Looking to hire someone to build a website for your business? We’ve pulled together a few things to do on before getting started:
Discover other sites in your industry that you both like and dislike
The best way to find out what you might want in your new website is to look at what other people in your industry are doing. I usually ask my clients to give me about 5 websites they really like. I ask them to write down what they like but also what they don’t like about the site. If they have an existing site that we are redoing I also ask them to write down what they like and don’t like about their own current website. This practice allows us to think about a framework that we will develop to achieve your unique voice.
Write down what important features you want your site to have
Do you want to have video? Are you going to be selling products? Is social media a big part of your site? Is your site going to center around a blog? Are you doing an email lead generation (such as a report, quiz, ebook etc)?
Determine your who your ideal client is
An important part of creating a new website is figuring out who you want it to be for. You need to be really clear on who you are marketing to in order to create a website that does just that. This is often called your target market or ideal client.
Determine the purpose of your site
Many times I start a website and I say “what is your purpose?”. Some clients just say, “well I know I need a website”. I want them to be more specific. I recommend that you write out exactly what you want your site to achieve. Why do you have this site? Is it to sell X number of products? Is it to get ad revenue? Is it to bring in 10 new patients a week? Being very clear on your purpose for your site is important before it is designed.
Write out a sitemap
Another big one is to figure out what are the most important pages you want to start with. I recommend an about page, services, FAQ, testimonials, blog, and contact as the bare minimum.
Look at different color schemes to narrow them down
Having an idea of what colors speak to you the most (and your target market) is essential to be able to effectively represent you or your business within your site. Color is a very subjective choice. We like to get our client’s input as much as possible when it comes to color. If you are stuck on colors I recommending taking note of your design in your business office space. What types of pictures or colors are you drawn to? What represents what you are trying to accomplish? A designer can help guide you but it is helpful to have a starting point.
Write down any questions before you speak with a web designer
The last tip I have is that you write up all of your questions before speaking with web designers. In your consultation (whether it’s over email or phone) be sure that all of your answers are covered before you get started.
Google has announced a deadline of July 2018 as the date for when Chrome will begin clearly warning users if a site is not secure. This prominent warning is likely to affect how secure users feel and may cause visitors to leave a site, resulting in a negative impact on a sites bounce rate, impressions, clicks, and sales. This warning comes after a previous one last year where Google warned webmasters to switch from non-secure HTTP to HTTPS or risk losing traffic.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a way to make your website secure and protect ‘the integrity and confidentiality of your users’ data’ (Google).
Way back in August 2014, Google announced that changing the security certificate of your website to HTTPS/SSL (also known as ‘HTTP over TLS’, Transport Layer Security) would be used as a ranking signal, albeit a weak one. At the time Google predicted that switching from HTTP to HTTPS would positively impact less than 1% of global queries.
In fact, in a Google webmaster hangout, Google’s John Mueller said that HTTPS is far from a ‘magic bullet’ that would cause a visible change or noticeable SEO benefits, although making your site more secure does make sense in the long-term for user peace of mind.
Back in 2015, HTTPS was only a minor ranking signal that didn’t make a huge difference to your overall rankings, however, Google has continued to look at ways to improve and prioritize website security. The search engine wants to make sure that the websites people access via Google are secure and what they say they are.
Information from Google as of February 2018
Google’s announcement was firm about their goal to warn users of insecure sites, with the intent of persuading more web publishers into upgrading to HTTPS. Chrome’s new interface will help users understand that all HTTP sites are not secure, and continue to move the web towards a secure HTTPS web by default.
Information from Google as of August 2017. Google Is Forcing You to Switch to HTTPS by October or Lose Rankings
Google is now sending out emails to Search Console users saying that if you don’t switch from your non-secure HTTP website to HTTPS, then you risk losing traffic and have a “NOT SECURE” notification pop-up on your website for all Chrome users. The deadline is October 2017. Here is a copy of one of the emails that were sent out:
HTTPS is safe, HTTP is not
The reason for Google’s push towards HTTPS is website security. Earlier in 2017, Google sent out notifications that secure-data must be secured. This includes, but is not limited to sites that collect customer data such as credit card information and even personal information. HTTP basically allows unauthorized people to tap into your computer and steal all of your valuable information. Google wants to avoid that by strongly encouraging the shift to HTTPS.
