Monday, May 26, 2008

Your Web Site Won An Award. And ...

Recently, and on more than one occasion, a client has proclaimed that it has an "award winning" web site. Is this a good thing? Should winning a web award be one of your marketing goals? Aside from bragging rights or a bumper sticker, should you care?

The criteria for granting awards seem as obscure as the sites receiving them. Often this winning site has significant problems ranging from low traffic, to lack of focus, to low conversation rates, to poor usability, to being incomprehensible. The result of an award is often instant oblivion.

There is no shortage of web awards or those granting them. A search on Google for this phrase finds 46 million results. After a few pages of browsing the search results, I gave up tallying the unknown organizations, which grant these awards. Can't find an award for your obviously cool site? For the cost of a domain name, you can start your own award granting body.

One of the best known award sites is that of the Webby Awards. Its recipient sites, seem to be highly designed – some would say artistic. Webby lists lots of awards and finalists (the award for not winning an award?) in many categories. What award do you want your site, ad, or campaign to win?

Hollywood seems to care about Oscars - they believe an Academy award will boost attendance. I’ve seen no evidence that having an award winning web site boosts either awareness or sales. When looking for awards forget the trophy. Strive for a site, which increases one of the three Cs – customers, conversions, or cash.

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