A backstage Q & A tour of what makes a top 10 hit business web site, from rock star web designer Chris Lee
The difference between a B2B web site that rocks search engines and visitors alike and one that resembles a tune played on a long, slow elevator ride is often the execution. Like a hit song that is covered by bands all over the dial, the impact depends on hitting just the right notes where it counts.Q: A home page sets the tone for a web site. What needs to be front and center and what should be left out?
A: Clearly and concisely state what your company does and how your company can benefit users. Visitors should be able to scan it quickly, so it needs to be clean and concise. My favorite example right now is Campaign Monitor's site.
It is easy on the eyes, plays up the benefits - "a tidy profit" - with a clear call to action. Below the fold are links to Twitter testimonials and the blog that establishes expert status.
Q: What makes a rocking About Page? How can a business make their liner notes sing?
A: A company's About or Team Page should include information about the actual people working there. This is where you can add your personal touch: pictures, bios, interesting facts, anything that differentiates you and your band of employees as experts in the field.
Q: What behind the scenes tags and coding are important to attract search engine fame and fortune?
A: Websites need to be compatible with all commonly used browsers (including mobile devices). A qualified web designer knows how to satisfy all these channels. Numbers count, so find a designer who can also ensure that analytical tracking code is included. You can have the prettiest site on the web, but if you can't monitor who is visiting, what they are looking at and where they are going, you can't convert and improve.
Q: How do you structure a site so that it naturally flows toward conversion?
A: Less is more. Short, enticing content focused on benefits of offer/product rather than features keeps them clicking. Include an easy call-to-action for maximum bottom-line impact. Make sure the shopping cart is secure. Fans won't sing your praises if the transaction doesn't work.
Q: What are the best ways to encourage high-volume social media connections?
A: Give them a reason to follow you on Twitter and like your Facebook pages: special give-aways, regular updates, insider info. Then make the RSS feed and social media buttons prominent.
Q: What are the classic mistakes business web pages make? What should web designers not do?
A: The biggest "don't" I see is trying to pack as much stuff on one page as digitally possible - clutter is bad. It hurts the eyes, the brain and kills the amount of time people spend on your site.
Clean is good. Businesses should also not try to mislead users. Be clear about what you do and what you offer. Finally, there should be no broken links, pages or images. Nothing turns visitors away like an error message.
What are your tips for a B2B web site that hits all the right notes? Add your voice in the comments below.