Time for the switch to HTTPS
Switching to an HTTPS certificate helps with:
Authentication – Is the website visitor on the site they think they’re on?
Data integrity – Is the data safe when transferred?
Encryption – Could someone be eavesdropping on the website visitor?
HTTPS stops malicious attackers from impersonating the destination site, tampering with data or listening in.
Want to check that your SSL certificate is installed correctly? Here’s a free SSL Checker
It’s a good idea to test your server too – you can do that here SSL Server Test
In December 2014, the issue of secure browsing came to the forefront of SEO conversations again when Google developers working on the search engine’s Chrome browser proposed warning people their data is at risk every time they visit a website that does not use the HTTPS system (you can read the proposal here). When implemented, initially planned for 2015, web users will see a message that the connection they’re about to make to a website ‘provides no data security’ or they may simply see a red cross through the padlock symbol at the start of the web address.
In 2015 only 33% of websites used HTTPS, this number has grown and today the average volume of encrypted internet traffic finally surpassed the average volume of unencrypted traffic. When Google does begin to flag up warnings on non-secure HTTP websites we are likely to see a much bigger swing towards HTTPS across the board.
This may initially cause confusion for website users who may not understand the difference between HTTP and HTTPS and worry that there is something wrong with a website they have previously used without hesitation. People tend to assume that websites and emails are private but creating an indicator that this isn’t the case will challenge that assumption.
Webmasters will face the initial challenge of moving a website over to HTTPS but supporters of Google’s HTTPS Everywhere campaign feel this will be a good thing for the Internet and Internet users in the long-term.
Free SEO Checklist
Find out howto create a website that Google and your customers love our SEO Checklist
Discover how to:
Optimise your website for higher rankings in Google while also providing a good user experience for your customers.
Build site credibility and increase influence so that Google ranks you even higher and your potential customers find and trust you
Create unique and authentic content to drive conversations and fuel online searches leading to more quality leads, inquiries, and sales.
Need Help with transitioning your website to HTTPS?
Your website is one of the most valuable marketing tools you can invest in. The first impression is everything – so it is crucial that your visitors have a great experience from the moment they click on your website. These days a bad site isn’t acceptable in today’s business landscape. It has been shown that 75 percent of potential customers judge the credibility of a business or company based on their website. This statistic represents the undeniable importance of having a properly designed site.
Is your Website an Effective Marketing Tool?
Here is what you need to attract new customers online:
An effective website,
Online marketing strategy.
Your online marketing strategy is highly dependent on the competition in your market, your specialty, and how your site is currently performing. Your online marketing strategy may include the following services: social media posting, online reputation management, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, blogging and search engine optimization (SEO). On the flipside, you can drive a lot of traffic to your website, but it will be wasted energy if your site is not effective. Your website should be able to capture visitors’ attention, engage them and have strong calls to action in order to convert traffic to potential customers.
Does your Website have Irrelevant Content?
If your website’s content is outdated, you might be missing out on inquiries and sales. You may be offering completely different services or products that your site indicates. The secret to an effective site is to provide useful, fresh information on a regular basis. Although redesigning your website is not a simple task, it’s well worth the effort if it means that your business can continue to pull in new customers and stay at the top of your industry.
Is your Website slow?
Did you know that most people abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load? A slow site is never a good thing since you run the risk of losing and annoying potential customers. Moreover, a slow website will hurt your Google search engine ranking. Customers, especially paying customers, want to purchase products online from a reliable and fast website. Once you realize that your site is taking too long to load, you should immediately start seeking for the help of a professional web designer to have it redesigned.
Does your Website look outdated?
