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Maintaining the Integrity of Your B2B Website Design

The amount of time that a B2B website takes to make an impression on a visitor could only be an instant.

B2B companies serious about using their websites as a marketing/sales tool need to ensure that their website design presents a professional appearance that fits the personality and communication style of the business. The best way to do that is to entrust your B2B website design into the talented hands of a professional web designer -- who can interpret the design needs of your business based on a review of your marketing materials and discussion with key decision makers -- rather than someone who will slap your text and images on a common WordPress template.

Below are the factors that a professional website designer will consider as they create your new B2B website.   

The Perfect Design for Your B2B Website

Graphic designers are always striving for perfection. They obsess over the color, size and placement of every component of every design down to the last pixel. They can work on designs for hours, days, weeks, or even longer, but still continue to want to make improvements. They will continually move elements around the page to make the design just a little bit better, a little more balanced, a little bit more organized, or to get that alignment just right.

The amount of time that a B2B website takes to make an impression on a visitor could only be an instant. Subconsciously, we notice perfection, or imperfections, of which we are not even aware. It is the job of your designer to pay attention to all of those subtleties and to create a design that is as flawless as possible. The professionalism of your website and brand depends on it.

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1242 Hits

Industrial SEO: Does your Website Content Appeal to Your Industrial Buyers?

The answer is quite simple: Industrial purchases typically present a longer sale cycle and the buyers need more detail.... In other words: Images compel, content sells.

Over that last several years there’s been an apparent shift in website design from a traditional text-driven layout to a more image-heavy format.   I guess many are buying into the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. 

People love pictures!  This strategy works great for consumer-based websites, where consumers buy with emotion, the brand is well known, the sale is just a click away or a quick drive to the nearest big box retailer.

So why are industrial and manufacturing companies failing with this new design approach?  The answer is quite simple: Industrial purchases typically present a longer sale cycle and the buyers need more detail.  Images as the main selling feature work best for consumer-oriented sales.  

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1359 Hits

20 Years and 20 Insights in Internet Marketing

To mark the 20th anniversary of my career in the Internet marketing industry, I thought I’d share 20 insights about website design and search engine optimization for industrial businesses:

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  2136 Hits
2136 Hits

Why it Might be Time to Redesign Your Website

Saying goodbye to an awful, outdated, ugly website is easy. If you can’t bear the looks of your site because the style is outdated or because the structure has fallen apart, making the decision to redesign is an obvious one. The hard part is saying goodbye to a website that you still actually like. But just because you still like your website, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s still functioning the way it should to achieve the best results.

So if you’re hanging on to a likable, but aging, website, here are some of the things you might be overlooking:

Promoting a new website is a great opportunity to reach out to your customers.
  • Your website technology is no longer current.
    Sure, not all of the latest technologies are going to be the perfect fit for your company, but taking the time to review what’s available and what will give you the best return on investment might not be a bad idea. For instance, if your visitors are viewing your site from a variety of devices, switching to responsive design (where the size of your website adapts to any device, large or small) might be a great investment for your company.
  • The style of your site is looking a little dated.
    It’s kind of like having a favorite “go-to” pair of jeans that you’ve had in your wardrobe for a while. There is a reason you bought them in the first place, and there is a reason you’ve been wearing them for so long. They fit you just right, and they are comfortable. Sure, you think they look fine, but they might be the reason your friends refuse to be seen with you in public. The same might be true of your website. You think it looks fine, and you’re used to it. But, others might be thinking that it’s time for you to say “Out with the old and in with the new.” Because, unlike that old pair of jeans, no matter how long you wait, those old website styles won’t be coming back around.
  • Your site has accumulated obsolete elements and features.
    Over time, you’ve added a few elements here and a few features there that are adding up and are making your site appear cluttered. Redesigning your site will give you an opportunity to reorganize everything that has been added since the last design was created. A new design will also allow you to restructure your navigation and will help to restore the balance of your website as a whole.
  • Your Search Engine Optimization has fallen by the wayside.
    Of course, you don’t have to redesign your website in order to adopt new ways of improving your SEO, but if you haven’t had the chance to keep up, this is a great opportunity to revamp this aspect of your site as well.
  • A new user experience is a great way to engage your audience.
    Promoting a new website is a great opportunity to reach out to your customers. You can gauge their interest by promoting the new site through email, blogs, press releases and social media and inviting them to view the new site once it has been launched. You can encourage additional interaction by asking for feedback on the new site.

If you’re still having a hard time letting go of your current website, please keep in mind that fresh ideas can be applied to many of the components that you like, making them brand new again.

Do you think you’re ready for a website redesign?  Contact Pilot Fish at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

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2674 Hits

Website Design: Managing TMI

Have you ever visited a website with the single purpose of purchasing a product, only to find that the website was so overloaded with information and so convoluted that you couldn’t figure out where to even begin your search?

I recently visited a very popular website with the purpose of updating some of my computer software.  When arriving at the home page, I found that the site was overwhelmingly packed with information. Too much information. There were so many images, so many navigation buttons and drop-downs (53 links under the first drop-down to be exact), and so many levels of hierarchy (font sizes, colors, anomalies, etc.) that my eyes immediately went crossed.

Every other page of the site was equally overwhelming and, frankly, annoying. If the product I was about to purchase wasn’t a necessity or if it was a product that I could have purchased elsewhere, I would have bailed immediately upon arriving at the homepage. I really thought that such a popular site would have been set up with a much simpler design and at least a trace of organization. Boy, was I wrong.

