Six Web Site Rules

Focusing on these guidelines can improve your Web site's effectiveness in serving the manufacturing markets and properly marketing yourself to Web-enabled purchasing prospects.

1. Say What You Do. This important rule is frequently abused by the online manufacturing community. List your core competencies, past project successes, and whatever else differentiates you from the competition, and do it well.

2. Make Your Site RFQ-Strong. It simply isn't enough to use e-mail or phone contacts to get prospects connected to your business. Support your Sales/Request-For-Quote processes through file transfer and other tools. Give prospects a reason to contact you to find out what you can do for them.

3. Use Graphics Well. Sure, you should be proud of your equipment. But remember that most buyers already know what a Tornos, a Colchester or a "Brownie" look like. It's about what you do, not what you have. (See rule 1.) Instead, focus first on graphics that show examples of your work, show your prowess in making complex products efficiently, and adequately portray your skills.

4. Corporate Information. Corporate info should be secondary. Sure, it can be important to some visitors, but, in terms of your site's strength, job openings, directions and the company history are secondary to educating prospects about what you do.

5. Lose The Flash. You've seen those introductory splash screens on Web sites. They're animated, flashy and, to research-minded manufacturing prospects, annoying as heck. Ask yourself, if they're that useful, why do they all have a "skip intro" option? If you have one, kill it. If you don't, don't make one.

6. Meta Tags & Robots. As search engines become more efficient and effective at automatically indexing sites via "robots" and "spiders," sound use of keywords and meta tags will become more important. You don't have to be a Webmaster to manipulate these features to your advantage. For more, visit www.searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/meta.html or searchengineforums.com.

Focusing on these guidelines can improve your Web site's effectiveness in serving the manufacturing markets and properly marketing yourself to Web-enabled purchasing prospects.