Picture this if you will – you are walking by a T-shirt shop with shirts in a display window that look faded, in styles of yesterday and dusty. Would you walk in or continue on to a store that looks better and well taken care of? Let’s face it: web design trends are constantly changing, and if your website is a few years old, it may look outdated. An outdated website can leave visitors wondering if the company or business still exists. If you do not update your site as often as you know you should, a website redesign provides the perfect opportunity to remedy the problem.
Is your Website Mobile-Friendly and Responsive?
If visitors to your site have a hard time viewing it on their mobile devices or tablets, you might want to consider redesigning your website. You can reach a wider audience by optimizing your website to operate and automatically adjust to any screen resolution or size on all devices such as desktop, mobile, and tablet. Besides being responsive, your website must perform at the optimum level and be user-friendly. Most importantly, your website’s design should not interfere with the user’s experience, irrespective of the device they are using. If your website is difficult to navigate, potential customers will certainly turn away from your page and look elsewhere.
Mobile-friendliness has been important in SEO for some time. Google is rolling out an update that makes mobile websites even more important. It’s a significant change, and it could have a negative impact on your SEO if you’re unprepared. Google’s new update is called the ‘mobile-first index’, and it’s true to its name. With this change, the search giant will prioritize your website’s mobile version on its result pages. In this article, we’re going to dig deeper into what Google’s mobile-first index is and what it means for you. We’ll then talk about how to prepare your WordPress website for this brave new world.
What is Google’s Mobile First Index
Google’s mobile-first index will reward responsive websites. When you use Google to search for something, you will always see the same results whether you’re using a mobile device or a desktop computer. In the past, Google only used desktop versions of each website to determine its results, which lead to some issues. For instance, this meant that mobile users were served websites that weren’t mobile-friendly or featured less content than their desktop counterparts.
Due to the growing number of searches performed on mobile devices, Google is now rolling out an update called the mobile-first index. The main change is that Google will now index and rank websites by giving priority to their mobile versions. In other words, if your WordPress website provides a shoddy mobile experience, your SEO efforts will take a hit both on desktops and mobiles.
With that in mind, let’s break down how this update will affect you depending on what kind of site you have:
Desktop-only website. Google will still rank and index your website, but you should expect to take a hit in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
Both mobile and desktop versions. Your mobile website will take precedence now, which means you need to work on its SEO.
If you’re a WordPress user and you’re using a modern theme, you likely don’t need to worry. After all, many popular WordPress themes these days are responsive out of the box, so your website’s already provides an equal mobile and desktop experience. If you’re using an outdated theme or one that’s not responsive, then now is the time to consider a full redesign.
The real problem is if you’re serving two (or more) versions of your website depending on the type of device your visitors use. In that case, Google’s mobile-first index will most certainly have an impact on your site, unless you prepare for it.
Get Your Website Ready for Google’s Mobile First Index
If your website isn’t fully responsive, this should be your primary goal. However, a full redesign often takes a lot of time, and in the meantime, there are other things you can do to prepare for the rollout of Google’s mobile-first index.
Keep in mind – this section assumes you have a website with both mobile and desktop versions. If you only have a desktop version, you can skip ahead to tip number three.
Make Sure Your Website’s Mobile Version Includes All Your Key Content
Your mobile WordPress website should include all the same content as its desktop version. If there are two versions of your website, they both need to feature the same content. Some site owners use stripped-down versions of their sites for mobile users instead of creating mobile-friendly versions with the same content. In the past, this might have been enough, but now you need your mobile website to be as fleshed out as its desktop counterpart.
To be more specific, both your mobile and desktop websites should contain all the same information and features. This is true even if their designs are different. This way, users will still be able to find your content after the rollout of Google’s mobile-first index. If you’re using a separate WordPress installation to serve a mobile version of your website, you need to ensure it has all the same posts and pages as the desktop alternative. The best way to do this is by exporting your desktop content and importing it into your mobile installation.
