There are currently more than 1.2 billion websites. Websites exist for just about every purpose imaginable. Of all the things websites are asked to do, business applications might be the most common.
Whether its ordering important equipment for your job or just a new pair of running shoes, purchases are more and more frequently occurring between a website and a customer. Even when a website doesn’t actually process the transaction, it’s an integral part of educating and connecting buyers to sellers. It’s hard to believe the technology is not even 30 years old.
Today, if you’re only going to get one brand asset right, it should be your website. The website is a centerpiece of most modern marketing strategies. It’s the digital front door to your company. Not to mention it’s often a storefront, educational resource, talent acquisition tool as well.
To succeed in these crucial jobs and stand out amongst the flood of competing websites, your website needs to fulfill a handful of important requirements. These features are common among high-performing sites. Here’s our list of six must-have features of an effective B2B website:
1. Clearly Answers “The Key Question”
When a user first arrives on your website, they want to know (or confirm) one thing: What do you do? If your visitors don’t get this information within the first few seconds of their visit, they won’t stick around to find out.
Your website needs to clearly and concisely explain what you do. Feature this information in a prominent location on your homepage and any other pages that receive a large amount of new visitors ( a particularly popular blog post, a high-ranking product page, etc.).
When a contact understands what you do, the next thing they want to know is why you do it better than everyone else. When you explain the value your product offers, focus on the comparative advantages of your product over common alternatives.
Differentiation is doubly important if the offerings in your industry are relatively similar in terms of features and design. A well-executed product page can make all the difference between a couple of otherwise equal alternatives.
3. Substantiated Claims
Part of establishing value of your offering and differentiating it from competitors is making claims. Maybe your software is the fastest, or cheapest, or the most powerful — whatever your advantage is, you’re going to want to draw attention to it.
Unfortunately, buyers come across these kinds of claims often and are hesitant to take them at face value. Substantiation — ideally, third-party substantiation — gives weight to your claims. The best websites will anchor their claims using a combination of facts, statistics, third-party validation, and social proof.
Because websites are deeply involved throughout the buying process, they need to offer content that meets the needs of visitors in various stages. A brand new visitor interacting with your content for the first time needs very different information from a seasoned prospect narrowing options down between you and several competitors.
Websites must cover their bases. They need quick, high-level content for early-stage leads. For those moving on in the buying process, websites also need to offer moderate length, product-focused information. A quality website will have in-depth, comparative information for late-stage prospects as well. Of course, support, guides, and other resources for your current clients are also important.
5. Fast Site Speed
With all the rich media being integrated into websites, page load times can sometimes get neglected. Page load time is a major factor in web abandonment. Every second of loading means more and more users dropping off.
Page load times are doubly important now that Google has decided to prioritize fast-loading sites. To maintain organic search traffic, brands have no choice but to keep their site speeds acceptable. (You can test your speeds with Google’s Tool.)
6. Mobile-Friendly Design
At this point, it almost goes without saying. Websites must be optimized for mobile — that means smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, smart devices, and all of the other screens that find their way onto our household items.
Mobile drove 56% of all web traffic in a recent study of top sites. That’s a huge portion of your audience to risk with an unoptimized website.
The first step is to make sure your webpages are responsive, but that’s just the start. Optimize for common screen sizes. Tablets, in particular, may be too crowded with a desktop layout, but too simple with a scaled-up mobile interface. Effective websites will show or hide elements to make a layout that feels appropriate for the screen size. Use the common hamburger menu for mobile and other smaller screens as well.
These are a few key features that high-converting websites will share. Whether you’re updating a current site or planning for a redesign, keep these features in mine to make sure your website is on track for success.