Although it can sometimes seem like your website is on the bottom of your to-do totem pole, your company’s virtual presence – or lack thereof – is sending
your potential customers a signal, whether you realize it or not. Because your brand and corporate identity are unavoidably linked to your online persona,
it’s critical to keep your company’s website polished, easy to navigate, and reflective of your latest victories, products, brands, and services. Your
audience will know you’re ahead of the game, with your finger on the industry’s pulse – even if that’s not always the case behind the scenes.
Whether you’re investing in a total website overhaul for your professional services or manufacturing industry website or only making a few aesthetic tweaks,
here are some tips to get the ball rolling:
Decide on your greatest asset
It’s just like in college, when you had to write a thesis statement. What’s the main point here? What promise can you make to your customers? What makes
your company – your top rated products, excellent customer service, or wide selection – different from the rest? Ditch the extra words and keep your
mission statement concise, direct, and clear. Post it prominently, and you’ll gain your viewer’s trust right off the bat.
For example, if your focus is providing (equipment) to customers, hone your mission statement to embody your most basic function: to provide customized
products to your business in order to improve productivity. If, on the other hand, you sell raw materials to help save energy, make it clear in your
taglines that you provide the foundational components for the industry’s end products. Manufacturers can benefit from featuring their bestselling products
prominently, bolstering content with testimonials and rave reviews.
Keep navigation simple
If your website is clunky and difficult to interact with, your visitors will give up. The average viewer spends less than three seconds on the average
static webpage, so make those seconds count. Show your customers how to request a quote, learn about your services, see full product details and image,
find contact information, and ask questions. Imagine what you’d look for in a competitor’s website, if you were shopping for your own product or service.
What would you want to see in the navigation? What’s excessive?
It pays to consolidate buttons and tabs so your visitors have less to interpret. Insert navigation bars in multiple places on the page if you think it
will make your site easier to explore. It sounds obvious, but so many websites overlook this age-old rule of thumb: Clearer is better; simple is best.
If, for example, you’re in a service industry, make it easy for others in the same sector to find what you know you’d be looking for: easy-to-find list
of services (landscaping, snowplowing, appliance maintenance and installation, or general home maintenance, for example), plus information on how to
contact your company for a quote, or FAQs, and a resource center to provide additional information for your customers.
Be sure you’re compatible
Even if you recently invested in a website overhaul, it’s worth double-checking your website’s compatibility across operating systems. What looks gorgeous
on the screen of your desktop computer might be jumbled or even inaccessible on a mobile device. Consulting with a web designer can help you to improve
compatibility across devices and operating systems.
Keep track of what’s going on
Carve out a little time once in a while to examine your website’s stats. Software like Google Analytics makes it easy to see who’s coming and going. What
search terms are customers and stakeholders using to find you? Where do they linger longest? Where are they coming from, geographically?
If, for example, the majority of your pageviews seem to be coming from a few specific urban hubs, it might be worthwhile to streamline your messaging so
it’s more effectively tailored to the location(s) in question. For example, a New York City audience might look very different from its Boston counterpart,
and the products or services in question – can look very different, depending on location. It’s up to you to decide how to use the data, but watching
the flow of traffic streaming towards your site can be encouraging as well as informative.
Staying up to date with industry news can also keep you one step ahead of the competition. “Follow” your favorite trade publications on social media, become
involved in professional service organizations and/or associations based in your area of expertise, and join your local Chamber of Commerce. These
activities will allow you to stay current – and appear prominently – in the local sphere.
Show ‘em what you’ve got
In today’s fast-paced, overstimulated culture, you don’t have time to spare. Flaunt your capabilities with images, compelling (or hilarious) taglines,
and smart, informative copy – or, ideally, a combination of the three. A simple example is Higher Precision, a company focused on precision measurement
tools. Higher Precision’s best asset is showcased with every mention of the company’s name. Combined with a bold, assertive layout, the cumulative
effect is powerful, primal, immediate – and, for the consumer, ultimately memorable.
A good manufacturing or professional service oriented website should deliver a sensory experience—one that transcends words on the screen. Browse
the internet for industry websites you really love, and then use them as templates for your dream site.