Add the Same Metadata to All Versions of Your Website
Your post and page’s metadata should be the same on both mobile and desktop versions of your site. Aside from making sure both versions of your website share the same content, you also need to add identical metadata to all their pages. Metadata helps determine how search engines display your pages in the SERPs. Even if your mobile website shares the same content as the desktop version, but doesn’t have the same metadata, your SEO will still take a hit. Metadata is essential to SEO since it enables you to have more control over your results. You’ve probably spent a lot of time working on your page and article’s meta descriptions, so you should make sure to include them on your mobile website.
The bad news is adding meta descriptions to your mobile content might take some time depending on how many pages your site contains. Even if you’re using an SEO plugin, you’ll still need to copy and paste each meta description into the right place manually. However, the effort is necessary since Google will be looking at your mobile site’s metadata first.
Continue to Focus on Website Performance
Website performance will still be important both for SEO and usability purposes. One thing that’s not going to change with the mobile-first index is performance will still play a factor in your SEO. No one likes a slow website, whether it’s on mobile or desktop. More to the point, mobile devices sometimes have less stable connections, which makes website optimization even more critical.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can make your WordPress website faster. Some quick examples include leveraging browser caching, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), optimizing your images, and more. Fortunately for you, we’ve written extensively about WordPress optimization, so you should have no problem ensuring that your website runs fast.
Use a Mobile-Friendly Theme to Cut Your Work in Half
Using a mobile-friendly theme is the easiest way to create a responsive website. The easiest thing you can do to make your WordPress website more mobile-friendly is to use a responsive theme. This means that when you design a page, the theme will automatically adapt it to smaller devices, so you only have to do the work once. Almost all major WordPress themes these days are built to support mobile devices with responsive designs. If you’re not sure what theme to pick, here are a few tips to help you choose the right one:
Make sure the theme’s description explicitly says it’s responsive.
Look for themes that include preview functionality for different types of devices.
Ideally, your theme should enable you to make small adjustments depending on the devices your visitors use.
Mobile traffic has been on the rise for a long time and that trend isn’t likely to reverse anytime soon. Google’s mobile-first index is another confirmation that for mobile is king, which means that you need to make sure your site is adapted to the new standard. In this article, we’ve discussed some ways you can ensure this update doesn’t affect your site’s SEO negatively. These include:
Make sure your website’s mobile version includes the same content.
Add the same metadata to all versions of your website.
Continue to focus on website performance.
Use a mobile-friendly theme if you want to save yourself some headaches.
Having the right site structure can no doubt help you with your search engine optimization efforts in the same way that the wrong strategies can have a negative impact. There is not a long list of things that can be done to improve your SEO at the level of the website architecture, but when these things are done, bit by bit you will see improvements in rankings. And when done all together, it will reach maximum optimization. Most of these things can be done with very little help from a professional, and when they are implemented at the creation of content, it will become second nature to ensure that all web pages on your site are uniform in their ability to contribute positively to the overall search engine optimization. What’s the point of working hard on a website, only to be penalized because of a few simple mistakes? Never let that happen again when you are armed with this sort of information in your pocket.
Websites are crawled by search engines, and these crawlers visit each web page one by one very quickly while making copies of the pages. These copies are then stored in what is known as the index—which can be visualized as a huge book of the internet.
Each website is given what is known as a crawl budget. This is an estimated amount of time or number of pages that a search engine may crawl per day. This is based on the authority and relative trust of a website. Websites that are larger may want to improve the efficiency of their crawls to make sure that the desired pages are being crawled properly and more often. Internal link structures, robots.txt, and indicating to search engines to not participate with specific parameters are all ways that the efficiency of crawling can be improved. Often times, problems with crawling are easily avoided and overall, it is a good practice to use both HTML and XML sitemaps, making it easier for search engines to crawl a website.
