THE B2B WEBSITE BUYER’S GUIDE - B2B Website Design

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THE B2BWEBSITEBUYER’SGUIDEWhat you should know, ask, and do whenseeking a B2B website design firm.

Before assuming it’s time for a websiteredesign, ask yourself: Does my websitepossess the following qualities? Serve as an effective credibility piece. Have an engaging and intuitive design. Have content that reflects my brand’s tone and perceived quality. Is easy for prospects to find through a search engine. Is an effective lead generation tool.If you’re having trouble saying “yes” to any of the above, it’s time for a website redesign.But where should you start? In this guide, we’ll outline the most important questions toask so you find the right agency partner to put your new website on the path to success.

Website ProjectRequirementsBefore approaching web design firms, it’s criticalto have an internal discussion about requirementsfor the new website. To make sure you don’t wastevaluable time, a consensus needs to be reachedabout budget, timeline, and objectives beforemeeting with prospective web design agencies.Here are some helpful tips on project requirements:What Is Your Website’s Goal?Your B2B website can have a variety of differentfunctions and serve your firm in various ways,including as a lead generation machine, acredibility piece, a resource center, an onlinebrochure, or a customer service tool.Before you start building a new website, youneed to know what you expect it to do for you.Determine the main function of the website andhow it can add value or support your sales andmarketing goals. The only thing to keep in mind isthat the more you expect from your website, thelarger it will become (and often the more expensiveit will be to create, manage, and maintain).Determine Must-Havesvs. Would-LikesOnce you have established the goal(s) of yourwebsite, determine what you absolutely must have,what you would like it to have, and what you doNOT want it to have. This doesn’t need to be a long,extensive list but it should be a clear list that takesinto account all the stakeholders in your company.The best way to create this list is to have aquick internal meeting with all the necessarystakeholders (this does not mean everyone).Invite a knowledgeable representative from eachdepartment and let them know they are responsiblefor gathering information from their own teambefore the meeting. This pre-meeting work and aselect group of attendees will make determiningwebsite requirements efficient and effective.Figure Out a Budget RangeA web design budget may or may not besomething you and your team control. If youcontrol your budget and a new website isa priority, you can determine what type ofwebsite you can build. However, it’s morecommon that the budget is already set and youare simply given a maximum from finance.It’s essential to know what your budget rangeis before you start reaching out to web designpartners since it will determine if you can work witha freelance designer, need to do the work in-house,or can hire a professional web design agency.Know Your CMS NeedsChoosing a content management system (CMS)can be a big decision to make, although manyfirms never even make this decision. Many firmsleave it up to their developer to choose the CMSfor them and just deal with the outcome. Unlessthe developer is going to be managing thewebsite, implementing all web design changes,and keeping the website updated, the decisionshould be made by you and your team.At Bop Design, we only work with WordPressas a CMS. Why? Because, as one of the mostpopular CMSs out there, it has the largestsupport community, availability of plugins,and is the most user-friendly for updating. Aquick tutorial is often all that anyone needsto start updating their WordPress website.Find, Meet, Greet, ListenNow that you know what you need, it’s time tosee what your options are for building your B2Bwebsite. It’s always a good idea to reach out toa handful of designers and agencies to see whatthey have to offer. Interview a shortlist of potentialweb design agencies, meet them in person ifpossible, and listen to what they have to say.Make sure every offer is tailored to the needs ofyour firm and will fit with all your requirements.

QUESTIONS TO ASKThere are many critical questions to ask any prospective agencyabout their company and process. Here are the top 4:1. Is all work being performed by full-time employees?Many agencies can be a collection of freelancers causing instability andprocess challenges. Also, many agencies outsource or have offshore websitedevelopment which can cause quality assurance challenges. It is in yourbest interest to have all work done by a stable, fully engaged agency.2. Is the website utilizing WordPress asthe content management system?Almost 30% of websites on the internet currently use WordPress astheir CMS. It’s a testament to how easy it is for a non-technical person tomanage the content and make changes on the website. It also allows acompany to have much more development options. An open source CMSlike WordPress is always in the client’s best interest. A proprietary CMSis in the agency’s best interest, since you will have limited developmentoptions and will always have to go to the agency for maintenance.

3. Can you provide me links to third-partyreview websites?Don’t just rely on references and testimonials provided by theagency. Do your own research on third party review websiteslike Clutch, Yelp, Glassdoor, or Agency Spotter. Make sure theagency has a generally positive online reputation. If they haveno online reputation or a negative one, be very concerned.4. Do you have experience with B2B website design?While every industry has its own terminology and challenges, it’s importantto partner with a marketing agency that understands the difference betweenB2B and B2C client relationships. B2B projects tend to have a higher pricetag, take longer to nurture, span a longer period, and involve more complexproducts and services. Working with an agency that is familiar with designingwebsites for B2B target markets ensures a smoother design process andthat the end-product will be professional and maximize lead conversions.

