When developing a new B2B website or redesigning an existing one, there are a number of factors to consider in order to help you get the most out of the project and produce great ROI for your business.
Your company website is what I like to call, your “silent salesman”. It’s the digital hub for your business and it’s open 24/7. Your website is your online branded representative that should be presentable, informative, helpful and always up to date.
A development project of this kind can be a great opportunity to create a website that actually serves the company and supports its goals.
I have been developing websites for over 12 years and I’ve learned a lot about project planning, the goal-setting process, content creation, design, development, launch and ongoing digital marketing that can really make your website work hard for your business to produce great results and sales leads.
Let’s take a look at 7 important tips for your next B2B website development project that will help you create a professional online strategy.
1. Project Planning
At the start of any new project, it’s important to outline the scope of what is involved. It’s good to think about and define the following:
- Project summary
- Key goals for the project – ranked by importance
- Team members and external resources that will be required
- Defined timeline
You can also check out HubSpot’s blog post with lots of useful prompts to help get you started – 90 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Website Redesign
2. Set Clear Objectives
Do you have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals for your website that will help you know that the site is a profitable and successful marketing investment?
- What are the core messages you want to promote?
- Are these messages aligned with your most profitable products and services?
- Who is your target audience, in which market sector?
- What is the competition doing?
- How will the website be accessed? Are your visitors coming from mobile, tablet or desktop devices?
3. Content Planning
Original content is king. Use the project as an opportunity to create new content or refresh old copy, ensuring it includes useful, engaging and helpful tips where relevant.
Creating and using Buyer Personas can really help you to get focused on delivering the right content to your future website visitors. Spend some time on developing your personas and the keyword phrases that will form the backbone of your future Content Planning strategy.
This will include:
- Core page content
- Product and/or service landing pages
- Blog articles
- Call To Actions or CTAs
- Landing pages for offers and downloads such as guides, tip sheets, Ebooks and so on
- Sign-up forms
Many projects start with design elements of the project. This is normally because it’s easy to get everyone on board with your concepts visually for buy-in and quick wins.
I suggest not falling into this trap…
By project planning, defining objectives and content planning first, you will ensure that the project runs more efficiently. It is likely that you will outsource your design and development processes to another part of your business or external agencies, and you’ll want to have concise documentation to keep your project in check and on budget.
In the design process, you can develop the UX (user experience) for the website and the user journeys you want visitors to take in order for them to engage with your content.
A big consideration at this stage should be the mobile-friendliness of the design, and how potentially more than half your visitors will interact with your business via their smartphone browsers.
Use wireframes to map out pages and navigation elements for the site – for example, do you want static navigation or dropdown menus?
You can work with your design team to consider and implement:
- Strong branding
- Choice of primary and secondary colours
- Powerful visuals and photography
- Clever iconography to convey messages quickly and easily
- CTAs and button design
- Well structured page layouts that are easy to manage via your CMS (content management system)
Depending on the requirements of your project, you can choose a variety of platforms to create and host your new website. Informational websites are very different to ecommerce websites and some solutions are better than others. CMS platforms also differ widely and you need to choose one that is best suited to your future business needs.
It is important to work with skilled developers with great credentials who have the right expertise. They should be able to provide examples of previous work and demo CMS administrator control for the websites they have built.
- Database management requirements
- Testing environment the developers will use
- SEO and content optimisation
- Website security – HTTPS
- Website back-ups
6. Website Launch
So, you and your team have done all the hard work and it’s time to launch the website to the world.
Talk to your developers about domain control and renewal – who’s responsibility is this…? You will also need to have decided on the most suitable website hosting solution and possibly the provision of a support contract if necessary.
The initial launch of the website will allow you and your team to do corrections to any snags. The developers will also carry out final fixes to code on the live domain – it’s a good idea to have the new website password protected until this stage is complete.
- Check your content for typos
- Check that navigation links work
- Test forms
- Check that the website metadata is correct for all pages and images
- Implement your social sharing tools
- Implement Google Analytics
- Implement Recaptcha codes
- Implement non-www redirection
- Implement 301 re-direction for old page URLs if necessary
- Carry out tests for functionality on multiple device types
If you are happy with the finished website, it’s time to GO LIVE!!!
7. Digital Marketing
The launch of the website is where the project really starts to come to life. You will want to use all of the website features to get the most out of visitor engagement. This is an evolving process and you will no doubt want to make tweaks and changes over time.
Using Inbound Marketing methodology, your website will become a crucial asset to your business. Create an ongoing content strategy plan as part of your marketing campaigns to increase your website traffic with:
- Blog articles
- Downloads of Tip Sheets, Ebooks, Guides and White Papers
- Landing pages for offers and promotions
- Social media posts
By having a well thought out and planned approach to B2B website development, you will be able to create a new website that is a real asset for your business, ultimately helping you to attract visitors, create leads, convert those leads into customers and delight them into becoming promoters for company’s products and services.
For more information and tips, check out:
Free Guide to SEO & Keywords for B2B Websites
Topics: Website Design, Website Development