Knowing your competition is the first step to leveling up your website and increasing organic traffic. After all, to attract and keep readers, you need keyword-optimized content on topics they care about. So, having a look at the top-performing websites in the manufacturing industry will certainly prove beneficial.
Most people know that looking at a competitor's website is one of the most powerful "shortcuts" when it comes to identifying the type of content you need to create to outrank them, but you can't look at just any website. In the manufacturing space, in particular, countless websites are outdated or simply lack authority, and copying their moves isn't going to get you very far.
To help you build your brand, let's take a look at some of the top-performing manufacturing websites by traffic and delve into what exactly they're publishing to drive organic traffic.
What Makes a Great Manufacturing Website?
Before we review each of these top websites individually, it's worth asking: What makes a great manufacturing website? In this list, we'll be focusing on the content these sites are offering, but there are countless elements that go beyond what you're publishing. If you want to increase organic traffic, you need to make sure that all of your bases are covered.
In the world of manufacturing and across the web, a "great" website isn't just defined by its content but by its overall design and the experience it offers to readers. So, before you even think about changing up your content plan or publishing more often, make sure you have these basics figured out:
- The website should load quickly. A slow page load speed will harm your rankings and deter visitors from staying on or returning to your website. Use caching tools, keep image files compressed, and clean up your site's code to increase load speed.
- The design should be modern and clean. Readers these days have high expectations when it comes to how a website looks. Luckily, it's easier than ever to improve the visual appeal of your site, thanks to drag-and-drop buildings. So, if your website feels like it's stuck in the 2000s, it's time for an upgrade.
- The navigation menu should be intuitive. No reader is going to waste time digging around for the information they want to find. This means your website needs a clean and intuitive navigation menu, both in the header and in the footer. For your blog content, further organize with the help of categories and sub-categories.
- The content should be actionable. Increasing organic traffic by publishing better content is a great cause, but traffic in and of itself means very little for your profit. Therefore, it's important that you plan your content so you know where each piece fits in the "funnel." You should also add a meaningful call-to-action to the end of each post, asking readers to join your newsletter, schedule a consultation, or otherwise convert into a lead for your business.
- The content should be optimized. If your ultimate goal is to drive organic traffic, you can't overlook the importance of search engine optimization, or SEO. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's worth talking to an expert who can break down keyword density, linking, and other aspects that impact where your content will rank in the search results.
Once you've addressed these elements, you're ready to move forward and put more effort into your content plan. So, let's review the top manufacturing websites by traffic.
National Association of Manufacturers
The National Association of Manufacturers, best known as NAM.org, offers forward-looking insight and advice for those in the manufacturing industry. Everyone will appreciate the simple, clean design that puts the content front and center. Topics ranging from sustainability to diversity provide a little something for everyone, no matter where they fall in the business hierarchy, too.
Dedicated sections for Policy & Legal along with Operations content help keep things organized while NAM remains entirely focused on discussing things pertinent to today's manufacturers. One great example of NAM's content is titled "How a Manufacturer Left Landfills Behind." It's a case study on Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems that details how they've stopped sending almost all of their manufacturing waste to landfills.
The introductory paragraph grabs your attention, telling you what the company manufacturers and the vast improvement they have made in a single sentence: "A manufacturer of safety, air management and braking system technologies, the company cut its energy use by 14 million kilowatt-hours over the past six years." This hooks you and convinces you to keep reading to learn how they did and what can be learned from it.
What they do best:
- An engaging writing style grabs your attention and keeps it until the end, always staying on topic and incorporating statistics that add validity to claims and viewpoints.
- The use of imagery throughout articles and the conscious effort to use "real" imagery over stock photos and graphics.
- Bullet lists and intuitive structures to hold attention while also making it easier for readers to skim the content to quickly get the facts they need to know.
What you can do better:
- Include both internal and external links to support your references and help boost your rankings.
- Allow comments on your posts to open up a community of discussion instead of making it one-sided.
Manufacturing.gov holds obvious authority thanks to being a government-operated website. It's also a top source for news and information regarding policies, practices, and emerging standards. As a company, you may look to this website not only for updates and news-related content but for information regarding programs and funding.
