Website Of The Year

For 16 years, LabTalk has been reviewing optical lab Websites and picking the Top Ten and awarding a Website of the Year. When the contest first started the pickins were slim to say the least. It was hard to find 10 worthy sites. Now the opposite is true. Many of today’s Websites are professionally designed and incorporate social media, online ordering and tracking, video education, blogs and so much more; many of these features weren’t even available 16 years ago.

This year’s Website of the Year winner, FEA Industries, has incorporated many of the modern features that make a Website exceptional: social media, online ordering and tracking, and an extensive use of video for demonstrating every step of the surfacing and finishing process, educational resources, and more. With a completely redesigned site and interactive social media, FEA Industries’ Website had the most ECP nominations at 71 and scored high in areas of look and feel, functionality and value to the ECP.

Nominations were solicited through VisionMonday’s online survey tool with over 150 votes cast. Comments from the ECPs that nominated FEA Industries included: “Great web site. Very easy to use and the only lab Website that I know of that has Instant Chat help for ordering and questions.” “Very useful for our business. Its navigation is simple and convenient to cater to our fast pace business. We love it.” And “It's easy to navigate and answers all our needs without having to place a phone call.”

Over the past several years, the Top Ten spots have been occupied by the same lab Websites, signaling that it’s time to change things up a bit. The best optical lab Websites have mastered the art of presenting a functional, interesting and educational site. But today, marketing your lab involves so much more than just a terrific Website. Interacting with customers is key. If a Website is a window into your lab, allowing your customers to look inside at what you offer, then social media is a way to open the door and invite them in for a two-way conversation.

In 2016, we will no longer award a Website of the Year, but will look at the broader picture of total lab interaction with their customers including Websites, education and social media. Stay tuned for more details next year.    

 2015 Top Ten Websites

  1. FEA Industries                     
  2. iCoat Company                   
  3. Walman Optical                  
  4. Optical Prescription Lab   
  5. Midland Optical                  
  6. Classic Optical                      
  7. Precision Optical Group
  8. Superior Optical                  
  9. Interstate Optical               
  10. Cherry Optical

 About the Judging…Optical laboratory Websites were nominated by ECPs through the VisionMonday Website. A notice was also placed in LabTalk inviting labs to nominate their own Websites for review. All labs nominated were reviewed. . Many of the ECP nominated Websites had multiple nominations. Nominated sites were judged on Look & Feel, Content, and Value to the ECP. User comments used in this article came directly from the lab nomination forms filled out by the ECPs.