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poor website user experience

A few weeks ago, we had a call with a potential client. “Jane,” a member of the sales team, talked about the bad experience her company had with their previous web designer.

Usually, we hear stories of agencies that stop responding to calls or emails once a website is built. Or how a manufacturer will spend a lot of money and once the website is built, and then realize that it’s not helping them get leads or even getting found in Google (we hear that a lot).

For Jane, however, the web designer had required them to provide all the copy. The design team then pasted it into the premade theme boxes without any consideration to usability or readability.

The problem, Jane had realized, was two-fold: the copy didn’t fully communicate the company’s services or expertise and the poor design was detracting from the user experience in a big way.

“We want to take our company to the next level,” said Jane, “and we’re not sure this website is going to help us get there.”

Problems with the website included:

Content – Incomplete messaging that didn’t explain the company’s offerings.

Organization – Incomplete product ranges, which made it difficult for prospects to find what they needed.

Usability & accessibility – The pre-made WordPress theme was broken in multiple places and difficult to use and read on different sized devices.

Lack of E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust) signals– The website lacked names and original photos of management and employees, testimonials, case studies, and customer lists.

Major technical SEO issues – The site’s meta titles/descriptions were missing or incomplete, as were Google Analytics tracking goals. In fact, this is why Jane called in the first place: the website was nowhere to be found in Google for their number one product.

By the end of the call, Jane realized they needed a marketing agency to provide the whole package – messaging, professionally written, optimized copy, baked in lead generation, and expert design and development.

Everything has changed

Thanks to COVID, we’re regularly receiving calls from manufacturers who are now scrambling because:

  • Salespeople can no longer get into companies, even established accounts
  • In-person trade shows and events have been canceled or have gone virtual
  • Whole departments now work remotely, making it much more difficult to find the right people

In the past, we preached why a website had to be designed correctly from a technical perspective.

Old content, low-quality images, and a poor mobile experience say volumes about your business – and not in a good way.

This hasn’t changed, but now, we’re telling smaller manufacturers that for their companies to survive, their websites must be designed from a marketing and sales perspective.

A company’s website is now a member of the sales team, the customer service team, and the employee recruiting team.

And, just as important, the website is usually the first thing a prospect sees when beginning the research process.

It’s critically important the website communicates a company’s brand (as outlined in our August 2020 issue).

Even if we do get back to normal pre-COVID, the changes that have taken place will remain.

Moving forward, the cost of relying on an old and clunky website is simply too high in terms of lost sales and potentially, a closed and shuttered business.


Imagine that the image to the right is what you see on your phone when you’re researching OEMs for your product.
We’ve blurred the manufacturer’s name, location, logo and phone number from the screenshot but have left everything else the same.

The broken-looking website design is in complete contradiction to the company’s “built to perfection” brand message. This disconnect immediately alerts your subconscious that perhaps the company’s product quality is also lacking. It also reduces trust and credibility.

The “Double click to insert body text here . . . ” is further indication the company doesn’t pay attention to detail. Maybe the company doesn’t need to strive to gain your business because it relies on legacy work contracts.

The statement “serving international clientele” without customer logos to prove the claim makes you question if the company is simply spouting marketing copy.

The big gap, which appears to be a broken image, means a lost opportunity to wow you with work samples. You’re left wondering what the OEM even does.

Lacking any enticement to contact this company, you head back to Google to continue your search.

The company has lost your business in a matter of a few seconds – all because they haven’t figured out the website is allowing prospects to qualify the company rather than vice-versa.

Don’t let this be how prospective customers view your website!

Co-Author: Rachel Cunliffe

Dianna Huff is the founder and president of Huff Industrial Marketing. She’s a passionate advocate for Made in USA and a geeky backyard birder.

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