For this edition of Website Review & Rate, I thought I would get a little geeky and review probably the biggest tech blog on the internet – TechCrunch.com. I have been reading TechCrunch in my feedreader every day the last few years now, and let me tell you, its addictive. So, I think most people would agree, their content is fantastic, but how good is their actual website? Lets put it this way, it could certainly use a makeover… so lets get started with the review!
Look and Feel – 5/10
The good: As much as I love the content on their website, I can’t honestly offer much positive about the look and feel of TechCrunch.com. The only thing that is vaguely stylish is their use of green in the header, side bar and text colors.
The bad: Unfortunately, TechCrunch looks a little ‘dated’ and is very un-stylish, which is surprising given a lot of their coverage is of ‘web 2.0′ and cool tech companies. There is a real lack of style on this website, and they don’t have to look far for inspiration for a similar, but great looking very popular tech blog – Mashable.com. Go check that website out, you will see what I mean about a lack of style at TechCrunch.com. Time for a much needed redesign, no?
Intuitiveness and Usability – 6/10
The good: Well, its a blog, and most people probably realize that its a blog when they get there because chances are they just clicked on a link to read something on TechCrunch.com. So they get immediate intuitiveness points there.
The bad: Don’t hate me TechCrunch… but your website usability sure isn’t much to write home about either. Firstly, why no tagline? This would help first time visitors understand what the site is – ‘all the best in tech news’ or something like that. Next, the navigation menu offers some puzzling choices – and are very TechCrunch speak – if you first arrived at this website, you would have no idea what ‘crunchies’, ‘TC50′ or ‘company index’ would take you to. Instead of this, why not offer more logical menu options, like ‘community’, ‘most popular’, ‘newest posts’ and ‘browse by category’.
And one of my biggest pet peeves on this website is the fact that they bury their site search box way down on the right hand side bar. This is one of most important things to prominently place on a website, especially such an information rich one like this. This should be way more prominent, preferably in the top right hand corner, where search boxes are usually found. Another issue I find irritating is not knowing what is clickable – the only way you sometimes know is if the text is bold and green. Which is sometimes hard to make out. Oh, and the overload of banner ads on the right hand side certainly doesn’t help either.
Sticky/ Web 2.0 Content – 8.5/10
The good:Well at least TechCrunch.com scores highly in one area Their revealing daily posts and hundreds of reader comments about the tech and internet world are the ultimate in sticky content. Plus, they are starting to do more polls in their posts, which encourages further ‘stickiness’. I also like the info boxes at the bottom of the posts which give details about the companies that are mentioned in each post - it offers a good way to learn more about all the companies mentioned.
The bad: But. They could be doing a little more to keep up with the times. How about some video blogging (very web 2.0) – it would be great to see some live interviews in web video or maybe a weekly news roundup in the form of a web video (just like they offer at WebProNews). I know I would definitely watch things like that! Also, why not build on their ‘MyBlogLog’ community too (found on the right hand side nav bar) – surely they could build their own version, and really help grow their community even more, generating even more repeat visitors.
Overall Rating - 6/10
I’m sorry TechCrunch, I love your content, but you really don’t offer much of a reason for someone to visit, or return to your website. And maybe they think most people just read their posts via feedreaders and email, so thats why they don’t seem to care about their website. But still, come on. Your website hasn’t really changed since you first launched, and you could definitely use a style and homepage makeover (see my idea below).
Analytics/Testing Ideas (non-geeks can avoid this section!)
I’m sure TechCrunch are using a built in blog analytics tool, like Google Analytics or Feedburner, but its hard to tell from their code. As for ideas to test, I would definitely love to see the impact of a new style of homepage, that is more ‘magazine’ related, with featured areas – i.e. having different sections that appeal to different visitors. ProBlogger.com recently changed their home page to this style – notice the ‘featured post’, ‘best of’, polls, and easily navigatable content. I’m sure their regular visitors loved this! Come on TechCrunch, try this out this better homepage format.
>>>> Well thats my, somewhat controversial, review of TechCrunch.com. Hopefully you liked it! Feel free to make your own comments about TechCrunch.com too, or improvements and ideas for what websites you would like to see me review in the future. Thanks!