Business websites are the most important components and the focal points of every company’s online marketing strategy. Given its importance, it is surprising to hear that one third of visitors to manufacturing websites rate them as “very bad” (joint study by Google and ThomasNet). But that’s not all: two thirds of visitors also say that they never return after having a bad user experience. What exactly is causing these negative impressions of manufacturing sites? We’ve identified four common problems and offered practical guidelines that can help you fix them.
1. There’s too much information and the copy is difficult to read
Many times, manufacturing websites can feel more like an online brochure rather than a website. Too much information is crammed into walls of text, which makes it difficult for the visitor to navigate the page and find the exact information they need.
Is all of this content necessary? A study conducted by Nielsen Norman Group revealed that almost 80% of web users will not read all of the content that is on a page. In fact, the briefer, clearer and more scannable the copy is, the larger portion of it that is going to be read.
In order to ensure fast and easy access to pertinent information, you might need to reconsider how content is organized throughout your company’s website. Establish a clear goal for each of the pages and include only the content that will facilitate accomplishing that goal. Organize it into smaller pieces and use bullet points to make it easier on the eyes. If you need to include detailed documents such as Material Safety Data Sheets, consider offering them in downloadable formats.
2. There is no Call-to-Action (CTA)
Failure to add CTAs is another problem that keeps manufacturing websites from reaching their potential. Once you’ve captured your website visitor’s attention with content, you need to lead them to making a decision and taking action. Otherwise, once they leave your website, you’ll lose a potential lead.
Practically speaking, CTAs are buttons that take visitors to a page where they can take a desired action. Whether it is completing an online form to request a price quote, downloading a case study or calling a local sales representative, it all depends on how ready your website visitors are to make that purchase. Not all leads are going to translate into sales right away, which is why you need to include calls-to-action that will satisfy different needs for your various personas in each phase of their buyer's journey.
The best way to approach calls-to-action is to decide on the primary goal for every web page on your site and then create a call to action based on that goal. Ask yourself what it is you want users to do: complete an online form, request a quote, contact a sales representative, or connect with a local dealer. Whatever it is, make sure to express it in simple language that clearly communicates your message.
The goal with CTAs is to funnel your prospects through the buyer's journey. First, you grab their attention with a piece of educational content they'd be interested in. This way, they are willing to fill out the form with their contact information to receive that piece of content. From there, you can target them with email drip campaigns, follow-up emails, and other content offers to push them from a prospect to a customer.
Take a look at this example from Fisher Tank homepage. They’ve included CTAs for getting in touch and requesting a quote for more purchase-ready visitors. At the same time, visitors who are still seeking educational information about different solutions available to them can follow CTAs that will lead them to free educational resources:
3. There is no fresh content
Fresh content is extremely important for user experience so make sure you always have the latest product images and descriptions on your website. If you neglect updating this information, prospective customers can base their purchase decisions on wrong or outdated information, only to find out later that they cannot buy the goods they want.
But there’s more to it than just user experience. Stagnant content negatively affects your position in search engine results – the first place customers go to when they need to find a business that can satisfy their needs. A lack of fresh content is interpreted by search engines as a sign of poor website maintenance, or even inactivity. Consequently, these websites will not show up on the first search result pages that are reserved for businesses with the most competitive websites.
To address this problem, consider starting a company blog and regularly updating your homepage with important company information and industry news. There are numerous things you can blog about: common problems customers in the manufacturing industry experience, your company’s culture and history, people behind your brand, manufacturing processes, etc.
4. Website is not optimized for mobile browsing
If you’ve focused on designing your website only from the perspective of a desktop user, you need to know that nowadays, smartphone and tablet users account for the majority of all Internet traffic. Neglecting to create a website that displays well on smartphones and tablets means that you may be keeping a large number of prospects away.
Two frustrating problems that mobile users experience with websites that are designed exclusively for desktop is not being able to read the text without first zooming in, and mistakenly pressing wrong links because navigation is too small and not optimized for tapping. When faced with these problems, 40% of Internet users will leave to a competing website that offers a better mobile experience. Also, more than half will refuse to recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.
Moreover, in accordance with the latest trends in Internet search, Google now considers mobile-friendliness of a website as one of the factors that seriously affect page ranking. It evaluates accessibility and readability of websites when they’re viewed on smartphone and tablet devices, and demotes those that deliver poor user experience.
If you’re not sure whether your website is optimized for mobile, head over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and enter your website’s URL:
In case your website is not mobile-friendly, you will see something like this:
Follow the instructions on the right to get information on how to resolve this problem with your website developer. The process usually involves adopting responsive design which allows a website to adjust based on the device it’s being viewed from.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand common website problems and their solutions. Remember, investing in your website establishes an online presence that leads to sales growth and increased market share.
Taylor Moore is a freelance copywriter with a passion for all things business and marketing. For more talk on content marketing, conversion optimization, branding and customer service, follow her @taylormtweets.