Friday, February 3, 2017

Rescue Your Website Before It’s Too Late!

Five Steps To Superhero Status

By: Charlie Westra




Superheroes hold a special place in our culture. Whether you fall into the Batman camp or see Superman as the consummate crusader, these caped characters all have a distinct persona, carefully crafted around a position of strength and superiority. In the world of manufacturing, battling the forces of competition requires a similar strategy of building a powerful and positive image. Quite often, it starts with how a company appears online.

When your customers or prospects visit your website, what type of message are you sending? Strong and capable, or outdated and irrelevant? Can you imagine Spider-Man cruising around in a rusty old pickup instead of swinging from skyscraper to skyscraper? Now with that image in your head…

Here are five reasons why regularly upgrading your website is NOT optional. It’s my version of the Fantastic Four, plus one:

1. VISUAL APPEAL – Captain America wouldn’t be as amazing without his shiny starred shield. In real life, your customers should be impressed when they visit your website. Are those images too small or too grainy to see any real detail? Or do you have pages of text, but barely any compelling photos? (No, a picture of your building is not compelling.) Let visitors know you’re a progressive, modern company that invests in technology. Include eye-catching elements, images and videos that engage your audience.

2. CONTENT – No one wants to watch an Avengers movie without thrilling action sequences, just like no one wants to visit a website with dull content. Ask yourself the following questions: Does your most recent case study feature a company that is no longer in business? Did your social campaigns lose traction after a relative stopped posting for the company? Does it seem that no one gave a second thought to editing and formatting? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, now is the time to act. Find something that will bring people back to your website. (Think sequel!) Need talent? A careers section may be a good option. Have spare parts available? Add a catalog to your site.

3. SECURITY – You need armor. (No special suit required. Promise!) Website security often is overlooked. On average, it can cost a business nearly $2,500 to repair after a security breach. You might think hackers aren’t concerned about a company like yours, right? Wrong! Injected malware can cause serious damage. At a minimum, find out which type of protection you have. If you don’t have any, make sure you have a back-up copy of your site and invest in an appropriate defense. It could save you thousands of dollars, and your online reputation. Consider an SSL certificate to help safeguard any data transferred online.

4. MOBILE COMPATIBILITY – Superheroes don’t just work in an office, and neither do your customers. Consider the importance of mobile-friendly sites. Importantly, Google now prioritizes mobile sites in search rankings. People will generally stay longer on sites that are easier to view and navigate on smaller screens. Why? Because navigation buttons are easier to click, the text is clearer to read, plus scrolling and larger imagery are used.

5. SEO – Did you perform well in search rankings optimized for a late ‘90s audience—when Clooney was Batman? Or worse yet . . . Keaton? Are you fighting to show up on (yawn) page 13? Correct placement and designation of appropriate page-specific keywords is of the utmost importance. Crafting engaging and effective metadata titles and corresponding description tags takes time and skill. Don’t trust it to a fly-by-night company. (Tony Stark would disapprove.)

The Ending (It’s Really Just the Beginning)  

Before the new Wonder Woman movie hits theaters, let’s clear up two common misconceptions. First, you don’t need a budget the size of a Hollywood blockbuster for your website to look incredible. Secondly, beware of the “set it and forget it” mentality. A website is supposed to be a living tool. It should evolve as you introduce products/services and integrate new capabilities and technology.

Don’t settle for a website that is just “good enough.” Strive for stardom. After all, an effective web presence is one real-life super power that any business can achieve. Need help? Consider a resource that understands manufacturers—the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. Contact me today at cwestra@the-center.org.


MEET OUR BLOGGER

Charlie Westra
Growth Services Program Manager


Charlie Westra is a Program Manager for The Center. He assists clients with the development and implementation of online growth strategies that are designed to increase online traffic, revenue and engagement. To read Charlie’s full bio, visit www.the-center.org.


Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

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