Ideas, insights and inspirations.

As a leading social media agency for colleges, universities and higher education institutions, we are frequently asked to share our best practices. This is part of a series of posts to explain how social media audit can serve their interests.

A social media audit involves a comprehensive review of a higher education brand’s primary social media presence, activities, and performance. The goal is to assess the effectiveness of the current strategy and identify areas for improvement. This typically includes social media channels of the institution, schools, departments, alumni and centers of excellence. It excludes social media channels of athletics, labs, clubs and organizations, special events, and special initiatives.

After gaining access to institution’s social media management software, we conduct a twelve-point social media audit to assess the following:

1. Profile Information Audit
Assess all official social media profiles to ensure accurate and consistent information is presented, including logos and colors, profile pictures, cover photos, about information, and contact details.

2. Platform Presence Audit
We identify all social media platforms where the brand has a presence. This includes major platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.

3. Content Audit
We evaluate the type, frequency, and quality of content posted on each platform. We assess whether the content aligns with the brand’s goals and resonates with the target audience.

4. Engagement Metrics Audit
We analyze engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, X-reposts, and other interactions. We assess the level of audience engagement and identify successful and underperforming content.

5. Promotions Audit
We analyze the content promotions the brand is running to ensure they are aligned with institutional goals.

6. Editorial Calendar Audit
We review and evaluate the existing content schedule and plans outlined in the editorial calendar for social media marketing to ensure institutional objectives are being met over a longer time horizon.

7. Hashtag Usage Audit
We review the use of hashtags across platforms. We assess the effectiveness of branded and domain related hashtags and occasionally identify opportunities for new ones.

8. Brand Consistency Audit
We ensure a consistent brand identity is applied across all platforms. We check if branding elements such as logos, colors, and brand promise and position are used uniformly.

9. Metrics & KPIs Audit
We evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs) that are aligned with the brand’s goals. This may include metrics such as reach, impressions, engagement rates, and conversion rates.

10. Competitor Benchmarks Audit
We compare the brand’s social media followers and volume metrics with that of key competitors. We identify areas where the brand excels and areas where it can improve based on peer benchmarks.

11. Followers Audit
We analyze the demographic information of the audience on each platform, including age, gender, location, and other relevant details. We examine the growth or decline in followers/fans on each platform. We evaluate the demographics and interests of the audience to guide tailoring of future content and engagement strategies.

12. Sentiment Audit
This is included by special request only. We evaluate and analyze the sentiments expressed by the audience toward the college brand or its academic offerings on various social media platforms. The goal is to gauge the overall sentiment—whether it’s positive, negative, or neutral—associated with the brand.

What’s typically excluded is evaluation of the performance of paid social advertising campaigns, including ad spend, reach, click-through rates, conversions, and ROI.

A social media audit provides valuable insights that can improve the effectiveness of your institutional social media strategy. It is typically conducted every few years to adapt to changes in the social media landscape and the brand’s goals.

If you are seeking a higher education marketing agency to conduct  social media audit prior to launching campaigns to grow your enrollment, endowment and reputation, consider partnering with us.

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The most effective college enrollment marketing strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a set of techniques college marketers employ to secure page one rankings on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Choosing the right set of keywords and creating content infused with those keywords is how college marketers achieve coveted page one rankings for their programs and schools.

Elliance works with higher education marketers to not only map the right set of keywords across the prospective student journey, but also to optimize their website and social media to secure Google page one rankings for those keywords. We undertake this task regardless of whether the objective is to increase enrollment for undergraduate, graduate, online, adult, or international students.

To make a college decision, prospective students and their families move through a logical set of steps. At each stage of their journey, students and families use a unique set of keywords on Google and Bing to search for information.

AWARENESS

Smart colleges know that the student search begins long before they are ready to go to college, so they continuously promote themselves by sharing stories of innovation, and offering summer camps, pre-college programs and community-oriented programs. As teenagers enter high school, students and families start looking for colleges with more intentionality. People who are believers in college education begin thinking about the majors they might want to explore. Taking into consideration their kids strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, they educate themselves by exploring potential degree options and the career paths they open. On the other end of the spectrum, the college skeptics turn to keywords like “is college worth it?”, “is a college degree worth it?”, and “Is getting a degree in <major> worth it?” to look at alternative pathways.

CONSIDERATION

Next college-bound families move to the consideration stage where they look for institutions offering majors and degrees of interest. They start using keywords like “best colleges for <major>”, “starting salaries for <major> majors”, “colleges near me that offer <major>”, “<major> programs in <my region>” and more.

PREFERENCE

Next they reach the decision or preference stage where they look for “<college> reviews”, “<major> program reviews”, “<college> rankings”, “<college> tours”, etc.

