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 corporate 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 Compaq Web site
At first blush, I like the way Compaq organizes their site, and they do a heck of a job merchandising their products.

Categories like “Home & Home Office” and “Enterprise Business” really help buyers define what they want. This is very smart marketing—and extremely helpful for those of us that don’t know what a “terabyte” is.

Another strong point is Compaq’s eBusiness area. I thoroughly enjoyed the Customer Story section—it was informative and delivered easy to understand problem-solution anecdotes.

The eCommerce area did a great job of merchandising and a superb job when it came to the order entry area. The “Factory Outlet” concept worked for me, but I’m one of those guys who stop at them every time I spot one on the Interstate. It drives my wife crazy because she claims factory outlets sell low quality stuff. What do I care; I’m saving money!

One thing Compaq’s Factory Outlet and the brick-and-mortar outlets along the highway have in common is service—or lack of it. Here’s the product; here’s the price. That’s about it. The type on the navigation bar and the product description was way too small and hard to read. The Java slowed everything down and didn’t really serve a purpose other than to scroll some sale copy. It was definitely not worth the wait.

Compaq also does itself a service by offering to sell online with a 1-800 number and offering to send you to a physical store. That covers all the bases—no matter how a consumer wants to buy.

The verdict
One thing I couldn’t find is a compelling story on why I should buy Compaq over another brand of PC or laptop. Why buy from them instead of Dell or Gateway or any of the other brands? Maybe it’s only me who cares.

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 Compaq‘s 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.