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Website Audit

Author: Q79777317 Course Title: Public Relations Tutors Name: Fiona Western

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Contents Description

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List of Illustrations Abstract

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Introduction

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Overview of website effectiveness Audit findings

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Digital communication strategy

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Proposed digital developments

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Timings and implications

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Opportunities for on going measurement and evaluation

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Conclusions

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Recommendations

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Reference list

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List of Illustrations Description

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1. Screen shot of Shell’s home page.

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Screen shot of BP’s home page.

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Shells contact Information

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Shell global Addresses

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The change of the homepage on the shell website

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A screen shot of use of text

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Use of pictures

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A screen shot on Google search of Shell.

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Consistency of Shell’s Website

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Use of Vector Images

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Type of Image Used on Shell Website

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Shell’s Lack of Thumbnail Previews for Videos

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Only the Logo Indicates that it is Shell’s Website

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Shell’s Stakeholders

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Shell’s Use of Social Media

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Shell’s use of keywords

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Abstract This report aims to audit the Shell website and review its current digital provision of the website and how relevant it is the key stakeholders. This report will then propose digital developments on how Shell could improve the website for the stakeholders. This report has found that Shell had somewhat neglected the full benefits of social media and did not fully interact with the stakeholders; on the website Shell had not used the brand to the full potential leaving the webpages plain. As well as this Shell also needed to focus more attention into multimedia, in particular the videos, making them more user friendly to stakeholders which could allow Shell do communicate more through video.

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Introduction Shell was founded in 1949 and was based in Houston, Texas. During the Second World War Shell became the main fuel supplier for the “British Expeditionary Force”. Shell describes themselves as “The Shell Group, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies.” (Shell, Who Are We, 2011). Shell is a global petroleum supply company, Shell supplies oil globally and also finds and dig for oil. Shell state that their main aim is to “focus on exploring for new oil and gas reserves” (Shell, At a Glance, 2011). Shell is also an energy provider, supplying heating and energy throughout the UK. Shell have put a lot of value in becoming a trustworthy company, to be respectful to their employees and not to discriminate paying special attention to people affected with HIV/AIDS. This report is an audit of the Shell website; it intends to thoroughly review the websites digital delivery in terms of how appropriate the website is to its key stakeholders. The report will also advise Shell on how best to develop their website by proposing a communications strategy.

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Overview of Website Effectiveness Information Architecture You can begin to determine how good Shell’s usability is by looking at the structure of the website. The navigation bar is very important in terms of good website functionality, Shell’s navigation bar is placed clearly on the left hand side of the screen easy to find. They have placed all the links under headers on the navigation bar so users will be able to find the web page they are looking for quickly. In comparison to competitor BP’s website, whose links were more confusing, as they had more links floating on the page and didn’t put them under headers effectively as Shell. As well as this Shell’s links have all been titled which helps the user easily locate what they are looking for without confusion. Jakob Nielson states in one of his online blogs “Life is too short to click on an unknown”( Nielson, Useit, 2005).

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Figure 1. Screen shot of Shell’s home page.

Figure 2. Screen shot of BP’s home page.

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Graphical User Interface Shell have clearly organised their graphical interface by keeping a clear colour scheme throughout the website, doing this enables a professional feel. The primary colours used in Shell’s website are red and yellow, keeping in theme with their logo. As there is only minimal use of colour on the page it helps to block off information which makes it easy to find, this can be seen in figure 1. This is effective as the main stakeholders visiting the page will want the information straight away and not be confronted with a sea of confusing colours. The text, being black, stands out from the red and yellows making it easier to read for the user. It is important for the text to be legible as important stakeholders will be using the website to find information on the company; it means that people will use the website to find information rather than calling up or contacting Shell in other formats.