While most won't be able to keep up with this site's production of unique information, since it's a government site with the first access to information on new programs, you can keep your own readers updated on changes in the industry by tracking what Manufacturing.gov is publishing. You might also be able to re-think your approach to your content by looking at how they organize theirs.
Under "Publications" in the main menu, you'll see reports, budget updates, fact sheets, articles, and a glossary listed. Adding industry reports and fact sheets to your website's content library could be a worthwhile endeavor. More easily, you might also consider building a glossary of terms commonly used in your industry, especially if you're in a specific sub-sector that has its own lingo (like aerospace or electronics).
The "News" section is most periodically updated out of all of them, with a recent article titled: "NSF Announces Investment in Future of Manufacturing." This news reports on the National Science Foundation (NSF) and their decision to make investments in 24 new projects to expand advanced manufacturing and the technology relating to it.
What they do best:
- Manufacturing.gov regularly links to other entities and research papers to offer supporting information in all of their updates.
- In addition to news pieces, the fact sheets and other resources further establish this website as a credible, reliable, and worthy resource for professionals in the manufacturing industry.
What you can do better:
- While you might not have first-hand access to all the numbers that Manufacturing.gov does, you can make statistics more accessible by taking the long-winded and complex reports and breaking them down into articles focusing on what your readers care about the most.
- As a government website, Manufacturing.gov doesn't really have the need for a "call-to-action" to accompany most content, but you do! Work on adding a strong action to the end of each article you publish to drive further engagement.
The Manufacturing Institute
The Manufacturing Institute may look familiar as it shares a similar design and logo to the National Association of Manufacturers, being a partner entity. However, The Manufacturing Institute offers its own stream of content relating to manufacturing and relevant tech, laws, and changes companies in the sector are facing.
If you spend some time reading the blog, you'll quickly find examples of truly exceptional content writing. Take the workforce article titled "2.1 Million Manufacturing Jobs Could Go Unfilled by 2030" as an example. This article discusses the widely covered labor shortage in the manufacturing industry yet grabs attention with its specific and updated statistics.
The opening paragraph sights a study performed by MI in partnership with Deloitte, linking to the full paper, and summarizes the most pressing statistics. Throughout the article, a neatly organized layout, bold font, and bullet points make the content equally skimmable as it is readable, avoiding the dreaded "wall of text" that deters readers.
What they do best:
- A clean and well-thought-out layout keeps their content highly readable yet easily skimmable, allowing readers to get the information they want quickly.
- Links to partner websites and reputable external sources boost SEO and value for the reader, combined with new statistics.
- Quotes from relevant sources add depth and validity to the articles and give the opportunity for MI to show off their partnerships with thought leaders.
What you can do better:
- End with a closing paragraph and CTA to wrap up an article. This is one thing the MI doesn't do, often closing on a quote instead of a summary and call-to-action.
- Use headings to further break up large chunks of text. Instead of using proper sub-headings, MI often just uses bold font, which doesn't stand out as much and doesn't have the same impact on SEO.
Manufacturing.net is a long-standing example of what great content can do for your brand. While they by no means have the most modern web design on this list, they're far ahead of many others, thanks solely to the quality and consistency of their content offerings.
Businesses turn to this website for reliable information on manufacturing news, like plant openings and reopenings, along with industry statistics and innovations. Categories include aerospace, automotive, energy, Industry 4.0, labor, operations, software, and supply chain management. The breadth of information, combined with the factual, concise, and straightforward presentation, keeps readers coming back.
For specific examples of how you can emulate their success, look to the article titled: "The Unrelenting Growth of Technology in Manufacturing." The leading line directly under the title hooks readers in with a statistic that shares manufacturing technology investments are expected to top $400 billion by 2025. An image breaks up the wall of text before the introductory paragraph dives right into the topic at hand.
What they do best:
- Incorporate statistics to engage the reader and convince them that they should care.
- Cater to a market of manufacturing professionals with content that acknowledges the reader's background and avoids explaining basic concepts that they're already assumed to be familiar with.
