Manufacturing websites caught in the Made in Britain Twitter net: 22 April 2021

EVERY Thursday at 1pm Made in Britain hosts #madeinbritainhour on Twitter. During that hour Made in Britain asks questions of its 21,000 followers and the results are fascinating. Previously this information was enjoyed by the audience at the time and then left to drift away in the Twittersphere, rarely read again. So, we have decided to capture some of the best comments and re-present them for a new audience and easy reference. Some of the responses have been edited but most have been left in their casual Twitter style.

This week we look at manufacturing websites.

Question one: What are the common mistakes/user annoyances with websites?

Response: A rookie error I've seen is where sites use fonts that make the title appear 'clickable' or a site that has links that don't work! Many sites I've also seen are optimised for the first-generation PCs (very small square website). Trying to click links, like social media icons but being redirected back to their website ... soul destroyer. 

Response: The classic case of the # being in the link field and the "developer" forgetting to put the link there

Response: Exactly

Response: The last Chapter of my book is entitled Testing Testing Testing. 

Made in Britain: Testing is often skipped?

Response: Guess we probably should go back to basics and look at who built the website, a lot of DIYers out there

Response: Agreed, I think there needs to constant checks over the website to spot mistakes, it's not too bad when you have an in house website developer, can be a pain waiting for it to be corrected depending on how good / bad the agency if you outsourced it

Response: I've heard agencies described as being "keen to build" and "less keen to update" - earn more for a build

Response: It's a really handy skill in fairness, it would be great to see if there are any recommended courses in the field

Response: Slow loading, poor layout meaning difficulty in finding what you actually want, broken links, out of date information, misinformation, having to go through a complete process to obtain info/products only to fall at the last stage due to a site malfunction, so many things!

Made in Britain: How often does this happen to you and what do you think of the company when it does? 

Response: To be fair it doesn't happen that often but when it does it tarnishes my view of them to the point where i'll look & take my custom elsewhere.

Response: Not only you. many a company has lost opportunities because they get a website than abandon it. 

Response: That's a really good point about having to jump through hoops to get information, isn't that what websites are there for?

Response: You'd think so wouldn't you. Many time I have had to fill out forms etc as a customer only to be 'told' sorry we don't deliver to your area, or get informed after filling out lots of personal information that a part is out of stock etc. Annoying doesn't even come close!

Response: Creating a site that is according to their preferences rather than a site designed for a specific purpose, ie entice visitors to stay on the site, respond to a call to action, download material or move to a sale. Layout, brand, navigation, links, seo .....

Made in Britain: Lack of understanding of the user/customer?

Response: Definitely. you cannot start building a website until you know who you are targeting and what you want them to do on the site. A good site is built around a customer experience and journey

Response: Before contracting a web builder, study your customers. Understand who they are, what they are buying and what they want. Then develop the design brief to meet the customer’s needs. They are the ones who will be using the website

Response: Not being disability friendly, multiple pop-ups, broken links, long-form fields, not optimised for mobile or tablet...the list goes on

Made in Britain: Don't pop-ups feature in the top 5 most hated things on websites?

Response: Most probably!

Response: Too much information on, and too many links off the homepage is a bug bear of mine. Any new visits to the website will struggle to navigate if they get information overload upon arrival. 

Response: Anyone else find news sites annoying when they let you read the first sentence but then block the rest unless you "sign up for your 3 free articles"?  

Response: Yes

Response: I'm so glad I'm not the only one. They pull me in with an interesting title and then it's like I'm being digitally pranked

Response: Clickbait... even the BBC do it

Made in Britain: Would you pay to read it though? It is their business model... content is their product.

Response: Not really no, especially if it's news. If it's educational material that will open up access to let's say a course, then the likelihood would be yes. Hootsuite training for example is something we paid for

Response: wonder what % of people who hit these actually bother to register to read more? <10%?

Response: Less

Response: It's got to be, surely? Some sites you can get round this by copy and pasting said URL into a Google incognito tab. Other's have programmers who have developed their site to prevent even that though

Response: I never do it, I just go back to Google and find the info elsewhere. What about everyone else?

Response: Yup, me too ! Go and find another site

Response: I think sites not working properly on mobile devices is unacceptable in 2021. I personally find pop up banners really annoying too. 

Response: Absolutely! Very good point - having a website that loads and formats properly on a mobile device is crucial. It's worth investing a bit of money in to ensuring this is done properly. I don't understand much about html so we rely on an outside source to help.

Response: It is unacceptable, I agree, however there are many sites that just don't work on mobiles. It is a shame because a lot of research/surfing is done by people on their mobile devices

Response: Not necessarily. To check it is important to look at the traffic data to your website. See how many are looking at it and what device they are using. This will indicate the % and give a clue of customer behaviour. 

