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Railroad Websites Evaluation, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 590

Essay

Railroad industry in America is probably the oldest among all transportation industries and played a major role in the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. Railroad industry continues to be a dominant force when it comes to transportation of commercial goods because of the economies of scales involved. Despite being an old-fashioned industry, railroad has also be influenced by the advancements in internet technologies and major railroad companies now operate corporate websites to interact with wide variety of stakeholders including clients and suppliers.

Among the four railroad giants which are Union Pacific (UP), CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS), and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), NS has the least effective website (Norfolk Southern). First of all, it is poorly designed and little planning went into organizing information on the main page. Like first-time personal introductions, websites have little time frame in which to leave a positive impression and NS website comes across as dull in appearance. It doesn’t look the work of a professional website developed but just someone with basic programming and website development skills. In contrast, Union Pacific’s website (Union Pacific) has been specifically designed with information needs of different stakeholders in minds. The website heavily employs yellow and red colors which also represent the brand personality and the contrast between red background and white fonts makes it easier to quickly find the desirable information. The upper portion of the homepage provides links to information for which most visitors probably visit the website and the bottom portion is dedicated to news. Union Pacific’s website doesn’t look cluttered which may turn-off the visitors.

The other two companies, CSX (CSX) and BNSF (BNSF Railway) have also done a reasonable job of creating their websites, with visitors’ needs in mind and these two companies have taken certain steps to differentiate themselves from the competition. CSX is not hesitant to tout its green credentials and how the company has been taking steps towards a cleaner environment. This shows that CSX is aware of the marketing potential of the corporate website in improving brand perceptions and connecting with both the customers and the general public. Similarly, BNSF attempts to build goodwill by emphasizing its involvement with the local communities. There are several news links on the main page, touting company’s commitment to the community such as being a major employer of military veterans and a supporter of minority-owned businesses.

After visiting the websites of all four companies and spending some time browsing, the initial impression is that UP wanted its website to be simple and inviting. NS seems to have created the website for just the sake of having a website and everything seems to have been done in hurry. CSX wants its website to help improve company’s green credentials while BNSF want the website visitors to see the company is socially responsible that heavily invests in the local communities. UP can take some lessons from BNSF because Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been growing in importance and consumers and the general public are paying more attention to the business practices of for-profit organizations. Alternatively, BNSF could improve information organization because there is always a room for improvement. BNSF website is well-designed but it does appear cluttered at first glance. CSX may benefit by completely redesigning its website and only after it has carefully identified its marketing objectives and what goals it wants the company’s website to achieve.

References

BNSF Railway. Home Page. 25 June 2013 <http://www.bnsf.com/>.

CSX. Home Page. 25 June 2013 <http://csx.com/>.

Norfolk Southern. Home Page. 25 June 2013 <http://www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nscorp/>.

Union Pacific. Home Page. 25 June 2013 <http://www.up.com/>.

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