PURCHASE (OR DECISION)

Finally, they make their purchase decision, finalizing financial aid terms and making a deposit. During this phase, students and families tend to search for keywords such as “accepted student portal for <college>”, “how to make a deposit at <college>”.

Once they have been accepted, they are subjected to a different set of “pick us, not them” and “melt prevention” strategies.

Understanding student and parent personas and behaviors underpins our marketing approach. We apply this strategic thinking to promote all majors, programs and schools to bolster enrollment. This disciplined approach turns skeptical college administrators into believers and transforms them into legendary leaders.

If you are seeking an higher education marketing agency to grow your enrollment, endowment and reputation, consider partnering with us.

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As a leading website design and development agency for manufacturing, industrial companies come to us to design and develop their marketing and e-commerce websites. Here are responses to some of their frequently asked question (FAQs):

What are the essential features for a successful manufacturing website?

Here are some smart features worth providing for your smart engineering-minded buyers:

  • Product catalog and services – as a quick reference to your offerings.
  • Custom solutions – to facilitate higher-margin, complex sales.
  • Project galleries – to showcase your solutions in action.
  • Markets served – to reduce their risk of buying from you.
  • Customer stories, testimonials and third-party validations – to reduce their risk of buying from you.
  • Auto-complete site search – to give quickest path to your products and services.
  • Faceted search – to show depth and breadth of product (and service) offerings.
  • Configurators – to engage your buyers.
  • Resource center – to provide convenient access to all your brochures and spec sheets.
  • Blog – to convey product and thought leadership.
  • Customer portal – to enable customers to find answers to routine questions about their past purchase history, warrantees, add-ons, and a whole lot more.
  • Multi-language support – to facilitate international and multilingual buyers.

Get more details here.

How can we showcase our products effectively on our manufacturing website? Are there specific strategies for showcasing product specifications and technical details effectively?

Manufacturers experience one of the most complex buying (and selling) process of any industry. Committees of engineers, influencers and buyers all play a role in the purchase. Manufacturers must provide all product details and specs in both imperial and metric systems to serve the US and worldwide customers. These can either be displayed on the website pages or made available via PDF downloads.

Photos and videos of products in action or in complex use is another way to effectively send a visual signal to the buyer that you understand and can service their multi-faceted needs.

Beyond this, manufacturers must make their teams available to talk to prospective buyers to answer their questions, to discuss their design needs or to understand after-sale service. Standard practices also include showing applications of your products and services in customer settings, providing related white papers, and sharing testimonials of satisfied clients.

How can manufacturers integrate e-commerce functionality into their website?

If you offer e-commerce functionality, you must integrate it with your back-end inventory management and payment management systems using EDI. This can be done in real-time or near-real-time with caveats. Know that e-commerce projects require websites to be integrated with your back-end systems and thus cost a lot more and take much longer to implement.

How can we enhance the user experience of our manufacturing website?

Today, more than any other touch point, a website is the digital soul of a manufacturing organization. All roads lead to it. The needs of the prospective and existing buyers must come first. It behooves manufacturers to design and develop a website which is easy to use, exudes expertise and trust, and delights buyers and customers.

Get more details here.

Are there specific design trends or best practices for manufacturing websites?

Here are eight of the most important website design trends for 2024:

  • Amplify purpose.
  • Start with a Keyword Lexicon.
  • Focus on talent attraction.
  • Sell to the new breed of buyers.
  • Use contemporary design sensibility.
  • Build your reputation.
  • Serve global audiences.
  • Measure ROI.

Get more details here.

What role does responsive design play in the success of a manufacturing website?

Responsive websites are the ones that automatically adjust gracefully on smartphones, tablets or desktops on various popular browsers. Google rewards responsive websites with higher rankings.

What role does mobile website design play in the success of a manufacturing website?

Since half of manufacturer website users are likely coming from mobile devices, it is imperative that you design and develop your website with a mobile-first mindset.

How can we create engaging content to attract and inform visitors on our manufacturing website?

In the age of AI, many manufacturers are leaning on AI to generate robotic and inauthentic content. Resist the temptation; instead, lean on your subject matter experts to create authentic content or pair them with your content marketers to write democratized content. They are a wellspring of stories of innovation and clients successes. They are also the source of white papers and best practices that no AI engine can produce.

Should my website have a blog?

Fresh content is the lifeblood of Google and Bing. Infused with keywords, informative blog posts are one of the most effective means of securing Google and Bing page one rankings for long tail keywords. With assistance from your subject matter experts and AI tools, produce high-fidelity web stories, thought-leadership white papers and informative blog posts — and infuse them with keywords. Google and Bing page one rankings will follow.

Should manufacturers use their website to communicate sustainability and environmental efforts?