Duplication and Canonicalization
Remember that big book of the Internet? The search index can get messy. When looking through, it a search engine could come across multiple pages that look like the same content, and this makes it more difficult to figure out which of these pages should be selected as the authentic version to be displayed in the search results. This is not a good scenario. It can become worse when individuals are actually linking to various versions of the exact same page. Those links are then divided between the different versions. What becomes of this is a lowered perception of the value assigned to that page. This is why canonicalization is extremely important—ideally, there would only be one version of each page available to search engines. That way a piece of content would retain its value and validity across the web.
There are so many ways that duplicate versions of a webpage can be created. A single website can have both a WWW and a non-WWW version of the site rather than one keep redirecting to the other. A website for e-commerce might let search engines index their numbered pages, but nobody is searching for “black dresses page 9”. Filtering parameters could be added onto the URL, and this would make it appear like a different page to a search engine.
Just as there are a number of ways to create URL bloat on accident, there are a number of ways to address it. Using a proper implementation of 301 redirects, managing URL parameters, effective pagination strategies, and rel=canonical tags are just a few ways to reduce the number of duplicate pages of content. Reducing this bloat will give the original content its value back.
Scraper sites are also a cause of duplicate content on the web, but you can code your website to increase the difficulty for this to happen. Additionally, you can opt to use absolute URLs rather than relative URLs. This is important because the browser will assume that the page link is redirecting to a page that is on the browser that you are on. The coding process is simplified with relative URLs, but if your developer is not willing to put new code into the entire site, you can use self-referencing canonical tags. What do these do? When a website scraper pastes your unique content on their own site, the canonical tags will stay in place, and allow Google to know the original source of the content. There are free tools available online that you can use to check and see if you have been scrapped.
You can use syndicated content in order for your site to get new looks, but you need to set guidelines for those that are looking to use your content. In the perfect scenario, you would ask of the publisher to use the rel=canonical tag on the page of the article to let search engines know that the original source for the content is your website. It is also possible to tag the syndicated content with no index, solving the impending problem of issues with search results producing duplicate content.
Google aims to make the internet faster each day and has asserted that a website that loads quickly will have an advantage in the rankings over a website that loads at a slower speed. Even considering this, making your website lightning fast won’t guarantee that it will appear at the top of a search results page. Speed is just a small factor that affects a tiny percentage of queries, Google says. Website speed has the potential to assist other factors that will make improvements overall. Society has become worse and worse at waiting, especially when it comes to the internet. Conversion and engagement on a website can improve based on an improved loading time.
When you speed up your website’s loading time, humans and search engines will respond positively to it! What are some ways to improve the loading time of your website? For starters, optimize your images. Many times, images are uploaded as a PNG file with a high resolution, but this is not totally necessary for the internet. The images should be converted to a JPG, and you will be left with a smaller image size that will quickly load. Images can also be compressed, making them even smaller.
Would it surprise you to know that more searches are taking place via mobile devices than those on a desktop? Because of this, it is expected that Google will reward the websites that are friendly on mobile devices by giving them a chance at ranking better through mobile searches, and those who are not mobile friendly might encounter a more difficult time appearing on the search results. Bing is following in Google’s steps with this system of rewards.
Working to get your website compatible with mobile devices will increase your chances of showing up favorable within search rankings, and making your mobile users happy with an easy to use a version of your site. Additionally, if you also have an app, you may want to consider taking part in app linking and indexing, which search engines offer.
Secure with HTTPS
Ideally, all websites would be using an HTTPS server, as this would provide heightened security to those who are searching the web. To encourage this, Google actually rewards those websites that do employ HTTPS with a small boost within the rankings. Similar to the speed boost, this is just a small factor that Google takes into account when it is deciding where a web page should rank within the search results. Alone, it will not guarantee that your page will appear as a result will appear at the top, but if you’re considering running on a secure server anyway, go ahead and do it so that it will positively affect your overall success within search results.
When done incorrectly, an HTTPs ranking boost won’t be seen. Most common, when a website has been changed over to HTTPS, that site is not set at the preferred version, and the HTTP version is still active. Google has said that the secure version is indexed by default, but there are still consequences like a wasted crawl budget, diluted links, and of course duplicate content.
