b2b website best practices

If you’ve ever sought out to redesign your website, then you’ve probably done some Googling to see what the current best practices are for website redesign. You’ve probably read about how making your website mobile friendly is a key redesign aspect that you can’t ignore. You might have see that keeping a rolling navigation bar makes it easy to move throughout your site. Heck, you probably also have seen that proper use of forms and content offers can help increase the number of leads your site generates.

These are all true B2B website best practices and absolutely should be a part of your redesign plan, but these tips are boring. No, I don’t mean they are bad tips, because you definitely need to abide by them, I just mean that they are some of the most commonly brought up examples of best practices, hence, they’re boring. I don’t like boring, I like interesting. This article is going to provide you three B2B website best practices, or redesign trends, that you might not know about, but should be included in your redesign plans.

1. The Aesthetics

Just because yours is a B2B business doesn’t mean your website has to be boring. In 2015, many business websites all started to look the same. You’ve seen them, they adapted an almost cookie-cutter format for their site design, using stock-like images and colors that are safe and uninspiring; you probably pictured an example of that while reading that sentence. These websites don’t do anything wrong, but they also don’t provide any upside value in their design either!

bad website design

Look at this example above: For all intents and purposes it’s a functional website. It does the job and will get visitors the information they need. But its dull. It’s old design and doesn’t offer anything that “pops” off the screen. Some will argue that if the website doesn’t elicit any strong feelings that’s a positive because it’s not putting out anything negative, but it’s a missed opportunity. Your website can be bland and “just get the job done”, or it can do more.

Squarespace web templates

Squarespace is a great example of contemporary designs that are just easy on the eyes. Having used them before, Squarespace sites offer flowing aesthetics that look modern and well done, even though they are simple to use and customize.

What’s that? “This is just more design talk and you said those tips are everywhere?” Ok, I did, but I wanted to open with them. But what about this: Instead of using the same style of boring stock images filled with beautiful stock image models, try using animation or video.

Animation or video use on a website is becoming a more prevalent feature with web design. Dynamic images on the tops of websites, videos as the homepage image, animated images, and slick Instagram-style filters on sites are starting to rise. These growing changes are becoming common practice because of how aesthetically pleasing, and quite frankly refreshing, they when compared to the normal, boring sites. These websites use excellent imagery, video, and color to make the visitors instantly impressed with the design.

2. User Control

Have you ever been to a site where you know what you wanted to do, but were unable to make the site work for you? I have.

Recently, I visited an eCommerce website where I wanted to purchase a tool. I knew exactly the tool I wanted, I knew the website had it, It was a done deal. I clicked on the shop for the site and was then shown the products. I clicked on the product I wanted and was then shown a subset page with more options. I clicked my option…and was shown another subset page. I clicked again…and another page. All-in-all, it took me 8 clicks to get to the page just to look at the product and add it to shopping cart. I was dumbfounded by how unintuitive this was and I chose not to buy the tool out of spite.

This is a perfect example of the topic of User Control and Simplicity.

When visitors come to your site for information, or shopping, or to read a blog, they want that information. They don’t want to have to search around the website or click a bunch of different pages just to find what they came for. You shouldn’t make them have to. Your website needs to be simple to use. Over simple, even. Allow users to navigate around the site without making them work too hard for it.

While on the topic of User Control, we also need to address the fact that people hate things they cannot control. This includes things like Auto-play videos, difficult to close popups, and automatic slideshows.

Auto-play videos are easy: you’ve been to a site to read an article and as you’re reading a video suddenly starts up, interrupting your read. People hate this. No one enjoys it, just don’t do it. If people want to watch a video on the subject, they can click play and won’t think anything of it. Auto-play videos are annoying and break the peace of visiting a site.

exit popups

Popups are another hotly contested feature in web design. On one hand, popups can greatly increase lead generation when done correctly, being added to the website in a way that doesn’t hamper the visitors time spent on the site. On the other hand, they can be far too intrusive, hard to close, and way too frequent. Popups need to be handled with kid gloves for visitors. You need to allow your visitors an easy opportunity to reject the popup and close it without hassle. You also should add a cookie function that will track a visitor to your site and not bombard them with popups every time they change pages. If you do this you can use popups but greatly lower the risk of annoying your visitors.

If you can make your website easy to navigate and easy to use for your visitors, you’ll reap the rewards for great design and functionality. People will come to your site and not be immediately turned off by how its set up. That’s the goal.

3. Recommend Good Content

Let’s not dance around it: Content is the driving force for many websites, and the main way they generate traffic to their sites. Boom, that simple.

Content such as blogs, eBooks, case studies, infographics, videos, templates, whatever it might be, content is important. Content is what keeps people on the page, and what increases the “dwell time” of each visitor, something that Google keeps track of for SEO purposes. If the game is keeping people on the page, then Cracked.com is a contender for the championship.

recommened content

Cracked does a great job of creating excellent and fun-to-read content that people love, and they also do one other very important thing: they recommend relevant content. In the image above, you’ll see that they recommend content to the user that they might also enjoy. Depending on the topic the reader is viewing, the content recommendation is different. By adding this feature to your site, you improve the chance that the reader clicks on another article and keeps reading on your site.

You can pursue this effort by using categories and tags for articles (most CMS platforms like WordPress and HubSpot do this), or you can look into Content Recommendation A.I. programs (like FunnelUp) which learn what content visitors are consuming and their behavior patterns, and then offers them content that they would enjoy. All in the quest to increase time spent on page in an effort to appease the Google SEO overlords.

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