The No Info Websites
Staff Writer By: M.D. McCallum (WarLord720)
What's up with product websites that don't tell you anything? As a writer, I research a lot of products but sometimes the search for information can be difficult at best. You might find a multi-page website replete with beautiful artwork and all the eye catching web tricks but they lack one item. Actual info about the product.
Like a lot of us I started out as a webmaster so I have to admit to creating my fair share of limited or no info websites. After all you can only publish whatever the client brings you and if they don't bring you much then you go to the old standby... which back in the day was graphics and whitespace. Today add video and lots of it. We all know the internet is as much or more a marketing tool than it is a basic information tool it's just a shame the two don't meld together more often.
Don't get me wrong. I love a well-designed webpage. I appreciate layout and other consideration but I also like information to go with all that great marketing and design. I'm not talking about pretty icons with minimal bulleted lists but real actual information in... you know... paragraph form. You can even leave out the punctuation or go full bore phone text convo on me but at least it would be information instead of pretty icons and cool motion graphics.
Having worked with development and branding of a few products I have seen the amount of work that goes into developing a product and there is just about as much work in documenting that product as there is in developing it in some cases. Used to be nothing was released until there was documentation. Then the interweb's instant gratification monkey popped up a decade or two ago and now barely out of beta products with little-written documentation are the accepted norm. We've adapted to that scenario over the years but do the product websites have to be the same way?
As a consumer, I am an avid internet shopper. To me, shopping is researching a particular pending purchase through various websites including the manufacturer and retailers. There was a time when you could literally spend hours over several days just reading all the product info available, then online reviews popped up and it seems reliance was shifted from adequate product information to the reviews. The problems with this scenario are... a lot of reviews are not extensive and post no real info about the product beyond what is already known and over time the lack of reviews. Like a lot of things reviews were easy to get early on but now not so much. Most of us just want to read the reviews not post our own and that is a problem too.
I'm not looking for a novel... just a coherent explanation of the product and it's features. I'll take a bulleted list if that's all you'll give me but I'll also come back more often to shop if I can get the info I'm looking for. If all you do is provide product pictures and specs, then I'll eventually stop coming back as it becomes pointless since no general product information is being posted. When a company sends its prospective customer on a search for information it also opens them up to finding better services or prices from other vendors. As a consumer this is great but as a marketer of a product this is what you want to avoid.
Marketing is already a tough job and I admire a lot of people in that business for tenacity and the ability to make sheep look like whipped cream. That is a definite skill that is in demand today but please... someone call the devs and put together a packet of good ole basic product information for your overworked and underpaid webmaster to post.