Your Manufacturing Website Can Be Better, a lot better!

    Most manufacturing websites are pretty poor. Sorry, but it's true. Typically, they are focused on describing the company and the products with little regard for the website visitor's problems or needs. The good news is that 90% of your competitors' websites are just as bad, so you have a big opportunity to take a leading position and usurp the search traffic. Tim Doyle talks about how to build a top performing manufacturing website in this week's podcast.

    Guest: Tim Doyle, VP Sales at TopSpot

    Highlights:

    • A top performing website must be first, aligned with your business goals. For example, one goal for a website may be to act as a sales generation engine. Another often forgotten goal is to make the website useful for customers and employees. [5:25]
    • Tim estimates that less than 10% of industrial websites are top performers. Therein lies the opportunity for competitive advantage.manufacturing website design[7:50]
    • Is your website designed as a 'don't make me think' design? Tim mentions this resource, 'Don't Make Me Think' by Steve Krug. [9:15]
    • Well crafted content that is relevant is one important essential piece of an effective website. [11:05]
    • A website is not a statue, it is a laboratory that requires consistent maintenance, updates and continuous improvement. [14:30]
    • Top 5 things you should do right now to improve website performance [15:30]
      1. Set up tracking and monitor results. Have an original benchmark.
      2. Analyze your sitemap in the context of identifying who you are and your differentiators. Use a free tool called Screaming Frog.
      3. Evaluate your site architecture for intuitive use and logical progression.
      4. Make sure the call-to-action is obvious and is it working. Test it.
      5. Incorporate multivariate testing in support of continuous improvement.
    • Good Content Management Systems include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and, Tim's favorite, Modx. For ecommerce, Magento. [21:10]
    • CAD drawings are fantastic for conversions on your website.  Check out Catalog Data Solutions. [23:20]
    • If you hate your website, here are some website tips for manufacturers who want to build a new site. [25:00]
    • An often overlooked value add for your site is to use professional photography highlighting your value to the target audience. [26:30]

    Send in your challenge question here.

    Interview Questions:

    Question 1 –  Let’s start off at 30,000 feet and then drill down. How would you characterize a top performing website? What percentage of websites that you see are top performers?

    Question 2 –  I think a lot of us and our audience judge a website intuitively. Could you propose a framework of sorts for evaluating a website?  (any references you could recommend?)

    A website must serve many masters; customers, prospective customers from the outside, then there’s HR, Finance, Executive leadership, PR on the inside.  Does a company have to choose one area to focus on or is it possible to serve all masters?

    Question 3 –  Let’s drill down into some details. What are the top 5 things (in order of importance) that we should focus on to build a new site or make an existing site into a top performer?

    What about the platform or content management system (CMS), what are the best ones for a B2B manufacturing website?

    Question 4 – Suppose I’m a VP Sales & Marketing for a B2B manufacturing company out there listening. I’m thinking to myself, my website sucks. In a quick list, what are my first 5 steps towards making it into a top performing, lead generating, sticky website machine?

    Challenge Question –  This week our challenge question comes in from the a VP Marketing at a San Diego area from a medical device company. Here it is “We make a medical device that measures blood coagulation. Our customers are hospitals and blood labs. One of our 2017 goals is to increase website traffic by 30% to ultimately increase the flow at the top of our sales funnel. Do you have any tips about how to increase website traffic for a medical device manufacturer?”

    • First, define your goal. Be specific.
    • Learn what your visitors are interested in achieving. Analyze the internal site search for insight into what your audience is looking for when they visit.
    • It must be a holistic approach, not just one or two tactics.
    • Use Google Custom Search, paid version, for internal search queries.

    Takeaways:

    • Strive to build your website in a 'don't make me think' style.
    • Use analytics tools and make sure you understand them or are able to use them for continuous improvement.

    Website Evaluation for Manufacturing

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    Website Evaluation for Manufacturing