How to ensure your B2B website is “fit for function”

It is without question that websites are the most important part of your B2B digital marketing toolkit. But with much attention given over to the creative look and feel, how do you ensure the website does what is supposed to do – deliver visitors to the right content and right actions?

It is critical to consider function from the outset as this helps to prioritise elements and ensure they have the relevant profile and position within the design but not too much profile that it confuses the design. Functionality ultimately comes down to user experience – and in simple terms covers all the individual elements that need to come together to deliver that great customer experience.

There are two ways to build in function from the start of a website project.

Use wireframes to define the visual priority of main page elements

Wireframes are the best and most common way of quickly establishing which elements are required, where they should be placed and the emphasis they take on the home page. Wireframes help to build the skeleton of a website and provide a blueprint for the content and calls to action which come later. Tools like Cacoo can help to create quick wireframes for home page or landing page layouts and also support the development of full website sitemaps too.

A simple example wireframe for a business site is shown below. More expansive wireframes might include more significant calls to action such as ‘search’, email subscription, content downloads, video and social media links. And as you move deeper into the site, it is important to consider how pages may change, but retain some of the key content in top, side and bottom navigation bars.

Some marketers and designers go straight to design. Don’t. Wireframes will help provide structure to what needs to go where within a page layout for the main page types on a site.

For more on free wireframe tools, try this Mashable post.

Define primary site customer journeys

Building out your site to ensure it helps the visitors you prize the most means better understanding the primary customer journeys to your site and how they might move around it. Most likely, as a B2B website, visitors are looking for one or more of the following:

1. Find more information about a product or service.

2. Buy a product or service.

3. Find out the credibility of the supplier.

4. Check out the latest non-product information – news or offers.

5. Find contact information to make an enquiry or find a location.

6. Get customer service.

7. Register with site for alerts.

8. Connect with the brand or share information through a social network.

Developing landing pages for key campaigns and audiences is going to be critical, as is having single, compelling call to actions on each page. This is especially important when you are investing significant amounts in driving visitors to your site, for example, through pay per click or banner advertising. You’ll want to track your lead generation and ROI .

Next up: Delivering a brilliant user experience through your B2B website. Subscribe by email to make sure you don’t miss it!

2 thoughts on “How to ensure your B2B website is “fit for function”

  1. Maybe I’m being blinded by the diagram, but surely this is rather old hat when most people are using smartphones or tablets to look at, and interact with, your site?

    Wireframes don’t allow the fluidity for resizing and the customer journeys are different for mobile, tablet and desktop.

    This is also a recipe for “talk at”. Yet only a quarter of customers learn by reading information, most do so by putting forward their own ideas and having them challenged, by interactive play or by research combining multiple sites.

    Time to enter the 21st century Rene!

    • Always appreciate you stopping by and making an observation Peter. In this case, it is a little misguided. I take your point about designing for multiple devices, but the reality is if you don’t have a strategy to how to build your navigation and pages from the outset, you’ll be sure to encounter problems further along come build. I spend alot of time online and talking websites with industrial companies, this stuff isn’t happening routinely. Also, I didn’t make any comment in this post about broadcast vs. engagement content – what you might include on a b2b site is for another day. Leaves me wondering if you got out of bed on the wrong side today?

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