WEDNESDAY 19 APR 2017 3:48 PM


Typically inundated by complex financial data, it’s crucial that company websites convey both a coherent corporate story and investment vision to key investor audiences. However, a worrying amount of FTSE listed companies do not clearly address their investment proposal on their corporate sites, and some don’t even include what their business does on the home page. According to research conducted by Black Sun, a London-based stakeholder communications consultancy, there have been major developments in website responsiveness and video experience, yet there is still a widening digital divide between the best and worst in these corporate sites.

In its third iteration, Black Sun’s research study, ‘What makes an effective corporate website? Is 2017 the year of the digital divide?’ found that regardless of size, the top 20 companies are landing 60% higher in the analysis compared to their peers in the bottom 20. The front-runners are Barratt Developments and Land Securities Group in the FTSE 100, and the Go-Ahead Group and Tullow Oil in the FTSE 250.

Black Sun also noted an increased focus on user experience with 84% of the FTSE 100 now using video content in their websites and 50% enabling content sharing to social media. However, the research looked further into the ability of a company to effectively communicate an engaging corporate narrative online. Of the FTSE 100, 30% of companies do not share what their business does on the home page, and 70% do not deliver a clear investment proposition – signaling there is work to be done.

“Though we have seen great progress in the last few years in the development of the overall user experience, aided by new technology, we are still surprised at the number of companies who don’t ensure that all of the content on their website is up to date, consistent and telling a compelling story of what makes their organisation different,” says Richard Dixon, chief digital officer at Black Sun. “This year’s research shows the growing divide between the top performers and the ‘laggards’ who are missing the opportunity of using their website effectively.”

Dixon hopes that the research will encourage companies to reevaluate their sites and ensure that they are communicating effectively with different stakeholders.