1DISCOVERYCreative MeetingResearchAnalysisKeyword Wishlist2CONCEPTWebsite Design andDevelopment ProcessKnowing as much up front about anagency’s process will ensure that thereare no surprises. A typical projectschedule can be broken up into thefollowing six steps. Make sure thatthe selected web design agencyimplements a similar process.1In the discovery stage, an agency will discussyour firm’s unique value proposition, targetmarket and role of the website in the salesand marketing process. Steps include clientinterviews, industry research, and analysisof a preliminary keyword wishlist for SEO.Site MapHomepage Design &Messaging Options3CONTENTDiscovery2Concepts & Site MapBased on the creative discovery session,an agency should present the client withinitial design and messaging options beforeany web development is performed. At BopDesign, we provide clients with two uniquehomepage concepts and a preliminary sitemap (a chart that maps out all the proposedpages for your website). We go throughrevision rounds until there is consensuson both the home page design and sitemap. It will be clear what the website willlook like once it is developed, and keymessaging themes will be in place. Oncea client is happy with the home pageand site map, we move on to contentand design for the rest of the pages.InterviewWriting & EditingIntegrate KeywordsRevisions4DESIGNSubpagesPhoto ResearchRevisions5DEVELOPCodingBrowser TestingContent EntryFinal Edits6LAUNCHRedirectsLaunchWebsite Manual3ContentThe content (aka copywriting) phase of thewebsite typically includes an interview callor meeting and up to two rounds of clientrevisions. Our copywriting process includesa dedicated, industry-specific copywriter.Throughout the content portion of the webdesign project, we work with clients todevelop web copy that incorporates theirSEO goals, brand message, and specificcalls-to-action. While the copywriting processfor a website is separate from the designportion, they often happen concurrently.

4DesignOnce the content has been finalized (orclose to it), the design team begins to layout the design for the remaining pages ofyour website (the “subpages”). It shouldfollow the same color scheme and generallook and feel of your home page, but thestructure will vary for each page category.Design elements may include infographics,iconography, and original or stockphotography. At Bop Design, we deliverthe subpage designs in PDF format foryou to comment on, and provide up to tworounds of revisions to ensure all messagingand CTAs are presented effectively.5Web DevelopmentAfter the design and content are approved,the focus moves to the backend of the site.Make sure a web design agency is developinga website according to the most current webstandards as determined by the World WideWeb Consortium (W3C). Also, the websiteshould be set up to be easily “crawlable”by search engines—helping your websiteto be more prominent for targeted keywordphrases on search engines. If an agency saysthey’re good at SEO, ask them about SEOsuccess stories. Make sure they can deliver.6LaunchIf your website were a movie, this would bethe big premiere. The website launch is themost exciting time, but make sure the launchis properly managed by an experiencedmarketing and development team. The websitelaunch is a technical process that requirescareful attention to detail and the know-howto fix any issues with hosting and coding. Askan agency about post-launch monitoring andmaintenance. At Bop Design, we set up 301redirects, plus monitor and correct 404 errorsfor 30 days post-launch—ensuring your firm’swebsite will not lose any valuable traffic.Bop Design Website Design& Development Process

Content Marketing:Website as a BusinessDevelopment ToolToo often B2B firms view a website asjust a branding tool and not a platformthat can generate and nurture idealclient leads. While a B2B website caninterest a prospective client to dobusiness with you, it should also beguiding them down the sales funnel.Living, Breathing Resource CenterFor traditional and digital marketing strategies,the website is often the main hub of activity.Direct mailers and brochures often list a firm’swebsite to direct prospects to for additionalinformation. Email newsletters link directly tovarious pages and resources on the websiteto encourage prospective and current clientsto visit and complete an action. A company’ssocial media pages list the website and typicallydrive social media users to the website in orderto learn more information or get in touch.A website is often the foundation of a contentmarketing strategy. As such, the website needs tobe functional and able to be continually updatedwith new, fresh, dynamic content. Ideally, a contentmarketing strategy will be in place before a B2Bwebsite launches to capitalize on the investment.Take into account, and ensure your web designagency is aware of, your future content marketingplans and goals when building your website.Calls to ActionCalls to action (CTAs) are an importantcomponent of any B2B website. Acting asa special banner, button, or graphic text ona webpage, a CTA is meant to prompt thewebsite visitor to perform a specific desiredaction and continue down the sales funnel.So what makes an effective CTA? One word:Variety. CTAs should not simply say the samething different ways. Rather, the CTAs on awebsite should address different client needsand compel the visitor to take different actions.Keeping your CTAs diverse and fresh keeps yourprospective client interested in your business.

"A website is often the foundation of a content marketingstrategy. As such, the website needs to be functional and ableto be continually updated with new, fresh, dynamic content.Ideally, a content marketing strategy will be in place beforea B2B website launches to capitalize on the investment."

Content Marketing: Website as aBusiness Development Tool (continued)Varied ContentIn B2B, a service or product is being sold that impacts an entire organization andoften involves the input from multiple decision makers. Therefore, the sale is morecomplex—often resulting in a longer decision-making process. If your website onlyfeatures a “Contact Us” page or a newsletter signup, you’re missing out on thepotential for visitors to move faster through the buying process. While effective,that content can only support certain stages of a sales cycle. For example, a visitordiscovering your website for the first time may not be ready to subscribe to a weeklynewsletter, but they would be open to downloading a tip sheet or watching a video.By providing downloadable content that prospects will value and referback to on an ongoing basis, you establish credibility for your brand andstay top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase decision."By providing downloadable content that prospectswill value and refer back to on an ongoing basis, youestablish credibility for your brand and stay top of mindwhen they are ready to make a purchase decision."

Oftentimes this content is already lying around your office (literally or figuratively) and just needsrefreshing for the web. Here are some new content ideas that can entice potential clients:Infographic illustratingyour service oronboarding processPortfolio orproject ideosCasestudiesArticlesSalessheetsPressor a

We hope this guide helps you research,qualify and select the optimal web designagency for your B2B firm’s needs.For more insight into a website redesign, visit the Bop Design blog or all us directly.www.bopdesign.com/bop-blog 619.330.0730

Too often B2B firms view a website as just a branding tool and not a platform that can generate and nurture ideal client leads. While a B2B website can interest a prospective client to do business with you, it should also be guiding them down the sales funnel. Living, Breathing Resource Center For traditional and digital marketing strategies,