I’m always interested in how other companies approach website development and what content they place, and where. As a small project, I visited the ASX, and collated the URL’s for the top 50 Australian public companies. I mean, if anyone would get their sites right it’d be those companies with nearly endless resources and money, right?

So here’s some trivia that I learnt;

70% of these sites had a .com.au extension for their primary domain name
20% used Macromedia Flash on their front page
68% had an obvious link to a privacy policy
68% had a sitemap linked from their front page
72% had a search facility, accessible from the front page
12% showed either a phone number or email address for general enquiries on front page
56% of the sites had evidence of at least basic search engine optimisation
64% of sites had commented code for the developers benefit

22 of these 50 websites didn’t list a date next to the copyright footer on their front pages – with good reason too – although 15 other sites got it as 2006, a further 9 websites were stuck in 2005 (that’s like, so 3 months ago!), three even thought it was still 2004 and one of them even showed it as 2002!

On more technical issues, it was also interesting to note that the web servers these sites were running off were:

22% Apache
20% IIS 6.0
16% IIS 5.0
12% IIS (no version detail)
10% Lotus Domino
6% Sun ONE Web Server
The remaining 14% shared IBM HTTPD, Netscape Server, IIS 4.0 and even IIS3.0!

As far as Operating systems, they used:

30% on Windows 2000
22% Windows 2003
18% were using Linux (Red Hat and Debian)
10% on NT4.0
10% Solaris
The remaining 10% were unknown

Whilst looking through the code, I found quite a few references to traffic stats packages, a few developer names thrown in comments, some really weird formatting and a few sites with hundreds of lines of Javascript and CSS, all in the head of their front page.

What have I learnt? If anything, it shows that no matter how big your company or client is, they can still get it wrong.

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