Response: Not all B2B buyers do work on their mobile. Many keep it to the confines of their office PC. Check your website traffic data to get an idea

Response: Links which either don’t work or don’t lead to their intended destination are a pain! It’s important to make sure links and pages are kept active and updated to avoid user frustration.

Made in Britain: Maintenance is something that is often overlooked. How much does it cost to build a website? How much does it cost to maintain?

Response: Definitely. How long is a piece of string?! Is it professionally made and run, on which platform, etc. It can be anywhere from £200 to £2000 to build with the average said to be around £600 - before maintenance costs. But personally a seamless website is priceless.

Response: Pop ups and adverts - Animated welcome pages – rotating carousels - Slow loading - Hard to find contact details. - Too much, too little information - Difficult to navigate. - Register to get prices . Sites should also be updated. What worked five years ago when you first built the site is probably clunky for today's technology. Think of how and where your customers will view the site.

Response: Great list Nigel! Perhaps having too many stock images on a landing page is a big turn-off too?

Response: Don't use stock images or ones that you find online. Take your own and you avoid many of the duplication and copywrite issues. The website is about your company so use your company images.

Response: Another bug bear of mine is sites that go live with latin/space filler body copy that then never gets updated/replaced or blank images boxes. If the site isn't updated it tends to knock my confidence in the company...

Response: Lorem ipsum text is a scrambled version of a passage in classical Latin derived from the Marcus Tullius Cicero's treatise on ethics. Not a lot of people know that! 

Response: Sites should also be updated. What worked five years ago when you first built the site is probably clunky for today's technology. Think of how and where your customers will view the site.

Made in Britain: Seen lots of great answers so far from but I don't think anyone has mentioned when websites - particularly on mobile - are unscroll-able and you're stuck at the top of the page! 

Response: Scrolling is an issue in two ways - one when you can't do it and one when the pages are short and you have to keep clicking next. Websites have come to be more scrollable over the last few years

Response: Back 10 years ago it was keep everything above the fold so "No Scrolling" Today with mobile scrolling has become part of the actions of accessing a website. Technology - the mobile- has changed the way we behave. 

Response: There are many templates that are well designed. You don't want too many clicks to get to your destination

Made in Britain: The information needs to be within a couple of clicks?

Response: Always need to be reviewing your customer's journey to ensure vital info is never too many clicks away!

Response: Mobility is most important and sites must be response. Also accessible for those that cannot read or access the site comfortably. Let us not forget the seo which should be built into the site, with headers, tags, alt text on images....

Response: taking too much time for info to load, or information that you have to go through 3 or 4 clicks to get to

Response: An immediate pop-up asking to complete a survey before you have even seen the site

Response: Poor understanding of the customer journey and Customer experience

Response: The biggest one we find is the join / get free ...... otherwise you just cant get past the "digital gatekeeper" pop up 

Response: Putting the customer off before they get to you... Good call... Not 

Response: It is like being invited to get the door slammed in your face...not nice.

Response: Forms on websites that just don’t work on mobiles. We’re all mobile!

Response: Also tables on mobiles, tables with columns work on desktops but not so well on mobile devices. A form with a table gets even worse

Response: No we are not! 40% of people in the UK do not have mobile phones or smart phones. Many are returning to text and talk. 5.3 million people in the UK have not used the internet.

Response: It does depend on the target market...and whether b2b or b2c. some countries have better mobile connectivity then we do

Response: No SSL and no physical address

Made in Britain: Isn't there a law saying that websites should have a physical address on them if it is a company one?

Response: Yes but it is astonishing how many don't display one

Made in Britain: Who actually polices/regulates it?

Response: Not sure now but if you sell goods or services on your website the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 dictate that you must provide your “full geographic address”

Response: A big dilemma we often have is whether to put global distributor contact details on the website. Most of our manufacturing clients prioritise their clients finding them v their competitors poaching their distributors. What do you think?

Response: It does depend on the strength of the relationships and the agreements..

Response: I agree. But say you have a brand new distributor in a brand new market... not easy! Agreements are harder to enforce overseas, too... We have this conversation from time to time with our clients (they all have different and equally justifiable views on this!).

Response: I agree, this is a tough one. it is also very current as more manufacturers go direct to consumer while still building their distributors

Response: We do need to also mention site security...there are a lot of hackers out there...I am just working with a client securing a site and the number of daily attacks is enough to make your eyes water

Response: Always like the way some "security providers" show their dashboard of number of worldwide attacks per day. Then you also see the stats on attempted hacks on your own websites.

Response: Yes, the number of attacks have increased a lot in these past few months.

Question two: Should businesses make their website available in different languages? How do you do that?