Your URLs should be descriptive, and you should be including the words that you want to be seen within the domain name or URLs so that you can improve the ranking. It is not a huge change, but it only makes sense to have these descriptive terms in the URLs.
Now, don’t go stuffing any and every keyword into your URL(s). The keyword or keywords selected to use in your URL should clearly and directly describe the content on your site. When there are descriptive works within a URL, it is easier for search engines to decipher your web pages and determine whether or not their content is considered valuable. These specific URLs will also indicate to those who are performing the search query what they can expect from the content, so if the URL is www.sample.com/article1 that gives absolutely no indication as to what the article is about. That URL compared to one that might look like www.sample.com/ten-ways-to-do-datenight would have less value compared to the latter URL.
Here are some tips for creating the best versions of your URLs:
Shorter is better, and they will rank well on search engines.
Use only 1 or 2 keywords per URL. These should be your target keywords.
URLs should be easily read by a human. This will lead to a better user experience and higher rankings.
If you are not using a .com as the top level domain, choose wisely.
There should be 1 to 2 folders per URL—more folders will confuse Google on the topic of your page.
The folders should have descriptive names.
Avoid dynamic URLs when possible.
Choose a single keyword to optimize around, and remove categories from the URL.
Use characters that are safe, like the alphabet and a select few symbols like? $ ! and *
Don’t forget to encode reserved characters, and never use unsafe characters.
Figuring out what works and what does not, will not be difficult, just think about the URLs of your favorite sites or those that you use frequently. The URLs should be easily recognized by search engines and should be obvious and not mysterious to human users.
Incorporating all of these components into your website to improve its SEO will yield positive results. Each of these things will have a slight impact on the overall performance, but when they are utilized together in the correct way, it will be a game changer. Each change that is implemented will boost your site’s ranking in search results, bit by bit, and when they are all perfected, you’ll see the results. Website architecture for SEO is not something that has to be difficult and once you get the hang of it, it will be something that comes as second nature as your brand grows.
When designing a website for an organization needs to give prospective buyers an opportunity to read up on the company and get a feel for what it’s about. But only doing the bare minimum can be one huge, wasted opportunity. A professional website, which is designed around a strong lead generation strategy, can become one of the greatest sales assets a sales and marketing team has. To increase your B2B sales, you need one or more of the following:
More new leads
Better qualified leads
Shorter sales cycles
Increased customer lifetime value
Best Practices to Help Improve the Results From Your Website
Design your website into a sales rep who generates leads
Lead generation is the name of the game and it’s something we know a lot about. We cover it regularly on this blog because it’s at the core of how our software helps B2B businesses improve their results. Online lead generation works like this:
You attract visitors to your website using various means and channels. You then offer them attractive information for free, along with something even more valuable in return for them giving up their anonymity. i.e. A piece of gated content they can only get hold of in exchange for giving you their name and email address. This is the first conversion.
Once your anonymous visitors have been turned into subscribers, your aim then is to build trust and likeability. To nurture the new contact you’ve made and work on turning them into a lead – someone who has the potential to become a client.
As they move along the buyer journey, you need to find out more about them (to qualify them) and vice versa they about you, before handing them over to sales at just the right moment.
All this can happen with the help of your website if it is designed and optimized to do so.
Have a solid qualifying and conversion mechanism in place
Qualifying and conversion – basically the B2B lead nurturing you are doing, is simply about having a system in place that allows you to get to know more about the people who visit your website.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to use our software. It’s the reason we created it in the first place, to help us with that part of the lead generation process.
Nurturing is a great way to build a relationship over time. Sending a contact relevant information via email at specific intervals is the most common method used for this kind of nurturing, qualifying and segmentation.
Sending out the same information to everyone in a database is pointless. People will just see it as spam, and that’s the last thing you want. The idea is instead to focus the information, so it reflects exactly what the person on the other end needs right now and will want in their inbox.
An added bonus of using a website for the nurturing part of B2B sales lead generation is that content marketing can also help to shorten long sales cycles. Particularly in industries where it takes a long time to educate and inform potential customers. Offering solid content and a website with lots of information can really help.
