With web users’ expectations of browsing online becoming ever higher, websites need to cover more bases nowadays to ensure that visitors will return. The web is such a versatile tool with the opportunities it presents for businesses and it's an even playing field for those sites that are either VC backed or grass roots grown. Even websites with substantial backing can get it wrong, whilst a virtually DIY website built on a shoestring can achieve great things with panache and ingenuity.
In judging the entries for this year’s Website of the Year Awards, we were on the lookout for sites that were innovative and original or quirky; sites that you’d want to bookmark and tell your friends about. After much deliberation, we are delighted to announce the shortlist of the fourth Website of the Year Awards. These are websites that we hope you’ll want to add to your favourites’ list, whether for the services on offer or just for a browse. The winning site will be announced by Bec Astley Clarke at the Awards Reception
on Tuesday 20th November in London.
- An online beauty boutique and ezine where the best kept secrets to looking good are revealed.
- A showcase and shop for key current-season fashion offers and exclusive pieces, sold at recession-friendly prices.
- Every now and again you stumble across a website that approaches the art of selling from a different angle, and this is one of them.
HOME & GARDEN
- The ideal place to find stylish productes for your home, delivering great deals for a limited time from well-known brands.
- The creation of award winning designer Jacqui Pearce, whose home accessories are full of vibe.
- A great range of grow-your-own veg boxes, seeds, plants and gardening equipment, as well as tips and how-to guides.
FOOD & DRINK
- A one stop shop for fine produce that has been impeccably sourced.
- When it comes to the best restaurants, the latest food news and the top chefs, this is your destination site.
- Reinventing the takeaway, allowing customers to order food from top chefs in their neighbourhood for home delivery.
- A search engine for job ads, letting users search and filter them on a single interface.
- Gives users access to cheap courier services for parcel delivery in the UK, Europe and over 250 international destinations.
BEST OF BRITISH
- Famed for its tins of delicious picture perfect iced biscuits.
- A bespoke online stationer with an eye for detail.
- A collection of unique cottage hideaways for weekend breaks and holidays.
- A more than useful resource for cancer sufferers and carers, with a brand new online community.
- Encouraging the people of Wales and beyond to take positive action and help protect an area of rainforest equivalent to the size of Wales.
- An independent careers library featuring interviews with young employees, apprentices and entrepreneurs.
- Online hub for all your food needs, with 100s of recipe videos.
- Online directory matching students with private tutors in a wide range of academic subjects, music, sports and the arts.
- A social marketplace that brings together those who have spare space and those who need storage space.
- A web-based celebration of the people who cycle to work.
- The world's finest newsreel and documentary archive, with over 90,000 films dating from 1896, all available to view on the site free of charge.
- A comprehensive resource for finding out what's on in London theatre and more.
- A cultural hotpot, where travel, design, art and all manner of general gubbins, meet, infuse and inspire.
- Online boutique for things to do, from cupcake making to bee keeping, all hand-picked and curated by a small and dedicated team devoted to promoting unique, high quality entrepreneurial ventures.
- Online lifestyle magazine from the people behind Black Tomato, Beach Tomato and Epic Tomato, exploring the connection between travel and people's passions and lifestyle choices.
- The UK's first online consumer guide to living positively, bridging the gap between CSR and marketing by giving consumers access to brands' social and environmental actions in a simple and jargon free language.
- One of Alistair Sawday's businesses, for luxury camping places in the UK and beyond.
- Loco2's mission is to make buying a train ticket in Europe as easy as buying a flight.
- Gives you the opportunity to stay in someone's home while they're out of town, with hotel service to match.
- Lets you compare energy prices for your home, helping customers switch to a cheaper energy supplier.
- An aggregation of independent and user generate financial analysis, ideas and commentary in the UK.
- A financial service built for people, not banks, allowing you to send money abroad, whilst saving you money in the process.
18 October 2012