This post was also published on OpenView Venture Partners Labs blog. OpenView is a Boston-based venture capital firm specializing in expansion stage B2B SaaS companies, and a recent collaborator with iMarc. Check out their blog to see the full post.
So you’re a B2B company and you’re redoing your website. What’s most important? Here are five critical elements that will ensure your website gets clicks.
I recently attended a wedding in Long Island. I had a bit of culture shock, because yes, they really do talk that way! Clichés become clichés because they are true.
On the web, the cliché is “Content is King”. And it’s the literal truth. There is no other reason for anyone to visit your website. Good content generates traffic, establishes thought leadership, and gives value to your customers.
Your content should be concise, relevant, shareable, and valuable. (Accuracy helps, too.) Your visitors will pick it up—think about it, talk about it, and quite possibly even share it—and soon enough, Google will too.
Photos and video are content, too. Studies show that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. There’s a reason infographics get so much attention.
Pro Tip: Be short. No fluff. Terminate functionless words with extreme prejudice.
Hubspot is a great example of an excellent content curator. Their blog consistently features concise headlines, crisp images and stimulating content.
2) Responsive Web Design
Quick: How many screens are within ten feet of you? I’ll bet you have at least three from this list: phone, laptop, iPad, Kindle or Nook, TV.
Next question: When you want to get some info online, which do you use? If you’re like most people, whichever is closest to hand. We expect any screen to work with any website.
What is the best solution to make your website flexible enough to fit on all of them? Three words: responsive web design. It’s not a panacea, but for B2B, it’s pretty close.
So what exactly is it? Open this article on a desktop browser, grab the corner of the window, and make the page bigger and then smaller. Taller, thinner, wider, slimmer: it won’t matter. You’ll see the layout magically adjust itself comfortably fit the new width of the browser—or screen. Whether you view it on a small iPod screen, a fat Samsung phablet, or a 65” HDTV, it will look right and work well. That is responsive web design.
Here’s an example of our website working flawlessly on five different screens:
Responsive design is the most important development in web design in the past five years. One site, one set of content, for all people. It’s so effective that Google recommends it as a best practice over mobile-specific sites.
I’ll give you three reasons your next site should be responsive:
- Mobile. If your site isn’t phone-friendly and tablet-accessible, your customers will bounce right off your site and give their business to your competition. And did I mention that 61% of users own a smartphone?
- SEO. Having one single URL, instead of an extra mobile site, consolidates your search juice. Responsive sites are better Google performers.
- User experience. Nobody likes wasting time trying to zoom and tap tiny links, and squinting at postage-stamp sized images. Happy customers=happy business.
Pro Tip: If you can’t make your site fully responsive, at least ensure it has views designed for phone screens and PC screens.
3) Social Media
You are a Facebook fanatic, a talented Tweeter, and an Instagram celebrity. But does that help your business? Your website and social identities should be symbiotic.
Potential clients will check out your website, then check your social media profiles to vet you. If it’s too hard to find, they give up, and your effort was wasted.
To fix, make sure your website has at least a little social media integration. That means a button for respective platforms, sharing buttons on your blogs, and maybe a bit of Twitter.
Social media buttons should be displayed in an easily accessible location on your website; the top, bottom, or along the side of your homepage are recommended.
Pro tip: Don’t neglect LinkedIn. It’s the social network for business and usage rates are astoundingly high.
The website iMarc designed for RSA Conference is a great example that demonstrates seamless social media integration. The conference site has easily accessible buttons, as well as live feed of their Tweets. Users are able to effortlessly connect and engage with the brand.
Your site is great: interesting content, beautiful pictures, the occasional video and shiny new social media buttons. You built it. Will they come?
Search engine optimization is tuning the content of your site to encourage free traffic from “organic” listings on search results. You know, the ones in the main column that people actually look at.
There are a lot of resources available to aid improving your SEO. Annexcore has compiled an excellent list of tools to give you great SEO results.
Pro Tip: Set up Google Webmaster Tools for your site for more insight into what content is drawing people to your site. It’s free.
Rapid7 is a strong example of what successful SEO looks like. Rapid7 is a leading provider of IT security risk management solutions. Upon doing a Google search for “Boston vulnerability testing” and “Boston security penetration”, they come up at the top of page one.
5) User Centric Design
People want interesting content, beautiful images, and entertaining videos, and theyabsolutely will not do work to get it. User-centric design means the user is more important than you are. The design should help them. Nothing should slow them down.
You’ll have to take into consideration some complex cultural and psychological tendencies. Where does the eye hit a page? What kinds of buttons do users actually push? Which emotions do your colors elicit?
Look at your site. Does it make sense to someone who isn’t you? Does it serve their needs? If the answer is yes, good job. You are already a step closer to creating a positive user experience!
Pro Tip: Spend fifty bucks to test your site at usertesting.com. You’ll be shocked at how much you learn from watching a video of just one person trying to use your site.
iMarc recently designed and developed Quaero’s website, which features strong emphasis on UX. The design is clean, lively, engaging and straightforward. Users simply scroll down to view all of the information they need on one page.
Go Forth, Be fruitful, and Multiply Your ROI
With these five tips, you should be on your way to an effective B2B website design. Your users will associate your brand with the positive experience they had on your site, and keep coming back for more.