Since Millennials and Gen-Zers care deeply about corporate values, they are gravitating towards companies that embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, and embody corporate social responsibility (CSR). Both emerging talent and buyers are attracted to brands which live in accordance with their core values. To create resonance, manufacturing websites must go beyond promoting their expertise and celebrate their corporate commitment to sustainability and communities. To appeal to them, manufacturing websites should consider incorporating nature-inspired organic forms, cool digital design, and interactive energy.

How can we optimize our manufacturing website for better search engine rankings?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science and art of securing Google and Bing page one rankings. Here is the recipe we follow to create predictable and enduring rankings:

  • Establish a multi-year SEO plan.
  • Create a Keyword Lexicon.
  • Make your website responsive, secure and fast.
  • Implement on-page and on-site factors.
  • Create content for countries of interest.
  • Optimize for locations and geographies you serve and wish to serve.
  • Build quality inbound links.
  • Manage social signals.
  • Create fresh content to secure and sustain top rankings for important keywords.
  • Measure impact of SEO efforts and ROI.
  • Keep up with Google and Bing algorithm changes.

Get more details here.

What analytic tools can help monitor and improve the performance of a manufacturer website?

Simple tools and processes yield the most effective measures of website performance. If you can learn to effectively use the free Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you’ll have accomplished more than most manufacturing marketers. Review the insights from it every month and adapt your game plan based on your learnings. Cultivate the discipline of putting lead and order source into your CRM system, and analyze what sources are working the best. Your website should be your #1 lead and new business generation tool. If you have more budgets, you can always invest in marketing automation tools like HubSpot or Pardot.

Get more details here.

Beyond these commonly asked questions,, each situation demands a slightly different set of questions. Feel free to share yours with us.

Looking for a professional manufacturing marketing agency? Review our website design expertise and contact us if you wish to join the elite group of manufacturers enjoying business growth with their websites.

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Today, more than any other marketing touch point, a website is the digital soul of an institution. All roads lead to it. As a leading website design agency for colleges and universities, higher education institutions frequently come to us to perform website audit so they can develop a plan to improve it. These are the ten dimensions of our website audit:

1. Brand Audit
First and foremost, we ensure that your brand essence and brand values are infused into the entire website experience. We evaluate consistent application of brand identity, color and typography.

2. User Experience Audit
User experience is important to both human beings and search engine bots.

Great websites are intuitive, easy to use, readable and engender trust. Their persistent navigation and prominent calls-to-action systems put the users in control. The Sitemap (org structure) and Wireframes (page schematics) – not just design and copy – create a logical content hierarchy and make a compelling argument. Balancing logic and emotion, stories and facts, they progressively disclose the information to create brand preference. All this is done in service of knowledge that prospective students are on their personal hero’s journey to realize their life ambitions, and donors on their journey to life of meaningful fulfillment.

The winning user experiences are usually created by heavy lifting by front-end and back-end developers. They hold the tension between these two opposing forces. The prospects are delighted with judicious deployment of photo galleries, carousels, accordions, filters, callouts, related content and more.

We evaluate to ensure your website lives up to these criteria.

Not just buyers, but Google and Bing bots also reward websites with superior user experience, information architecture and page architecture.

3. Content Audit
For each user group or persona, we analyze and determine if the content is using best practices in argument construction, persuasion architecture, influence and delight. We ensure the college elevates itself, tells student and alumni stories, conveys thought leadership.

Since blogs and university magazines are two of the most effective means of securing and lifting Google and Bing page one rankings, we evaluate theirs goals, structure (categories and tags) and their content.

For international students and search engines, we ensure that persuasive, translated copy exists in country-specific languages.

We finally rank your content on scales of clarity, brevity, simplicity, focus and posture.

4. Photography/Video Audit
Because the website is managed by distributed content owners with uneven appreciation of the power of photography as a story-telling and reputation-building tool, iconic photographs, if they exist, often are buried deeper in the site than they should be. The best photographs must be orchestrated in service of storytelling and support argument construction so they too help realize the website goals. After evaluating all this, we determine if additional photoshoots are desirable. Ditto for videos.

5. SEO Audit
Although Google uses over 200 factors to rank websites, they can be grouped into the following six buckets:

  • Technical Factors – We begin by testing site load speed, mobile/desktop performance, and secure certificate. We ensure that all pages are indexed, robots.txt files are present and rational, XML sitemaps and 404 pages are present.
  • On-Page Factors – We evaluate website domain names, sub-domains and URLs to ensure they are rational, descriptive and hierarchical. We validate that meta-data is filled with intelligent copy. We ensure page copy is not only focused and persuasive but is also infused with appropriate keywords. We evaluate the quality of HTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which are instructions to browsers to determine characteristics of web page elements such as text size, position of elements on the page, etc. We test if it meets ADA WCAG 2.2 standards for accessibility compliance for various special-needs audiences.  We size up internal linking. For blogs, we audit their categories, tags and content to reveal areas of improvement.
  • Off-Page Factors – We review conversations taking place on other website and evaluate quality and quantity of inbound links back to your website.
  • Social Factors Audit – We ensure that social sharing buttons and open-graph (OG) tags that facilitate content sharing are omnipresent because they are a Google, Bing and international ranking factor. We evaluate the quantity and quality of social conversations going on about your brand.
  • Location Factors Audit – We ensure that locations signals are embedded for the geographies you serve or wish to serve.

