Beyond Trends: Crafting Timeless B2B Websites for 2024 and Beyond
by Chris Peer on Wed, Dec 06, 2023 @ 12:13
It's the end of the year, which means your inbox and social feeds are full of the usual yearly trends and prediction roundups. This is not one of those articles.
Hot take – SyncShow does not subscribe to trends. Instead, we believe in tried and true, data-driven best practices.
So, allow us to use this space to discuss the evergreen best practices for B2B websites that will be essential in 2024 and beyond. These best practices may include new or trendy twists, but at their core is proven success.
Welcome to our guide on crafting B2B websites that stand the test of time. Becoming a successful B2B website isn't about chasing the latest fads. Instead, it’s about anchoring your digital presence in reliable, results-driven methodologies. But before you embark on that journey, you must know why and where you're going.
First, Goal and Audience
To be successful, a website must have clear goals and appeal to its target audience. Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of my website, and who do I want to visit?” Your answers will guide every design, content, and functionality decision.
Clarifying the goals for your website ensures a focused and effective digital presence. Lead generation does not require the same content as an educational website would. Understanding your target audience and their digital behavior is equally crucial. Your website strategy should attract the right audience, engage them with the right message and content, and convert them into quality leads.
This foundational step lays the groundwork for a website that meets business objectives and creates a meaningful and user-centric online experience. Design trends come and go. But trends are irrelevant if your website doesn’t meet your needs.
Most B2B companies' websites are tools for lead generation and conversion. At SyncShow, we build websites that meet two crucial goals. First, we build websites that generate strong and qualified leads. Second, we build websites that stand the test of time and trends. Here are the best practices our web development team uses to meet those two crucial goals.
Now, Best Practices
With these best practices, you'll ensure your online presence not only captivates but consistently delivers value to your audience. No more "keeping up with the Joneses."
Choosing the Right Platform
Before you do anything else, choose a platform that is easy to build on and work with once the site is published. Here are some platform details to consider:
Robust and Flexible Content Management System (CMS): The CMS should be intuitive and offer customization. Also, check to see if it can scale as your business changes and grows. Your CMS should accommodate increased traffic, content volume, and additional features as your needs evolve.
User-Friendly Interfaces: The platform should be user-friendly for your team and clients. A smooth, intuitive interface on the front end can enhance customer satisfaction, and an easy-to-use interface on the back end can make updating easier.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Choose a platform that supports SEO best practices. This includes clean URLs, metadata customization, and other features contributing to good search engine rankings.
Security: Look for platforms with regular security updates, a strong community of developers, and features like SSL support for secure data transfer. Choose a platform that is actively updated and maintained.
Plugin and Extension Availability: These extra features can enhance the functionality of your website by adding elements like contact forms, social media integration, and e-commerce capabilities.
Data Insights: Look for a platform that provides robust analytics and reporting tools to help you track overall traffic, visitor behavior, and other key metrics.
Integration with Third-Party Tools: Ensure compatibility with email marketing, call response, analytics, or customer relationship management (CRM) software.
We recommend partnering with a developer on the initial build to help you think through those all-important questions about your overarching business goals and target audience. Your goals and target audience will help you choose the best platform for your website.
It's also essential to think about how you will update and scale your website in the future. With the right platform, you or another non-developer on your staff may be able to do that work independently.
At SyncShow, we specialize in HubSpot and WordPress website development. These platforms are easy for clients to maintain and scale after the initial build. In addition, HubSpot is excellent for integrating all inbound marketing into one cohesive platform. At the same time, WordPress provides unparalleled flexibility and is a robust choice for content-heavy and highly customizable websites. The choice will ultimately depend on your overall business needs.
A mobile responsive website is no longer a choice. It's a necessity. In 2017, 80% of B2B buyers reported using their mobile phones at work, and more than 60% reported that mobile played a significant role in a recent purchase. In 2022, 52% of B2B search queries were made on smartphones. That number is expected to hit 70% by the end of this year.
If your website doesn’t adapt to various screen sizes, your customers will go elsewhere. A mobile-friendly design ensures a consistent and user-friendly experience across devices. It enhances the user experience, resulting in lower bounce rates, more extended page visits, and increased engagement.
Here are some of the more common best practices of mobile responsive websites:
Mobile-Friendly Navigation: Simplify navigation for smaller screens with a clear and concise menu. Use a mobile hamburger menu for easy access to navigation options.
Mobile-Optimized Content: Prioritize content that is easy to read and interact with on smaller screens. Use concise headlines, short paragraphs, and bullet points for better readability.
Touch-Friendly Design: Provide a seamless and intuitive user experience for visitors who navigate and interact with content using their fingers. Ensure buttons and interactive elements easily respond to touch and are appropriately sized.
Optimized Forms: Simplify forms by minimizing the number of fields and using mobile-friendly input options. Use autofill and input masks for a smoother user experience.
Page Speed Optimization: Compress images for faster loading without compromising quality. Use lazy loading for images to improve initial page load times. Leverage browser caching to enhance speed.
Google and Bing view the mobile user experience as an important factor in ranking websites. So, implementing these best practices will also help your site perform better in search. Let's talk further about search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is critical to driving qualified B2B lead traffic to your website through search. According to Google, 89% of B2B buyers use the internet during their research process. Aside from mobile responsiveness, SEO best practices include:
Keyword Research and Use: Incorporate relevant long-tail keywords and phrases that your target audience uses to search for solutions to their pain points.
User Experience (UX): Focus on providing a positive user experience with straightforward navigation, visually appealing interfaces, and intuitive design on all screen sizes.
Link Building: Develop a backlink strategy to earn links from reputable and relevant websites. Guest posting, influencer outreach, and creating shareable content effectively build backlinks.
