Effective B2B websites
Everybody needs a website or some form of online presence in order to do to business. Whilst a B2C website acts as a place to do immediate transactions; a B2B website primarily acts a hub for information and support. Both however, need to act as a ‘shop front’ to convey who they are and validate why people should use them or buy from them.
Establishing the needs of the end-user is very important when creating or revising your website, so if you are a B2B organisation follow this advice to maximise the impact of your website.
1. First Impressions
Imagine someone searching for your type of business online and coming across your website for the first time. You may be one of multiple search results, so whether you are clicked on first or later, you have to make a good first impression compared to the others. This means you need to portray on your website exactly and very clearly, what the end-user wants to know. First time visitors usually seek assurance and credibility – so your website needs to show that you know what you are talking about and that you are a stable company to do business with. Statistics say you only have 10 second window to grab a first time visitor’s attention, so ensure a neat layout, simple and clean navigation and having the right information standing out.
2. Honesty and Transparency
When writing the text for your website, be mindful of coming across as a hard seller – this decreases your integrity. Be humble and explain what you do in simple terms and short sentences and focus on your USPs. Assurance and credibility do go beyond your offer too – you must consider the tone of your website in terms of you as a company. Resources like About Us, Mission Statement, Support Information, FAQs, Environmental Statement etc all help establish subjective attributes that people look for before doing business with another organisation.
3. Useful and Valuable Content
Content is the meat of your website and as a whole should give out great information in line with your company’s values plus be refreshed frequently. Search engines love fresh content and will index your site quicker if you are updating your pages and adding new content regularly. New content can be in the form of news updates, white papers or a blog, which not only help with search indexing, but if done correctly, can also ensure a visitor comes back for more. Share your content across the internet using social media and submitting to other news pages to create more awareness. Include download, print, like, share, comments, subscribe buttons to create potential for interaction. Asking people to subscribe or sign up to your content updates also helps you build a database for lead generation.
4. Attractive Design
Visual branding is very important. A neat layout lacking visual attraction can very much turn someone off. Think about websites you have come across which you have thought look ‘dodgy’ and those you have spent a little more time on because they looked nice… you need an aesthetically pleasing design that compliments your neat layout and also the tone of your website. This is your ‘shop window’ and part of your overall brand so it must be consistent with every other marketing material you have out there online and offline. If you use social media, ensure you brand those to match your website. Finally, great use of typography and photography can make all the difference in enhancing your look and feel – consider this across your website and print marketing material.
5. Functioning Functionality
A simple static website is great for starters, but once you have that sorted its worth considering enhancing the user experience by use of relevant features such as animation, sound and video. Online you can do so much more than with print so why not make use of this? However, you must remember to keep it relevant and engaging for your audience rather than a gimmick – ensure what you are considering will actually make things more interesting or easier for your end user and pointing them in the right direction within your site. Also, make sure it works across different browsers and devices. A function that doesn’t work will give out a negative impression along the lines of you not paying attention to detail. The business world relies heavily on smart phones and tablets these days so it is important that your website functions well on these devices – consider responsive web design or a simplified mobile version of your site.
6. Internal Link Building
When someone lands on your website, the probability they will land on your homepage is high, however, they could also land on any one of your pages, it all depends on what exactly they were searching for. If they type your URL in directly they will of course land on your homepage or landing page. In any of these scenarios the important message is that the end user reaches the right page for what they are looking for and it is clear where they need to go to get other information they may require and also to make contact (i.e. engage and convert). For this reason, it is important to keep important navigation visible on all pages and add links within a page to other pages of your site. For example if you mention at the end of a page ‘we charge a fee for this’ then link the word ‘fee’ to your page about fees or say ‘click here to see our fees’ and link to the relevant page. Keep your URLs clean and simple for example ‘www.website.com/fees’.
So, those are some initial tips to consider before starting or revising your B2B website. Creating your website for the first time can be a confusing and lengthy process so if you follow these you can ensure you are going in the right direction. If you are now thinking about revising your website, look over it with these tips in mind. It may help to get a fresh pair of eyes to look over it too and also spend some time looking at what competitors are doing.
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