As with many industries, there’s enough to keep up with in the manufacturing field itself that focusing on changes to online marketing, even those that may affect your business, can seem secondary.
At Sixth City Marketing, we’ve seen just how impactful these changes can be for businesses and their websites though, specifically to those in the manufacturing sector.
With that in mind, we thought we’d highlight some key trends that manufacturers should be aware of in 2018 and beyond so they can boost their web presence and attract more business.
1. SSL Certificates
One of the largest recent changes to website structures has been the implementation of SSL certificates, or HTTPS, replacing the former HTTP structure.
We covered this in detail in a previous blog post, but the key details include:
- The certificate lets visitors to your site know your web address is secure, ensuring them that sensitive information such as emails and credit card numbers will be safe
- Google gives higher site rankings to those sites in the HTTPS format, meaning more site visits and more potential business
- Web browsers, such as Google Chrome, will warn visitors that a site may not be secure, forcing them to either continue on at their own risk or, more likely, exit the site and find a safe competitor
- Having an HTTPS site can help prevent you from getting hacked, avoiding a host of long-term problems
How to Secure Your Site
To update to HTTPS, you’ll need to:
- Determine the type of certificate you need
- Purchase the SSL certificate through a reliable web hosting provider, such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.
- Redirect your web pages from the old HTTP structure to the new HTTPS structure so search engines can still help customers and clients find you
- Update any content delivery network you utilize
- Ensure your server supports HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security)
- Back up your site and database to prevent any issues during the switch
If you have any questions about this, feel free to consult our post linked above or reach out to our team!
2. Website Speed and Load Times
Though website speed has been an important factor for businesses for years, recent changes by Google has brought the issue to the forefront. In a nutshell, the faster your site loads for a user the easier their search will be, leading to a better experience. If the user’s happy, Google’s happy, and your site will see the benefits.
In our blog post and video from earlier this year, we delved into this topic fully, but key details to be aware of include:
- Google penalizes sites with slow load times on smartphones
- Site speed can be affected by such aspects as your hosting company, your page structure, your image sizes, and more
- You’ll want to utilize tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom to evaluate the extent of changes that need to be made on your website
Once your web team determines the proper changes to implement, your site speed should improve and you’ll be well on your way to better load times, increased traffic, and potential leads.
With the increased use of mobile devices by consumers, the importance of mobile search and mobile versions of websites has also understandably grown. 77% of U.S. adults now own smartphones, and use them regularly for browsing and shopping online, meaning that having a site that is mobile friendly and responsive is more important than ever.
We covered this in a previous blog post, but some key facts to keep in mind include:
- Google stresses user friendliness, and by extension mobile friendliness, so users can quickly and easily find the information they need, rewarding sites that provide a positive user experience
- Aspects considered problematic include sites that don’t “fit” a mobile screen view and are too small or too large, sites that have a poor visual layout, annoying pop-ups, confusing navigation, graphics not being to scale, and more
- Google’s recent mobile-first indexing implementation means that Google will now only be indexing the content that appears on the mobile version of your site, greatly increasing the importance of having a responsive and user-friendly site
- We’ve seen a recent 10-15% increase in traffic from mobile searches showing just how valuable having an efficient and fast mobile version of your site can be
To learn more about boosting your mobile site and tailoring it for effective conversion, be sure to check out our helpful design for conversion tutorial.
From our work with manufacturers, we know that many haven’t updated their website structures in some time. Now is the time to make some key changes because the opportunities for getting increased traffic and leads are waiting, and we’ve helped clients attain them.
Reach out to our team today so we can get to work for you!