Ask your customers if your site is easy to use, whether they are able to quickly find what they are looking for and what can be improved for a better user experience.

After a lot of time and frustration, I was finally able to purchase what I needed. But this was no thanks to the website. I actually had to contact the company directly to get the answers to all of my questions. The website was no help to me at all.

After leaving the site, I needed a nap. I thought, “What a shame.”  I am pretty sure the website included everything that I needed — somewhere.  But the way the information was organized made it impossible to sift through and hard to even look at.

Of course, it wouldn’t be very productive to just complain about these problems without offering solutions that could possibly be useful to our clients. So I’ve since returned to the site to critique it and to decide what I would do differently to reorganize and rework the site to make the user experience more efficient and more pleasant. (Note: The name of the company will remain anonymous to protect the not-so-innocent.)

So, here is what I have come up with:

Problem:
Scattered information/poor sense of hierarchy

Solution:
Visitors should know where to look first, second, third, and so on. The first thing that you should see should be the most important element on the page. With the proper placement, sizing and color of page elements, this can be achieved, no matter how much information you have to share.  Delete irrelevant information.  After doing so, if you are still left with a lot of material, that’s OK, just make sure it is properly organized with the order of importance being a priority.

Problem:
Unruly navigation – 53 drop-down links under the first navigation button? Are you kidding me?

Solution:
Simplify your navigation. It sounds pretty obvious, but having too many buttons is a very common problem. If you think you have too many navigation buttons or drop-down menus, adopt a good system for organizing your buttons, such as breaking those navigations up into groups (a top nav, a side nav, etc.). Or try using sub-page navigations.

Make sure the buttons are easy to read and easy to click on. Avoid using multiple tiers of drop-down menus that are often very difficult to maneuver. (As you try to very carefully navigate your mouse across and down and across again, your mouse falls off the edge of a button and the drop-down disappears and you’re back to square one. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Ugh.)

Include a site map on your website and/or a search box so visitors can type in what they need and quickly arrive at their destination.

Problem:
Trouble finding and/or purchasing a product

Solution:
This is also directly related to hierarchy and/or navigation. Whether you have one product or service or 100 products and services, make sure there is always an easy way to find the product and description and a direct route to the final sale (getting there with as few clicks as possible). Perhaps it’s as simple as placing a “Buy Now” button next to your product image or a phone number on each page where customers can contact you. Instead of a wild goose chase to the product and checkout, make finding and purchasing a product easy and as simple of a process as possible.

One last suggestion would be to take some time to evaluate your own site. Think about the sites that you find easiest to utilize and what it is that makes those sites so user-friendly. Compare those sites to your own. Ask your customers if your site is easy to use, whether they are able to quickly find what they are looking for and what can be improved for a better user experience.

If you suspect your website is suffering from TMI, contact Pilot Fish at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 for a professional website evaluation.

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2887 Hits

20 Questions to Ask Before Starting a B2B Website Redesign

If you've been involved in the design of your company's website, you probably already know how difficult it can be to convey the type of website design you want.

Website design is a matter of personal taste. What one person finds attractive and professional, you may not and vice versa. Oftentimes, what you want is a matter of "I'll know it when I see it," but unless your website designer is a mind reader, that's not enough information to assure you'll get what you visualized in your own head.

Below is a list of 20 questions to help you solidify in your own mind and communicate to your website designer the look and feel you believe would best represent your company.

Website Redesign Questions

  1. Do you prefer website designs that contain many different colors or designs that use fewer colors?
  2. Do you prefer bright colors or muted colors?
  3. Does your company have specific corporate colors? PMS Colors?
  4. Do you prefer website designs that have white backgrounds behind the text or colored backgrounds behind the text?
  5. Do you prefer sites with black type for the main text or those with colored type for the main text?
  6. Do you have any font preferences?
  7. Do you prefer website designs with a horizontal layout or a vertical layout?
  8. Regarding navigation, which button locations do you prefer - horizontal across the top, down the left or the right side, in blocks, or a combination of some horizontal and some vertical?
  9. Do you want a straightforward rendering of the logo, or would prefer something with more color gradation or artistic treatment?
  10. Does your company have a motto or tagline that should be incorporated into the design?
  11. If yes, do you prefer the site tagline in a straightforward, headline-style format or do you prefer a more stylized format?
  12. Some sites have faded terms related to their businesses embedded in images- Do you like this technique?
  13. Do you prefer sites with actual product images or those with stock photographs that evoke specific responses, such as a sense of dependability or professionalism?
  14. Do you prefer website designs with straightforward, realistic photographs of products or those that contain artistically altered images of products?
  15. Do you prefer to have your product images on the left side, along the top or down the right side?
  16. Are there any logos for industry quality, certification programs or association memberships that should be part of the site's design?
  17. Do you want your site to incorporate additional media, like slide shows or YouTube videos?
  18. Does your company have social media accounts that you would like to have linked from your site? 
  19. Who are your primary competitors?  Is there anything you like or don’t like about their sites?
  20. Do you have any favorite sites that do something well that could be incorporated on your company site?   
  21. Do you have any marketing materials you would like to have the site complement for brand continuity?

For assistance with your website redesign, contact Pilot Fish at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

  5411 Hits
5411 Hits