Hi, I'm Tyler Willis and I've been helping businesses optimize their digital marketing and web development efforts for over 10 years. I excel at teaching and helping companies understand complex digital solutions, and applying them to their businesses.
A website's content and the organization and placement of it can have an extremely large impact on how a site performs in terms of transforming visitors into business leads and customers.
The content itself might be good, but is it in the right spot? Is there perhaps other content that should be given priority? Should certain content be on the home page and other information held to certain secondary pages?
In this case study (our first live/blind website review that includes a video and full synopsis below), we're going to look at Hitchiner Manufacturing of Milford, New Hampshire - a B2B manufacturing company, and how their website contains great information, but perhaps should be reorganized a bit for their users.
Home page design
The first page that I visited when reviewing the website was the home page. And the first thing that I actually noticed, the first place that my eyes looked, was at the bold, green ribbon at the very top of the page.
The content in the banner is actually for employment opportunities. Now, if that's one of the major goals of their website currently, that's fine. But if your customer visits your website, that's probably not what you'd want them to notice first.
Advertising for job opportunities is fine but in the right places - job boards, social media, in the footer of your website, etc. If someone is looking for a job, they will dig and find that you're hiring. I would advise against using valuable real estate - like the very top of your home page - to advertise jobs.
Another thing I noticed was that there was a lot of information about Hitchiner on the home page - maybe a little too much.
The first section, the hero image/banner, is good. It shows a quality picture with a quick tagline about what sets the company apart. But then the next 4 sections on the home page are filled primarily with more information about Hitchiner.
Yes, your prospective customers do want to know who they might be doing business with, but as they're moving through your sales funnel. On the home page, they're still trying to figure out where to go.
The home page should be treated like a giant navigation menu - a jumping off point to where you users can go. Better yet - where you want your users to go. What's your most profitable product or service that you offer - or the one that you can sell the easiest? Determine which product or service is your go-to offering and make that the priority of your website.
great content, how the company provides value, no next steps or who to contact, phone number on bottom the right one to call? take some info from sales page
I then tried to identify what information might be most sought after for a Hitchiner website user, so I navigated to one of the "Markets" pages - specifically the one focused on the automotive industry.
This was a pretty simple webpage with a banner up top and basic text down the page. My only qualm about the top section was that the image was a little busy which made the text in front of not likely not very accessible to users with vision or ADD disabilities.
The design is a very popular one with text in front of a high-quality image, however, you must ensure that there's enough contrast between the image and the text so that it's easily readable. Some individuals with vision impairments might not be able to even see the text, let alone read it.
Looking down the page, I identified that the text appears to be of a really high quality. It starts with information about the automative industry and how Hitchiner fits in and ends with how Hitchiner can provide impact value.
Then there's information about different applications and why one should choose Hitchiner. I wouldn't change much or anything regarding the page content. However, thinking as a user, if I were interested in these services then I wouldn't know where to go next.
There was no contact information within the body of the page. I had to scroll down to the footer where I did find a phone number. However, again - thinking as a potential customer, I don't know if that's the right phone number to call.
You want to be sure you're making it obvious what the next step is so that your customer doesn't have to search or wonder where to go.
distracting news articles on the side, when they get to the point of wanting to contact you - remove distractions, you want them to follow through
I then navigated to the contact page just to see if there was anything worth noting. There was a simple contact form which was good.
Then, on the right-hand side was a feed of latest company news articles. I've seen this before so wasn't surprised - often, developers or companies feel the need to put something else on the contact page because it can tend to feel pretty empty.
However, you should see the contact page for what it is. For some reason, the user navigated to this page so they must be at least a little interested in reaching out to you.
If they then look over to the news article and find one that's interesting, maybe they decide to click on the link to the full article. Now, they've navigated away from the contact page. Is that what we want them to do? Not necessarily.
Keep contact pages clear of distraction. Make sure that when the user leaves the page it's after they've submitted the contact form. Display any additional information like news articles or social media links AFTER the contact form has been submitted.
Main site navigation
all about them, only one section really for users
I was thinking back to my earlier observations from the home page, and how I struggled to find content targeted to actual prospective customers, so I took a look at the navigation.
The site's navigation is pretty large - it actually has 10 main links displayed across the bar with about half of them having submenus. However, only 1 - maybe 2 links were not primarily about Hitchiner the company.
If I were to redo this, focused on the end-user - Hitchiner's target audience, I would remove nearly all of the links and open up the "Markets" menu. It might look something like this:
Bonus: Interactive product diagram
There was a whole section of the Hitchiner website dedicated to their investment castings technology and process. When a manufacturing company has a new, innovative way of production, it's definitely worth promoting. Companies like doing business with other companies that are proven to be modern and have next-level technology.
The only thing is that there's a lot of text and charts explaining the the process, but there isn't anything visual to see or inspect how the process works. I would look to add some sort of interactive product diagram, where a user could use their mouse to rotate and click on different elements to get more information, and zoom in and out. Perhaps something like this:
I would then try to compile the remaining pages about the investment castings to this one landing page, minimize the text and increase the visuals. I think that this would be a far more effective way to explain and impress prospective clients who may be interested in learning more about the process.