A New Year and a new website mean new leads and sales opportunities. That’s what most businesses wish for during the Holiday Season. A website redesign is a common marketing kick off in Q1 for many manufacturers, industrial and engineering companies.
With 2011 right around the corner, this is a good time to finalize your website redesign plans in order to find the right prospects and begin filling your sales pipeline.
This post is a summary of lessons learned from my 10+ years of experience in redesigning many industrial websites. I’ve also provided links to my other articles from this blog that talk about the key elements of a successful website redesign.
- Job 1 for industrial websites is generating high-quality leads and driving sales. Every company starts with this lofty goal but somehow during the website redesign process, it gets diluted by too many other competing needs. I find it very helpful to write down bullet points to go from objectives to actionable items on a client’s site.
See The 6 essential rules of a website redesign – Ignore them at your peril
See 5 Rules of Website Redesign for Engaging Engineers and Industrial Buyers
See Is Your Industrial Website Still Just a Business Card?
- Don’t start the redesign without a blueprint (site map). My industrial clients find it easier to visualize their new Web site if they have a site map to look at. This can be a simple bulleted Word document with the main sections bolded and sub sections as bullets. There are times when I’ll create a schematic of the entire site structure. This works especially well with engineers who are very comfortable with flow diagrams. A detailed site map makes it much easier to create the main navigation for the site. An intuitive navigation scheme or lack of it can mean the difference between success and failure of your website redesign.
- Content comes before design. Site content, whether creating or collating is probably the single biggest hurdle I have to overcome in website redesign projects. Form follows function is the golden rule that I follow when redesigning industrial websites. Force-fitting content into a new site design has never worked for me. A content map is extremely useful in ensuring that the Website redesign doesn’t come to a screeching halt waiting on content.
See How Lack of Marketing Content Can Derail Your Website Redesign Project
See Variety of Content is the Key in the Early Stages of the Industrial Buy Cycle
- Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is mandatory. Your site cannot do job #1 without a critical mass of qualified traffic. That can only happen if your prospects and customers can find your site when and where they are searching for solutions to their problems in their own words. SEO is the single most effective way of consistently driving qualified traffic to your Website. Not every website redesign needs a full-blown SEO component but the new site does need to be search engine friendly and basic SEO features included. Some thought must be given to keyword research and writing content using those keywords and phrases. Retrofitting SEO after a website redesign usually isn’t very effective and tends to be more expensive than doing it simultaneously with a redesign.
See 3 DiY SEO Mistakes to Avoid When Optimizing Industrial Websites
See The Twofold Benefit of Optimizing Marketing Content
See Driving Traffic to Your Homepage All the Time May Be a Big Mistake
- Web analytics – no industrial website should be launched without one. It is impossible to optimize something if you can’t measure it. Every industrial website must include some form of web analytics. At the very minimum, the free Google Analytics code should be installed on your web pages. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Google Analytics is not very capable just because it is free. It does provide some sophisticated features such as A/B testing of site changes, advanced visitor segmentation and tracking site visitors from mobile applications and social networks.
See Industrial and B2B Customer Engagement Simplified
See Add Google Analytics to Emails and Gain B2B Lead Generation Intelligence
- Integration with other online lead generation and management tools. This is not the same as web analytics. It is about integrating site activities with other parts of your online lead generation system so they all work together. Website integration with Content Management System (CMS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program and Marketing Automation (MA) software could be an optional step or steps depending on your sales process and its complexities.
See Marketing Automation vs. Inbound Marketing
- Budgeting for a website redesign. Cost is always a consideration in any B2B marketing project. I field numerous calls that are a variation of the same question, “How much do you charge for redesigning a website?” That’s a tough one to answer without knowing a lot more about the shortcomings of the current site and what needs to be done to optimize it for lead generation. It usually gets asked by an admin assistant or a trusted influencer who is responsible for gathering initial information. They may not know and/or be authorized to discuss additional information about their website redesign. Instead of avoiding it completely, I try to give them a wide range based on my past experience. This helps a prospect make an initial go or no go decision and saves me the time if it is not a good fit.
See Successful Industrial Websites Require Part DiY and Part Professional Help
Are you in the midst of planning your website redesign? Will you be doing one in the near future? Use this post as a resource for planning your industrial website redesign. You may also want to download my free Step-by-Step Guide to Web (re)Design.