Whether you manage an ecommerce site, a simple corporate presence, or an active marketing hub that integrates with your email, social, and CRM platforms, there are basic truths that can help your site succeed.
Don’t Make ‘Em Think
Borrowing the concept from Steve Krug’s great book, Don’t Make Me Think, your goal with your website’s structure, organization, and navigation should be to make it easy and obvious for visitors to find the information they want.
This largely means taking the time to think about your site from your audience’s perspective rather than your own:
- Don’t silo your content by internal department.
- Build landing pages specific to industries, roles, and other audience segments so visitors can see themselves and feel like everything you’re presenting relates to and is of value to them.
- Use search or filtering, depending on the size of your content library, to let visitors quickly find everything they want.
Make it clear that you didn’t just finish reading the book titled, “How to be an [insert your industry here]” and didn’t hang your shingle out for the first time last week. Client reviews and testimonials,, case studies and other examples of your work, and all other means of showing your track record are an important part of creating the level of comfort that moves site visitors closer from casually reading your content to interacting with you on a person-to-person level and, eventually, becoming a client.
Make the Technology Invisible
Only the geeks care about the underlying technology. If they’re your audience, call attention to it. Otherwise, you want it to disappear. The only thing you want your audience to be thinking when they use your site is, “Boy, that was easy.” In many ways, this is the flip side to the first point above. If you’ve made your site fast and easy to use, your audience won’t be thinking about anything but how you can solve their problem.
Also be sure your site works well wherever your audience wants it to. If mobile is where they are, any changes you make should be designed to optimize the mobile experience. Your analytics should be able to tell you how your visitors are accessing your site and whether their are user experience issues with any particular device or platform.
You Do You
Be human, show your personality, but a face behind the brand, and never forget that even in B2B transactions, the buyer and the seller in nearly every transaction are always people, even as they represent their respective companies.
Make it easy for prospects and clients to contact you through your website and set expectations for how quickly they can expect a response. (It doesn’t have to be 24/7, but you do have to make clear how quickly you’ll respond during your regular business hours and outside of them.
Let the Data Do the Work
Finally, to expand on the point I made above about data telling you whether yours is a mobile-heavy audience, use your analytics to give you insights into what your audience is interested in. The search feature on your site is a prime example of this. Set up correctly, it can tell you what your audience is interested in, and whether or not they’ve been able to find it.
Review your site to see where you’re strongest and weakest on these issues and chances are you’ll be able to improve your site’s performance without the hassle and expense of a full-on overhaul.