It’s part of my job as the editor of an industry-specific magazine to visit corporate websites in search of company information, contacts, and images. Some companies are large multinational conglomerates with head offices in Europe or the USA; others are much smaller entrepreneurial efforts trying to leverage visibility for their company through the web.

All, without exception, fail to cater to that harried journalist rushing to meet deadlines, and in search of a company logo, or image that can go with a story or feature. Most companies also fail to utilize the power of the web in being everywhere, all the time. Sure, some have a “Press Releases” or “Media” section, with a couple of stories at least six months old. But almost none have high resolution images that can be used with a story. End result, on tight deadlines, the story is squeezed into a tiny newsbrief, even though it could have been taken across a short two-column spread if there had just been some pictures to go with it.

There’s so much more that a website can do for a company that list its address and products. It’s time companies understood that. In a Google world, where all the contents of the World Wide Web are just waiting for the search engine’s spiders to make a visit, users typically start their search in the Google search bar, leaving specific sources for last.

When I set out in search of images, I simply typed in the product name in the Google search bar, clicked on “images”, and bingo, a pile of images turned up. But how many were usable? Not many. Most images used in websites are low resolution, so that they do not take time to load. These are the kind of images used in company websites and online publications. None of the corporate websites had that simple solution: the option of looking at a sample of low-resolution images, and clicking on them to access high resolution ones.

Bottom line: Companies looking at extracting maximum mileage from the media for their products and services should seriously look at their corporate websites and what they offer to the people who stop by.

First published on May 29, 2008