The SmartCompany Web Awards have yet again raised the bar for Australian SMEs.
The SmartCompany Web Awards for 2013 have shown that innovation is flooding the online world, with impressive eCommerce sites, mobile sites and blogs making choices difficult for the expert judging panel.
Never before have the websites and mobile sites of Australian businesses been better looking, more user-friendly and intuitive, or simply such an impressive representation of a company.
The businesses behind the sites have invested money, time and expertise into creating a great product, with the results showing the minds behind them are thinking in the most innovative ways.
Entries for the fifth annual SmartCompany Web Awards spanned from fledgling businesses to well-established medium-sized companies. Some had invested months and ample funds into developing their site, while others had a DIY approach that cost little thanks to using an open source platform and lots of late nights.
From wine to planter boxes, books to interior design, the range of products and services made available through the sites showed that creativity, passion and innovation are alive and well in Australian SMEs, with the websites proving the ultimate showcase.
We’ve compiled profiles on all the winners, putting together information on how they built their respective strategies. Be sure to read them all – you never know what you might learn:
- Best company website (under 20 employees)
- Best company website (over 20 employees)
- Best design
- Best eCommerce site
- Best search strategy
- Best blog
- Best use of social media
- Best mobile
Best company website (under 20 employees)
Judged by: Fi Bendall, Bendalls Group
Vinomofo began as a mobile site, but is now in its third version of its website, following a three-month custom overhaul by the company’s in-house development team.
The site is also the runner-up in this year’s Best eCommerce and Best Use of Social Media categories.
The wine-deals site launched in 2011 and was later sold to Catch of the Day, then the original three owners bought it back this year. Since shifting from mobile to include web, the business has prioritised creating a positive user experience. It’s a highly visual website, with lots of pictures filling the breadth of the computer screen.
Category judge Fi Bendall said the site is clean and simple to use, with a “clever concept that really pulls you in, and very quickly teases the user”.
Co-founder Andre Eikmeier said each screen of the site has a core purpose, and he advises other businesses to take this approach.
“Really think about the user experience, and work out the one thing you'd like your users to do on each page. Focus on that. Look very carefully at what out-of-the-box products there are before you go and build something, but if you do build it, build it in-house,” he said.
The value of user experience hit home for Vinomofo when its site crashed during a feature on TV program A Current Affair. They soon invested in a “gun developer” to get the site back on track and ensure the user experience improved.
Eikmeier also advised eCommerce businesses to focus on IT as well as retail: “Collect data and use it to be more relevant.”
Swiftly, a service of design firm 99designs, provides quick solutions for businesses and individuals wanting small changes made to their websites.
The Swiftly team can do things like logo alterations, PowerPoint fixes, copy edits and photo retouching, in some cases completed within an hour.
You need to plan carefully when designing a site, a lesson learnt by the Swiftly team when they decided to redesign the site two weeks before it launched.
Despite this hiccup, since the website launched this year, the company reports it has had 35,000 unique viewers per month.
Co-Runner-up: Woman with Drive
Woman With Drive is a site directed at professional, discerning women and is “powered by” car company Porsche.
The sleek homepage with ample white space and sophisticated images is a gateway to content targeted to a female audience, such as stories about inspiring women, health and beauty, style and travel.
The WordPress-based site is designed by Portable Studios in Melbourne.