Though it may lack some of the glamour of the Oscars, the WebAward is an esteemed honor in the American web marketing world. The WebAward is understood industry-wide as a benchmark for excellence in web marketing, and is highly sought-after. Any online agency working in web marketing and design should know how the WebAward works. It can make a difference in exposure, sales, and credibility.
The WebAward Basics
The contest is put on by the Web Marketing Association, which is a volunteer coalition of designers, advertising experts, and web professionals. The Association started in 1997, and is currently in its 17th year. The awards are given out in mid-September, and the normal deadline for entrants is May 30th. Though this year’s cut off has passed, interested firms still have the chance to enter for an additional $50 late fee on top of the regular $250 entrance fee.
The Web Marketing Association gives out awards to over 96 separate categories, encompassing most kinds of businesses, from medical equipment to political campaigns. The judges are qualified individuals with experience in web design and advertising.
Each site gets assigned three judges, who score it based on seven categories: Design, Innovation, Content, Technology, Interactivity, Copywriting, and Ease of Use. Each category is assigned between 0 and 70 points, with an average of 60 points per category earning a Standard of Excellence award. However, only the top site gets lauded with the coveted WebAward.
To give you an idea of how competitive the contest is, the Web Marketing Association provides a template for a typical winner’s score. The industry average, across all 7 categories, is usually around 7 points out of 10, or around 70%. This means that most sites one encounters on the internet are doing a fairly good job of getting their message across. As far as content quality, copywriting, and user interactivity go, most sites are paying for good—but not great—work.
Separating Great Websites from the Best Websites
A typical winner’s score. Courtesy WebAward.org
The average WebAward entrant’s score is usually about 5 percentage points higher than the industry average. The winner’s scores are usually 10% higher than the WebAward average. Those sites good enough to compete for the Award are a self-selecting group, and the gap between the average entrant and the winners is very wide.
What does this mean? First, it means that although there are a lot of great websites out there, there’s always room for improvement. Furthermore, the difference between good web design and outstanding design is substantial.
Making an outstanding site involves having all the elements work in concert. We took an in-depth look at the previous three WebAwards winners in the pharmaceuticals category. We found that not only did all three have outstanding design and navigation, but the winners also linked all their elements into a unified theme. A site whose constituent elements all complement each other boasts the sort of design that makes a website a winner. This is also something that requires long-term vision and strategic planning. The WebAward not only rewards excellent sites, but it’s also an object lesson in how worthwhile it is to invest in your site.
To the Victor Go the Spoils
For those who’ve made the investment in building an excellent site, there are numerous benefits. WebAward winners receive not only material rewards for their good work, but prestige. Countless websites use an agency’s track record as an indicator of whether they would be a good firm to hire for web design work. The WebAward provides credibility that can make a decisive difference in whether a firm will get hired for work.
Many previous winners explain that the award has provided immeasurable help in differentiating their agencies from the competition. One Director working for a winning firm called the award “a great sales tool for our company,” and another said that the award brought “measurable results.”
Even those firms who don’t win, though, benefit from extensive judges’ notes that help improve their work. For the modest entrance fee, there are three world-class talents providing the constructive criticism that can turn a great site into an outstanding one.
The WebAwards are not only competitive, prestigious, and decided by seemingly miniscule improvements. The awards are also a reminder of how much time and money goes into designing a stellar site.
At SPINX, we are constantly looking to innovate, and we draw inspiration from the best work going on in web design. We do outstanding online marketing for businesses in every industry, from law firms to cosmetics to pharma. We know how much goes into the process of digital craft. Could your website use an award-worthy makeover? Contact us if you want to go from a good website to an excellent one.