A website is like the digital face of a company so of course your company should have internal control over it, right? Well if you’ve ever tried building a website from scratch with limited experience, you’d know it’s a lot tougher than it seems.
This is our new website. If you’ve used it before, it’s great to see you again, and if this is your first time, well, take a look around and we hope to have you back soon!
If you aren’t familiar with our old site, this is what it looked like:
Before we dive into the project, we want to talk about what our new website means to us on a larger scale (we’ll keep it brief, promise).
This was a huge project. It took us around 2 months to plan, execute and complete and we couldn’t be happier with the results. The decision to update the website began with a much more involved conversation about who we are as a company and the decision went deeper than simply wanting to update our look. In defining who we are and what it means to work for Chrima (we’ll talk about this in more detail in some future posts) we came up with a few major points that ultimately pushed the website update to the top of our priority list.
Why we did it
1. Complete internal control over our site.
This seems like a no brainer doesn’t it? A website is like the digital face of a company so of course you should have internal control, right? Well if you’ve ever tried building a website from scratch with limited experience, especially around 2012 when we launched our old site, you’d know it’s a lot tougher than it seems.
This led us to do what most did at the time and still do today, we hired a designer/developer. We were thrilled with the design, it ranked well for SEO, and gave us the digital presence we needed at the time. But that was 2012; and since then, not much had changed. In fact, editing, adding or removing anything was somewhat cumbersome because requests for changes passed through 3 different parties before they were made; meaning updates didn’t happen as often as they should have. We needed that to change.
With the development tool we used for this project, we regained control over everything about the site. We also decided to start fresh with a completely revamped style, and in-housed the design and development process. Things like page structure, images (which are almost entirely shot by an employee that loves photography), content, and colour schemes are all controlled by us. In other words, this gives us the limitless freedom to adjust our digital face anytime we want, as we evolve.
2. Convey our messages more effectively with a blog.
Through some of our discussions defining ourselves as a company, we devised plenty of ideas and opinions about a wide array of topics. Some relating to the manufacturing industry and metal fabrication, and many completely off topic; but interesting nonetheless. In fact, we talked about so many ideas that it became challenging to pick which deserved space on our site and which should be left off.
While a few of those ideas should never see the light of day, many that were left off for space saving reasons do; and that’s why we will be regularly maintaining a blog. Our blog is going to be a space for us to share our opinions and experiences, engage others inside and outside of the industry and hopefully learn from our ever-expanding network. Yes, we know that lots companies have blogs nowadays, but we want to treat ours differently and have you, the readers, hold us accountable to our blog commandments.
Blog commandment 1: Don’t be boring.
Blog commandment 2: Actually use the blog.
Blog commandment 3: Learn.
3. Website traffic analytics.
Moving towards Industry 4.0 principles means being data-driven in our operations, but we believe that idea stretches beyond just operational data and into other areas of our business; including website traffic analytics. Connecting our new website to was a high priority and we’ve accomplished that goal. Going forward we will be using the insights about page traffic and search engine optimization to shape future iterations of our website, blog content, page structures etc…
We could talk for hours about the power of data and how it will inevitably shape our business but maybe we’ll save that for future blog posts. To pare you the geeking-out over data across all the different possible areas of manufacturing (for now) we’ll leave it at this. Data has the ability to drive all kinds of decisions and adding data analytics to our website was a logical next step in our growth. As an example of how we will use it, if we see we're getting more feedback on blog posts that contain information about machines than any others, we might consider writing more about machines.
Again, very brief example but I'm really trying hard to keep this short(ish).
4. User experience
Arguably most importantly, we wanted to design our new website in such a way that made finding information, contacting us, and navigating easier. Our old site did that to a certain degree but we’re a very different company now than we were when that version of the site was written. Defining ourselves as an innovative company while our 5-year-old site hadn’t seen many updates seemed like it didn’t represent us the way it should.
It was time for a change.
We’re seeing countless examples across many different industries of companies taking greater care in designing their user experiences. Whether it’s a website, an app, a physical product or something beyond, we design things for those who use them, so why not let those who use them help shape how they're designed.
What we used to design our new website:
We've linked a quick video about their services below but to keep it brief, it’s a visual website designer with hundreds of free and purchasable templates. They also have fantastic video tutorials, courses and forums to help you get through your most obscure challenges.
So a long winded first blog post with a live site that (hopefully) meets all of our blog commandments. Please let us know what you think, if you have any questions, recommendations for future posts or just want to chat!