Successful Industrial Website Redesigns: The Essential Elements and the Benefits of Regular Updates
Industrial website redesigns require careful planning and attention to many details. You are likely to be disappointed with the results if you or your developer don’t put in the time upfront before doing any designing and developing.
See Why do so Many Industrial Website Redesigns Fail?
An up-to-date and user-friendly industrial website is essential for success in today’s business world with global competition. That is not a hyperbole; see the direct quote from “2021 Pulse Of Engineering Survey” published by GlobalSpec.
“In terms of competition, 58 percent said that the competitive landscape is global and competes 24/7, while 47 percent said the number of competitors is growing.”
While Industrial websites must be designed for aesthetics and functionality, I firmly believe in “form follows function.” That’s good to know, but how do you put it into practice? This post is all about that, so let’s get started!
Planning the User Experience (UX) for industrial website redesigns
One of the essential elements of industrial website redesigns is the user experience (UX). Thinking like visitors and anticipating their needs is crucial when designing a website. An intuitive navigation system is vital in creating an excellent user experience. Visitors to your site should quickly find what they are looking for without spending a lot of time searching around or being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information.
An intuitive navigation should minimize clicks and streamline the browsing experience. Plan the flow of information from the Home page to internal pages to help your site visitors find the information that is relevant to them with a minimal number of clicks. Then, guide them to specific internal pages where you provide additional content to help them make an informed decision.
Intuitive navigation can make or break your UX. You have to think from your visitor’s perspective and not what you think is obvious.
Your unique selling proposition (USP) and value proposition should be clear and concise
That is not just marketing speak. A USP is where you tell your visitors why they should do business with you, not the competition. There can be some overlap between USP and your Value Proposition.
Here’s a good way to understand the differences I found on Zoho Academy’s website.
“While the USP situates a business in relation to its competitors, the value proposition focuses more on how customers’ lives will be improved by working with the business. In other words, while a USP describes for your target market how you’re different, a value proposition answers the question: Why should they care about that difference?”
Your industrial website must quickly answer the who, what, and why questions using short, direct statements. It shouldn’t be a blatant sales pitch. Instead, it should motivate visitors to have meaningful conversations with your sales team because they see you as a good fit for their needs.
Use webpage content to create true differentiation
Many manufacturers struggle to create true differentiation when there’s parity in value propositions. They continue to use generic statements like “exceptional customer service” or “highest quality.” The competition can just as easily make the same statements. Validate your claims and provide proof of concept if you want serious consideration from site visitors.
Content creation for website redevelopment is probably the biggest bottleneck. However, it cannot be an afterthought or retrofitted after completing the redesign. See Why Retrofitting Industrial Website Redesigns Usually Don’t Work.
Your expertise should be front and center
Bring your in-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to the forefront to highlight your expertise. This is not something your competition can easily copy. Marketing can do the heavy lifting of content creation but must remain in the background. One engineer to another is a powerful concept that simply works!
I speak from 35+ years of hands-on experience working with industrial clients but don’t just take my word for it. (Source: 2023 State of Marketing to Engineers published by TREW Marketing and GlobalSpec).
Planning for search engine optimization (SEO) and conversions
A well-thought-out search engine optimization plan is a necessity. There are no tricks or magical formulas (Formulae if you want to be technically correct) to gain first-page rankings. It takes knowledge of white hat techniques, keeping up with Google’s algorithm updates, and the experience to do SEO right. Above all, it takes time to produce results, so don’t expect immediate results from organic SEO.
Responsive web design is another important consideration. Google’s “mobile-first indexing” is an important signal for ranking. It is not enough to have a mobile-friendly site. It needs to be mobile-optimized.
Another common problem is the lack of understanding between SEO and conversions. Just because someone found your site in search engines and visited your website doesn’t mean they are ready to talk to your sales team. There is a difference between discovery optimization (SEO) and conversion optimization (CRO). They are related but not the same.
Webpage content must address visitors’ concerns and logically move them forward in their buying journey. That’s when the conversion happens.
See SEO Must Complement Conversion Optimization for an Effective Industrial Marketing Strategy.
Regularly updating and keeping the website secured
This step happens after the redesigned site has launched. Neglect it at your own peril. If your industrial website is/was built using WordPress, plugins must be regularly updated, or they may fail. That’s just a fact of life with WordPress. Don’t take the lazy way out by using automatic updates. Incompatibilities between new versions and bugs are pretty common. Do read up on the plugins used on your site, and it is sometimes safer to wait a week or two for the dust to settle whenever a major update is released.
Securing your website against hacks is another issue you must be aware of, especially if you have an online store. Cleaning up after a hack is a long-drawn process that can be expensive. Another thing to check is your backend integrations with CRM and ERP systems. I’ve seen API connections fail from time to time. Check them regularly to make sure nothing is broken.
An industrial website redesign can be complex, but it is well worth the effort. You can create an effective website that drives conversions and achieves business goals by leveraging user experience (UX), navigation, segmentation, search engine optimization, and content tailored to your target audience’s needs.
Additionally, regular updates and putting security measures in place will keep your site functioning without glitches and lower the risk of hacks.
Industrial website redesigns will help increase brand awareness and customer engagement if done correctly. With this in mind, it is clear why investing time into creating a successful website redesign strategy should be at the top of every manufacturer’s list when looking to expand their online presence.