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PR and marketing agencies don't have it easy. This crowded B2B market means agencies have to crow loudest, longest and with most meaning.

This is a simple little post marking a few things I've liked looking at on agency websites, and some things I haven't. There's likely a whole host of posts to write on copy alone, web design alone, and content alone, but this is just a snippet to start.

I would be very glad to hear pet hates about agency websites in the comments below (keep it friendly:-).

Some good stuff

Taylor Herring: ‘PRAISE’

Instead of ‘testimonials’ or similar, Taylor Herring has ‘PRAISE’ in its top menu.

This might not work for every PR agency but ‘bigging yourself up’ is a big part of agency life, so adding irony to conceit works to take the grittiness out of the whole experience.

 

Shine: infographics about the team

This is from Shine’s 'join us' page. It’s undeniably cheesy, but if a customer ends up here, some graphics are easier on the eye than too many photos of strangers, with (non-ironic) self-aggrandising copy attached.

These infographics show the agency is thinking about representation of information, which, given how many bad, lengthy press releases I'm sure you've received, is a breath of fresh air.


 

Topline Comms: team credentials

Another good ‘about us’ page. With some specifics about the skill-set and experience of each staff member, this feels personal, and is useful for determining if they’re a good match for you.

 

Boomerang: white space

I love white boxes. Using plenty of white space on your site will stop the customer getting confused too easily. If you use lots of this white space, you have to be confident with the content you do put on the page – but that’s a good thing, no?

Boomerang have a good balance, on their homepage, between examples of their work and examples of their thinking.

 

 Some stuff to improve on

Hyperbole

‘We are great!’ This is a difficult balance to strike, but if you’re not sure, it’s probably best to err on the side of modesty.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m crap at sales, but I’m a visitor and these proclamations stick out at me.

  

Mixing first and third person

Plenty do it, but I had to pick an example, and here it’s done in the first line of ‘about us’. In this agency's defence, it isn’t objectively bad copy, but if it doesn’t read well to some of your customers, it’s not the best start.

 

 

Inconsistent style, capitalisation and full stops

These screenshots are from just one example, from the agency websites I viewed. There is inconsistency with placing full stops at the end of headings and there’s use of both all lower case headings and all upper case headings.

I don't really see a reason to go lower case in calls to action, as below left, and feel it's part of the agency and branding collective wisdom to shun upper case. This is my pedantry, just a particular dislike of mine, but I think as an agency you should have as simple a style guide as possible.

And if you go lower case,  be committed.

  

 

Feel free to air any praise or grievance in the comments below. Mind your language, mind.

Ben Davis

Published 17 April, 2013 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

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James Robertson, Web Marketing Manager at www.venuebirmingham.com

I've got a couple of fairly simple rules for choosing which agencies to invite to tender:

- do they even list the sites they have worked on? - this might be considered a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many so-called "digital" agencies don't even list their rollcall of sites.

- do they then link to those sites: another obvious one you'd think... - but I have lost count of the times that an agency hasn't even bothered to add a link to their magnificent site they've just made for customer X

- do they open the links to these sites in new windows? - I am sick and tired of explaining why this is a horrific usability crime (and I am fully aware of how it might well be a lost battle seeing as how Facebook does it... - when it is my site it will damn well abide by best practice in usability). If an agency does this on their own site then they will be more than likely to try and hardcode usability problems into my site, and life's too short to have to continually explain why my site will be an examplar of good user experience...

over 3 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@James

Bravo and beautifully put.

over 3 years ago

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