Cloud sites are the kissing cousins of Software sites. Both sell complex solutions to audiences that have unique needs — and high standards. Aside from that, these properties are as different as night and day. Not only are Cloud sites a fraction of the size of their Software counterparts, but they:
- Sell solutions as ongoing services rather than as stand-alone products
- Connect with prospects using free trials and demos more than Contact Us buttons and eCommerce
- Offer a relatively light selection of support and training resources to non-customers
To assess how well Cloud websites market, sell, and support their visitors the siteIQ team evaluated four prominent Cloud sites including Salesforce.com and three brand new eBusiness Index sites — AWS.com, Google Cloud, and VMware.com — using the siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark.
This benchmark identifies & tracks 989 types of website features that represent current requirements for Cloud websites and includes 139 website usability questions that measure site versatility and usefulness from the visitor’s point of view.
This case study announces the leaders and the laggers in the Cloud industry segment based on Overall Website Performance, Total Website Content, and Overall Website Usability scores.
Nowadays it seems that even sites within the same industry segment are marching to their own drummer — and the Cloud sites tracked on the eBusiness Index are no exception. Each of these unique properties is structured to address the specific strategies, marketing approaches, and target audiences of the parent company, which is obvious the minute you compare one home page to another.
Digging deeper into these sites reveals that the differences between them aren’t only skin deep. Instead, our 2019 Cloud industry evaluations show some significant discrepancies — including the fact that two out of four tracked sites provide a complete complement of content and features and two don’t.
A thorough review of evaluation data discloses that both VMware.com and Salesforce.com provide at least some content in each of the areas that equate to our 17 total benchmark sub-categories, while AWS.com and Google Cloud both elect not to provide content or resources for one or more. Interestingly though, the types of resources omitted from these sites aren’t exactly the same.
AWS.com and Google Cloud don’t provide content or resources for Online Communities and Investor Relations Information, but AWS.com also adds Corporate Information to the list of benchmark categories for which no resources are delivered. Unfortunately, these omissions automatically put AWS.com and Google Cloud at a scoring disadvantage when compared to more robust competitors — especially when Website Content is measured.
Sadly, these omissions also hurt category-specific and Overall Website Usability scores. This is largely because the lack of score received for categories where no resources are provided drags down overall scores when the final numbers are calculated. It bears mention, however, that this problem is further exacerbated by Below Average and Poor usability scores across several other benchmark sub-categories, which puts AWS.com and Google Cloud at a further disadvantage when Website Performance scores are computed.
At the end of the day, these factors — and the inclusion of three new sites on the Cloud roster — create chaos on any previous Cloud industry rankings. They also make for some fascinating results on both a category-specific and overall performance level that are sure to surprise more than just our siteIQ Evaluators and Analysts.
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About the siteIQ eBusiness Index
siteIQ evaluated the twenty-five Websites listed on the 2019 siteIQ eBusiness Index. These Websites are categorized into five industry-specific segments including:
- Software (Adobe.com, Citrix.com, IBM.com, Microsoft Business, Oracle.com, SAP.com, Symantec.com)
- Cloud (AWS.com, Cloud.Google.com, Salesforce.com, VMWare.com)
- Systems (CDW.com, e.Huawei.com, HPE.com, Intel.com)
- Networking (Cisco.com, Juniper.net, PaloAltoNetworks.com, Riverbed.com)
- Consumer (Apple.com, Dell.com, HP.com, Lenovo.com, LG.com, Samsung.com)
These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2019 edition of the siteIQ eBusiness Index Best Practices Benchmark, which includes 18 distinct categories. Within each category, sites are scored based on three unique criteria:
- Website Content: The content, resources, assets, and collateral provided on any given Website. The siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark currently identifies & tracks over 1,000 types of Website content and features that represent typical competitive requirements. Within each category siteIQ analysts track the number — as well as quality — of features provided.
- Website Usability: The overall practicality, versatility, usefulness, and convenience of any given Website. The siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark currently includes 145 metrics that measure usability from the visitor’s perspective. Within each category siteIQ analysts score usability questions based on a strict set of standards to award between 1—100 points per question.
- Overall Performance: The aggregate suitability of any given Website that factors Website Content and Website Usability scores.
The 2019 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2019.
Category: Index Rankings
Class: Website Reviews and Rankings
Websites Profiled: siteIQ eBusiness Index Websites