What makes a great business website? It depends on the industry and audience. For manufacturing companies, envisioning an effective website can be relatively straightforward because your site is primarily a point of presence, whereas an e-commerce business relies on its site for make-or-break sales.
Once your brand is buttoned up, it’s time to dive into website design and development. Any website project is an undertaking, but again, yours doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Focus on the following:
Stock photos are a convenient way to fill space on your website. However, that’s exactly what and all that they do—fill space. Particularly in manufacturing, stock imagery can get repetitive from one company to the next. The better way to bring your site to life visually is with custom photography. A one-day or even half-day photo shoot can be enough to capture your facilities, products, and most importantly, the people who power your mission. You’ll be the only company with those photos, subtly but noticeably setting your brand apart from your competitors.
Unless your business is massive and global with many different business units, you can probably keep your site map confined to the basics. A typical site map for a manufacturing company might include Home, About, Products and/or Services, Case Studies, Careers, Blog/News, and Contact. Industry pages can also be a good addition in certain use cases. You want visitors to navigate the site seamlessly, ultimately to your Contact page. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they’ll be to get in touch with you.
You can say all the wonderful things in the world about your business and your commitment to customer satisfaction. At the end of the day, it’s still marketing copy. That’s not to take away from the importance of strong copywriting and brand messaging; they’re essential too. However, testimonials top all that copy off with rave reviews that show prospects you have happy customers. Sprinkle testimonials throughout your site on various pages so users are constantly (subconsciously) getting positive affirmations.
More than half of all web traffic is mobile, and we can expect the percentage of mobile users to continue to rise. Our phones have in many ways become the center of our lives. That means your website absolutely must function properly on a variety of mobile devices. Ever struggled to scroll through a page or submit a form on your phone? If so, you probably left the site. Maybe you moved on to a different site offering the same products or services, in which case the company with the broken mobile site lost a lead.
A mobile-friendly website is a bare minimum for mobile design. You can check whether your site is mobile-friendly here. The next step up from mobile friendliness is mobile responsiveness. Learn the difference between the two and read more about the importance of mobile design in our article, “The 5 Real Reasons Your Website Needs to Be Optimized for Mobile.”
Search Engine Optimization
Behind the aesthetics, your website needs a foundation for performance. Mobile-friendliness helps improve your search rankings on Google, but it takes more to get consistent results. Search engine optimization (SEO) should take place during and alongside your website build, not as an afterthought. If you’re refreshing or redesigning your site, you can see where the current version stacks up with this free SEO checker to identify areas for improvement.
SEO encompasses keyword strategy, content strategy, user experience, technical website performance and more. In the next article in this series, we’ll provide some helpful tools to define and measure SEO metrics. In the meantime, know that investing in your website is investing in your business and that a well-designed website is a prerequisite for success with marketing.