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Figure 3. Shells contact Information

Figure 4. Shell global Addresses

Shells contact information is clear and simple with the main UK address and telephone number at the top. If you scroll down the page or click on one of the links they provide, it will give you information for other headquarters or particular sections of their companies contact information. This is good for stakeholders needing to contact the company and will help them get in contact with who they need to quickly. Content The content on the website is up to date and it is constantly changing to keep in time with what’s happening with the company, whilst writing this report the website has changed. Figure 5. The change of the homepage on the shell website

This shows that Shell are very active on their website keeping it updated for the stakeholder. This regular updating is necessary as shareholders, not

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excluding other stakeholders, are going to very interested in the company and what actions it is taking. Content Optimisation The content on Shell’s website is presented clearly, using white background for the text which makes it easier for the stakeholders to read. Figure 6. A screen shot of use of text

Not only is Shell’s presentation of the text good but it has been well written through speaking in the first person and using a wide range of language to communicate messages to the stakeholder effectively. Shell’s use of pictures is also effective as they are vibrant and colourful; the pictures are all relevant be it relating to environment, society and etc. Figure 7. Use of pictures

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Through using only relevant pictures creates a more professional feel to the website and helps to reinforce possible messages that Shell wants to make the website less dull to use. Search Engine Optimisation You can begin to see how good Shell’s usability is by determining how good it’s SEO, search engine optimisation, is which is done by simply typing it into Google. Here were the results: Figure 8. A screen shot on Google search of Shell.

You can see that the top four websites that come up on Google search are all Shell. This shows a high SEO and means that it is easy for user to find and use the website. Shell’s ranking on Google is so good because of a few different factors; firstly being that it is well known company an regularly searched which gives it a high ranking. As well as this Shell’s use of keywords in their titles of their webpages can come up on Google search; for example if someone was to type the word “shell” Shell’s website would come up as this word has been used for many titles in their webpages.

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Audit Findings Brand Communications Design This report found that Shell are very consistent within the design of their website, which makes it easier to use for the stakeholders. Figure 9. Consistancy of Shell’s Website

“They develop a feel for the layout and the navigation system, so they can efficiently move about the site” (Kraynak/Bluttman, 2011, p.10). You can see that Shells website puts this into practice effectively making the website easier to navigate. Shell’s website also maintains balance throughout; this will make the users feel more comfortable using the website. This can be achieved by “symmetrical, asymmetrical and intentionally off-balance or discordant designs” (Kraynak/Bluttman, 2011, p11). Graphics This report has found that Shell’s use of graphics on their website is very clear with no jagged effects around the images of text. This may be because they have used vector images instead of raster images.

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Figure 10. Use of Vector Images

“Vector images can be resized without any undesired effect” (Kraynak/Bluttman, 2011, p.132) you can see the clarity throughout the images and text in figure 10. Language This report has found that on the Shell website Shell use a more conversational tone of language, which are simple through using short and simple words. Shell has also tailored the language in specific parts of the website to fit the stakeholder which is made clear below. •

“In September 2010, Shell introduced a Scrip Dividend Programme that enables shareholders to increase their shareholding by choosing to receive any dividends declared by the Board in the form of new shares instead of cash.” (Shell, Dividend policy, 2011) Tailored to Investors.

“We supply energy, which helps support economic growth and development. At our operations we try to address social concerns and work to benefit local communities.” (Shell, Society, 2011) Written to accommodate all readers.

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Jakob Nielsen states “Don’t overwrite. Superfluous verbiage makes people work unnecessarily hard to find the information they need”(Nielsen/Loranger, 2006, p.262) Shell have filled this criteria as you can see above in the none tailored writing it is written to accommodate all readers. Images This report has found that Shell have used images very effectively on their website. Shell has used only relevant images to help enhance the experience of using the website. For a user to determine an image to be worthwhile to look at it needs to be high quality and related to the content on which the webpage the image appears.