Response: Don't use Google translate!

Response: Agreed with @muggi_moments don't use google translate, there have been some funny horror stories published online with businesses using google translate to make their websites available to other languages

Response: Yes, especially if you have customers in different countries, there are some auto translators online but they don’t do that well of a good job of translating! 

Made in Britain: Does this need more than translate? We've seen the term transcreation which is probably more important?

Response: It does. If you are serious about being in the market place. Think about some of the weird translations into English we have seen from Asian/Indian or any other country where it English is not a native language and who used google translate for their product descriptions, etc.

Response: If you have a fixed limited budget, then it's better to think whether the website translation is the first translation you need to invest in. Sometimes, for example to find distributors and get started in a market, translating a brochure is enough.

Response: Yes, this links back to my comment about using a qualified translator. After all, you are typically translating 'ideas' not just 'words'...

Response: Provided that it isn't done with an automatic translation tool, it can certainly help with extending your company's reach. Like most digital endeavours, it all depends on the audience.

Response: It all depends on the value of the destination market.

Response: Very true

Response: Google has the ability to 'translate' pages, but it is not always accurate. If you are looking to have your website available in different languages, it needs to be done properly with a translator & this incurs a cost. Depends on audience more than anything.

Response: I think that depends on your export strategy. Websites are expensive to translate, you need to evaluate what languages to translate into and when. With limited SME budgets, it might not be the very first thing you need to invest on, IMHO.

Response: There are alternatives to a full translation/transcreation and that is to have a specific page for some languages to give an overview of the offering

Response: True! Just make sure that a specific page is easy to find. Navigation is key

Response: Navigation is a big issue on so many websites anyway. There's also the issue that companies feel the need to put TOO much info on, makes them feel safe. Often it hides the things the customer wants to find quickly.

Response: Definitely and they should be translated using transcreated text not google text. That will take cultural nuances into consideration.

Response: As has already been said, ideally you need to use a proper translation service as most free online ones are dodgy at best! You certainly need to consider this if you have (or want) a global reach.

Response: Not all translation agencies have the skill sets to translate websites and optimise them. I have trained a number so DM me if you want a list.

Response: I wrote about getting websites translated into Spanish when targeting Latin America very recently, hope that helps: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/we-dont-speak-spanish-down-to-earth-advice-smes-latin-gabriela/

Response: Where possible yes -From our perspective certain technical and regulatory information doesnt always translate accurately with Google translate

Response: Is your website available in multiple languages?

Response: We have a Chinese website

Response: Not yet

Made in Britain: It's interesting how many British companies don't. I've heard it more and more recently that "experts" are suggesting companies do it.

Response: Adrian I have been working with Translation companies, training on this very subject for 10 years. It is alarming the number of companies that think Google can deal with it, especially when dealing with specialist concepts

Response: Absolutely Nigel, we have customers that have taken brochures to overseas fairs / exhibitions with proper translation and have had a good response whereas the “quick translation” has not had much of an impact ! 

Response: I agree. I speak other languages and actually am a brand guardian for translations for a client which I thoroughly enjoy, having helped to set the tone of voice for that language. We use native speakers and sometimes spend time deliberating on the terms used

Response: To do it well it's costly. At the moment we couldn't justify it as most of our customers are based in the UK and Ireland, but we would definitely consider it when prioritising international growth

Made in Britain: Do you think speaking English makes it easier and less important to have multi languages? You look at European websites that have multiple languages because they have to.

Response: Yes

Response: In the UK someone who speaks more than one languages is called multilingual. In Europe the same person is called a receptionist, waiter, guide, ...

Response: If exporting is part of your business goals/strategy, then most definitely… YES

Response: It's very complex having a multilingual site & it takes a lot of extra effort. What languages do you support?, website content is always being updated so you'll need to keep translating the website which itself can be a minefield as you need to understand expressions & phrases.

Response: This is a top list you need strategy. New website hosted in country. Transcreate the content to match the target countries cultural and linguistic norms. Get specialist translation company. Have someone who speaks language

Question three: How important/useful is a sign up for a newsletter feature on a website? Do people sign up? 

Response: It is a great way to build a GDPR-list of customers who actually want news etc from you. As long as you then don't spam them....

Response: Building a strong email list is vital for any business - whether you are in e-commerce or B2B. It encourages repeat customers, helps get the word out there, and can help you in future with new product launches and similar activities. Incentivising sign-ups is a must too. It's so easy to offer a free eBook or discount code in return for a sign-up - and this will vastly increase the volume of your email campaigns.

Response: From a personal standpoint, I've never signed up to a newsletter. As a company we have signed up to the Made in Britain newsletter for example, They can be useful if people engage with them

Made in Britain: Any particular reason why you don't sign up? Definitely interesting to hear and might help someone with their recruitment strategy!

