Written by Alyssa Burley
Websites are an important tool for all businesses, large and small. In today’s techno-savvy world, just any old website will not suffice; especially for a mining company.
Many mining and related companies have outdated websites (i.e., 3+ years old), while others still do not have a website at all. Perhaps those who don’t have a website think of it as unnecessary, or a strategic way to hide from their community, or management has never got around to building a site because of time, energy, skills and/or cost needed to take on the project.
Whatever the case may be, it’s time to evaluate your company’s website, or lack thereof, and turn it into a rock solid marketing tool.
Here are three things to consider when building your company website:
#1 Responsive Design
The number 1, top of the list, requirement for a mining website is it MUST be built with a responsive design. Period. A responsive (also known as adaptive) website changes appearance based on the device’s screen size. The content shifts, adjusts and scales automatically to ensure the content displays properly on the screen.
Let’s take a moment to consider how visitors may be accessing your mining website and from where. Many of your visitors are not sitting behind a desk starring at a computer screen; they may be out in the field using a mobile device.
According to "The State of Mobile Web US 2015" whitepaper by SimilarWeb.com, nearly 53% of internet traffic reported for the "Business and Industry" category was from smart phones and tablets, not desktop computers. So, why would you want a website that was designed just for desktop users? You wouldn't.
Large companies sometimes develop a separate mobile website (often indicated by an ‘m’ before the URL; m.yourcompany.com) used by mobile devices. A mobile site is a separate website from a traditional website that must be built and maintained at an additional cost. Instead of building a separate mobile website, mining companies should seriously consider one responsive website that adjusts to fit the viewing device.
According to an article published by Atilus in December 2015, “since the responsive movement/standard is still fairly new, many websites that are 2+ years old probably aren’t responsive and may need a redesign or retooling to work.”
Is your website responsive? Let’s find out. From your smart phone or tablet, enter your company website URL in the internet browser. If you don’t have a website, use www.EnviroMINEinc.com.
You may notice how the images and text fill the screen and are readable. And, the navigation bar shrinks to three horizontal bars in an upper corner. These are hallmarks of a responsive website. If you didn’t see those things, compare the version on your mobile device to the one you see on your computer or laptop screen. Are they slightly different or completely the same? If they look the same, it’s probably time to redesign your website to be responsive.
The EnviroMINEinc.com website is built on a responsive platform. The desktop, tablet and smart phone displays look different based on the device’s screen size.
Before the dawn of responsive web design, traditional web pages viewed on mobile devices merely shrank the content to fit the screen. This resulted in very small text and images. The only way to read the content was to zoom in, a lot.
Take a look at the old EnviroMINEinc.com website developed on a non-responsive platform, shown below. You’ll notice the desktop version fits the screen, since it was designed in the early 2000s for a desktop computer or laptop. However, when viewed on a tablet or smart phone, the content is so small it cannot be read without zooming in, considerably. This type of platform is no longer acceptable for mobile devices.
Consider a website redesign using a responsive platform to ensure all your visitors can view your website content with ease.
#2 Quality Content
High quality content is the key to attracting and keeping website visitors. Search engines look at the content within your website. So, make sure your text and image descriptions utilize commonly used industry keywords! Keywords are the terms people type into a search engine. It also doesn’t hurt to use variations throughout your content to help search engines identify and rank your website.
Explain what you do in laymen terms. Your online audience may be a client, neighbor, public official, 6th-grade student researching reclamation, or someone looking for a career. This is your chance to speak directly to your customers and community members. Explain what your company does, why you do it and how it benefits the community. Think about including how you provide the community with well-paying jobs and the materials used to build a safe and functional infrastructure to ensure your community’s quality of life.
When developing the content for your mining website, consider:
- Who you are as a company;
- Your audience;
- Products or services you provide;
- Problems you solve; and
- How to be contacted.
#3 Website Maintenance
As a website publisher, you will need to determine the best way to manage and maintain your website based on the type of content you wish to publish, experience level, and budget.
There are two types of content on a website: static and dynamic. Static content doesn’t change very often like the "About" page and contact information. Dynamic content changes on a regular basis and can be incorporated from social media feeds (e.g. facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.), blog posts, newsletters and videos, where companies highlight their new products/services and community involvement.
A web designer experienced in the mining industry can help you determine what type of content is best for your business or project website. For the mining industry, a mixture, heavy in static content, with some dynamic content sprinkled in seems to work best for a company on a modest budget. For example, a project specific website may include static information like a project description, maps, visual simulations, and general information about your company. You may also include some dynamic content like blog posts with video and articles about community events. Dynamic content encourages visitors to repeatedly come back to your website.
Knowing your experience level is also a factor when determining who and how your website will be maintained. If you are not comfortable physically updating the site, hire an expert! In the long run, it will save you time and money while ensuring a professional result.
Be upfront about your budget and realistic about your abilities.
There are thousands of website designers and developers who build beautifully crafted websites, but there are not many that specialize in websites specifically designed for companies in the mining industry. EnviroMINE has a public relations and community outreach staff who have built company and project specific websites that are engaging and professional.
Contact Crystal Howard at (619) 284-8515 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Alyssa Burley is the Community Outreach and Marketing Manager at EnviroMINE, Inc.