our 2017 evaluation cycle. Using a filtering technique that calculates the percentage of sites providing each resource, non-competitive features were then identified and tagged for elimination.
Next, we set about removing non-competitive items from the Benchmark in order to create a criteria set that accurately represents and reflects the types of content & features currently provided on leading IT industry Websites. The result is that the total number of Best Practices Benchmark features drops from 1,509 to 1,059 — a reduction of 450 criteria. This trimmed benchmark more accurately reflects the new “lean and mean” approaches of today’s Web properties, which should bear out in future Website scoring.
This is Now…
The New Normal
The following listing identifies the number of Website Features eliminated by category since our 2017 siteIQ eBusiness Index evaluations:
Of course, we expect this reduction in Website Features to impact future eBusiness Index scoring — on both a category and overall basis. From a category perspective these cuts help level the playing field for smaller sites that deliver fewer resources than the 800-pound gorillas that typically dominate the eBusiness Index. This, in turn, should boost some smaller sites overall scores, which could cause them to disrupt some long-established rankings.
Unfortunately, just how great an impact these changes will have on eBusiness Index scoring & rankings can’t be determined until the conclusion of our next evaluation cycle.
The Cast of Characters
Fortunately, our 2018 siteIQ eBusiness Index evaluations are about to get under way. Currently our analysts are sharpening their pencils as they get ready to run the Websites through the new Best Practices Benchmark, so we can see what comes out the other side. Since we made so many changes to the benchmark itself, we decided to keep the eBusiness Index roster intact as far as industries reviewed and sites evaluated. As a result, the 2018 roster is a carbon copy of last year’s list; it consists of 25 Websites that are separated into eight industry segments including:
|Business Software & Services||Enterprise Software||Enterprise Systems||Networking Systems|
|Enterprise Storage||Software as Services||Business & Technology Services||Consumer Systems|
IBM Global Services
A Totally Different Ball Game
We are planning on changing some things up, however. In particular, we will be reporting eBusiness Index results by industry. This approach takes the results of our evaluations one step further by disseminating scores & rankings for eBusiness Index Websites based on how each performs within its own segment.
These results will illustrate competitive performance based on Website Features, Website Usability and overall Website Performance. More importantly, this industry-specific scoring will show how sites perform when measured against direct competitors that are in the same line of business.
In the coming weeks we’ll be publishing 2018 siteIQ eBusiness Index Results by Industry segment, which will reveal the winners — and losers — within each group based on our most recent evaluations.
Watch for the full results of our 2018 eBusiness Index evaluations once industry-specific reviews are completed.
Mark the Date
Anxious to discover where your site stands in the eBusiness Index rankings? Curious about which site tops the roster in your industry segment? Check out the siteIQ Publishing Calendar to determine when you can expect the find the results you’re after!