About Spider, a Division of Safeworks, LLC
Spider designs, manufactures, sells and rents suspended scaffolding solutions. The acknowledged industry leader, founded in 1947, Spider has the largest suspended access rental fleet in North America, featuring its unique drum hoist baskets, traction hoists and configurable modular platform systems, as well as a range of rigging solutions.
Situation: An Outdated Website’s Problems Were Compounded By Product Catalog Pages Housed in a Remote Silo
The desired end result of the Spider website redesign—one of three for parent company SafeWorks—was to create a more robust product catalog that would allow users to search product specs and resources. The catalog portion of the website was housed on a third-party industrial sourcing platform, one of many factors that resulted in awkward UX. Users would bounce back and forth among varying URLs as they attempted to view different product options. It was essentially an online brochure with poor functionality and almost no indexability.
The client hoped to move away from their relationship with the third party and get the product catalog into a more manageable backend system that would be easily shared company-wide and easily updated. In addition, they were simply ready to move their website into the future. It had been many years since it had been redesigned, and it did not meet current website standards—branding was inconsistent, data was hard to navigate, many pages were broken, some branch location data was inaccurate and mobile responsiveness was poor. Furthermore, while true ecommerce is not in the immediate future for Spider, they wanted the ability to easily scale up to this eventually, and the new website needed to support this goal.
Solution: Thoughtful Technical Planning Up Front and a Development Process Incorporating Sophisticated Tagging, Custom Taxonomy and Clean Design
By tackling the website with the most complex product catalog first, we laid the groundwork for all three SafeWorks projects. Windmill recommended and used a number of tools to impose order on the Spider catalog and manage the information on this complex website. One strategic choice was to use WooCommerce products in Catalog Mode, with custom enhancements, to create a searchable, filterable database with a robust product resources section that is directly tied to the product catalog. Users are also shown related products through a related products block that can be customized on a product-by-product basis and through tagging in WooCommerce.
In addition to the product catalog itself, other elements of the website were updated and reorganized. These include a gated resources section for approved customers, using the WordPress Members plugin and a branch locator with a location custom post type (CPT) that allows ZIP code mapping. This directs users to the branch in their correct customized service area, which is not necessarily the closest branch.
The product documentation/resource hub and relational tagging is a complex piece of the website that allows resource documents to be tagged by multiple facets in order to enable site users to search even partial product numbers and easily find a result. This was built with a resources CPT that includes a resource type custom taxonomy (brochures, spec sheets, manuals, etc) and tagging for part numbers, search terms and more. We used FacetWP to set up AJAX (instant update) filtering. Other tools we recommended and implemented were Relevanssi for search and Folders Pro for media library and content organization.
One major challenge involved the product information itself. An export of the product data was provided by the third-party platform at the beginning of the project. This information was extremely dense, difficult to sort through, and it hadn’t been updated in years. Like many legay systems, even our client contacts didn’t have full visibility into how it all worked. Once the data had been imported with a custom script/parser and the website had been developed to about 80% completion, the client spearheaded the task of working through internal content reviews, specifically around product data accuracy, after which our team brought the project to completion and launch.
Results: A Complete Transformation in Functionality, Appearance and Ease of Maintenance
Although it was a time-consuming process for the client to dig through their product catalog, given that it had been managed in a remote silo and not touched for a long time, the results have been worthwhile. The new catalog infrastructure built with Windmill’s expertise means that the Spider website is easy to navigate and gives users a clear and thorough picture of their entire catalog. It also allows the client to transfer that knowledge internally as they bring in new team members and continue to add to the catalog in the future.
The new design is clean, sleek and modern, conveying the Spider brand attributes of innovation, industry, trust and professionalism to their customers in four primary categories:
- Temporary Access: Construction, painting and maintenance contractors across North and South America looking to rent or buy equipment
- Elevator: Elevator manufacturers and installation contractors
- Wind: Wind farm owners and maintenance providers
- Permanent Installation (PI): Building engineers and general contractors.
Windmill will continue to partner with SafeWorks to complete the other two websites, which duplicate the Spider environment and apply new styles to distinguish the brands. Continuing improvements and additions are planned, particularly in the customer log-in area and resource library. There will be future work done to integrate the product catalogs as there is some product crossover among the three brands. The complete rethinking and redesign of the Spider website and the other SafeWorks sites is expected to result in increased traffic, leads and conversions—which are also easier to track in the new website environment.
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Windmill Strategy is a web design company & digital marketing agency helping B2B industrial manufacturing companies achieve increased visibility, higher quality leads, and greater marketing ROI through smarter web design. Our website design and B2B digital marketing approach goes beyond “more traffic,” seeking out better traffic, by gaining the attention of the specific niche groups of buyers and influencers that represent your best customers. We help our clients communicate and sell their complex products and services to multiple audiences – be it through web design or digital marketing and SEO. Working collaboratively with your in-house marketing and sales team, we design websites that drive leads and sales that result in overall business growth. Schedule a call to learn more.