Many manufacturers and industrial companies consider a website redesign during Q1. The two main reasons are 1) Not showing up in Google search results (SEO – Organic Search Engine Optimization) and/or 2) Not getting enough qualified leads from the website (Traffic and Conversion).
You know your industrial site needs a major makeover but diving right into a site redesign without first doing a website evaluation or a site audit can be a costly mistake.
Poor SEO and conversions are the symptoms that are obvious to you. Only an in-depth website evaluation can diagnose the underlying causes. Without that, a website redesign will only be a cosmetic facelift and cannot address all the issues that are stopping your industrial website from producing results.
Keep in mind that SEO is not the same as a website redesign. They do go together because retrofitting SEO is more difficult and not as effective. Don’t expect to show up on the first page of Google just because your website has just undergone a redesign.
However, you should insist that your industrial website redesign includes at least the basic SEO features such as optimized <Title> and <Description> tags, keyword rich H1 and H2 tags, XML and HTML site maps, code for Google Analytics and social sharing options.
A comprehensive assessment of your current site is very different from freebie site audits that are usually used as bait for getting website redesign projects. And yes a good website audit will cost you money.
You may be questioning the need to spend the money on a website evaluation when you already know you need a redesign. Here’s why it is well worth the investment.
A good website audit will analyze and evaluate several key elements to measure the marketing effectiveness of your current industrial website. (Don’t confuse this with website grading tools). The website assessment should identify gaps and shortcomings in the following areas:
- Frontend design and user interface
- Navigation structure, HTML and backend coding
- Site’s crawlability and indexing of internal pages via internal linking
- Basic SEO features (Title and Description tags)
- Keywords – are they a good fit with actual search terms?
- On-page and off-page SEO implementations (Are they white hat tactics?)
- Website content (Is it customer-centric?)
- Site content to match visitor needs, role and position in the buy cycle (See Creating Digital Content for Industrial Marketing)
- Landing pages and conversion issues
- Website marketing and promotion (Social media, blog, mobile friendly etc.)
- Interface with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
- Built-in Content Management System (CMS) for regular content updates
The company doing the website audit must provide a you a written report of their findings and recommendations. Implementation of the recommendations from the report may require their help or you may be able to do some of them yourself. Think of the report as a plan or a roadmap for your website redesign project.
A website audit is a wise investment if you want a site redesign that will feed your sales funnel with more high quality sales leads.
Another useful resource is my free Step-by-Step Guide to Web (re)Design.
Did you do a website audit before redesigning your site? Share your experiences here.