Here at The Artlab, we work with small and medium businesses from a range of sectors; one sector where we have quite a lot of experience is manufacturing.

When we talk to manufacturers, reviewing their sites and discussing how they want to take things forward, we keep coming across the same issues. I’ve put together some notes on things to think about to ensure your manufacturing business has an effective website. Although some of them might seem obvious, they can easily be overlooked.

Think like a customer

Getting the site map and navigation right for your target audience is the foundation for a successful website. Think about your potential visitors and what information they might be looking for once they land on your website. Then make it as straightforward for them to find it as possible.

Often manufacturing businesses think about what they want to communicate rather than taking a step back and putting themselves in a web visitor’s shoes.

Search

A good search facility makes your website user-friendly; this is particularly true if you have a big range of products and technical information. A search bar takes the hassle out of finding what you want when you have a more specific query, looking for a particular model of a product for example.

If finding information quickly is difficult, visitors are likely to go to your competitors next.Website design for manufacturers

Product pages

Are you featuring more than one product on a page? If the products are very similar then it may make sense to group them together.

If products have different features and benefits however, it’s better to have an individual page for each. This is important because then you can optimise each page accordingly, targeting SEO keywords matching a specific product.

Use photos, videos and testimonials to inform, persuade and reassure potential customers. Some manufacturing businesses also make 2D and 3D drawings and models available on their sites.

Specification sheets provide more detailed information, but make sure that these are available to download and print from the product page, not hidden away in a library on your site. Again, it’s about making life easy for potential customers.

Website content

The information you provide on your web pages should be geared towards one objective only – helping a visitor in the decision making process.

One challenge some of our manufacturing clients face is competing with distributors and suppliers in their market. Photos and videos of your premises, production processes and people can help establish your credentials as a genuine British manufacturer. A good website can also mask whether a company is a one-man-band or an established operation, so make sure potential clients can understand your business from the content you provide on your website.

When it comes to individual web pages, it’s good to break up text with images and video. The context has to be right though, with any additional content supporting the sales message behind each page.

Quality visuals and design

One of the things most likely to let a manufacturing site down is the visuals – poorly chosen, low quality images, badly laid out and designed spec sheets, bad design and so on.

Putting this right doesn’t necessarily involve a lot of investment in terms of time and money but the difference it will make on the perception and credibility of your company is huge.

If you’re a manufacturer and are thinking about updating your website, please call us on 0161 875 2528.