Most publicly traded companies have an Investor Relations page on their website. This page gives the company an opportunity to provide information to all manner of investors whether current shareholders, or those researching a potential investment in the company. Sometimes, though, finding the Investor Relations page can be a bit of a challenge.
The “Standard” Location
It has become a bit of a de facto standard for US companies that the investor relations page resides behind the link to “Company Information” or the “About Us” page. Another common location is behind the “Contact Us” link which can be even less intuitive to those who are seeking information, not a person to talk to. These site positions allow the company to focus the homepage on customers while still providing important information in a location that most investors are likely to find. But, what about giving the investor relations link a little more prominent display?
Investor Relations on the Homepage
Consider the homepage for utility provider ComEd. By slipping a link into the toolbar, ComEd is able to display a homepage that is fully focused on its clients, while still providing a prominent position for its investor relations material. Such a display conveys the image that while ComEd cares about its customers, it also cares about its investors, a good message to send.
By providing a link right off of the front page, a company increases the chances that ALL of its investors and potential investors will find what they are looking for. While the semi-standard locations in the Company Information sections are no doubt good enough for those who are both savvy investors as well as savvy Internet users, such a location may prove difficult to find for those who do not frequently access such information. For example, an estate attorney trying to look up information regarding paper stock certificates found in a deceased’s estate may not be familiar with the “standard” location. Likewise, for older investors who may not be familiar with where a “normal” website keeps information.
Even younger technologically experienced investors who are used to a more Web 2.0 design where everything is presented in a dashboard style format may not expect to find investor information behind an About link. After all, on many websites that area is reserved for basic information like addresses and phone numbers.
Perhaps most importantly to many companies would be employee shareholders who have loyally built up positions in company stock over the years. These former employees and their families can be counted on as faithful shareholders and yet, they may not be able to find the basic information they need because they do not directly own shares of other companies, and therefore are unfamiliar with where companies usually put such information.
Is the Homepage Right for Your Company?
A homepage redesign is obviously not something undertaken on a whim, but perhaps now is the time to begin thinking about whether or not a more prominent location for the Investor Relations page would benefit the company. Engaging in conversations with the right people in public relations and information technology would provide insight into the issues involved and the feasibility of implementing such a change. The time to start such talks is now because the lead time to such a change can be significant. However, the increased visibility of the Investor Relations section will be worth it, even if it takes a few months to make it happen.
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