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 Los Angeles Times Web site
Maybe it’s me, or it could be this is the third newspaper site I’ve reviewed in as many weeks, but the Los Angeles Times site is not as good as the New York Times or the WashingtonPost Web sites. I can’t put my finger on exactly why this is, but the other two had a more “newsy” feel to them.
In this Rate this Site series, Kelly McKnight has also reviewed two other major newspapers’ Web sites. Check out these reviews, and be sure to Rate the Site! for yourself!

My best guess on why I feel this way probably has to do with both editorial content and the graphic layout of the sites.

I think the L.A. Times site is flat. There’s no excitement to it. It’s like they’re just giving in (“OK, OK. You want a Web site? We’ll give you a Web site.”).

Don’t get me wrong; the surface stuff is there. The stories and color photos exist, but there’s a definite lack of style.

There’s nothing new here, and there’s a real lack of interaction. I’ve seen research saying that the Web is really tearing into newspaper readership, but the L.A. Times doesn’t seem too concerned about it (if their Web site is any indication).

Listen, I’m not saying they should turn it into the National Enquirer, but come on. How about some features like an online crossword puzzle? Any chance of a columnists’ chat room? Could I place my classified ad myself? Hey, I usually get paid for giving advice like this, so I’m going to quit now while I’m ahead.

The verdict
Instead of making the Web work like a print medium, it should be the other way around. When the L.A. Times figures out that the Web isn’t going away, they will get the picture, too.

What’s black and white and read all over? Not the L.A. Times‘ Web site, in my humble opinion.

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

Now it’s your turn to review the Los AngelesTimes 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.