Figure 11. Type of Image Used on The Shell Website

Figure 11 demonstrates a type of image Shell uses it which fits into the criteria in which Nielsen and Pernice suggest for a worthwhile image; for example “High contrast and high quality; not excessively detailed: easy to interpret, almost iconic; smiling approachable faces” (Nielsen/Pernice, 2010, p.197). You can see that Shell has followed these criteria making their image successful. Multimedia From looking at multimedia in this report has found a flaw in Shell’s use of multimedia, although Shell has uploaded many videos onto the internet. Shell doesn’t seem to have any previews of the videos so users and

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stakeholders do not know what they are downloading. Shell has included descriptions of the video but most users respond more to pictures previews. Figure 12. Shell’s Lack of Thumbnail Previews for Videos

Nielsen states that users prefer to have previews before they click on something “won’t just click on something just because it’s available; there is too much stuff on the web” (Nielsen, 2000, p.134). This shows that Shell may have a lack of knowledge of multimedia. Brand Guidelines and Representation This report has found that the representation of Shell’s brand is not very prominent on their website. Although Shell has used the colours of their brand throughout their website if you removed the brand logo you may not know that it is in fact Shell’s website. Figure 13. Only the Logo Indicates that it is Shell’s Website

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You can see in figure 13 that if Shell were to remove their logo it would be difficult to know whose website this was which identifies that Shell are not representing the brand enough on their webpages.

Stakeholder Management Potential to Collect Stakeholder Data This report has found that Shell used their website as a means to talk to each of their separate stakeholders separately. Shell has created range of webpages each tailored to a specific stakeholder; these webpages contain PDF’s, phone apps and other ways of delivering information. Figure 14. Shell’s Stakeholders

Figure 14 is evidence that Shell is addressing all their stakeholders directly which will “build a strong reputation across exchanges with all of these stakeholders” (Cornelissen, 2011, p.44). Communication to Key Stakeholders and Tailored Content to Different Stakeholders This report has found that Shell communicate to their key stakeholders individually, this helps keep Shell’s reputation good as Shell comes across as if they care about their stakeholders. Addressing each stakeholder separately is also important as each stakeholder group requires different language and content, it makes it easier for Shell to tailor content to specific Stakeholders which they have done figure 14. Cornelissen agrees 16


with this he says “comes down to providing stakeholders with the type of information about the company’s operations in which they have an interest” (Cornelissen, 2011, p.44). Interactivity with Stakeholders From this report it has identified that on Shell’s website there is no direct way for the stakeholders to contact Shell. This could be due to Shell fearing negative comments and because of this they have limited ways in which to contact them. Shell only release interaction with the stakeholders on an external website, for example a social media site.

Online Promotional Strategy Social Networking This report has found a disappointing lack of social media used by Shell, using it to rather monitor what the stakeholders are saying about them rather than really engaging with the stakeholders. Figure 15. Shell’s Use of Social Media

“To be successful we must engage” (Brown, 2009, p.23) This quote is referring to the stakeholders; Shell must engage with their stakeholders to

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grow as a company and to give the stakeholders a chance to tell the company what they are doing right or wrong. Word Tracker This report has found that Shell have utalised word tracker, word tracker is the use of keywords in Google search so when people type in the keywords you find their website. Shell have made sure when you search the word “Shell” into a search enginge the first results are to their website. Figure 16. Shell’s use of keywords

“Search engine usually displays the ads from the top eight bidders” (Nielsen/Loranger, 2006, p.41). You can see that Shell bid for all advertisement space under the keyword “Shell” so only Shells website comes up, increasing business for Shell.

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Digital Communication Strategy This audit on Shell’s website has found some flaws which could be improved to the benefit of both Shell and the stakeholders. One improvement to Shell is the need to change how they use social media. Shell is not interacting with their stakeholders enough; instead they are just monitoring what they are saying. Shell need to start interacting with the public through social media which will benefit Shell as they will be perceived as more caring. Shell need to improve branding on their website, as the only indication you’re on the shell website is the logo in the corner. This will make the website look more professional and therefore more trustful for users and to reassure it is Shell’s website. Shell has also not presented their multimedia in a user friendly manner. Changing how the videos have been presented will make users more likely to download and watch them. This will make it easier for Shell to communicate messages to a wide audience.

