Do you make software for business? Here are some simple ways to refresh your website design and grow your business in 2013.
So the world didn’t end last December, after all. Now what? We survived, and even if you didn’t plan for it, now is time to make plans and resolutions for the New Year before your competitors sprint ahead and leave you in the dust.
If your company sells software or technology to businesses, one resolution you should have every year is to review and update your website design. It is probably the most important channel of communication you have at this stage. Given the myriad forms of web-based communications available today, and the extremely innovative web design community, website design practices evolve at a very fast pace. What is cutting edge today can be totally outdated in a couple of years.
Of course, there are several fundamental, timeless prerequisites that will always be a part of any design strategy, such as a logical information architecture, ease of use, simplicity and accessibility, etc. But layout styles, navigational elements, typography, and color schemes are all continuously adapting to new web users preferences and tastes, which are heavily influenced by their social networking and mobile surfing and apps usage behavior.
If you do not have a lot of time and resources to improve your website this year, at least consider one of the following five easy fixes to make your site easier to navigate and make your visitors happier:
1) Simplify Top Navigation Menu Items
The days of the long, extensive top navigation menus are numbered. Most companies should have just five to six items in their top menu. Those items should focus on what the customers care about most — the product, the features, case studies or pricing.
Corporate information such as team information, careers page can be linked to from the bottom of the page. Check out the websites of Ariba Networks or Freshbooks to see the minimalist menus in action.
2) Larger Text Size, More Space
During the Web 2.0 years, large, garish texts were all the rage. Today, not only should taglines and slogans be in a large font size, the rest of the text on the page should also be large sized and widely spaced. This is probably influenced by the increased use of tablets for surfing, which typically requires websites to have larger link targets for the imprecise touch of the fingers.
Check out Hootsuite’s website below to see how large text makes the page a lot lighter, fresher, and lets the attractive visual elements shine through.
3) Organize Your Resources Section Better
With the rise of content marketing, all B2B technology companies are generating a lot more content and are now struggling with ways to make it all easy to find and consume. Without a good content classification and search system, all your content will lose a lot of its value.
Obviously content marketing powerhouse Hubspot has a great resource section, but customer service darlings Zendesk also boast a well-organized resources section that incorporates blog, whitepapers, analytics, and events.
4) Use Action Words for Product Features
B2B companies typically struggle to fully communicate the complete awesomeness of their product to their customers, because by nature, their products tend to be complex and sophisticated. Today we are seeing how many B2B companies have broken down the language barriers, eschewing corporate jargon and technical terms by using action words and phrases to describe what their products do.
5) List All Product Features on a Single Page
Another typical issue with B2B technology websites is the dense, unattractive product feature description page. Not only are they laden with technical terms, they are also typically spread over multiple pages, making it troublesome for the web visitor to go through and make sense of it all. Companies like Zendesk utilize a long-form, single-scrolling page to list all of their product features on a single document, while providing an additional navigation bar and other navigational tools to let the visitor jump through each section.
These should all be relatively simple fixes because none of them require you to alter the entire layout of your website or create new creative content or copy for the site. They are all aimed at making the site more navigable, the content easier to consume, and the core message more understandable.
One Last Tip
If you haven’t already, you should really consider implementing a navigational tool to let your customer self-select themselves into the appropriate market segment, so that you can provide them with the most targeted content and showcase to them. Check out my blog post from last year on this topic for some cool examples of how B2B website content can be segmented.
In my next post, I will share five additional fixes to make your website speak more personally to the visitors.