6. Revenue and Conversion Architecture Audit
Since a website is a college’s number one inquiry and application generation tool, we evaluate if it’s efficiently constructed to maximize them. We ensure that users are not only able to inquire, apply and sign up for a visit, but are able to access thought-leadership content.

7. Visual Design Audit

People are inherently very visual. All the hard work of strategy and planning is wasted if the website isn’t beautiful, uncluttered and distinctive. We score your design on a ‘Wow’ scale.

8. Mobile-First Audit
Since half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, we ensure yours operates perfectly on popular browsers on commonly used mobile devices.

9. Business Strategy Audit

No money, no mission. A website should protect your signature programs, and liberate new prosperity by expanding into new markets/segments with new or existing programs. It ought to foster selling highest-value degrees to highest value prospects. We look for all this during our audit.

10. Human Centricity Audit

Great brands always remember that prospects, students, alumni, donors and partners are real people, with real needs, wants, motivations and ambitions. They never forget that they are in the business of making the lives of their stakeholders easier and helping them realize their ambitions. We will evaluate your brand’s language for factors like empathy and humanity.

Armed with the audit, higher education marketers can decide if they should simply streamline their current website or redesign a new one.

If you are seeking an higher education website design agency to grow your enrollment, endowment and reputation, consider partnering with us.

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Today, more than any other marketing touch point, a website is the digital soul of an organization. All roads lead to it. As a leading website design and development agency for manufacturers, industrial companies frequently come to us to perform website audit so they can develop a plan to improve it. These are the ten dimensions of our website audit:

1. Brand Audit
First and foremost, we ensure that your brand essence and brand values are infused into the entire website experience. We evaluate consistent application of brand identity, color and typography.

2. User Experience Audit
User experience is important to both human beings and search engine bots.

Great websites are intuitive, easy to use, readable and engender trust. Their persistent navigation and prominent calls-to-action systems put the buyers in control. The Sitemap (org structure) and Wireframes (page schematics) – not just design and copy – create a logical content hierarchy and make a compelling argument. Balancing logic and emotion, stories and facts, they progressively disclose the information to create brand preference. All this is done in service of knowledge that buyers are mitigating the risk of choosing your brand.

The winning user experiences are usually created by heavy lifting by front-end and back-end developers. They hold the tension between these two opposing forces. The prospective buyers are delighted with judicious deployment of carousels, slideshows, progress bars, accordions, filters, auto-completes and facet searches.

We evaluate to ensure your website lives up to these criteria.

Not just buyers, but Google and Bing bots also reward websites with superior user experience, information architecture and page architecture.

3. Content Audit
For each target buyer group or persona, we analyze and determine if the content is using best practices in argument construction, persuasion architecture, influence and delight. To mitigate buyer’s risk, we ensure the business credentializes itself, tells customer stories, conveys thought leadership and exudes expertise.

Since blogs are one of the most effective means of securing and lifting Google and Bing page one rankings., we evaluate its goal, structure (categories and tags) and its content.

For international audiences and search engines, we ensure that persuasive, translated copy exists in country-specific languages.

We finally rank your content on scales of clarity, brevity, simplicity, focus, posture and salesmanship.

4. Photography/Video Audit
Iconic photography shows the manufacturer’s product in action or in use in complex applications. Because the website is managed by distributed content owners with uneven appreciation of the power of photography as a story-telling and reputation-building tool, iconic photographs, if they exist, often are buried deeper in the site than they should be. The best photographs must be orchestrated in service of storytelling and support argument construction so they too help realize the website goals. After evaluating all this, we determine if additional photoshoots are desirable. Ditto for videos.

