02 Sep Where to Start an Update When Your B2B Website is a Time Machine
“I don’t even want to send people to my website. It looks like it’s from the 90s.”
In the last month, I’ve heard this statement more than once from companies and organizations who are on the cutting edge of so many projects, but their online presence has stagnated. In the midst of coordinating social media, trade shows, and product design, their B2B websites have taken a back seat. As an inbound marketing agency, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to websites.
Websites, like your home or office interior design, experience trends. These trends vary according to industry and software preferences. It’s not necessary to create a site that plays into all the current trends, but updating your layout, design, and fonts every three to five years is a necessary part of doing business–like having your office windows washed or the carpet cleaned.
Set some goals.
We love goals. You’ve figured that out by now. Your company won’t know if a website redesign is in it’s best interest until you know what you want the site to be able to do. Many people will say first they just want their B2B websites or non profit websites to work, however, websites can do so much more than just deliver information. You can use your site to house and track product inventory. You can include a login portion so customers or vendors can upload or download information. You can have actions on your website trigger automated marketing messages. Know what you want your website to be able to do before you contact a designer.
Find sites you like.
Create a file, we use Google Docs but you can create a note in Basecamp or just a Word document, and paste in links to websites you like or even ones you really don’t like. Make notes next to the link about what you liked on each site and why you didn’t like the site. Is it the layout? Colors? Functionality? Look at companies in your industry in your geographic area, companies in other areas outside of your location, competitors, and non-competitors. Know what other people are doing, who’s doing it best and how their company is regarded within the industry.
Choose the platform you want to use.
Many companies are using platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Your industry may have a specific software most companies use to manage inventory and it only coordinates with a specific platform. Know this going in. One of our clients followed industry advice to use a specific company to build their website, however that company didn’t coordinate with their CRM tool. They are undergoing an expensive redesign that could have been avoided if the right questions had been asked early on in the process. Make sure to ask these questions before choosing your website platform.
Know what it’s worth.
You can have a basic website built for $1000 and in some cases even less. The upper end of websites can run tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the functionality, pages, content, etc. Only you can know what your website is worth to you. Go back to your goals. If a new website could help you increase sales by 10% what would that be worth to you? Is your goal branding? What’s that worth to you? You can gather quotes for your B2B website design from various people, but knowing what it’s worth to you keeps you from spending more than you should or for getting a cheaper version when you really needed more features.
Research web designers.
Many industries have web designers that cater to those industries. They know what content and keywords attract the most qualified visitors. Their experience can be invaluable to your company. Local web designers can also offer great resources like being accountable when there’s a problem and knowing trends specific to your area. Mississippi businesses have many options when it comes to web design. Your state and community likely have some great options as well. Ask for references, samples of sites they’ve designed, a timeline for how long it will take to complete the project, what they will need from your company and when they will need it. Ask them specifically if their contracts include writing content, researching keywords, installing Google analytics code and any stock photos that you need.
Your website can be a major part of your B2B advertising campaign. You should view your B2B website as an employee–who works nights and weekends for no extra pay! Don’t let it get away with 90s era sales tactics. You and I both know it won’t work in today’s world!
If you’re serious about updating your online image, let us walk you through these questions in a quick 30 minute phone call.