7 Things Every Great
B2B Website Does
We’ve all seen them: websites that instantly grab our attention and don’t let it go. They keep us glued, funnel us down compelling paths, and entice us to explore farther down the page and deeper into the site. How does a website like that happen? By asking the right questions. We’ve pulled together our list of top questions to answer before embarking on a website project to reveal the non negotiables for building a site that does everything it should, beautifully.
1. Know why.
A website should always accomplish something. Seems like a “duh” sentiment, right? And yet, we often find that companies will start designing or building their website without defining their business objectives, without answering the critical question, “What do we want our visitors to do when they arrive on the site?” Are you trying to generate leads, downloads, free trials? Are you trying to educate visitors about your brand, products, or services? Is your site the information hub for all things [insert business vertical]? Are you looking to entice new hires with all the cool work you do? How you answer each of these questions can dramatically influence all elements of your site, from the UX to messaging or from the home page hero image to the color of the button at the bottom right of the 3rd page.
Before you build:
- Determine your KPIs. How do you measure the success of your website? (Examples: number of downloads, time on site, number of likes)
- Establish what tools you’ll use to track those KPIs and how you’ll measure performance
2. It’s all about the journey.
We used to say that every key destination should be reachable in 1-2 clicks. But our understanding of user experience is changing. We’re seeing a shift to focus on the user journey more holistically.
To define a clear journey for your user, put yourself in the headspace of your audience. Guide your users intuitively through a series of steps, from where they start to where you want them to end up. How? Take what your audience cares about and use it to define structure, navigation, content flow, and functionality.
Before you build:
- Define your target audience personas and what you want each of them to do
- Determine how each of these personas is likely to arrive on your site — search, email, display — and the experience you want them to have when they arrive
- Correlate the objectives for each of your target personas with the appropriate user journey — This can vary from a new user who knows nothing about you to someone who knows your company landscape and just wants to find a specific piece of information
- Understand user objectives, which will impact how you structure your pages and the terms you use in your navigation, down to the language you use for every button
- Map your information architecture to your defined user journeys via wireframe
3. Words matter — choose them carefully.
What you say – and how you say it – are more important than ever. Attention spans are short, so make sure that what you want your reader to do is really obvious, and put your benefits front and center. Avoid jargon, and find the balance between hyper-specific and ultra-vague. Even for the highly technical B2B offer, connect to your audience pain points and employ a dose of empathy to breathe humanity into your language and approach.
Before you build:
- Make sure your benefits and differentiators are clearly defined and up-front and center
- Make copy scannable and digestible. Say more with less.
- Use visual and multimedia elements (photography, illustration, infographics, video) to help tell your story.
4. Great content is great SEO.
When people think of websites, they don’t think of content repositories, resource libraries, or blogs, but well-curated, value-driven content is essential when it comes to putting your site on the map.
What was once a successful strategy for increasing your site’s visibility (or SEO) — ahem, 45 different pages on your site, each attuned to a particular keyword awkwardly shoehorned into copy, headlines, and tags and repeated 4-5 times — now works against you.
Today, good content is vital — with 2-3 organic keyword mentions and minimal, if any, repetition. Search crawlers look for well-written content that connects with what people are looking for. In fact – you’re dinged if you’re repetitive and trying to flood your site with keywords. That means building a smart content strategy and hiring good writers to carry it out. Search engines also love new content (see #5), so keep content fresh with relevant and timely posts.
Before you build:
- Find out what your users want to read, what topics interest them, and what problems they’re trying to solve – Check out social/industry trends, talk to your sales team, crunch some numbers, or just ask your users – “What do you want to learn about”?
- Build an editorial calendar – and stick to it. Come up with topics and themes you want to cover and a cadence that you can keep up with – then create content and share it on your website (then with a social boost you can increase traffic to your site)
5. Stay on top of staying relevant.
Staying current and top-of-mind is key for any business, so make it easy to update your website. Now more than ever, websites are dynamic, constantly updated experiences.
That doesn’t mean going through a total relaunch every year or two; a flexible module that features a current blog, press release, or piece of content goes a long way. You also want to be able to quickly make updates when product details change, and there are thousands of companies and templates that make it easy for nontechnical people to keep website content fresh and interesting. Flexibility is key.
Before you build:
- Confirm whether you’ll use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, leverage an existing template, or build your site from scratch
- Determine whether you’ll have a blog, a news section, or a PR section (we recommend all three!)
- Decide how often you’ll make updates, and stick with it
- Identify who will keep your website updated – someone in-house or your marketing agency – and what skills or training they’ll need
- Establish what systems (CRM, marketing automation, tracking, etc.) your website will need to integrate or share data with
6. Sweat the small stuff.
After putting a chunk of time, energy, and budget toward building your site, don’t sell it short by letting inconsistencies fly. The easiest way to look sloppy is to be inconsistent with grammar, tone, visuals, brand treatment, design, or UX.
That means QA’ing the entire experience on all major browsers and devices. Got a hero banner that looks perfect on desktop? If the copy isn’t legible on mobile, you’re not doing yourself any favors – not when more than half of all website traffic is generated on mobile devices1.
As you build:
- Abide by your style guidelines for both design and copy
- Use the same visual system on all pages of your site
- Ensure consistency in the UI (For example, does the same thing happen every time the user clicks a button?)
- Have a QA process for desktop and mobile ready to implement before launch, and take advantage of readily available QA tools (like BrowserStack)
- Hire a proofreader to review your site from top to bottom
7. Make the investment.
Yeah, we’ve got a dog in this hunt. But we spent just as much money planning, designing, and building our own website as we recommend our clients do on theirs. That’s because our website, like yours, is the digital face of our company and the front door to our brand.
Often, a customer will see a poorly designed website and assume the quality of the product will be lacking as well. Therefore, even companies that rely primarily on phone calls for sales need to invest in a great website.
And finally, websites take time – so allow a few solid months to get one built.
As you build, ask:
- Have you allowed enough time for everyone involved to do an excellent job – and to go through multiple rounds of revision?
- Does the way your website looks, reads, and navigates reflect the very best of your products and brand?
Need help lining everything up for your next website? We’re here.