5. SEO Audit
Although Google uses over 200 factors to rank websites, they can be grouped into the following six buckets:

  • Technical Factors – We begin by testing site load speed, mobile/desktop performance, and secure certificate. We ensure that all pages are indexed, robots.txt files are present and rational, XML sitemaps and 404 pages are present.
  • On-Page Factors – We evaluate website domain names, sub-domains and URLs to ensure they are rational, descriptive and hierarchical. We validate that meta-data is filled with intelligent copy. We ensure page copy is not only focused and persuasive but is also infused with appropriate keywords. We evaluate the quality of HTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which are instructions to browsers to determine characteristics of web page elements such as text size, position of elements on the page, etc. We test if it meets ADA WCAG 2.2 standards for accessibility compliance for various special-needs audiences.  We size up internal linking. For blogs, we audit their categories, tags and content to reveal areas of improvement.
  • Off-Page Factors – We review conversations taking place on other website and evaluate quality and quantity of inbound links back to your website.
  • Social Factors Audit – We ensure that social sharing buttons and open-graph (OG) tags that facilitate content sharing are omnipresent because they are a Google, Bing and international ranking factor. We evaluate the quantity and quality of social conversations going on about your brand.
  • Location Factors Audit – We ensure that locations signals are embedded for the geographies manufacturer serves or wishes to serve.

6. Revenue and Conversion Architecture Audit
Since a website is a manufacturer’s #1 salesperson, we evaluate if it’s efficiently constructed to maximize lead and e-commerce order generation. We ensure that users are not only able to signing up for newsletters and webinars, but are able to access thought-leadership content behind registration walls. And since websites are a manufacturer’s service extension, we ensure it efficiently steers customers to  after-sales service and knowledge base portals. We evaluate if it serve all channel partners with efficiency and grace.

7. Visual Design Audit

People are inherently very visual. All the hard work of strategy and planning is wasted if the website isn’t beautiful, uncluttered and distinctive. We score your design on a ‘Wow’ scale.

8. Mobile-First Audit
Since half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, we ensure yours operates perfectly on popular browsers on commonly used mobile devices.

9. Business Strategy Audit

A company can neither fulfill its mission nor grow without money. A website should protect your core business, and liberate new prosperity by expanding into new markets/segments with new or existing products. It ought to foster selling higher-margin products and services to strategic buyers while not alienating tactical buyers. We look for all this during our audit.

10. Human Centricity Audit

Too many manufacturers fall into the trap of focusing only on products and technologies. To manage their risk, buyers are also buying people’s expertise and the rational processes they follow.

Armed with the audit, manufacturing and industrial company marketers can decide if they should simply streamline their current website or redesign a new one.

If you are a busy manufacturing company marketer seeking a smart manufacturing marketing agency which can use its expertise to help you join the elite group of manufacturers growing their company’s share of mind, voice and market, please contact us.

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Today, more than any other marketing touch point, a website is the digital soul of an organization. All roads lead to it. As a mission-critical asset, it must be kept current and fresh with an easy-to-use content management system (CMS). Which one should you pick? I hope this post help you answer the question.

The CMS Ecosystem

Generally speaking, the CMS exists in the following setting with the responsive website powered by the CMS, and various website users experiencing it on their favorite devices.

The Desirable CMS Feature Set

A robust CMS system must be:

  • User Friendly – The CMS should be easy to use for both non-technical content administrators and web/technology teams. It should have spell-checkers, content preview, and content rollback features.
  • Customizable – It should be flexible and customizable for standard tasks, but it should also have the ability to extend its capabilities with custom language support.
  • Scalable –  The CMS should be able to handle large amounts of content and accommodate the needs of multiple users and divisions.
  • Accessible – A good CMS system should generate code that supports all users including those with disabilities. They should either offer accessibility checkers or easily integrate with third-party accessibility checkers.
  • Responsive Design Friendly – Because this is both efficient and a ranking factor for Google, it should support the creation of responsive design which automatically adjusts to various viewing devices and browsers.
  • Integration Friendly – Because websites exist in a digital ecosystem, the CMS should be able to integrate with other technology tools and platforms such as social media, CRM systems, event management tools, HR tools, catalog tools, marketing automation systems, analytics packages, and more.
  • SEO Friendly – Because you can only buy what you can find, a website should support mechanisms that facilitate Google rankings: meta-data, social shares, automatic XML sitemap generation, 301-redirects, 404 pages, search bot friendly URLs, robots.txt files and more.
  • Multi-Language Supportive –  If you are serving international markets or multiple ethnicities, your CMS should provide support for multiple languages.
  • Access Controls Outfitted – Standard features must include granular permissions, access controls, audit trails, and roll-backs.
  • Secure –  The CMS should have robust security features beyond basic SSL encryption, and user authentication. It should be regularly updated to address any security vulnerabilities.

Popular CMS Platforms

There are four types of CMS systems: proprietary, cloud-based small-business, open-source or commercial grade. Although there are dozens of options of CMS softwares, we are sharing the most popular ones being used by manufacturers and industrial companies:

WordPress (Open Source)

WordPress comes in a two main flavors: Page Builders and Customizable.

Page Builders enable a manufacturer to build a website rapidly without any technical know-how. However, the website code generated is bloated, not SEO-friendly, not customizable and slower websites. For non-mission-critical websites, many page builders are available including Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder, WP Bakery, Oxygen and Gutenberg.

