The website needs of industrial companies vary from the needs of other types of businesses. Figuring out what resonates with your users is key if you want to stand out from the competition. Industrial encompasses everything from manufacturers to those who deal in industries such as construction or heavy equipment. They do not typically directly serve consumers, but their products may eventually make their way to consumers.
Manufacturing made up about $2.38 trillion of the U.S. economy in the final quarter of 2018. Even though industrial endeavors are on an upward trend, it’s important to ensure your company’s website is the absolute best it can be, so your brand enjoys the advantages of economic growth.
There are some recommended techniques for your website which will work for any type of site, but also some best practices specifically for industrial companies.
1. Speed Up Loading Times
No matter what type of website you have, speed matters. People these days are busy and won’t wait around for your site to load. In a survey of 750 consumers, researchers found 70% admit page speed makes them more or less likely to purchase online.
Slower speeds equal lost sales, so it pays to invest in a faster hosting company and reduce any clutter which slows down your page, such as scripts and large images or videos. If you plan to add a hero image of your facility at the top of your website, for example, make sure you optimize the image for faster load time.
2. Create a Single Goal for Landing Pages
Even though your manufacturing facility or construction company might offer different types of services, you should focus on one main element at a time and create a distinctive landing page with a singular focus. Creating a singular focus highlights exactly which actions site visitors should take. For a commercial business, you might send the buyer through a sales funnel. You want a similar method on your industrial website, where you send the customer through a funnel which resonates with the goal of that page.
Dow manufactures a wide range of products. To direct users through their website without overwhelming them, they offer one main option: to “Explore Dow Products.” If users want a different section of the site, they can use the navigation at the top of the page. But to get things rolling, the products are the focus.
3. Use the Space Below the Fold
Designers are often taught to use the space above the fold, as it’s the first thing users see. However, using the space below the fold is also important. If a user sticks with you long enough to scroll down, they’re interested in what you have to offer.
Use above the fold to grab the user and below the fold to keep them engaged. Add elements such as testimonials, short descriptions of your products, or calls to action (CTAs) to keep site visitors moving down your page.
4. Highlight the Most Important Information
It’s sometimes difficult to narrow the choices for a page. After all, your brand does a lot and you’d love to share it all. Just remember that you don’t want to clutter up your page. You may need to severely restrict what you place on your page, but you can still highlight the information you most want visitors to remember with features such as a collapsible sticky box.
Foley Inc. features a sticky box at the bottom of their home page that highlights some of their used construction equipment. They use images to highlight the equipment so buyers get a feel for what’s in stock and the price ranges. However, you can also collapse the sticky box and make it go away if you’re more interested in other elements on the page.
5. Use Color to Evoke Emotions
There is psychology behind color choices, with some shades evoking certain emotions. When it comes to industrial manufacturing and equipment, you want to convey a sense of power, strength and reliability. You’ll notice a lot of industrial websites use colors such as dark blue (trust), deep red (power) and yellows and browns (ruggedness).
Think about the message you want to send to customers. Green triggers hope and growth, yellow triggers optimism and happiness, blue signals honesty and triggers trust, and red hits on excitement, passion and energy.
6. Choose Bold Images
The images used on your site should be highly specific to your industry. Avoid stock photos at all costs. Any time you can signal what you do with a strong photograph, you build strength into your brand image. Think about some of the top automobile manufacturers out there. When you visit Ford’s website, do you see images of their cars or just generic cars? Not only do you see Ford vehicles, but you see them moving and in various scenarios that highlight the product.
Lockheed Martin features an image of an airplane and adds graphics to make the plane look as though it’s in motion. This is a powerful indicator of what the manufacturer does and highlights the benefits of doing business with them. Just under the hero image is their tagline, which reads, “Lockheed Martin. Your Mission is Ours.”
7. Offer Opportunities to Learn More
No matter what industry you represent, you’re at the core of that business niche and therefore have a lot of insider information the little guy doesn’t have. Share your knowledge freely and establish yourself as an expert in the field. Add ebooks, guides, and free webinars to your site and utilize “Learn More” buttons to drive users to that information.
8. Consider the Composition of Visuals
As mentioned before, adding visuals is a vital part of grabbing user interest. But try to come up with a composition that’s a bit unique. Instead of just taking a photo of your product, show it in use or lay out several of your products in an interesting format. Of course, what you actually make or do will limit the scope of your layouts. However, try to study what others in the industry have done and think outside the box a bit.
AGCO is an agricultural company. They create quite an interesting composition for their hero shot that shows not just hands in the soil and the result of hard labor, but also a grouping of hands placed in a circle and holding plants. The image is attention-grabbing while still defining the industry they represent.
9. Ramp Up Mobile Responsiveness
About 61% of people searching via mobile devices are more likely to contact a nearby business if the site is mobile-friendly. As more people use smartphones to do research before choosing a company, mobile responsiveness is more important than ever before. If your site hasn’t already achieved a mobile-first design, now is the time to make adjustments and avoid losing business.
Basic Good Website Advice
All of the good website design advice you’ve read applies to your industrial website as well. You should keep your page simple, allow plenty of whitespace, make sure everything clickable works and write compelling headlines. If you focus on a strong design and then add in the elements mentioned above, you’ll be an unstoppable force in your industry.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.