- Tie together bigger concepts, linking to their other articles where relevant.
What you can do better:
- End every article with a strong call-to-action. Instead of doing this, Manufacturing.net merely has a generic "Do You Like This Content?" box at the end of every page, which encourages them to sign up for their newsletter instead of tying the CTA into the content.
- Use more sub-headings to break up the visual "wall of text." While this site includes a featured image at the top, they don't use enough sub-headings, images, or lists for their long articles.
Additional Websites to Review
If you're seeking additional examples from the top 5% of manufacturing websites, try the following.
You should also seek out smaller competitors who you've recognized as high-performing within your special niche or subset of the manufacturing sector so that you can further refine your content plan to match the requirements of your own audience. After all, while these "general" manufacturing websites happen to be mega performers, they avoid digging into the specialties of the manufacturing industry.
As you review the websites on your list, consider the content that all of them seem to be publishing, and then ask yourself how you can add your own spin. As far as the top-performing websites in this list, we've done our own analysis to give you a head start, pointing out the biggest trends noticed across this selection of manufacturing resources.
Analyzing The Top Performing Manufacturing Content
As you look at these examples, it's a good idea to sit back and ask yourself what the similarities are between the content found on all of these websites. In doing so, you'll be able to spot the trend lines so you know what your company should be offering in order to attain similar results. If we take some time to analyze these websites, a few things stand out.
- The labor shortage isn't going anywhere. To some business owners, it may seem like "old news," but the labor shortage in the manufacturing industry is a topic that greatly concerns most readers in this sector because it affects employers and everyone down the supply chain. Talking about it matters, and citing the most up-to-date statistics will help you add validity to your claims, advice, and viewpoints.
- Unique solutions get a lot of deserved attention. NAM is an especially good resource if you're looking to offer content that looks beyond the basics and offers real value to readers along with intriguing, insightful concepts. This thought leader knows the labor shortage exists, and they write about it all the time, but they also talk about potential solutions to it, like second chance hiring.
- Industry partners can help you perform. In the manufacturing industry, readers are seeking reliable information that's backed by real-world examples and numbers. Depending on where you fit within the industry, finding partners who can combine forces to help you conduct surveys or offer you information for a new case study will provide you with powerful, reputable, and unique "never before seen" content that can help you compete with thought leaders.
- Expert input is the next best thing. If you aren't viewed as a thought leader due to where you're positioned within the industry or because you don't have the capacity to conduct your own studies and surveys, the "next best thing" when it comes to building reputation for your brand is expert input. Whether it's a quote, an interview, or even an excerpt from an individual's paper, book, or presentation, finding ways to incorporate the words of recognized figures will add instant authority to your content.
As you think about these methods of increasing organic traffic, give some thought to how your company can adapt these specific tips to fit your audience and position within the manufacturing sector. You may find that many apply to your business, while some don't, and you might also walk away from your review of these top websites with your own ideas -- and that's great!
What matters most in this process is that you're taking the time to review the information that's already out there and then putting serious thought into how your company can add to that content, rather than just "parrot" it.
Adding your own unique value on top of what others are already offering is the only surefire way to keep readers coming back, build a strong reputation, and begin to rank among these top-performing manufacturing websites, so make that your goal.
Increase Organic Traffic with Scripted
Do you have a better idea of what it takes to create great manufacturing content now? As you review these top manufacturing websites for inspiration, it's important to remember that great content starts with a great writer.
Too often, companies find themselves trying to put content creation onto the shoulders of an employee who already has a full-time role to fill. Worse yet, smaller business owners often try to do it themselves, taking their time and effort away from what truly needs their attention. To get the most out of your company's content, it's paramount that you outsource it to a professional.
Hiring a freelance manufacturing writer will enable you to save time and end up with better content by relying on the knowledge and talent of a professional who's devoted to the job. The trouble is, where do you find them? If you're interested in hiring a manufacturing writer, Scripted can help.
With our Cruise Control service, a dedicated account representative will help you plan your content, build a team of qualified writers, and start publishing unique, engaging content quickly. Learn more today.