For more robust websites, WordPress can be used in two configurations: Advanced Custom Fields (ACFs) and Custom Meta Boxes (CMB). Generally speaking CMB offers more flexibility and customizability. These systems are built with LEGO-block-style plugins offered by a vast community of web developers.

If you use WordPress, you’ll need to manage its security patches very pro-actively, not just for the WordPress base software but for all the plugins you decide to deploy.

Drupal (Open Source)

Drupal is an open-source CMS platform built by software developers for software developers. When unlimited power, total flexibility and total customization are paramount, Drupal is a great CMS platform for building your website. Of course you’ll need Drupal programming experts either on your own team or your agency’s team to support you.

To minimize ramp-up time and training costs, smart Drupal shops have created universal page builders. It helps to pick and work with smart shops.

CMS Hub by HubSpot (Cloud Based & Proprietary)

HubSpot’s CMS called “CMS Hub” is really an ecosystem software that is surrounded by add-on inbound marketing, blogging, email marketing, SEO and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. On the surface it’s a drag and drop interface is attractive with pre-built themes and templates, but if you have to customize things, you have to master the HubL scripting language.

Other Cloud Based CMS Platforms

Cloud based CMS platforms like WIX and Squarespace are quite popular with non-technical marketers. Although they are available at an attractive price and are painless at first blush, these systems are bloated, not as customizable and not as SEO friendly. Use them at your own peril. We would not recommend that serious manufacturers use them for mission-critical corporate websites.

Commercial Grade CMS

Although commercial CMS systems are more expensive as compared to proprietary, cloud-based and open source systems, inclusion of all advanced features is a customary practice for commercial CMS software. Commercial CMS systems are ideal for enterprise companies with large number of content creators producing a large amount of content.  Magento, Sitecore, and Cascade are three examples of commercial grade CMS systems.

Choosing the Right CMS For Your Company

Which is the right CMS for your company? It depends on your marketing needs, the number of your content marketers, the size of your organization, the size and depth of your web/IT team, your budget and the quality of your marketing agency relationship. Some guidelines follow.

If you don’t have Web/IT team or if you don’t have a reliable marketing agency partner, stay away from open-source options. Medium to large companies typically do have web/IT teams, but if they are maxed supporting in-house needs, it’s best for you to hire experts and ask them to build and maintain your website so your content teams can focus on using the CMS system to maintain your website.

At the end of the day, a good CMS system should bring you peace of mind. It should work for you rather than the other way around.

Contact us if you are seeking a smart manufacturing web development agency which can help you join the elite group of manufacturers growing their company’s share of mind, voice and market with amazing web experiences.

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Macro forces often drive micro actions. This certainly holds true for manufacturing website design trends for the coming year. Our agency sees three primary forces impacting the manufacturing environment:

  • First, there has been a generational shift from Boomers to Gen-Xers, Millennials, and Gen-Zers. By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be largely comprised of Millennials and Gen-Zers. Not only are they digitally savvy, they care deeply about climate change, sustainability, and corporate values.
  • Second, in-sourcing and bringing manufacturing back to the US is in full swing.  In 2021 and 2022, we saw the passing of three key pieces of legislation: the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Domestic manufacturing is hot again.
  • Third, the era of Industry 4.0 powered by smart factories fitted with AI, robotics, 5G, IoT, data analytics, and cloud computing is here.

These forces are re-shaping the entire manufacturing sector. Since all roads lead back to the corporate website – increasingly recognized as the digital soul of an organization – these macro-economic forces will re-shape manufacturing websites in eight fundamental ways:

1. Purpose First

Since Millennials and Gen-Zers care deeply about corporate values, they are gravitating towards companies that embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, and embody corporate social responsibility (CSR). Both emerging talent and buyers are attracted to brands which live in accordance with their core values. To create resonance, manufacturing websites must go beyond promoting their expertise and celebrate their corporate commitment to sustainability and communities.

2. Keyword Lexicons First

If a manufacturer can’t be found on page one of Google or Bing, their products can’t be bought. Manufacturing website designers must start their projects in collaboration with SEO marketers who’ll research and assemble crucial search phrases in a Keyword Lexicon. The lexicon should inform all aspects of website design including user experience, information architecture, initial website content, and ongoing content upgrades. Keyword categories in the lexicon should include products/services, brand positioning, reputation, decisioning, and location. Keywords must include the variety of phrases used in the buyer journey and the talent recruitment journey. It is imperative for the website designers to use SEO best practices to ensure that manufacturer’s products and services, thought-leadership content as well as job postings can surface on page one of Google and Bing.

