The homepage is arguably, one of the most important pages on a website. This is the first impression that users have of a brand and more often than not, the page that receives the most traffic. There is often a lengthy sales cycle where it comes to industrial manufacturing, so capturing a user’s attention early in their search will give manufacturers the upper hand over competitors. A strategically designed website homepage may also hasten the trek towards a purchase.
Design & Layout
We advise simplicity. Simple, clean design will engage a user better than a cluttered, difficult to navigate homepage. There should always be a clear focal point on a homepage, be it a product, service or strapline to keep users focused on the more important information.
High Quality Visuals
Sadly, many manufacturing websites are quite outdated in terms of design standards today, and their imagery is one of the areas that can suffer most. A striking image or video can tell a user exactly what the company does in a matter of seconds – so good visuals are crucial. Often, manufacturing companies with long supply chains find that a homepage loop video or sliding image banner will clarify the devices, equipment or materials that are manufactured much more effectively than text alone. Using professional visuals also has the added bonus of reinforcing the brand as a state-of-the-art company.
The home page Molokini designed and developed for COX Marine, is an excellent example of how to use imagery and video to convey a company’s capabilities quickly.
A Great Strapline
The first few seconds of a user’s session will determine whether a lead is captured or not. The homepage strapline will be the most-read words on the entire site, so make them count by swiftly and clearly telling visitors exactly what the company can do for them. User profiling can help to get the message right.
Once a user has absorbed the home page content, their next port of call should be to move onto a deeper page, where they can find out more. To keep them on-site, the right navigation is essential.
To design a navigation that will work for the target audience, all the possible paths that buyers might take when they visit must be considered. It’s absolutely fine to have multiple paths to the same sections of the website if it makes accessing information easier for each key demographic. Though most users will intuitively navigate towards the main / header navigation mentioned above, the footer is another place on the homepage that you can provide other ways to navigate the site – helping to lead users to the right goal locations. You can see an example of this in use for a leading supplier of aluminium and magnesium castings, Aeromet here.
In addition, we find that for a manufacturing brand, there is usually a need to find industry specific, product and market information above everything else – so however the navigation is designed, keep these sections front and centre.
If the site homepage does not perform well – users will leave. The key things to consider when looking at the overall performance of the homepage are: speed, responsiveness and security.
In terms of site speed, a landing page needs to load in about 3 second or less for the best user experience. Anything longer than this will have a negative effect on the bounce rates (the rate at which users leave the site) and conversions (anything from contact enquiries and newsletter sign ups to sales). So site speed is crucial and must be carefully balanced when video is used.
In this day and age, responsiveness is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it’s essential. Mobile search now officially outnumbers desktop searches and Google favours mobile-friendly websites in the search engine results pages. Whatever the plans for the website homepage, ensure that it’s responsive on all platforms and browsers – particularly mobile.
Also, we always advise getting an SSL certificate. This protects the site from hackers, assures users that the connection is secure and again, is favoured by Googles algorithm in the search rankings.
Include a Call-to-Action
The ultimate goal of a website is to generate business, and manufacturing companies are no exception. The best way to capture leads with a website, is to include a call-to-action on the homepage. For manufacturing companies, we recommend a lead generation form as the first port of call. A quote request form or contact form usually works well.