Important B2B Website Best Practices
Selling B2B presents some unique challenges:
- You’re often selling products that are less fun or interesting than a lot of B2C products, but that serve a practical purpose.
- You may have to reach and convince multiple contacts in different positions at the companies you work.
- And especially for high-priced B2B products, you have to expect the decision-making process to take some real time and work.
Your website can’t do all those jobs, but it can do some of them and make others easier. It’s one of the best tools you have for connecting with customers and effectively communicating what your business does to them. Chances are, your website has a lot of work to do for you.
Make sure you get the most out of it by following these key B2B website best practices.
1. Keep Your Design Clean and Focused.
If you try to stuff too much into one page on the site, it gets confusing. A clean design is both nicer to look at and makes it easier for your visitors to find the information it’s most important for them to see. If you don’t have a good designer on staff and don’t have the budget to hire a professional, that’s actually not a problem these days.
You can get really far with a good website builder and by using pre-made templates. These are already designed by skilled professionals who have an idea of what works best in a business website, so it gives you a head start in getting your design right.
2. Have a Consistent Color Scheme.
It can be jarring to encounter entirely different colors moving from one page to the next on a website. Your brand may already have a set color scheme you use for things like your logo or promotional materials. If you do, stick to that for your website.
If not, take time now to figure out the color scheme you want to use for your brand moving forward and make sure every page on your website makes use of those colors. It will give people a unified experience across pages and provide a visual shorthand for how they think about your brand.
3. Emphasize Your USP on the Homepage.
We’ve already established that you don’t want to try to do too much on the homepage (or any one page), so to use that space wisely, you have to figure out the most important information that you want every person that visits your website to know. This is your unique selling proposition (USP): what’s the primary benefit your product offers?
For HostGator, it’s powerful web hosting:
For B2B brands, your USP probably has something to do with helping businesses make more money, save time, or do their jobs better in some tangible way. Figure out the main reason your customers buy your product and use that to determine the messaging to put front-and-center on your website. All the detailed information you have about the features you offer or the specifics of how your products work can go deeper on the website for people who decide they’re interested in learning more.
4. Create an Intuitive Site Structure.
Everyone who visits your website should have an easy time figuring out what’s on it and how to find the information they’re looking for. The way you accomplish that is by making sure you design it with an intuitive structure.
For smaller websites, this is usually simple enough: your menu will include your homepage, about page, and a page for each product or product category. For larger ones it can get more complicated and you’ll want to think through now how best to organize all the pages your website is likely to have over time.
Your goal should be for a user to never be more than three clicks away from any other page on the website. That keeps navigating your site manageable for visitors.
5. Use the About Page to Humanize Your Brand.
You know intuitively that you relate better to people than you do brands. Your website visitors do too. No matter how much work you put into building up your brand, at the end of the day, your customers will have an easier time caring about the people behind the logo. So give them a chance to see who you are on your About page.
Your other pages should be more focused on your brand and product messaging, but the About page gives you a chance to introduce your team. Share pictures of the people behind the brand and some information about each of them. It doesn’t all have to be business related either – Jan in accounting could share that she’s a dog person and super into Star Wars. That alone probably won’t get someone to choose your product, but knowing they have something in common with the people behind the brand can help make them feel connected to the brand and more likely to want to work with you than a competitor that feels more distant.
6. Make It Mobile Friendly.
Over half of all internet use now happens on mobile devices. People are increasingly using them for business tasks along with games or other fun browsing. That means your website has to be accessible for users that visit it on their smartphones.
When working on your design, make sure you test out how it works on mobile as well as desktop. Are the buttons big enough to easily click on with your finger? Is the font easy to read? Is the design responsive (meaning you get the same content and visuals, but they change to look good on each device you use)?
If you’re using a website builder or template, look for one that’s clear about being mobile friendly. (Note: all of the templates in HostGator’s website builder are!) And if you hire a designer, be clear from day one that the mobile experience of the website is a priority.
7. Use Graphics and Video to Bring Your Product to Life.
This is particularly useful if you sell something like a software product that’s hard to describe fully in words. Screenshots or videos that show how the product works and what it does can be useful for helping visitors visualize what they’d be getting.
Many people are visual thinkers who will appreciate your website more if it helps them learn things visually as well as through the wording you choose.
8. Minimize Jargon.
Speaking of wording, avoid going too deep into industry-specific terminology. If someone outside of your industry wouldn’t understand the language you’re using, then it’s probably best to find another way to say it.
You want everyone that comes to your website to be able to understand what you’re saying. Jargon can both make you sound out-of-touch (or like you’re trying too hard) and potentially alienate visitors that don’t understand it.
9. Make CTAs Clear and Easy.
Your website will probably have a few main goals – things like:
- Get visitors to get in touch for more information
- Get visitors to sign up for our email list
- Get visitors to start a free trial
- Get visitors to purchase our product
Your website should be designed so that the steps you want your visitors to take should be extremely easy for them to do. If you want them to contact you, don’t hide your contact information on a page that’s difficult to find – put it on every page of your website in a spot that’s easy to see.
For each page on the website, figure out which action you most want your visitor to take and design the page in a way that emphasizes that action and makes taking that step especially easy.
10. Perform A/B testing.
It’s always hard to guess at what people will respond to. Once your website has launched, the best way to know what’s working is to test it out.
A/B testing lets you see how people respond to design changes or different wording. You can figure out if one style of a CTA button consistently works better than another, or which of two headlines gets the most clicks. Over time, you can make changes to your website that improve the results you get and collect a lot of valuable data on what works to make your future website changes and marketing campaigns stronger.
11. Create Original Images.
Images are an important part of a solid B2B website. They influence how visitors interact with your website and how effective your messaging is. Research shows that people are 80% more likely to read content that shows up alongside an image (or a few) and 64% more likely to remember the content they read.
It’s pretty easy to find cheap stock images online, but there’s a real value to taking the time (or hiring someone) to create original images on your website. Original photography performs better on websites than stock photography and original illustrations and animations can be a way to further differentiate your brand.
12. Have a Blog.
The downside of blogging is that it’s something you have to continually do – you can’t do it once and be done. But the upsides of blogging (when done well) make the work well worth it. Having a blog on your B2B website:
- Improves your SEO
- Gives you a way to reach and interact with more people in your target audience
- Gives you a space to answer FAQs (making the jobs of your sales and customer service teams easier)
- Helps you build an email list
- Positions your brand as a thought leader in your field
Adding a blog to the website can do a lot for your marketing and online visibility. Most B2B websites will significantly benefit from adding a blog to the site – just as long as you stay on top of it and make sure your posts are of a high quality.
13. Pay Close Attention to Analytics.
Google Analytics makes it easy for you to track how your website is performing over time. You can see how much traffic you receive, how often the people who come to your site stick around (rather than abruptly leaving), what links they click on, and which pages are the most popular. You can even see data on who your visitors are in terms of demographics and other online interests.
All that data is helpful in making sure your website is doing its job and figuring out what to change if it isn’t. Every website owner, and especially every business website owner, should get in the habit of checking web analytics regularly and analyzing what the information is telling you.
What’s Best for Your B2B Website?
B2B websites have some particular challenges, but following a few best practices can help you make sure your website reaches the right people with the right message to help you gain new customers.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.