On The Web, January 2004

(Editor’s note: Read this column all the way through. As painful as it may seem if you are influential in your company’s Web strategy, it will be worth it.

(Editor’s note: Read this column all the way through. As painful as it may seem if you are influential in your company’s Web strategy, it will be worth it.)

MMS Online has been on the Web since 1995. It is the finest metalworking Web site you’ll find, deploying the best editorial and technical resources anywhere.

To grow and maintain MMS Online, we use a suite of software products selected for their unique strengths. We use Cold Fusion for database migration, several other Macromedia products (Flash, DreamWeaver, FireWorks) and Photoshop to develop content for the site, as well as basic hard coding in WordPad when necessary. We’ve selected several database formats to assemble MMS Online’s dynamic content from both legacy and unique data, including VisualBasic, FoxPro and others.

And now, on to our servers . . .

Did you make it this far? Did you understand what you just read? If you did or didn’t, ask yourself, “Does it really matter?” As long as you could find what you’re looking for on MMS Online (or any Web site), isn’t this other stuff secondary to finding machining information or resources?

Why, then, do most machining and manufacturing Web sites—the most powerful marketing tool available to us—continue to present our equipment lists (machining centers, CMMs, software programs and so on) as our greatest strengths? Rare is the site that presents what they do on an even plane with what they have.

Think about it this way: Imagine you’ve ordered a new car that needs to be delivered from a distance. Do you ask what brand of truck they’ll be hauling it on or what mileage the truck gets? Do you ask for a copy of the driver’s record prior to ordering the vehicle? Probably not; you just want your car when they say they’ll have it to you, in the condition promised.

Now, is that exactly the same as what you do as a machining professional? No, but don’t ignore its similarities to what prospects are looking for from you through your Web site—dependability, creativity and competence.

In 2004, it’s time for us to stop describing our strengths only as they matter to us and start serving the diverse needs of stealth prospects who visit our Web sites as well. Those folks—prospects who are researching alternatives and options anonymously on the Web—want to know as much or more about what we can do with our equipment than they care about what we have.

Job Shop Site Of The Month

Our first site of the month in 2004 is www.majortool.com (Major Tool & Machine, Indianapolis, Indiana). Major focuses on the milling, drilling and turning processes, as well as design, engineering, finishing and assembly. The site is easy to navigate and allows for quick contact with the company. The “Machining” section presents the company’s capabilities creatively based on size of job/part.