When it comes to driving business in the B2B space, few if any sales and marketing tools are as powerful as a well-designed website, making website design fundamentals a bigger priority than ever for those looking to break through the static of our increasingly digital world.
Unfortunately, there are still plenty of businesses that equate having a functional website with one that routinely sustains growth. If industry behemoths like Southwest aren’t safe, rest assured the market is full of businesses falling short of delivering what’s expected and necessary—let alone truly valued.
For those looking to get ahead, gone are the days of simply using a website to drive traffic, educate prospects, and convert leads. To be a dynamic, future-forward business, it’s important to design a website that not only handles these core responsibilities, but also represents your brand, acts as a hub for your content, assets, and touchpoints, and leaves a lasting impression with every prospect that crosses the threshold of your URL.
While there are plenty of trends that will help inform your design or redesign, it’s crucial to understand the new responsibilities related to conventional website design fundamentals you and your team should uphold if you want to ensure your audience sees as much value in it as they do your products and services. After all, they are one and the same!
We’re not here to beat the dead horse of the importance of SEO. Anyone who’s been operating online in the last 20+ years already knows that. But what has changed is the way and the degree to which we interact with the results.
It should come as no surprise that, according to Google Consumer Insights, the average B2B buyer conducts 12 different online searches before interacting with a website. But what should be surprising is that nearly one-third (29%) of those that use Google only visit one page from the search results.
That means that even if your SEO efforts were enough to land on the first page of search results, the odds of getting that initial click have decreased in recent years. And if this trend is any indicator, that absolute first impression you give—your site title, meta description, featured snippets, etc.— represents the most important opportunity you can possibly harness.
To succeed at the very first point of contact, it’s imperative to understand these fundamental website design principles extend beyond your URL and the look and feel of your website, and into the space where your prospects are initially looking to find it.
While your website is an unparalleled sales and marketing tool, it would be naive to think that it’s part and parcel your conversions, customer engagement and retention.
Realistically, there are more statistics to support an omnichannel approach than there are channels themselves.
B2B customers are shopping and engaging across more channels than ever before. While these may exist on disparate platforms, there’s no reason you can’t or shouldn’t create a seamless experience that showcases your understanding of your audience’s needs and where they look to fulfill them.
Although not every business is—nor should be—on every social media platform, resource, content aggregator, and supporting third-party tool, that doesn’t mean your website shouldn’t provide easy access to everything a visitor could need, and vice versa.
In short, your website should be a resource hub that allows visitors to easily navigate to your every asset and channel: social media, chatbots, content, knowledge bases, direct links to sales and support, etc., as well as have helpful, intuitive landing pages for incoming clicks from each touchpoint—including email.
The more seamless and interconnected you can make your website’s experience through helpful, intuitive links and landing pages for incoming and outgoing clicks, the greater your chances of your audience returning for a convenient and beneficial experience, as well as that eventual sale.
There’s no denying a beautiful website. In a desert of poor design, a colorful, well-branded, visual-forward website can feel like an oasis—but that doesn’t mean it should overlook the importance of functionality or user experience.
While we could give advice on the best practices for your homepage, denounce outdated design trends and examine the balance between web design and web content, the value of a website isn’t defined by those who create it, but by those who use it to its greatest capacity. That’s to say, it isn’t always what’s on the surface that matters, but rather the results it produces and how.
Website analytics have come a long way in the last few years, and it would be an oversight, at the very least, not to use every piece of data you’re able to collect and analyze on your site.
Whether you use native tools, plug-ins or third-party services, it’s imperative to routinely review, analyze and adapt to the ways in which your visitors use—and want to use—your website, by redesigning accordingly.
By digging into key data created by heat maps, click and engagement counts, time on page, traffic data, and more, you can create a better, more user-focused website that provides equal amounts of value for them and insight for you. In turn, this creates a more sustainable cycle that helps remove your bias as a creator/operator and dynamically responds to the market and how they see you fit within it.
Although business owners would love to control every message their website gets across, far too many tend to trust those that are overtly created and published while ignoring the subtext of what their website actually says about them, their brand, and business.
Sure, you can spend hours and hours finding that perfect image, word, placement, CTA or branding element, but none of that matters if your website is telling visitors to steer clear, due simply to its functionality or user experience.
Whether you realize it or not, your website is a proxy for your business itself—warts and all. If your website is slow, unintuitive or hard to understand, chances are your visitors will think the same of your products and services. After all, if you can’t take the time to understand them and their needs as a prospect, who’s to say you can do any better when they’re a buyer of your product or service?
Unless you’re lucky enough, smart enough or both, to operate with a blue ocean strategy, your market share is much more likely to be determined by how well you can present yourself, attract prospects, convert them and give them the type of support and service needed to retain them.
And that all starts with your website and the value it provides them in their time of need. So make sure your website and how it works says as much about you as a business as you’re telling them with your content.
There’s certainly a lot to consider when it comes to website design fundamentals in the B2B space, and the constant ebb and flow of trends continues to create a perpetual need to get out in front of it—but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself.
By partnering with a full-stack inbound marketing agency grounded in web principles, design and strategy, you’ll be able to expand your resources and lean into experts whose job it is to stay up-to-date with industry trends, while also being able to provide advice and get hands-on to keep your website—and business—in a position to thrive.