Manufacturing Website Design Case Study: Custom Engineering
Custom Engineering Co. is a large-scale manufacturing company based in Erie, PA. The company was founded in 1955 and specializes in designing and producing heated platens, hydraulic presses, metal fabrication, certified welding, and precision machining. Custom Engineering serves a variety of industries, including oil and gas, transportation, power generation, entertainment, DOE & DOD, mining, construction, and more. In addition to Custom Engineering’s manufacturing capabilities, the company offers design and engineering services to its customers. Custom Engineering Co. has a team of experienced engineers that work closely with clients to develop customized solutions to meet their unique requirements. Custom Engineering has excelled with its exceptional customer service while maintaining long-term client relationships. In this case study, we will look closer at the solutions we provided for Custom Engineering with the new custom manufacturing website design we created and built for them.
II. Custom Engineering’s Website Background & Goals
Before we redesigned the Custom Engineering website, accessing service pages on the website took some work; improving the navigation structure and user experience was one of our main goals while designing and developing the new website for the manufacturer. Additionally, we were looking to modernize and improve the overall look of the website. The old site’s look was dated, and the client strongly desired to modernize it with cleaner styles, fonts, and imagery. Another aspect of the site that we agreed needed some improvement was the grouping of service offerings and how we wanted to categorize them. The old website didn’t showcase Custom Engineering’s service offering front and center—we wanted to ensure the potential customer could find what they were looking for immediately upon landing on the website’s homepage.
The goals of the new site:
- Clean Up Website Navigation
- Improve User Experience
- Modernize the Design
- Appropriately Group Service Offerings
- Perform Initial SEO Audit and Incorporate Best Keywords in SEO Areas
III. The Manufacturing Website Design Process
Since weCreate has a decade of experience designing websites for B2B manufacturing companies, we have developed a process over the years that has proven successful in the industry. First, we had an introduction call with our new client. Then, we gathered all the information needed to start planning for the new website project. We began by collecting information about the company, including growth goals, target markets, and differentiators. We also discussed what the manufacturing company liked about its current website or competitor sites, and where it needed improvements.
The Kickoff Meeting
After the intro call with Custom Engineering, we went to their office for the project’s second part of phase I—the kick-off meeting. We often do virtual kickoff meetings for clients around the country. During this meeting, we dove into the details:
- We gathered more detailed information about what Custom Engineering was trying to accomplish with their new website.
- We discussed the modern design they were trying to achieve and how we wanted to approach the new navigational structure for the website.
- We discussed how we wanted to handle categorizing services Custom Engineering offered and what fell under them. This process gave our content writing team an understanding of what content we needed to develop and how to effectively speak to Custom’s audience.
- During the kick-off meeting, we toured the Custom Engineering facility. While we have other mechanisms to learn about a company, we always enjoy this opportunity when proximity permits.
Sitemap Creation & Wireframing
After the kick-off meeting, our design, marketing, and content teams worked together to create a sitemap for the new website. This step is arguably one of a website project’s most important—yet overlooked steps. Developing a thorough understanding of functionality and content that needs to be included on a website and obtaining client approval of the sitemap will save the agency and client time and headaches. For all websites, we go through the pages on the client’s old website (if it exists) and map out the hierarchy of pages and how the user can navigate through the site. Then, upon approval of the sitemap, we can begin content creation and design.
Designing the Website
While our content team conducted interviews and began writing pages about heated platens and precision machining services, our design team got to work creating a modern and functional website design incorporating elements of Custom Engineering’s brand. Upon completing the website design, we held a design review with the client to look at the mockup or prototype of the new website. Our design team created numerous page mockups, including a homepage, service landing pages, contact pages, an about page, post feeds, and every other page that required custom layouts.
The design phase is one of the most exciting parts of any website project. With Custom Engineering, our experienced design team brought many brand elements into the website. While working with Custom Engineering, our client emphasized that they wanted their website to capture their brand. They didn’t prefer the website to look or feel like it was a cheap website template. weCreate was able to achieve this by not straying from the brand elements provided. The brand is present throughout the website using the diamond shape of Custom Engineering’s logo, the signature Custom Engineering blue, the black strokes pulled straight from the Custom Engineering logo, and the typography.
Developing the Website
Upon design approval, we moved the project into phase II—website development. At this project stage, it’s typically hands-off for the client. Our website development team works in the background and internally with our design and content teams to bring the website to life. Once the developer wraps up their work, we review the website internally before showing the client their new website. After the client review, we have a training session to show our client how to use the new manufacturing WordPress website.
Our team’s biggest challenge while building the website was determining how to break out the services and how we wanted to label them for clarity and SEO. While Custom Engineering knew what services our client offered, we often find that the terminology a company uses to describe Custom Engineering’s offerings may not align with how the manufacturing company’s target customer may be searching for those offerings. Custom Engineering was very easy to work with during this process, and we ended up with an excellent “above the fold” (the area at the top of a website before you scroll) that clearly represented their offerings, as well as keyword selections on those service pages that increased their traffic after launch.