Technical SEO: Ensure proper indexing by submitting a sitemap to search engines. Fix crawl errors and broken links to maintain a healthy site structure. Implement schema markup to enhance rich snippets and improve click-through rates.
At SyncShow, we don't believe in SEO trends any more than we subscribe to website trends. When it comes to SEO, our philosophy has always been to do SEO the right way. These fundamental best practices will help you maintain and improve your website's visibility in search engine results, regardless of trends or fads.
Enhanced Lead Generation with a Chatbot
Many B2B websites exist to generate qualified leads. One of the most innovative ways to engage potential leads is through chatbots and other AI-driven customer interaction technology. These technologies make your customer experience and sales teams more efficient and responsive. They also enhance the overall customer experience.
A chatbot employs machine learning or natural language processing (NLP) to read and respond to website queries. Chatbots are available 24/7, so website visitors can interact with your company at any moment of interest.
Chatbots can also automate routine tasks like collecting visitor information and qualifying leads. They can guide users through a series of questions or steps to gather specific information. Chatbots can then initiate automated and personalized follow-up sequences based on the user's information. This ensures that leads receive timely and relevant information, keeping them engaged and moving through the sales funnel.
If lead generation is your goal, chatbots can play a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of lead generation efforts on your website. Read about our recommended best practices for chatbots in our recent blog.
Micro-interactions and Other Interactive Elements
Besides chatbots, there are many other tech innovations you can use to engage website visitors. No matter your target audience or business goals, enhanced interaction on your site is critical to success. These elements involve users and encourage them to participate instead of just reading content. The more engaged they are, the longer they stay on your site.
General Interactive Elements
Interactive elements include interactive content and moving features that draw the eye. Here are some examples of interactive elements for a B2B website.
Sliders and Carousels: Include interactive elements that allow users to scroll through multiple pieces of content, such as images or product listings.
Interactive Maps: Feature maps that users can explore, zoom in/out, and interact with by clicking on specific locations.
Data Visualization: These are complex charts, graphs, and visual data representations that users can interact with to gain insights. Data visualization is compelling when featured on case studies, white papers, and product pages.
Filtering and Sorting: Provide interactive features that enable users to filter and sort content based on specific criteria. This is a critical element of any B2B blog or resource page.
Video Players: Offer content on full-feature players with playback controls, volume adjustment, and navigation. Product videos and user testimonials videos are common for B2B websites.
Interactive Infographics: These are infographics that users can click on to access additional information. Infographics are an interesting way to present case studies and other business results.
Quizzes and Surveys: Humans love to take interactive quizzes, surveys, and assessments. This is an excellent way to collect user data and feedback.
Subtle website animations and design details can also improve the user experience. Here are some examples of micro-interactions and their benefits.
Button Animations: When a user hovers over a button, it changes color or size, indicating that the button is interactive.
Form Validation: When a user submits a form, a brief animation confirms successful submission or prompts to correct errors. This can reduce frustration during form interactions.
Loading Spinners: Displaying a spinner or loader animation during content loading communicates to users that the website is processing their request. This can reduce perceived wait time.
Toggle Switches: Smooth the transition when toggling switches on/off and enhance the feeling of user control and interactivity.
Scrolling Effects: Include parallax scrolling or subtle animations as users scroll down a page, which adds visual interest.
Notification Badges: Display a notification badge with a subtle animation when there are new updates. Badges draw attention to new content or alerts without being intrusive.
Hover Effects: Changes in color, opacity, or content when a user hovers over an element, making the interface more intuitive.
When thoughtfully designed and implemented, micro-interactions create a more engaging, intuitive, and enjoyable user experience. Collectively, these subtle details enhance overall usability and aesthetic appeal.
The critical distinction between micro-interactions and other interactive elements lies in the scale and complexity of the interaction. Micro-interactions are subtle, while other interactive elements involve more substantial functionality. Both can drive a positive user experience.
Clear Brand Messaging
A website cannot succeed without a clear, compelling, and authentic brand message. A brand message helps define and communicate the identity of your business. It sets the tone for how visitors perceive your brand, helping to create a memorable and distinct impression.
A brand message starts with your value proposition (VP). A VP is your company's promise to your target customers. It answers this customer question: "Why should I choose your company over your competitors?" Your VP speaks directly to your target audience. Read more about a value proposition in our recent blog.
Aside from identifying your VP, here are some other best practices to ensure your brand message is impactful.
Simple and Authentic Messages: Avoid jargon and complex language. Share your brand's story, values, and mission in a genuine and relatable way.
Differentiations: Whether it's unique features, exceptional service, or industry expertise, emphasize the factors that make your brand stand out.
Clear Communication: Show you understand the pain points they experience and how your brand enhances their life by providing a solution.
Emotional Appeal: While B2B transactions are often based on logic, don't underestimate the power of emotional appeal. Connect with your audience on a human level, conveying empathy and understanding.
A strong brand message on your website helps establish your brand identity. It also sets your business apart and builds trust. Additionally, it connects with your target audience and supports effective marketing. It plays a central role in shaping the online experience and influencing visitor behavior.
Your website is the digital engine that propels your business to success. When properly designed and built, your site will attract and engage your target audience and meet your overall business goals without costly gimmicks or constant trendy updates. When you work with the SyncShow team, we bring tried and true best practices, the latest B2B web design and development technologies, and our proven proprietary process, WebSync™, to your business.
Our website development strategies show results. Here are some recent client examples:
- 83% increase in average website visit duration (year-over-year) resulted in a 21% increase in leads for one client.
- 237% increase in organic traffic resulted in a 900% increase in leads for a manufacturing client.
- 33% increase in overall website traffic over three years for a professional services client.