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Proposed Digital Developments Shell need to interact with their publics more and use social media more effectively. Shell should create a social media page, such as Facebook, in which users and stakeholders can criticise or praise Shell. Shell can then in return reply to these comments which will create a more personal bond between the company and the public. To improve branding on the website Shell could use the colours of the logo more on the website. Although Shell has used the colours of the logo it is only the minimal amount. As well as this Shell could also use thumbnails to give a preview of the videos that stakeholders could look at to decide whether they want to download the video or not. Doing this will enable a more likelihood of stakeholders to download the videos.

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Timings and Implications The most important change Shell need to make is it interaction to stakeholders through social media. This would be the first development that Shell should take by creating a Facebook page which would enable Stakeholders can contact Shell easily. This would improve the reputation of Shell between Shell and the stakeholders. Another development Shell should make is to their website is multimedia changing of the videos. This would be good because it would mean more stakeholders will download the videos meaning Shell would be able to communicate directly to the stakeholders more successfully. Finally Shell should change the branding as this would have the least impact on the website and the relationship between the stakeholders and Shell. This change will make the website more professional increasing the trustworthiness between Shell and its users.

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Opportunities for on Going Measurement and Evaluation Shell would be able to measure the success of the social media development by determining how many people have ‘liked’ their page, if it was on Facebook for example. This will allow them to have an indication on how successful the proposed development was. Shell could measure the success of the proposed multimedia developments by viewing the amount of downloads of the videos they have posted. Therefore if downloads have increased it would have been a success. Although it may be harder to measure how successful branding the website would be. Shell could measure the amount of viewing of the website, and if this increases after the changing the branding then they may be related to success.

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Conclusion This website audit has found digital developments that Shell could use to improve their website. Shell have not fully utilised social media to connect with and communicate with their stakeholders. Shell has designated specific areas of their website for their stakeholders and tailors the language to specific stakeholders. However need to use multimedia more efficiently to maximise the amount of downloads for their videos, which will mean better communication to their stakeholders. To conclude Shell has an extremely good website which puts a lot of attention on the stakeholders, making sure each one is addressed separately. If Shell were to make the changed suggested it would be beneficial for the reputation between Shell and the stakeholders.

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Recommendations •

Shell need to create a Facebook page so they are not just monitoring what their users and stakeholders are seeing but interacting with them also. This is the most important as communication directly with the stakeholders helps create better relationship with the two parties.

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Shell need to use multimedia more effectively to increase the amount of downloads for their videos. This can be done by creating thumbnail previews of the videos.

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Shell need to rebrand their website using more of the colours that are associated with the brand of Shell. This would give a more professional identity to the website.

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References Shell, 2011. Who Are We. [Online]. Available: http://www.shell.co.uk/home/content/gbr/aboutshell/who_we_are_tpkg/ [accessed: 01/11/2011] Shell, 2011. Shell at a glance. [Online]. Available: http://www.shell.co.uk/home/content/gbr/aboutshell/at_a_glance_tpkg/ [accessed: 03/11/2011] Useit, 2005. Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. [online]. Available: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/weblogs.html [accessed: 16/11/2011] Kraynak, j and Bluttman, K., 2011. Brilliant Web Design. Edinburgh Gate: Pearson. Shell, 2011. Dividend policy. [Online]. Available: http://www.shell.com/home/content/investor/dividend_information/divid end_policy/ [accessed: 23/11/2011] Shell, 2011. Society. [Online]. Available: http://www.shell.com/home/content/environment_society/society/ [accessed: 23/11/2011] Nielsen J and Loranger H., 2006. Prioritizing Web Usability. Berkeley California: New Riders. Nielsen J., 2000. Designing Web Usability. Berkeley California: New Riders. Cornelissen J., 2011. Corporate Communications A Guide to Theory and Practice. City Road: Sage.

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Brown R., 2009. Public Relations and the Social Web. Philadelphia PA: Kogan Page.

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Website Audit of Shell  

This is a audit of the oil company Shell's website.