NZ website study finds room for improvement

The Engaged Web in New Zealand Report analysed 50 popular websites to see how they took advantage of interactive tools such as blogs, social media and online communities. While 73% of the websites featured an online community, the majority of these were using Facebook or Twitter. Less than half of these major sites did not have blog and only 42% allowed visitors to share website content.

In general, the websites made strong use of multimedia (80% of websites), personalisation (86% of websites) and sticky content (98% of websites), but lacked other forms of engagement. Email, phone and web forms were still the most commonly advertised contact channels, despite the rise in popularity of online channels such as Facebook and Twitter. 60% of the sites promoted their Facebook page on their homepage.

The full report, available at, identifies many best practices which are often straightforward and easy to implement

Intergen’s web strategist Giles Brown says while New Zealand’s most popular websites strive to continually improve the level of engagement they provide, many sites are still too static and are missing opportunities to do business online. “These were some of New Zealand’s most popular websites. They attract huge audiences, but in some cases they aren’t allowing users to interact through the tools many people would expect such as blogs, communities or social media.

“The best websites are those that stay restless and continually improve themselves,” says Brown. “There is no such thing as finished website, and these interactive tools allow businesses to constantly update their content and engage with their audience. In many ways, launching or relaunching your site is easy, it’s what you do in the weeks and months that follow that counts.

“While there are some excellent websites, many organisations are still stuck in ‘project delivery’ mindset, where their website is seen as something they ‘do’ rather than something they should ‘nurture and grow’. This is dangerous position to be in. The online environment is an incredibly fickle and transitory place, so if your website isn’t moving with your audience, they can and will go elsewhere.”

The Engaged Web in New Zealand Report used 19 criteria to benchmark the five most visited websites in New Zealand in 10 different industries according to data from Experian Hitwise’s online tracker for the week commencing February 12, 2011. Popular websites from these sectors were analysed for the report: Automotive, Business and Finance, Education, Entertainment, Food and Beverage, Government, Health and Medical, Lifestyle, News and Media, and Shopping and Classifieds.

“Online has gained tremendous growth in the past 6-12 months here in New Zealand,” says Christian Sykes, Experian Hitwise New Zealand. “As it continues to outpace the growth of other sales channels, the commercial significance of providing customers with an effective and engaging digital experience can’t be overstated.”

• You can download the Engaged Web in New Zealand Report and factsheet from



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