Good website content supports growing businesses and their online audience. The Inc 5000 list ranks U.S.-based privately held, independent companies according to percentage revenue growth over a four year period. Revenue baselines are $200,000 for the initial year and at least $2 million in the most recent year. I looked at this year’s Inc top five food & beverage companies in Illinois to do a website content review. Using a scale of 1 (needs work) to 5 (great job) my review is based on the following criteria.
Are there custom photos, engaging graphics, a usable layout and easy navigation?
Is there a visual strategy that supports the content?
Is the copywriting persuasive, trustworthy, concise and compelling?
Do I understand what they do, what products or services they offer, and how these will solve my problem and add value?
Does the tone fit the brand?
Can I share what I see with others through social media channels?
Can I engage with the company by signing up for a newsletter or commenting?
Are there testimonials or reviews I can access on the site?
Has the company published articles, whitepapers or news releases?
Is there a blog that is updated regularly?
Are there videos, case studies or webinars where I can learn more?
Do they cover the topic/product well by answering my questions?
Do landing pages include a call to action and a method for capturing contact information?
Does the content display effectively on mobile devices?
Is it contextual content for the mobile user environment?
Following are the food and beverage company websites I reviewed.
Burry Foods, St. Charles, IL (B2B) ★★
The Burry Brand was established in 1936 and is most notably “the Thomas’, Boboli & Entenmann’s Frozen Foodservice Supplier!” Inc rates the company #7 nationwide in the Food & Beverage category and #12 in Chicago’s fastest growing privately held companies. My content rating based on the criteria above is 2. What I like is that they tell me right away what they do, what products they sell and to whom. A more robust design is needed. This is a static billboard type website with links that timed out while trying to call up new pages. There is no use of social media, a blog or “more” content. Interaction is restricted to calling a phone number. The mobile version replicates the desktop. I like the Contact page because it includes a guarantee and phone numbers with names. They do establish trust and present their products in a forthright way.
Meatheads Several Chicago area locations (B2C) ★★★★
Ranked #15 in the Food & Beverage category this site is impressive. Rotating benefit headlines, mouth watering photography, easy navigation, social sharing buttons (“meatheads unite”), deals, community programs and customer focused content (“It pays to be a meathead”) create the right tone for content consumption. All the elements contribute to a brand experience. They provide calorie and nutrition information in a downloadable pdf format. I am giving them a 4. The site looks okay on a tablet but is hard to interact with on a smartphone. Their twitter and Facebook sites are active especially when they talk about Chicago sports teams. I’d like to see a live feed on the website and a blog.
Windy City Distribution, Warrenville, IL ★★
“Chicagoland’s Best Beer Experience.” Distributing and marketing crafted beers, Windy City Distribution ranks #31 in the Food & Beverage category and #48 in Chicago. My content review puts them at a 2. The gray tone Home page makes me think of London, and I don’t recognize the background skyline as Chicago. The Home page copy reads more like an About Us page. The Sales Team landing page lists names rather than territories or titles. No photos of the sales team are included. I’d like to see a case study, testimonial, or industry focused article/blog on the site. A video might work too.
Parts Town, Addison, IL. ★★★
Ranked #55 in Food & Beverage and #72 in Chicago, Parts Town sells parts online for commercial kitchens. Like a lot of e-commerce sites Parts Town overwhelms a visitor with unweighted content. By that I mean my eye doesn’t know where to go. I am ranking their content as a 3. A better page design layout is needed. The rotating headline text moves too fast for the average reader. They do have a good Facebook presence. There is a blog but it can’t be found via the site menu, so navigation is confusing. The Search by Parts could be a drop down menu rather than a listing. A body of text at the bottom that looks like a privacy or software usage agreement due to its small font and wide column. They do have a Resources page and a News page. Blending original photos with stock photos on the About page is confusing. The “Find Equipment Manuals” is a bonus content feature I like. Customers can find a product manual based on manufacturer, model and document type. They also provide a good mobile experience.
Growing companies need to manage their markets and their messaging. This content review of the Inc 5000 top Illinois food and beverage companies shows that progress is multifaceted.