For successful B2Bs, the hub of their marketing should be their website.
All of your marketing efforts – inbound and outbound, direct mail and email, social media, etc. – should be driving traffic to your website. That means you website should provide a good visitor experience, should have visible calls to action, and should be able to present the type of information that visitors will derive value from.
So when companies hired me to do their marketing, much of my work in designing campaigns, branding, content creation, touched the website. Because I was coming in after the fact, trying to work with the existing site could be challenging, and more frequently than I could have imagined impossible. Based on that experience, let me share some points that you should consider if you are looking to redo your website.
1) Do not allow the designer to make the site so complicated that you are dependent on them for changes.
It should be easy to add content (copy, images, videos, landing pages) to your website. If you’re in a situation where adding a new page means a call to your web designer that could spell problems down the line and add unnecessary costs. Unfortunately, I’ve come across too many situations where this is the case. Perhaps the designer is conscientious and quickly responds to your requests – fantastic. But if there is a cost associated with making those changes, it may cause you to think twice about adding new content. That’s a problem because you should be adding new content on a regular basis.
But what if the designer isn’t conscientious. If you have a new product or service that you want to market and there’s no information on your website, interested prospects will be scratching their heads. Sadly, I’ve been in several situations where it’s taken weeks to get new information on the website because the designer wasn’t available due to other, larger projects with other clients, to get my client’s information up in a timely manner. That’s an unacceptable opportunity loss.
2) Go with WordPress.
WordPress is easy. It’s powerful. It’s got a track record. It’s got thousands of plugins allowing you to do just about anything you could want to do with a website. More importantly, there are thousands of WordPress experts that could help you if your original designer is too busy or goes out of business.
WordPress can help you do a decent job of SEO through a plugin called Yoast. With every page of content, it will give you a fill-in-the-blanks form to assist you in optimizing the page for your selected key word. This can save you a ton of money compared to working with an SEO service provider.
3) Prioritize – you can’t put everything on the home page. Don’t make it too busy.
Too often Home pages can be a detriment to the effectiveness of the site because every product, service, event, and announcement is given equal weight. As a result visitors become confused or frustrated, can’t find what they want, and click out of your site.
Use your home page to create a great first impression and use menu tabs and side bar navigation intelligently to guide visitors to additional information.
4) Think about navigation and organization of content.
Think about navigation and organization from the visitor’s point of view. This could involve a menu for industry, product, services, events, blog, about us, and contact us.
Your B2B website has several different types of visitors. The most simplistic categorization is: those who know you and those who don’t know you. Is your phone number easy to find? Is your mailing address included in your contact information? Are the titles of menus and side bar navigation self-explanatory? Make it easy for your visitors – or they won’t stay. You’ve work so hard to get them to your website, it would be a shame to lose them to poor site navigation.
5) Get opinions before sinking a lot of money into SEO, Pay-per-Click Ads.
I think SEO is a good thing. However, I’ve seen too many businesses burn money on optimizing and driving traffic to a stale site. It’s one think to drive traffic to a website, but if you do not have compelling content and if your content is not being updated on a regular basis it’s the equivalent of inviting people to an open house and serving them tap water and saltine crackers.
6) Develop a Content Calendar and Phased Content Creation Plan
There is no reason why it should take months and months and months to get a new B2B website up and operational. Yet I’ve seen clients spend close to a year working on a new web site. If I am tasked with the project management of launching a new website, I go with a phased approach. Phase One includes the minimum content that defines the business (usually the first level of navigation). Phase Two include the sublevels. Usually during Phase One and Phase Two ideas come up for additional functionality or new sections of content and those items become Phase Three.
Taking a phased approach means that your site can be up in 6 to 8 weeks.
Too often trying to get everything up at once leads to addition after addition. Or some “nice to have” things get added to the list that delay more critical information going live and being available to your target market faster.
7) Analytics before and after – benchmark how your new site is performing.
Are you tracking analytics of your site? Do you know the average number of monthly visitors? Do you know the average amount of time/visitor spent on your site? Do you know which pages on your site at the most visited? You should begin tracking these metrics so you know if your new site performance is exceeding or falling short of your old site.
Knowing which pages of you current site are most visited can help you determine what information to include in Phase One of your new site.
I use Google Analytics – which is free – as well as SiteCounter and Raven Tools. At the very least, begin using Google Analytics so that you can compare before and after.
Your new website should be a cause for celebration, pride and new opportunities. These seven guidelines will help you ensure that your new B2B website is a smashing success.
If you are looking for a great WordPress developer, I recommend RosieMedia. If you are a do-it-yourselfer – RosieMedia offers coaching. If you are a delegator, RosieMedia can do it for you.