Since I’ve built countless successful websites for manufacturing and industrial companies I thought a good guideline may come in handy for those looking into building an effective manufacturing website design. Let me clarify just what a manufacturing website is. A manufacturing website is typically a business to business website that offers information on products and services that pertain to manufacturing. These websites don’t typically have e-commerce functionality due to the fact that most products are one-off custom made type products. The main purpose of the manufacturing website (not unlike most other websites) is to generate leads for the sales department.
So here’s the list:
- Identify your target audience. You’re probably catering to engineers or buyers and they each need different information. The engineer needs numbers like ranges and parameters to see if your offering is a good fit for their need. This may mean some tabelature data. Boring, unless you’re and engineer. Engineers typically have a good level of knowledge to your product or service, so you don’t need much deep explaining. Let’s say the history of stainless steel would not be necessary for an engineer looking for a manufacturer of stainless steel fasteners.
- Keep the flash and similar down to a minimum. Not many people are coming to an industrial metal fabrication website to be entertained. They usually have a job to do and they want to finish it as quickly as possible. Watching your movie on the history of your company is probably no on the top of their list.
- Make it easy for them to get in touch with you. Too often I’ve seen websites with no visible or easy to find contact information. You never know where a user will be in the site when you hit their hot button. Put contact info (at least a phone number) on every page.
- Use both technical and industry specific slang terms in your text. This is for search engine purposes. If you call one of your products a brass wobble washer but people in the business typically refer to it as a doo-hickey you need those words on the site. Cover all your bases the best you can when it comes to naming your products or services.
These are 4 of the many tips to creating an effective manufacturing website design. We would be happy to discuss the other tips with you in person, via email, or post a comment.
What should I have done to save the money I wasted?
You and your company really want a professional website. The visions of dollars signs are rolling around in your melon as the beautiful and usable new website will bring in bus loads of new customers. Then it turns into a nightmare. What happened? The web designers are designing what I want. I think the site is ugly.
Websites and Ice Cream
You select a web design firm because they came highly recommended. How is their portfolio? You love their work right? WHAT, you didn’t bother to check out their work? Believe it or not this happens more than you’d think. All web design companies aren’t the same, and that’s a good thing. I’ve said for years that Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream makes 31 flavors for a reason, not everybody likes vanilla. You need to find a company that matches your taste. You wouldn’t want a dark site if your selling certain items or services. That doesn’t mean dark sites are bad, they just lend themselves better to certain things. If you want a nice bright soft site, dark colors may not be your best option. So why would you hire a company who’s designs for the last 3 years have all been dark? Your shouldn’t.
Why did you hire a professional company? You’re not a very artistic type, not good with colors, etc. Then why do you act like an art director? Trust the web designer with color combinations. They probably have a good idea what would make pleasing colors combinations. Your web designer wants a great looking site as much as you do and they have years of experience. If this still isn’t working, maybe the previous paragraph about viewing their portfolio applies to you.
In the end both the client and designer need to work as a team to reach the best possible outcome. The client will be happy with a great site that performs well on the search engines and brings in business. The design company will be happy with a great showpiece that will attract other business.
HINT: You’re Brother-In-Law is not one.
That’s right…you’re Brother-In-Law is not a real web designer, unless of course I’m your Brother-In-Law. If that’s the case, call me David. For real, I hear that all the time; my brother-in-law, son, cousin, friend of a friend is working on my website. Are they web designers or do they know how to use a web design software program? Big Difference.
I learned DreamWeaver in high school
DreamWeaver and FrontPage are fine programs…to learn on. Nothing beats hand coding though.
Years ago I went to Italy with some friends. None of us spoke a lick of Italian. Somehow I got voted to be the translator. I studied Italian for 3 months and learned enough to get by. I could speak a fair amount and read a bit. There was no way I could write any of it however. I wouldn’t be your go to guy if you wanted to translate a book from English to Italian. If I wanted a book translated, I’d want someone fluid in both languages, reading, writing and speaking. (x)HTML, the language of web design, I view as the same. If I needed a website built, I’d want someone fluent in the language. A person who uses software to build a website is like me in Italy. I could put on a good show, but once the conversations got more in depth, I was lost. All show and very little go. If you want a website about your cat, Tinkerbell, software is fine. If you want a serious business website, get serious about who you use. Learn the language: http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp
Hello…Is anybody there?
Dealing with abandonment.
I get a great deal of work from folks that have been left high and dry by their web designer. I see it all the time, projects half completed or sites that have been launched, something is not working correctly and the web designer has gone out of business. How do you avoid this problem? Check the company or person out just like you’d do if you were hiring an employee. Some good questions are: How long have you been in business? Do you have references? How many sites do you build in a year? Some other things that may help would be going by their office to check out their operation. Do you want a 15 year old kid working out of his bedroom or a reputable company that’s been around for 10 years and is obviously not closing their doors anytime soon? It’s also a good idea to ask how future problems with your site will be dealt with a.k.a. Support. Great info: http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/articles/hire_best_web_people.html
Price is always the last question
My Dad has always said “The cheapest price isn’t usually the BEST price”.
Everybody wants to get the best for less. So do I. You get what you pay for is still good advice. Hey, not everyone can afford to drive a Cadillac…that’s why GM makes Chevys too. I realize when I quote a job that there will always be someone to do it cheaper. I also realize that what they offer will almost always be less than what I can offer. When I lose a quote to someone else, I’ll sometimes visit the site after it’s completed. What I usually find is the client got what they paid for. Comparing apples to apples can be difficult, that’s why you should do as much research as possible and build your self a checklist. It’s your business..your online identity of your business. Do you want to look smaller or less qualified than you actually are? I’m thinking not. Remember, for many prospective clients, your website is their first impression of your company.