What does industrial website redesign have to do with a train derailment? I’m not trying to be funny here by using this image of the Montparnasse derailment that happened on October 22, 1895. The action of a train leaving its tracks accidentally can have catastrophic consequences.
Similarly, obstructions that prevent a redesigned website from meeting its goals and objectives can be devastating for a company. I’m not exaggerating to scare you, but I’ve seen too many industrial website redesign projects get sidetracked and go completely off course.
Are industrial website redesigns worth the time and money?
Let’s face reality here, it takes a lot of time (4 months or more) and money (budgets of 15K or more) to complete a redesign that will turn an informational website into a lead generating system. And that’s just the start, you have to continue to invest in optimization, promotion and content marketing.
It is worth spending that kind of time and money, because your target audience of engineers and technical buyers is online for work related purposes. They are in self-select and self-serve mode for a large portion of their buying journey.
The IEEE Globalspec 2017 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector report found that engineers spend many hours each week online in the course of their work. They require access to a variety of digital resources to perform work-related tasks effectively and efficiently.
- 61% of technical professionals visit at least 6 websites each week with 10 sites being the average number
- 50% of them spend 6 or more hours per week on the internet and 31% spend nine-plus hours
Searches on Google and other major search engines (83%) and visiting vendor websites (66%) were the top two online resources used by engineers and industrial professionals. Social media was near the bottom at 18%.
Industrial website redesign derailment causes and prevention
I’ve been closely involved with redesigning websites for several manufacturers and engineering companies. From my hands-on experience, I can point to four major causes and my solutions to prevent them.
- CAUSE: Redesign fails to align with your sales process.
- PREVENTION: Get your sales team involved from the very beginning. Get them invested in the planning process instead of asking for their opinions just before going live.
- CAUSE: Reviewers don’t participate in planning and content creation.
- PREVENTION: Like the first cause, there could be department heads who have their own needs and agendas that must be addressed right from the get go for a complete buy-in.
- CAUSE: Marketing (in-house or outside developers) goes at it alone.
- PREVENTION: You’ve heard this one before, sales and marketing need to be aligned. Throw into this mix other stakeholders who must have their say before the redesign is approved.
- CAUSE: In-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are not involved.
- PREVENTION: Don’t just expect busy SMEs to contribute content after the launch if they don’t know why and how you plan to use the content to bring their expertise to the forefront for improving engagement with customers.
Use site analytics to take the guesswork out of site redesigns
Review your Google or whatever site analytics tool you use both before and after the redesigned site launches to prioritize areas of the website that you need to improve. It can be overwhelming to keep track of the all the moving parts in a website. If you are using the redesigned site for industrial content marketing (I hope you are), then this adds another layer of complexity.
According to 2017 Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, the top two factors cited by manufacturing marketers for their stagnant success with content marketing were:
- Not Enough Time Devoted to Content Marketing (67%)
- Content-Creation Challenges (62%)
Use the data from your site analytics to guide you instead of guessing or going by “gut feel.” Here’s a handy chart published by Michele Linn, Vice President of Content at the Content Marketing Institute.
For more on this topic, read these two posts that I had published earlier:
- Why do so Many Industrial Website Redesigns Fail?
- Content Marketing Strategy Must Drive Your Industrial Website Redesign
While design by committee usually doesn’t work well, it is up to the website development team to flesh out all these issues during the planning stage for the industrial website redesign to succeed.