14 Vital Features for Your Manufacturing Website

Posted By Andy Blanchard on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 16:06
Over the last decade, escalating globalization in manufacturing has made digital strategy for your website vital. With increasing competition and online transactions, your website must be more than just a standalone billboard in order to thrive in the world market. If you are not capturing leads, gaining traffic, and continually educating clients and distributors about your products, you are not fully leveraging your website's potential. 
 
A website is the front door to your customers online. Serving as receptionist, sales team, and the voice of your company, your website will shape perceptions of who you are and what your business does before any personal contact is made. That’s why it’s important to be prepared, and to include some of the following features. 
 
As a leading Drupal web design agency that has worked with both small shops and large Fortune 500 manufacturers, Commercial Progression has the experience to advise clients and implement next-generation manufacturing sites. 
 
1. Content Management
Content is the most important aspect of any website. It should at least be kept up to date, to show customers and other businesses that your company is alive and well. Having an easy, manageable way to do this can be the difference between new content being added weekly or a site that sits stale for months or even years. Drupal, one of the most popular content management systems, allows you to easily upload, manage, and publish content onto your website. 
 
2. Inventory integration (ERP)
Understanding and managing your ERP system and its data can be a daunting task in itself. Add in a website that is not integrated with this system, and it adds even more complexity and inconsistencies to your inventory and sales. Integrating your ERP system with Drupal to your website allows for a more seamless process and can simplify the struggles of managing two systems at once. Product planning, cost, marketing and sales, as well as inventory management, shipping, and payments can now live in two places at once without the headache of managing it twice.  
 
3. Multiple Languages
Manufacturers often serve clients all over the world. A large manufacturer like TRW using Drupal can easily display their content in multiple languages, reaching a far larger audience base from one easy-to-manage website.
 
4. Social Media
Your company may already be on Facebook or Twitter; and if not, your customers are. Consider adding social media links to your website, where you can talk to your customer and market your manufacturing business. 
 
5. Responsive Design
We all use our mobile phones to search, read, and share online. A website that’s not designed to be responsive for mobile won’t be seen well on a tablet or a smartphone. It’s important to prepare your website with mobile styling in place. While developing a website, ask yourself if you can easily read, interact, and visit the site on a smartphone or tablet.
 
6. Showcasing Products
A great website showcases great products. We use Drupal to display these products in a way that’s both visually pleasing and accessible for everyone online.
 
7. Site Search and Filter
It may sound basic, but this feature can’t be overlooked. Whether you have ten products or ten thousand, you need to have an easy-to-use search function that allows users to find and filter what they need on your website. 
 
8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Your website is your front door online — but if a visitor searches for your company or products and can’t find your website, the potential sale or business is lost. We make sure every website includes white-hat search engine optimization techniques, such as semantic markup and structured data. This makes sure your company will appear on searches. 
 
9. eCommerce
Drupal allows for powerful and easy-to-use ecommerce functionality. When you need to sell products online, we’re here to implement a storefront on your website. You may not sell products online just yet, but it’s good to choose a platform that allows for such integration and management. 
 
10. Distributor Map
As is true for many manufacturers, distributors play a key role in selling and promoting their products. A distributor map easily allows end customers to find your products and where they are sold. In Drupal, we can create an easy-to-use map that holds as many locations as you need. If people have a hard time finding your products, how can they consider you as a new customer or partner?
 
11. Community
Every business has a community they serve. Now more than ever, you can connect and grow this community around your company. Drupal allows your company to publish blog posts, add social media sites, and share content that is aimed to grow a larger community around your business. It’s important to consider this while designing your website so the community focus can be part of the design, rather than an afterthought. Your community can then easily share your story, support your brand, and purchase your products.
 
12. Brand Story
Who makes your products? What are they used for? Why should anyone be interested? Every manufacturer has their own story to tell. A story can be told through a clean, well-designed website, that in turn clearly communicates and allows others to remember your brand. 
 
13. Security
Protecting your website is as important as an alarm system on your building. You don’t want anyone to access your content or be able to attack and take down your site. We love Drupal for its strong and secure platform, and follow strict security protocols for all of our projects.
 
14. Support 
A website should be a living part of any company. As businesses and markets change, so too should your website. Making sure you have a trusted technical partner that understands your business, its goals, and how the website plays into this, is crucial for time and budget.
 
In Closing
A strong website helps make an immediate impression and drive sales. With so many facets to your website, managing it can be difficult. A Drupal-based website helps you manage content easily and form a strategic hub for your business. 
 
Contact us to learn more about your digital strategy and web development.