Since 1998 we’ve developed many successful business-to-business websites that generate leads and revenues for our clients, and we’ve also seen how B2B websites can go terribly wrong. Here are eleven website mistakes and tips on how to avoid them.
1. You don’t have a plan or strategy for your online and social media presence
You can’t market well if you don’t know your buyers, your brand and what you stand for, your competition, or your industry. Today the number one key to success in online marketing is an intimate understanding of your buyers. A new tool for B2B marketers are detailed buyer personas that help guide positioning and messaging online. Buyer or marketing personas used to be a tool only ad agencies used, but not that more marketing is done in-house, personas help keep marketing real and relevant.
2. Your web developer doesn’t choose the right technology for your website
Today there are many options for your website technology platform, and it’s important to know which one will best suit the needs of your company. WordPress is open source and extremely cost-effective, but if a site calls for custom features and designs it may be more cost-effective to code the site from scratch. Some developers use proprietary platforms or outdated technologies like Dreamweaver. You’re best off working with a web developer who can develop using an open source platform or from scratch.
3. You don’t hire a graphic designer or your designer doesn’t understand web graphics
Whether you’re using graphics for your template’s page banners or home page sliders, you should have professionally designed graphics. Some print designers don’t understand how to optimize graphics for web use, and your web graphics can look “pixellated” or muddy. Find a graphic designer who knows digital design and ask to review some samples before you hire them.
4. You choose an inexpensive host that performs poorly
There are some great deals in web hosting, now that that industry has consolidated into a few big companies that rely on volume. But, are you trading cost-savings for slow performance and poor support? Make sure your host has 24/7 support and that the support is helpful when you call them. Don’t accept customer support from someone reading from a script – there are companies that provide better service. And, know that some hosting services put thousands of sites on the same server, possibly leading to performance issues and downtime.
5. You have bad content on your website
If you don’t plan your website content in advance or if you leave it up to a web developer to create content, you could end up with an ineffective site. You should draw a diagram of the site navigation you want and write a description of each webpage, including the page objectives, content and features. Then, someone needs to write compelling, accurate content that allows website visitors to easily read it on webpages, which is very different than reading print. Make sure you have a writer experienced in writing copy for the web. Make sure that your writer doesn’t write boring content that is so typical for B2B product and service marketing! (Read my previous post on this, B2B Marketers: Are You Going to Accept B2B Boring Content?)
6. You don’t have basic, organic SEO features built into your site
Every site should be optimized for the search engines, with relevant headlines, tags and keywords. Search engine optimization changes constantly, so don’t hire someone who is new to the industry and says they know what to do. You should also not hire someone who is stuck in the SEO tactics of 2-3 years ago (there are many out there who find it hard to change or keep up with the new tactics). Your web developer should know best SEO practices or know someone who does. (Read my previous posts on SEO best practices here.)
7. Your site has no integration with social media platforms
Social media links allow you and others to share information about your site and its content. Find out what social media platforms your buyers use and be there. Add in some others to attract new buyers. Tying your content into social media will increase your site traffic exponentially, especially if the content is good and more people begin to follow you. (Read my previous post, A Social Media Strategy for B2B Marketers.)
8. Your website is not responsive and doesn’t automatically resize for multiple devices
More and more people are using mobile devices to access your website. Some B2B sites are reporting 25-30% access via mobile. As the use of PCs continues to decline, this will become increasingly important. Websites that automatically resize depending on the device used for access are called responsive. Google favors responsive websites in its search engine performance algorithm.
9. Your website loads slowly due to poor design, bad graphics, or poor coding
Several factors can slow down your website, including graphics that are not optimized for the web and cumbersome programs that don’t perform efficiently. Make sure your developer and designer know how to streamline the programs (or minimize plugins if you’re using a template such as WordPress) and optimize graphics for peak performance.
10. Your content is static
A static site will not perform well in search results, because the search engines weigh new content and sharing of that content more heavily in their algorithms. If you can create content that adds value for your buyers and customers, add it to your website so that you will get found in online searches.
11. You don’t have guidelines for ongoing content and website design format
If you do generate content on your site and share it on social media platforms, make sure that you have written guidelines that specify what you write, for whom and how it should look. This is especially important for websites that are based on open source that virtually “anyone” can modify, because in our experience they will! We have seen sites change from well-designed sites with accurate content to sites with mismatched page design, misspelled content and bad graphics. Set standards and ask your site contributors and social media spokespeople to adhere to them.
Have you made mistakes with a B2B website? Did we miss any? Please comment below.
Do you need to create a new website or update your existing site? Do you want to make sure you get results from your website? Contact New Incite today. We’ve analyzed, updated or developed and optimized hundreds of websites to ensure success for our clients.
Photo by Little Larry on Flickr, Some Rights Reserved.