Your website is never going to be perfect.
Sorry. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your website is never going to be perfect because there are no perfect websites.
There aren’t even finished websites… They’re ALWAYS a work in progress no matter how many times you tweak the colors or slightly change a design.
Since there is no such thing as perfection or done, we’re not going to be able to show you an exact formula for building a great B2B website.
We can, however, tell what we’ve learned building more than 200 websites over the past 10 years so you can maximize your chances of building a high converting website.
In today’s blog post, let’s take a look at key elements of a high performing B2B website.
Our list will include:
- Customer Driven
- Contains Social Proof
- Visually Appealing
- Easy to navigate
- Content Ready
- SEO Ready
Let’s get to it!
Chances are that you don’t know your customer quite as well as you think you know them. Before you install WordPress or write a single line of code for your website, you need to gain a truly deep understanding your customer personas.
By understanding who your customers are and what their pains are, you’ll be able to create websites that speak to the specific pains of your customers.
Check out ChartBoost’s website:
By taking the time to understand their persona’s, ChartBoost was able to build a website that:
- Has consistent messaging
- Speaks to a pain that mobile advertisers have
- Directs users to take a specific action (Sign Up Now)
- Offers users a relevant content upgrade
Have you ever signed up for a free trial of a product simply because a known industry expert gave a glowing testimonial?
I know I have.
That’s the power of social proof.
By showing site visitors that industry experts and giant corporations are using your tool, you send an almost subliminal signal to their brain saying “Hey Google is using this… it must be worth a shot!”
What types of social proof can I leverage?
There are a few types of social proof that we’ve found work really well.
A tried and true method of providing social proof is customer testimonials.
A simple and relevant testimonial from a known company or expert can speak volumes. Check out a testimonial for ChartBoost.
You may not know exactly who Ville is, but if the CMO of the company that brought me Angry Birds likes the tool, then I’m going to take it seriously.
Sometimes referred to as Trust Icons, customer logo’s on your website can be an easy way to let people know about a few of the big brands that you work with.
The persona-driven site that the team at Grappos built show’s the names and logos of some of the biggest companies in wine.
A good case study that takes a deep and data-driven dive into how a piece of software or a service helped a customer get results is still one of the best forms of social proof.
B2B companies should leverage their biggest names and success stories to create engaging case studies.
Is your company part of the Better Business Bureau? Are you PayPal certified? HubSpot certified? Maybe you were featured in TechCrunch?
You can use “Trust Icons” to help prove the legitimacy of your business
If your company has been getting killer results for your customers, you need to show off your stats.
Check out how McDonald’s has been doing this for 50 years
McDonald’s has been telling people for years how many people it has served as social proof.
Buffer does a great job of showing off their user count number similar to McDonald’s and combining it with some great logo’s
The first thing people notice about a website is the look and feel. Buyers will not feel comfortable engaging with a website that doesn’t look professionally done.
So what makes a great looking website?
Images are a powerful element of any website.
They can galvanize your site visitors into following your mission, or they can turn your visitors off and make them bounce off your page in 3 seconds.
So you need to use your images wisely. Stock photography is a great and inexpensive option, but make sure they align with your brand.
Let’s take a look at how Grappos does it.
The imagery immediately gives the impression that Grappos is a high-quality, luxurious brand that happens to sell wine.
Every image transmits a subconscious message to your audience. Sometimes the result is not what’s expected. Achieving the right balance between images and copy on a website has been shown to increase conversions by 29%.
An easy to navigate website is paramount to building a high converting website. In fact, more than 75% of site visitors say that ease in finding information is the most important element in website design according to a recent HubSpot study.
There are two types of site users: browsers and seekers. Browsers will “wander” through the site, often working left to right across your top navigation. They are passively consuming information and want to be able to window-shop. Seekers are after one thing and want to get there as fast as possible. Your navigation needs to support both user styles.
If your website isn’t mobile optimized then you need to start to optimize your website right now. Over 58% of all browsing time is spent on a mobile phone or tablet in 2017, and your site needs to cater to these users.
Your site needs to be compatible with multiple browsers and devices, or risk losing out to forward-thinking competition.
“Content marketing is the only marketing left” – Seth Godin
Successful B2B brands are using content marketing to educate and nurture their prospects through the buyer journey.
Visitors may be coming to your website to check out your features, view use cases, or learn best practices. Engage your site visitors and feed them helpful content in the form of articles, webinars, case studies, and downloadable content upgrades.
Build a great blog design
The goal of your blog is for your visitors to digest your content. So you want to design your blog to make reading as painless as possible.
This means have clear typography with a high contrast between the color of your text and the background color.
Ensure that your responsive design also carries over to your blog. Ideally, your text will automatically resize for visibility and readability, your images will scale, and your reading experience will be smooth.
The team at AutoPilot has this down to a science:
Their mobile optimized blog is readable and easily digestible.
Don’t restrict content to blog pages
If you’re only putting your content on your blog pages then you’re missing out on thousands of opportunities for visitors to view your content.
You can include content on your persona focused solution pages, feature pages, and even your home page.
See how CloudCheckr does it:
If you want to drive thousands of visitors to your website for free consistently, SEO is still the best long-term traffic strategy. Even with offline campaigns, paid acquisition, and social media
campaigns, a huge percentage of your new site traffic should come from organic search.
This consists of optimizing critical elements of your page for the search terms and phrases you are targeting. The most common elements include headings, sub-headings, body copy, image alt-tags, links, and anchor text. Without these elements, search engines don’t know what to rank your site for, and competitors will consistently beat you to Page 1.
The unseen parts of your page are some of the most critical for search optimization. Title tags, meta descriptions, mobile optimizations and page speed are site elements that you can’t see but will sink your SEO traffic in a heartbeat. Don’t know what a robots.txt file is? You will when it stops search engines from finding your site, costing you 80% of your traffic.
To ensure that your SEO strategy is sound, make sure that you think about your SEO strategy from the start of your web project.
Not focusing on security when building your website can be a critical mistake. We’ve faced all of these attacks, helping our clients fend off issues and maintain continuity. We’ve found that the best approach to security is two-pronged.
To create a good result, begin with the best base. Use the most up-to-date version of WordPress and carefully chose the plugins that you need.
Carefully scrutinize your plugins to ensure you know the security impact and long-term maintainability of each of your plugins.
Secure websites will utilize a professional web hosting service to manage the OS and supporting systems like AWS.
For the best performance and security, we recommend utilizing a Web Application Firewall like CloudFlare or Incapsula in front of your web layer. This will help prevent attacks like a DDOS from ever reaching your infrastructure.
Once you get to launch, you’ll need to monitor and patch security and performance at the system and application level to maintain the highest levels of security. This means continuously updating WordPress’ core software and supporting plugins.
Remember to always be testing
As we said at the beginning of this post, there are no finished websites.
These best practices are great starting points that you can use to optimize your website, however, always carefully track your conversions and test your ideas. It’s up to you and your marketing team to find the winning combination for your visitors.