Enterprises are launching “corporate portals,” gateway sites that act as an entryway to both a company’s Web presence and its intranet. In this column, Web consultant Kelly McKnight gives his opinion on a government, business, or professional organization portal, highlighting strengths and weaknesses that may translate to your company’s Web presence. The following index provides an objective look at the site’s features.
Kelly’s thoughts on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Web site
After last week’s review of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Web site, I wasn’t expecting much when I was headed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce site. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

This is a good, informative site. Easy to get around…lots of pertinent information…attractive graphics…good flow.

Right away, I was drawn to the ChamberBiz Center. Nice name, nice logo with the “e” in “Chamber,” adding an e-business artistic touch that was on target. The ChamberBiz area was a nice blend of breaking news and interactivity. I took a presidential opinion poll and found out my candidate was running last…with Steve Forbes in first. Last time I checked, Steve had said adios to the campaign trail. Sounds like an update problem to me.

Other than this small glitch, the site kept me busy. The content offered was interesting, straightforward and easy to navigate. It was all rather…businesslike.

When I hit another area, a banner popped up telling me what content had just been updated. What a good idea! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else do this before and you can count on me using it in the future.

I also thought the Chamber Experts area was really great. Different speakers are featured all the time and you can ask them questions, which they will answer via e-mail. This is another good use of interactivity.

The verdict
After roaming around the site, you well understand that the Chamber is making a real effort to put the Web to good use. I’ve always thought the Chamber to be kind of stuffy…but their Web site is anything but. To show you I put my money where my mouth is, visit ; this is a Web site my group built.

Let me know which one you like best…I’d appreciate the input.

Kelly McKnight is a principal of Via Internet Studio, a consulting firm that specializes in corporate Web site design, Internet marketing, and e-commerce.

Now it’s your turn to review the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Web site. Just click on Rate this Site! and you can help separate the good from the bad from the ugly. It only takes a minute or two to complete your rating, so don’t waste any more time—rate this site now! For Kelly’s rating, scroll below and click to page two.