3. Talent Attraction First

The war for attracting and retaining Gen-Zer, Millennial and Gen-Xer talent is on. The only way to address talent shortage is for your job postings to be found on Google page one and to reassure prospective employees that you’ll offer training and professional development. Manufacturing websites must optimize all job listings and spotlight the wealth of opportunities available for personal, professional and career development.

4. New Breed of Buyers First

Smart manufacturing marketers realize that not all customers are born equal. New websites are focused on converting both high-margin strategic buyers and the emerging generation of tactical buyers.

5. Contemporary Design Sensibility First

Manufacturers can’t expect young people to buy from a company with a tired, old manufacturing aesthetic. New buyers are increasingly digitally savvy. To appeal to them, manufacturing websites should consider incorporating nature-inspired organic forms, cool digital design, and interactive energy. They need to convey manufacturing expertise backed by thought-leadership and confident modernity.

6. Reputation First

High-fidelity content is the lifeblood of reputable brands. With assistance from subject matter experts and AI tools, manufacturing marketers will produce high-octane web stories, thought-leadership white papers and informative blog posts — and infuse them with keywords to secure Google page one rankings.

7. Globalization First

Since websites are the #1 tool for global sales, website designers are localizing and optimizing content for various regions where manufacturers can secure the highest sales growth. Websites should naturally allow content to be available in other languages of strategic interest.

8. ROI First

Manufacturing website designers know that they will be held accountable for the basic law of business investment: their efforts must generate an ROI. Website ROI measures include both upstream site metrics – such as reduced bounce rates, increase time on site, ever-widening geographic reach, increased Google/Bing page one rankings – and downstream business metrics – such as increased leads, cross-sell rates, renewal rates, after-sale service rates, and overall impact on total revenue.

In 2024, nimble manufacturers will use these eight trends to secure an unfair share of the market and sales growth.

Looking for a professional manufacturing marketing agency? Review our website design expertise and contact us if you wish to join the elite group of manufacturers enjoying business growth with their websites.

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Manufacturing and industrial buyers invest in the inseparable twin SEO and content strategies to secure Google/Bing rankings for three reasons. First, research shows that when suppliers “get found” via organic Google page one results, prospects trust them more. Google page one organic results command over 90% of click share, and generate close to two-thirds of leads. Organic inquiries tend to form long-term relationships with the manufacturers and they tend to melt away at a reduced rate.  Second, leads generated from Google organic rankings outperform paid advertising leads by three-folds. Third, the best prospects prefer to “discover” the suppliers of their choice through “accidental finds” on Google page one and word-of-mouth on social media.

Fresh content is the lifeblood of Google/Bing rankings algorithms. Content can take many shapes: blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, white papers, case studies, news, interactive pieces, new pages and more.

Recall that Google/Bing bots build a knowledge graph of your site content. Bots are doing the same for your ever-awake competitors also. This partially determines where they rank your website for various keywords vis-a-vis your competitors. Fresh content plays four key roles in deepening and expanding your brand’s knowledge graph and improving its rankings:

  • It signals to Google/Bing that your company remains committed to its core expertise.
  • It provides new real estate, renewed relevance and greater depth to the keywords your company is striving to rank for. It provides keyword density
  • It gives your company the opportunity to expand its content and rankings over the broad span of customer journey over the buyer’s decision funnel. Early impressions delivered to prospective buyers during the awareness and consideration phases determine 70 percent of purchase outcomes.
  • It improves your website’s freshness score, a Google/Bing ranking factor.

Because creating content is a labor of love, busy manufacturers and industrial companies outsource content creation to specialized SEO/content agencies.

Too busy to keep up with the content arms race? Review our manufacturing marketing and search engine optimization expertise. Contact us to join the elite group of manufacturers happily ranked in Google/Bing page one and enjoying business growth.

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Websites are the digital soul of manufacturers and industrial companies. Constructed well, they are effective conversion machines for new business development and become their #1 sales tool. In the past 30 years, Elliance has designed and developed more than 150 manufacturing websites. Following are four success stories of our website design and development clients:

1. Underdog Wins: Sophisticated Alloys

Located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, an hour from steel-and-aluminum-famed Pittsburgh, Sophisticated Alloys takes pride in solving the toughest customer challenges, fusing the most unlikely elements to create new custom alloys. We rebuilt their website and started a blog which has given them a decade long Google page one positions for “custom alloy manufacturer”, “specialty alloy manufacturer”, “Simonds alloy manufacturer” and “alloy manufacturer”. This has transformed them into a preferred alloy supplier for many enterprise clients.

The website development project went through the usual process of starting with discovery and strategy development, leading to information architecture and user experience design, followed by website design and copywriting, then front-end and back-end development and culminating in infusing SEO thinking into every phase of the project.