Look beyond the short-term results and build for the future
Creating a website with the sole aim of finding new customers is a very short-sighted approach. Your website also needs to offer something for existing and returning customers, as growing loyalty, increasing business from existing customers and encouraging referrals are all just as important.
In today’s world, businesses need to make the most of the ongoing and repeat business and your website can again play a crucial role.
It’s ok to keep the main website focused on generating new business. Just make sure it’s super easy for customers to find the pages relevant to them. For example, introduce a separate section such as a ‘knowledge base’ or ‘academy’ of some sort.
Many websites also go down the route of adding subdomains and developing websites specifically aimed at existing customers. As for us here at Lead Forensics, we offer a whole content universe to our existing clients which is available to them after login. That login is prominently displayed on our public facing website but a whole world of information lies behind it.
Also, think about your customer service and finding ways to make it super easy for clients to seek help and for your team to help each other. Gather and use any feedback that comes in, to help enhance your entire process with a 360-degree customer view in mind.
Proper Design For a Sales Website
Redesigning your website to help increase your B2B sales, by way of providing strategic offers and other lead generation mechanisms, means focusing on two key areas – design and functionality.
The first step though is to pull together a strategy for how the website will work in helping you achieve your goals.
What paths will visitors take?
What kind of sales funnel are you creating on your website?
How will you take the visitor by the hand and lead them step by step to the next information/offer/conversion?
Figuring out how to strategically position your website and help navigate people through it, is really important. Engage the services of a seasoned online marketer, or inbound marketer, who will be able to help you make your website more attractive to visitors.
Websites need great content and lots of it! This content can come in a variety of different forms, from text to images, video and other kinds of multimedia or interactive component. There will, of course, be a basic need for content to first build the website, but then you need to keep it alive and active. If you are hoping to attract business via organic search, you need to be updating the site regularly. This is best done weekly, at a minimum. Have a team of professional content producers on hand to help you, for whatever medium you need, be it text, visual, interactive, or any combination therein.
The style and tone of a website is going to be key to its attractiveness for your target audience. Stuffy corporate talk is a big no-no, even in B2B circles. People want to engage with a website, whether they’re checking out the latest fashion trends, or researching new techniques to improve workbench fittings. Think about the tone of voice you want for your website. Your basic “this is us” type pages can get away with being a bit more formal (lawyers are a good example here), while your blog should liven things up a bit by showing some personality and even humor. It’s important to show your personable and approachable side. People want to do business with people after all, whether it’s buying office stationery or children’s furniture.
Producing a style guide may sound like a lot of work, but as your website grows it will be vital to have, to help you keep everything aligned. What you don’t want to end up with is a mishmash of all sorts of different styles, language, and tone. Overall, you want to keep it consistent and as simple and easy to navigate as possible. There’s a rule of thumb in modern web design – less is definitely more. Stick to only the most important information and cut out the fluff and any other distractions that may water down your offering.
When it comes to the technicalities of putting a B2B website together, you have plenty of options. One top tip is to have your web designer on retainer, so they can fix anything that needs attention once the newly designed site is live. Updating content moving forward should be easy for you to do yourself and modern web design platforms will allow you to do this. Make sure you keep it updated, backed up, maintained and secure. If you’re planning on using cookies and to collect data from visitors, then check you are acting in line with all relevant legislation for your area. The rules are different all over the world and you need to make the necessary provisions on your website.
It also goes without saying that your website must be responsive, so it automatically adjusts according to the size of screen it is being viewed on. Many websites today are being designed as ‘mobile first’ – i.e. for a mobile in the first instance. That is because the percentage of visitors coming through that channel continues to sharply increase. Whatever you decide to do, just keep it simple. Have a clean and appealing design, avoid clutter and jargon, and lead your visitors by the hand from start to finish. Offer them a step-by-step way to learn more about you, your company and how you can help solve their problems and the conversions will follow.