Response: because I hate being inundated with emails, especially spam which is a pain to clear I often only check my emails if it's something I deem important too i.e. correspondence, receipts, event tickets etc.

Response: That makes perfect sense! I often find myself unsubscribing from lists I didn't realise I had joined...

Response: Another annoyance I find when signing up to something is I suddenly have 50 million scam emails appear (I filled up by 'block' list)

Response: The statistics surrounding email marketing are staggering. This makes it a vital tool within any marketing toolkit providing that GDPR policies are followed. The power of a regularly maintained mailing list should never be underestimated.

Response: We've found that people do regularly sign-up. It offers us a more targeted audience, helps to increase brand awareness especially sending the emails consistently to build brand value. It provides an opportunity to share and gives us reporting metrics.

Response: How many people open newsletters - thats one of the big questions. Open rates of 20-25% are often quoted but is that realistic? 

Response: Most recently, we've seen figures of around 7% 

Response: Our newsletter open rates are around 40-45%, so given this, we have continued to include relatively regular newsletters in our marketing to update subscribers on our company and industry news. 

Made in Britain: That is a great response and shows you have a very engaged mailing list. Well done.

Response: We have a few different mailing lists, some campaigns with open rates as low as 7% or as high as 65%. Our last standard newsletter had a 28% open rate, so, 20-25% seems realistic. 

Response: Anomalies within data are to be expected. The transformative approach would be to figure out what does and doesn't work for your particular audience and adjust the approach accordingly.

Made in Britain: That's very impressive. With that in mind, how does the click-through rate compare? (If you're happy to divulge that information!)

Response: Sign-up forms offering 10% off the first order seem to be a very common feature on websites now, and from personal experience, I can say they work! I've signed up for lots of mailing lists this way

Response: These do work well for certain manufacturers/businesses. Wonder how effective sign-ups would be for different sectors - e.g. heavy industries etc

Response: E-news lists are only valuable if open rates remain good. This can be monitored and managed so you get to see what content attracts interest and the best time of day/evening to send them. I've always found personalisation helps too.

Response: Yes personalisation is an excellent tool and helps to retain interest as well.

Response: It's useful to get a list of interested parties (GDPR allowing) BUT you have to send out informative & useful items in your newsletter, make sure not to spam people with your output. A quality informative newsletter every qtr allows people to see what you're doing

Response: Newsletter sign ups gets you customers that really are interested rather than anyone and everyone

Response: Then it also raises the question about how much news you have, what is relevant and how often you put it out? 

Response: It is a full time job for many just writing and creating the content. There are more effective ways of getting engagement

Question four: Which techniques can increase traffic to your website other than SEO and PPC?

Response: Reciprocal links / affiliate partners / social posts directing to specific landing pages

Response: Do you find a good correlation between social posts and webpage hits?

Response: We certainly do when we promote news articles and blogs through our SM channels

Response: Exactly what was discussed here a few weeks ago - don't do sell sell sell, provide info etc

Response: Blogs, social media, reciprocal links as per @Addmaster  joining forums and commenting on forums / blogs.

Made in Britain: Joining forums? Who does that within your companies? Marketing team? Tech/prodn people?

Response: Generally the marketing department at the moment but would be great to get our technical / production people involved!

Response: Those guys are often able to access different forums and talk about more technical stuff. That's a serious value add and puts a business in a good position.

Response: Reciprocal links from partner websites is a good endorsement for your company and can generate warm leads

Made in Britain: Any advice as to how to develop reciprocal links?

Response: It's something that we have negotiated through our network and they are shared with those we trust - for example we work with a number of #intellectualproperty specialists. The reciprocal links are like a digital extension to our contacts list benefit us all.

Response: Paid search / Ads - Social Media Channels i.e. LinkedIn Articles with links - Guest Blogging - Referral traffic - MiB Member pages / News - Linking articles internally within your website - Email Marketing - Ensuring your site is responsive, fast - Create a community

Response: Let us add to that good content, channel strategy working with the website, webinars, speaker events...

Response: As @Addmaster said really. Social media promos, informative blog posts shared across SM, reciprocal links, promos aimed at specific landing pages etc.

Response: The phrase 'Content is king' comes to mind. Content marketing is so often underlooked within audience building.

Response: I always think content is the hardest job of all, and more so when you have to create consistent content. Ideas soon run out..

Join Made in Britain on Twitter at 1pm every Thursday for #madeinbritainhour. We engage with everybody, members and non-members alike (some of whom become members as a result). Hopefully, see you there.

By Made in Britain 1 week ago | Made in Britain news

More News

Share this page: