Web design for manufacturers: where to start in 2017

Web design has evolved drastically in recent years. Where once attractive and easy to use websites were exclusive to only the highest end companies, internet users now expect a quality experience across the board.

Where this is lacking, more and more users will simply move on. A poorly organised or dated looking website has come to symbolise ageing businesses, out of touch with modern practices and expectations. This is particularly important to manufacturers, where their websites need to perform in order to showcase their goods and convince visitors of their quality and value. Regardless of the type of customers you wish to attract, from large scale industry, to retailers, tradesmen or individuals, it is likely that many of them will look you up online.

The challenge of web design for manufacturers

Some manufacturers have struggled with this evolution. For many, their large catalogue of products and complex e-Commerce stores prohibited easy maintenance and upgrades, leaving ageing websites behind on slow and clumsy frameworks. Not only are dated e-Commerce platforms a turn-off for new customers, they grow increasingly frustrating for existing ones and are less secure than modern frameworks. If you’re thinking about making changes to your website, or upping your marketing in any way, here are a few things to think about.

User experience is key

It is now taken for granted that websites will transition seamlessly across desktop, tablet and mobile. Google have acknowledged this with their move to mobile-first indexing which you can learn more about in our previous blog here. People expect snappy functionality on all platforms, but those with large product catalogues can easily fall behind. In cases where a manufacturer offers a more bespoke product, it can be equally difficult to convey the full range of potential benefits, which may be unique to each project.

The design and navigation of your website must seamlessly integrate this technical functionality with a carefully planned layout of the information that is included. A website should work in parallel with a brochure, communicating why a potential customer should choose you. Even when your website does not make all of the technical or proprietary details public, it should still provide compelling reasons that make you a better choice than the competition.

E-Commerce can work for almost anyone

With e-commerce platforms now cheaper than ever, many manufacturers are now dipping their toes in the water of direct to customer online sales. While this may not be a key source of revenue for most companies, the ability to offer outstanding value, cutting-out the middleman of a retailer, offers a win-win for both the manufacturer and the customer. In many cases, it may be possible to implement an e-commerce platform, and manage fulfilment in-house in the short term, although it can be just as easily outsourced for extra income with minimal effort.

Stay secure

Modern website designs should also offer compelling security advantages for manufacturers, especially those with sales platforms. Support for regular maintenance updates means that, as new threats to cyber security emerge, modern sites should keep up to date with the latest patches, keeping customer/client details as safe as possible. In an age of rapidly evolving cyber threats it’s really not worth the risk of your site being attacked and de-ranked by Google because it wasn’t running the latest security updates.

SERP visibility and brand image

When you’re happy with your website, you may be wondering how to generate more business from it. This will require driving more traffic to your website. There are quite a few things you can do to boost this but building it does not mean they will come. A key part to your approach of increasing traffic and ultimately sales, should be to invest in SEO. This improves where you appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Most people only scan the top of the first page of search results, with those appearing lower often dismissed as less competitive companies. You’ll find very few companies appearing near the top with old web designs.

For effective visibility, sites need to be clear and well laid out for Google and Bing’s spiders. Product pages must be organised properly and packed with useful info for site visitors. When the search engines recognise this, sites are rewarded with greater prominence, which in turn boosts the perceived value and prestige of the brand. This also sets the stage for any further SEO work to achieve maximum results. There is little point spending money on marketing to bring people to a dated website, since they’re likely to move on again in a matter of seconds.

Marketing services for manufacturers

If you need a hand keeping your manufacturing website up to date, maintaining your web presence or reaching more customers, we offer a range of marketing services perfectly matched to our manufacturing client’s needs. If you’d like to get in touch to discuss yours then please reach out, our friendly team are always happy to have a chat and craft the perfect design package for you.

AMA16 technical support 610x305 - Web design for manufacturers: where to start in 2017 website-design, manufacturer

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