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Gates Corp., a rubber belt and hose manufacturer, recently completed an in-house redesign of its Web site, which was unveiled in October. The redesign process took more than a year, as the company's marketing, advertising and eBusiness divisions reorganized content to make the site more user-friendly.

"Our first step [was to] put surveys on the site to determine who our audience was, [and] contact a few of them to find out more about them," said Keith Hagen, Web specialist at Gates and the lead on the project. "Once we found out who our audience was, we really began targeting the site to them."

The site's most popular section, Gates Solutions, features information on all product solutions; before, the company categorized such information by product division. These solutions are also newly listed by occupation.

The home page has a new "feature" area, which focuses on a hot product or initiative in the industrial or automotive market, and changes every few months. Other modifications on the home page include the addition of Popular Searches, a list of the most popular items, and a Related Links section, which will appear this month.

Gates also developed its own tracking tool to determine where users are coming from, what they are registering for and what they are downloading.

The redesign of the site should be completed by June 1, Hagen said. The company will also redesign its European and Indian sites in the coming months. Hagen said he hopes that once the redesign filters to the international versions, the U.S. Web site will take on a more global and corporate feel. -Nadine Youssef

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