No one can deny the importance of having an informative, branded website to market their business. This is still the case in the public sector, however with a different demographic of customers a different type of website is needed.
Many contractors simply use their main website – which primarily targets private sector demographics – when marketing to purchasing officers. There are a number of problems with this approach but the most important is this: Most purchasing officers probably can’t see view your website from their office.
Unlike most common internet users, contracting officers handle varying degrees of sensitive data within the same building. Everything from vendors’ proprietary data, financial information, and bids to information vital to national security could be contained in the computer systems of the typical federal government office. These same computers also control systems vital to the operation of our government and our everyday lives. These systems must be protected from hacker and virus attacks.
As such, government computer users operate behind very strict firewalls. What does this mean for you? It means your typical company website with flash and java elements, tons of images on every page, multiple layers, and complex navigation will likely be blocked by federal firewalls.
However, purchasing officers are under more pressure to thoroughly research vendors before awarding contracts. They want to be able to check your website because it is a convenient and easy way for them to research your company’s capabilities. Federal Acquisition Regulations even require them to do this in some cases. But, they can only check your website if it will make it past their firewall.
The solution to this conundrum is to design a visible website. Think of it more as an interactive, online brochure rather than a website. The format needs to be clean and simple. No flash, no java, no bells and whistles. Easy to navigate and with all the information contracting officers need to know about your company.
A great example of the type of sites we’re talking about can be found at http://www.govkinex.com. These sites have been verified to pass federal security standards and contain only the data purchasing officers are looking for. More information about GovKinex can be found at their website or by calling the Contractor Helpline at (877) 252-2700 ext 1.