Own Energy – Community Wind Development

OwnEnergy has a well-designed, well-written website (by my good friend Tess Forte); unfortunately the site does not leverage its potential given the firm’s business model of building ‘community’ wind farms.

If the underlying business model is the development and curating of community wind products logically they would utilize facebook, twitter, or some other Web 2.0 community platform to facilitate communicating and information sharing with the various communities and also use this to promote their projects.

A search for such projects revealed absolutely nothing. This represents a tremendous opportunity for the organization. Take for example their testimonials page. While the quotes from the various luminaries involved with their projects add a certain degree of credibility, an ideal platform would be a link an individual project detail page (or pages) to the testimonial. Following that, the various individuals involved could have links to their public profiles and from there we could learn more about the testimonials. We could see more how the community is involved with the project, especially if each project had a community organizer curating a page on facebook, or a shared blog, etc., about the project.

The weakest aspect of the site is this very component, Project Development. The pages and graphics appear as if they were simply pulled from a power point presentation. Again, this is an area where current technology is not being fully leveraged. For example, the steps in development could be an interactive chart tied to a map showing where the many projects OwnEnergy manages currently fall in the timeline.

Basic areas of improvement

  • Update the site more frequently. From what we have seen, the last press release and article were both dated March 2010. For a number of reasons, one of which is search engine optimization, greater effort should be made to update the site more frequently.
  • Better and more calls to action. The only area on the site where a reader can commence a dialogue is within the ‘Contact Us’ section. Ideally, there would be additional means of contact, as there are certain points, such as within the services section that means of access should be provided.

There were some basic questions that came to mind after reviewing the site. What is the goal of the site? Who are the target audiences? Frankly, after reviewing the site, in spite of being well-designed and well-written, it does not appear to be much more than a catalog with a very basic description of the company. Perhaps that was the only goal — simply to have a website describing at the most basic level what the company does and the services it provides. I would challenge management to think more deeply about their site, and their overall web strategy, if they have one. There is a tremendous amount of potential for a company such as this, and if it truly seeks a leadership position in this field, it should learn to leverage the (actually not-so-new) tools of the web.

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