Industrial Website Design — This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Website

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Let’s face it, businesses in the commercial and industrial markets don’t exactly have a reputation for amazing websites — industrial website design almost seems to be The Digital Business That Never Was.industrial website design wrench and webpage

(This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.com — you can read it here.)

It’s not at all uncommon to see these businesses sporting an outdated, horribly designed website that was built by the principal or owner’s nephew back in 1999.

You know what I’m talking about. Terrible Flash-based design, spinning/crawling/flashing text, bare minimum content, and a font that is so tiny you need to grab a pair of drugstore readers just to see what the site has to say.

Here’s the thing — there’s this common idea that B2B businesses selling to OEMs, distributors, resellers and other commercial and industrial businesses don’t need a great website.

People tend to assume this because they don’t think their potential customers and partners are looking for them on the web.

They don’t think purchasing agents, engineers, and principals/owners find their partners and suppliers by researching online.

They assume the investment in a quality website and digital marketing strategy would be so high, there’s no way the return would be worthwhile.

Now, I know this sounds biased coming from me, but that way of thinking is complete bullshit.

They don’t think purchasing agents, engineers, and principals/owners find their partners and suppliers by researching online.

The truth is, your brand will suffer if your website is bad. Yes, even for an industrial website, design is important.

But something else comes first, something else drives that design…

Content.

(By the way, we recommend all our clients plan their marketing first — before they start worrying about their website, just to make sure a new website is what they need most urgently.

If you need some help planning out your marketing, click the link below to download your free marketing plan template — or keep reading about industrial website design and how you might be doing it wrong…)

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Industrial Website Design — Start With Content

Content is one of those words we throw around so much in marketing that it starts to lose its meaning, but (pardon the cliche) content truly is king.industrial website design shaking hands and thumbs up

I’m not sure who went around selling websites with only a few paragraphs of content to the commercial and industrial businesses of the early 2000s, but they must have made a killing. Because every outdated site we come across has no content!

I know what you’re thinking — “Heather, you just don’t know who I’m selling to here. These aren’t consumers, these are engineers and highly technical folks. They don’t have the same needs consumers have”.

And you’re right, you’re not trying to reach the average consumer with your website.

And there was a time when your website may not have been an important sales tool for your business.

But, here in the year 2017 consumer research behavior bleeds over to B2B agents and highly technical engineers. They themselves are, after all, consumers as well.

There was a time when your website may not have been an important sales tool for your business.

In a world where the average person expects to find the answer to any question they can dream up with 3 clicks of their mouse (or 3 taps on their mobile screen), why would your corner of the business world be exempt?

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The Elements of a Good Industrial Website — Design and Content Drive Search Results

Without getting completely off-topic, let’s talk just a bit about how search engines like Google determine which websites to display in search results.

There are many factors that go into the algorithm used by search engines, but one of the primary ways Google knows what your website is about is by indexing all the content on the site.

Every page of your site is crawled and tucked away in a massive database, anxiously waiting to be matched up with the perfect search inquiry.

industrial website design paper and arrows

When the words in a Google search match up with the content on your website, your site is more likely to show up in the search results.

The more content on your site, the more the search engines can understand what your website is all about and the more likely you are to display in the results you want to show up in.

When your potential customers and partners search for products and services that you offer, you want to show up, right?

Yes, yes you do.

Well-written content on your website in large quantities is the first step to capturing their attention and telling them about your business.

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Industrial Website Design Principles — Content Proves Your Expertise

Once you’ve funneled that traffic to your website, it’s time to do something with it. Content like case studies, white papers, testimonials and implementation stories are ideal for proving your expertise, value, and abilities.

It’s not uncommon for people in the commercial and industrial markets to be very guarded about their relationships with clients and partners — but omitting this information completely from your website is a mistake.

Well written and plentiful content on your website is the first step to capturing their attention and telling them about your business.

Rather than leave these elements off your website for fear the competition may learn more about your business than you’d like or that your customers and partners may not approve of you publishing details of your relationship, work with your internal and external teams to determine the appropriate amount of information to share.

Your case studies and whitepapers don’t need to disclose every detail, but they should be used to convey your expertise and experience and leave the reader wanting to learn more.

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Industrial Website Design Principles — Content Establishes Transparency and Values

Your About page is where the magic happens.

The About page also seems to be the most neglected section the average industrial website. Design aside, this is where you can sell your company, your people, your processes, and your skills over the competition.Text message marketing can help you create a personal relationship with your customers

Buyers want to know who they are doing business with, that’s why the About page(s) are consistently the second most-visited pages on websites across all industries.

Neglecting this page is just asking visitors to leave your site and go check out your competitor.

Beyond your About page, the overall content of your site is more than an opportunity to sell your products and services.

It’s a chance to transparently explain how you work, who you work with (if that is appropriate to disclose) and what your customers can expect from you.

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Your Industrial Website — Design Later: Plan Your Marketing First

If you’re sitting here nodding your head, thinking about that not-so-great website you have sitting out there for the world to see (and maybe cringing just a little at the thought of a prospect finding it), before you spring for a new website, you need to plan your website out.

Which means you need to plan your marketing out.

Which means you a marketing plan template.

Luckily for you, we’ve got exactly that.

And guess what?

It’s free.

We’ve been helping people just like you rock their industrial website design and content writing projects for years, so we took it upon ourselves to make some free resources and distribute them to the masses.

We know what it takes to plan and build a website that gets you the leads you need for your business and helps support your sales team.

The place to start is with this free template.

Click the button below to download your free marketing plan template now.

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Heather Steele

After almost a decade of marketing in a corporate setting, she tired of being a corporate cog and decided to go it alone, bootstrapping a business based on one simple principle:   Partnership.   Follow her on Twitter @heathersteele03, LinkedIn, or our blog to learn how to turn your business into a beast. And read her blog posts about marketing and small business here.

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