I am often asked by B2B clients to give my opinion on their websites; usuaully they want no more than a 60 minute glance at what they have and a quick idea of what could be improved.
My suggestions vary from site to site and client to client but there are some common fixes that are worthy of note.
So, the next time you’re tinkering with your b2b website here are 5 things to think about:
1. Consult your users
One of the biggest problems clients face is getting reliable, good quality feedback from real people. Recruiting the right users for testing and consultation is often difficult and time-consuming so anything you can do shorten the process will be beneficial.
Trawl you user databases for suitable participants and invite them to be part of a steering group; a group you can contact from time to time with questions. The steering group need be no more than ten people but should have representatives from all your audience segments.
2. Be focused on your main users and their goals
- Create a simple set of calls to action that are in the same place on every webpage and link to your business objectives (e.g. phone us, email us, request a call back, subscribe for eNewsletters, download a brochure)
- Prioritise your navigation according to your main primary audience (e.g. Navigation aimed at your customers gets top billing, and Press and Careers sections have less impact).
3. Reduce the noise
Some customers will want lots of in-depth content before making a decision, others will just want to pick up the phone and speak to you. Whichever approach suits your audience I can guarantee you that you can still tighten up your content:
- Flatten out the navigation and get straight to the point. I’m sure you can find examples of sections on your site where you have a load of pages that could be reduced into just one quick summary page
- Reduce the amount of text, on all pages but especially on the homepage
- Remove pages that aren’t focused on your core objectives (and I mean be ruthless about it). For example, give people a quick overview of who you are and what you offer, and tools to get in touch. Anything else could just be noise that distracts the user from doing what they came to do
- Cull redundant content if you can. Does anyone ever read press releases from 2008?
4. If you do offer more, make it engaging and worthwhile
- If you can create video content for your key business messages, do so
- Create thought-leadership content that shows why you are the experts. Get influiential people in your business to talk about what they know (read 10 steps to establishing and maintaining a professional blog for more advice)
- We do encrouage clients to develop mobile interfaces but only because their users are likely to use them. Work out what, if anything, your users would access via mobile and develop a tailored interface for them.
5. Don’t let the site do your sales team’s job
People often want to speak to people about the finer details so don’t make your site a dumping ground for all your written content. Summarise your products and services in as few pages as possible and ask people to get in touch if they want to know more. You could even set up a call back facility and capture their email address and basic details (cha-ching – a potential lead!)