There is of course no single answer to where industrial website redesigns fail to deliver the goods, but it’s certainly true that many do disappoint. From a lack of improvement in the search engine rankings to a new graphical image that doesn’t tie in with the perception of the business, all sorts of things can go wrong. In my experience, it’s usually down to everything being dumped on a single member of staff, and others (who will be critical after the event) abdicating their own responsibilities.
It’s quite common for a redesign to be just a restyling. Nothing wrong with that, but the expectations placed on a ‘paint job’ need to be realistic. If better conversion rates or an increase in traffic are wanted, it’s the inner workings that need to be upgraded.
A frequent problem is when – during the new website specification process – companies decide that the content on the site is already adequate (usually because someone declares: “engineers don’t want to read stuff, they just want data sheets”). If a redesign can’t get all the content gaps filled in, when is that going to happen? Or it may be acknowledged that more content is needed on the site, but that the company knows the subject best, and so external content production resources are an unnecessary cost. Unfortunately none of the experts in the company are then prepared to actually do this content preparation, and the redesigned website ends up as basically the old one with a couple of new articles added by the marketing manager.
Content pulls prospects in and then engages them. It doesn’t have to just be articles – it can be CAD files, videos, all sorts of things. But treating a website like a catalogue and redesigning it like publishing an updated version is not going to meet the expectations that the cost and effort might lead people to expect.