As a copywriter, I’ve worked with several engineering firms to help them create content for their website. After finally acknowledging that they actually should have a website (and yes, you should!), the stalling point for my clients had been on actually putting words together for the pages. The website content just kept getting bumped to the bottom of the too hard basket.
I’m not an expert on engineering, but I do have a fair idea about what works for creating a successful website to promote your business. If you want to ensure your website is working hard to bring in leads and strengthen your brand, then here’s my advice on the eight essential features you should include on your engineering website:
Feature 1. Images that transcend words
Invest in high quality images and photographs, relevant to the on-page content. It’s worth going to the effort to get some professional shots taken, rather than simply purchasing generic stock images that don’t exactly reflect your brand or services.
- Get some snaps of your projects at various stages of completion, as well as your finished marvels.
- Give it a human touch and include photos of your team, not just headshots but also working on the shop floor or out in the field.
- Try to avoid animations or flash presentations as it makes your site slow to load.
- If you have an online store or advertise products through your site, high-definition images are a must to push engagement and sales.
- Remember to include images with all your articles or blog posts - articles with images get 94% more total views (Skyward).
- If you’re on a budget, try free stock image websites like:
Don’t over-do it - keep other design elements simple if you are including a lot of imagery
Feature 2. Present your portfolio
A selection of recent case studies that demonstrate the scope of your firm’s capabilities is critical for an engineer’s website.
Toot toot! Yes, that’s the sound of you honking your own horn. Your customers want to see evidence of your problem solving abilities, your technical skills and your project management expertise, and this is your chance to show off. Use this opportunity to show how awesome you are at getting the job done. If you’ve got some big-name clients you can profile then that will help ramp up your credibility; try and get some glowing testimonials from them too.
I recommend taking a look at how this US-based engineering firm, E. L Robinson Engineering, has presented their project portfolio. You can click through to each project to see a description of the job and a series of photos throughout the project duration.
A powerful way to demonstrate the scope of your projects is through video case studies. Capture the process of a project on film and create a short clip that takes viewers through from start to completion. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for how you can collect customer stories and create case studies that attract great clients here.
Feature 3. Something for free
Including free take-away content on your website should be a big part of your online marketing strategy. Here’s a few reasons why:
- It boosts your search engine ranking when you regularly update your website with fresh, relevant content full of keywords.
- Your content will be shared, putting your business in front of a wider audience.
- It builds credibility around your brand and establishes you as an authority in your industry.
- Your clients will appreciate the added value you provide them, it will keep them coming back to your website, and keep you top of mind.
- Nothing is ever really for free - ask visitors to submit their email address or contact details in return for your content and you’ll grow a database of potential leads.
Including fresh content on your site might sound like an effort - but it doesn’t have to be. Your giveaway content can can include:
- White papers
- Data sheets
- Informative blog posts
- How-to content
I’ve put together a whole lot more info about including technical content on your engineering firm’s website for you to check out if you want some more tips.
Feature 4. Get personal
Your ‘About Us’ page is likely going to be the second most visited page on your website. Visitors are looking at your site because they know they need your services - but it’s up to you to convince them why you’re the right team for the job. A big part of this is ensuring you create a connection with your potential client from the get-go.
Remember, you are not just a brand, you are a team of people, and it’s important to use your team page to convey a bit about the personality behind the business. In saying that, it’s still important to keep it professional and succinct.
Include the usual information about your background and expertise, but include something personal that readers will connect to. Have a look at the profiles on the WorkflowMax team page to see how we’ve done it, or think about including some of the following ideas in your profile:
- Your most interesting projects / accomplishments
- What you love most about your job
- Why you followed this career path
- Your interests outside of work
- What or who motivates you
- Who do you love to work with
Feature 5. Be obvious
You need to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to contact you to find out more. That’s the whole point of your website, right?
So, what do you want them to do? Call you? Email? Sign up for your blog?
- Include your contact details - a phone number, email address or enquiry submission form - as a footer on every page of your site, as well as a dedicated ‘Contact’ page.
- Include your physical address, and an interactive map if appropriate. Even if you don’t actually want visitors to your site, include a city or area, so potential clients don’t give you a call from the other side of the world.
- If you’re using an email address or contact form, make sure emails are directed to an inbox that is regularly checked so you can acknowledge contact and follow up on leads as soon as possible.
- If you’d like visitors to take another action, such as sign up for your blog updates or company newsletter, then include this as a call to action on your pages - you could position this in the banner at the top of your page or on the side bar.
- If you want to get clever, you can use inbound call tracking software that helps you identify the source of your telephone leads.
Feature 6. Fame by association
If you are a member of a national or international engineering association, make sure you include the logo clearly on on your website in a prominent position. As a member, you are recognised as a credible service provider who operates to the standards of the industry association.
Provide a link to the association website from the logo, and ask them to return the favour by linking back to your site if they have a directory page.
Feature 7. Present the process
Provide a clear outline of the process of engagement to potential customers. What are the first steps? What information will they need to provide? Are they ready to engage your services? What should they do now?
Take a look at how this Auckland-based civil and structural engineering firm has outlined their process. Potential customers are able to clearly identify where abouts they are in the process, or what the next steps will be for them. Readers will be more inclined the pick up the phone if they already have an understanding of how you are going to go about things.
Feature 8. Put yourself on the map
Have you worked on projects all around the country, or even overseas? A cool way to demonstrate that you're not limited by geography when it comes to pitching for projects is to include a map that shows the diverse locations of your customers. Give readers the option to click on a location to read more about that particular project, or link through to your project portfolio pages.
First impressions are everything, so what message do you want to send to potential leads? Professional or budget? Clear or confused? Modern or naff? The way you present your website is going to send an instant message about your brand, and ultimately the quality of your services.
So, what updates are you going to make to your site? Do you have any more tips to add for essential features of an engineering website?
Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net