IV. Manufacturing Website Design Elements
Incorporating the Brand into the Design
One crucial aspect to creating an exceptional website design is the intelligent incorporation of brand elements, which of course, depends on first having a great brand. A great brand is composed of items such as logo elements, colors, fonts, and more. Fortunately, Custom Engineering had invested in developing a great brand prior to working with weCreate. It’s recognizable and memorable, which isn’t always the case when working with manufacturing companies. While designing the new website, we wanted to ensure we brought as many of these brand elements into the design as possible. Custom Engineering has a simple color palette that consists of blue, black, white, and grey/silver. We typically try to keep the number of colors on the site to a maximum of 4 and perhaps a few additional shades of those primary colors. The palette mentioned above sounds simple and overused, but a skilled UI designer can create nearly unlimited creative variations with similar color selections.
Another successful design choice was the typography used on the website. The majority of the typography on the website is a simple sans serif font which reflects the secondary typeface of the Custom Engineering logo. Typography selection is an incredibly important part of the process for many reasons, both aesthetic and functional. One of the functional reasons is to make websites more accessible for individuals with visual impairments. One may see the creative incorporation of typography when the same typeface used in Custom Engineering’s branding is sprinkled throughout the website, mainly on the main service offerings. The sparing use of this font & style helps the services stand out.
Custom Engineering provided our team at weCreate with a rich library of custom photography and images to use on the website. High-quality photography is vital to the design of an attractive website. Stock photography is acceptable in some instances, but there is no better way to showcase your manufacturing business’s offerings than to have imagery of your work and manufacturing equipment.
Website Layout & User Experience
The layout of the Custom Engineering website follows all modern design principles. When weCreate designs websites for our clients, we always consider desktop and mobile usability. User experience, accessibility, and responsiveness are key considerations when designing a website for clients, no matter their industry. Our website creation process puts emphasis on “above the fold areas”. In these areas on each page, we concentrate on information and links that will clarify, sell, and engage prospects.
V. Functionality for Custom Engineering’s Manufacturing Website
The design of CE’s website contains several valuable tools and features that would be helpful for the business and the customer. Below you can read about some of the main features:
Enabling your customer to search for keywords on your manufacturing business’s website is a benefit for most sites, especially those with a large number of products or services. Otherwise, the user may spend minutes trying to find a specific corner of your website that could be more of a secondary or tertiary focus. Search also helps visitors quickly find an offering that is a subset under a top-level landing page.
News / Events Post Feed
A blog feed on a website is essential for building fresh content on the website. For example, some businesses like to showcase news and events. Others use a post feed to build out content to improve their SEO (search engine optimization). weCreate specializes in search engine optimization, so building a blog feed into our client’s design prepares us for stage two of our engagement, which typically involves post-launch marketing and SEO. Establishing a good SEO foundation is necessary for any website build if the site has a marketing purpose. Read more about weCreate’s SEO and marketing services here.
Placing Tracking Codes Like Google Analytics & Google Search Console
Understanding your website traffic is a critical component of marketing a website. Google Analytics tracks and reports website traffic. It gives businesses insights into how users interact with their website, the number of unique users your website has, the source of the website traffic, the pages they are visiting, the amount of time spent on the website, and much more. Google Analytics is a very powerful tool that companies use to gather insight about who is visiting their website and why. The best part about Google Analytics is that it’s free. You can access a dashboard with various metrics and data about your website traffic. weCreate sets up Google Analytics for every website we build if it has not already been set up on your old or existing website. Google Search Console provides us with valuable insights into the site’s performance in organic search. We can see the keywords visitors search for prior to getting to the website and gather information about the volume of those searches.
Well-constructed request for quote forms as well as clearly placed links to the RFQ form, can increase the number of inquiries a company receives as well as facilitate a smooth sales process. weCreate has the ability to create detailed RFQ forms that include any number of fields that gather information our customer’s sales team will need. A manufacturing RFQ for normally incorporates information like: Company name, location, phone number, email address, service needed, and a design file upload component. Custom Engineering requires all of the above. We built the form functionality they needed directly into the website to save them from unnecessary back-and-forth conversations with their customers.
At weCreate, we see a trend in manufacturing companies desiring to list job openings directly on their website. What’s great about having a careers feed on your manufacturing website is that you can pull potential candidates directly to your website through search engines and push them to your site through various hiring platforms such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed.
Often a clearly defined list of machinery capabilities can help a site visitor determine if the company will be a good fit for their needs. A clear understanding of what a machine shop is capable of helps the buyer make a concise decision. We included a machine list on Custom Engineering’s website to demonstrate their capabilities and to provide a resource that members of Custom Engineering’s team can refer to internally.
Each website we build emphasizes the credibility of the company we are working for. One of the best routes to establishing credibility on any manufacturing website is listing certifications. Since some customers can only work with manufacturing companies with specific certifications, clearly displaying all certifications near the top of a manufacturer’s website is crucial.
VI. Ongoing Results
Upon launching the new website for Custom Engineering, we saw an immediate increase in traffic. As a result, we have continued our relationship with Custom Engineering, providing additional marketing services for the manufacturing company, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As a result, the website’s ranking for hundreds of keywords has increased, and the manufacturing company’s website traffic continues to grow. This has led to a significant increase in the number of requests for quote they are seeing and has produced a very happy customer for weCreate! To learn more about how we can apply the same process for your company, contact weCreate today.
weCreate’s website design and marketing services helped Custom Engineering complete a manufacturing website redesign and helped improve their website traffic and usability while successfully incorporating Custom Engineering’s brand into a timeless design. If you want more information about this project or are looking to revamp your manufacturing website, contact weCreate Website Design and Marketing today!