2. Small Giant Leaps: Aerotech

By defying the temptation to be bought by a larger company and insisting on carrying forward the family legacy of innovation, Aerotech became the last independent motion control company standing. We rebuilt a smart, SEO-optimized, catalog-centered website and translated it into other languages opening new global markets and expanding its high-margin custom solutions business. Sales doubled, backlog was created, and the company grew. Founder’s sons are happy they stayed in the game, showing their Dad what they are made of.

Elliance built four unique website features that grew Aerotech’s sales beyond their expectations. First, auto-complete site search for repeat buyers reduced customer services calls. Second, facet-search for each product category helped buyers see the depth and breadth of their product lines, increasing related product sales. Third, high-margin custom solutions were elevated to the primary navigation right next to the catalog, growing systems sales. Finally, the blog was transformed into a Google bot magnet to secure Google page one rankings.

3. Diamond in the Rough Gets Polished: Kopp Glass

Sometimes legacy isn’t enough to move into the future. We repositioned this specialty glass manufacturer as “the leading high performance glass manufacturer” and rebuilt their website, humanizing their craftsmanship and amplifying everything that goes into their high-margin custom design services. They found themselves on Google page one for “high performance glass manufacturer” and have never looked back.

In addition to following the usual website design and development process, Elliance crafted a content governance guide that recommended what content should be updated by various team members to ensure the website remained fresh and current.

4. Prodigal Returns: Miller Welding

Grandpa Miller founded it, Pa Miller runs it, Son Miller returns to the family business to run this precious contract manufacturer. From the looks of its old website, no one would even guess that this was a giant manufacturer with giant machinery producing giant assemblies with zero defects. Elliance remedied that with a high-fidelity website and duly put it in Google page one for contract manufacturing. Large European auto and solar panel manufacturers came knocking and signed multi-year contracts bringing prosperity to the company and the rural area it operates in. Happiness prevails.

Beyond the standard website design process, Elliance felt compelled to do a photoshoot to capture the magnitude of the giant robots, enormous machines and craftsmen at work. Our design illustrator custom-designed icons that represented all of Miller’s specialties. All together, the new design made them look like a leader in their space.

Contact us if you are too busy and seeking a smart manufacturing marketing agency which can help you join the elite group of manufacturers and industrial companies growing their company’s share of mind, voice and market using website design and web development services.

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the greatest equalizer amongst manufacturing marketing tactics. Using SEO smarts, underdogs become wonder dogs and runners become sprinters. Following are five success stories of our SEO clients:

1. Underdog Wins: Sophisticated Alloys

Located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, an hour from steel-and-aluminum-famed Pittsburgh, Sophisticated Alloys takes pride in solving the toughest customer challenges, fusing the most unlikely elements to create new custom alloys. We rebuilt their website and started a blog which has given them a decade long Google page one positions for “custom alloy manufacturer”, “specialty alloy manufacturer”, “Simonds alloy manufacturer” and “alloy manufacturer”. This has transformed them into a preferred alloy supplier for many enterprise clients.

2. Small Giant Leaps: Aerotech

By defying the temptation to be bought by a larger company and insisting on carrying forward the family legacy of innovation, Aerotech became the last independent motion control company standing. We rebuilt a smart, SEO-optimized, catalog-centered website and translated it into other languages opening new global markets and expanding its high-margin custom solutions business. Sales doubled, backlog was created, and the company grew. Founder’s sons are happy they stayed in the game, showing their Dad what they are made of.

3. Diamond in the Rough Gets Polished: Kopp Glass

Sometimes legacy isn’t enough to move into the future. We repositioned this specialty glass manufacturer as “the leading high performance glass manufacturer” and rebuilt their website, humanizing their craftsmanship and amplifying everything that goes into their high-margin custom design services. They found themselves on Google page one for “high performance glass manufacturer” and have never looked back.

4. Prodigal Returns: Miller Welding

Grandpa Miller founded it, Pa Miller runs it, Son Miller returns to the family business to run this precious contract manufacturer. From the looks of its old website, no one would even guess that this was a giant manufacturer with giant machinery producing giant assemblies with zero defects. Elliance remedied that with a high-fidelity website and duly put it in Google page one for contract manufacturing. Large European auto and solar panel manufacturers came knocking and signed multi-year contracts bringing prosperity to the company and the rural area it operates in. Happiness prevails.

5. Even Elephants Can Learn to Dance: ATI

When this enterprise giant wished to open global markets in BRIC countries for all its subsidiaries, it turned to Elliance. We not only optimized all their website pages, but also thousands of its product SKU’s so they would surface on Google page one across the nation and across the globe, outsmarting other global players. Greater prosperity followed.

Contact us if you are too busy and seeking a smart manufacturing marketing agency which can help you join the elite group of manufacturers and industrial companies growing their company’s share of mind, voice and market using search engine optimization.

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