Not every consumer goes through the exact same buyer’s journey. However, it’s safe to assume that a good number of them turn to Google to find solutions when they have a need or pain point. That’s because research by Forrester found that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and Google is by far the global leader in search.
When someone performs a local (“near me”) search, the first thing they’ll see (excluding possible Google Ads) is the Google Map Pack, which displays key business information from three local businesses. The information is pulled from their Google Business Profile accounts.
This typical online journey is why we previously highlighted local SEO and Google Business Profile as local marketing tactics that carry great importance and can yield major ROI. Of course, once a searcher gets to the Map Pack, they can progress one of two ways. They can get the information they need right there on the search engine result page (SERP), or they can click to a business’s website (hopefully yours) to learn more.
If it’s the latter and they do land on your website, it better make a good first impression… and fast! For this reason, we’re wrapping up our three-part local marketing article series by focusing on website design and development. You’ll learn about the characteristics of websites shoppers care about the most and pick up tips to improve the overall quality of your site.
How Shoppers Compare Websites
Chances are, someone’s first interaction with your business will come via a visit to your website. Regardless of whether they’re an active or non-active buyer, 96% will visit your site before they reach out to a salesperson. Knowing this, your website should not only serve as your digital storefront but also as a “salesperson” that works for you around the clock.
Shoppers will undoubtedly compare at least a couple of businesses to find an option that best meets their needs. This means they’ll be comparing those businesses’ websites. A site that can effectively attract and engage visitors long enough for them to become legitimate needs will give that business a leg up on competitors whose websites don’t make the same impact.
What do shoppers look for in a website? When they’re in the discovery phase, most of the things they care about fall under the category of either website user experience or website functionality. Generally speaking, visitors want a website to look great and function properly.
Read on for details on how to improve your website in each of those areas so you can make the best possible impression on buyers!
The Importance of Website User Experience
Your website is a direct reflection of your brand, so it’s important that it makes a good impression and is memorable in a positive way. Site visitors will begin to judge your website — and by extension, your company — almost instantly. Behaviour & Information Technology found that users start to form opinions about a website after just 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds). In addition, Nielsen found that you only have 59 seconds to get a site visitor’s attention. If you haven’t hooked them by then, they’ll leave and look somewhere else.
User experience encompasses website design (the look of the site) and content (the imagery and information posted to the site). A good B2B website will:
- Be aesthetically pleasing
- Provide visitors with the information they expect to find
- Help them to progress to the next step in their journey
- Convert active buyers
- Engage “tire-kickers” to they can be nurtured until they are ready to buy
Website design makes a major difference in whether or not someone will consider doing business with you, especially when you consider these statistics:
- First impressions are 94% design-related. – Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
- 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design. – Stanford Web Credibility Research
- 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. – Gomez
Website User Experience Tips
How do you ensure visitors have a top-notch experience on your site? Here are our website user experience tips:
- Make sure your primary content is visible immediately without requiring the site visitor to scroll or click
- Make it easy to contact you
- Utilize lead magnets to engage visitors who aren’t ready to buy yet
- Use obvious calls to action (CTAs) and easy-to-understand navigation to help visitors take the next step
- Provide personalized content that speaks specifically to your target audiences
- Keep the website design simple to avoid overwhelming and confusing visitors
- Avoid videos or audio clips that autoplay, especially with the sound on, because they can be disruptive
- Ensure the most important information is easily seen and understood
- A/B test and collect feedback to improve the site and maximize its potential
The Importance of Website Functionality
Website design is just part of the equation when it comes to winning over site visitors. Appearance alone isn’t enough. There’s a reason website design and development go hand in hand. Your site should work as well as it looks.
Website Functionality Tips
What can you do to ensure that your website functions properly? Here are our website functionality tips:
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly to accommodate all users
- Test your site speed to ensure it loads quickly
- Confirm that all links on your website work
- Check for coding errors/warnings and address any you discover
For additional information on website design and development, read our articles on ways to improve your website user experience and transform your B2B website into your best sales tool.
What Else is Important to Know About Website Design & Development?
The website design and development tips we shared are essential to creating and maintaining a site that converts visitors into customers. But before you get to work, there are a few more things we want to discuss to ensure your business is in a good place for the present and the future. Continue reading for additional insights!
Take Ownership of Your Site
In case you weren’t aware, ownership of your website isn’t guaranteed. There are components of your website that you have full ownership of, others that you can’t claim full ownership of and some that depend on the platform on which the site was built, as well as the contract with your website design company, if applicable.
It’s critical to have ownership of as much of your site as possible. Doing so will help prevent hiccups and headaches down the road should you choose to transfer your site to a new provider.
Get complete details by reading our article The Importance of Owning Your Website.
Quality Help is Available. Don’t Be Afraid to Utilize It!
Even with an in-house team that could tackle web design and development tasks, building and maintaining a website requires a lot. Common frustrations include:
- The large amount of work involved
- Completion frequently takes longer than expected
- Projects frequently go over budget
It’s for these reasons that many companies hire experienced marketing agencies or website design companies to manage the work for them. This approach doesn’t mean there won’t be any work for your company. However, the partner you hire can provide guidance and solutions that will help you along the way.
Once You’re Established, Give PPC a Try
You’ve optimized your website to make it a quality sales tool. You’ve done the SEO and Google Business Profile work to help your business get discovered when someone performs a local search. These are the tasks that best position your business to realize great ROI.
But, if you want to do even more, what should you do? If you’ve reached this point, pay per click (PPC) is a logical next step. PPC refers to ads like Google Ads where you pay to help your business get found. The benefits of using PPC include:
- Fast results
- Ads appear at the top of the SERP
- Ads can be highly targeted
- A/B testing can be done quickly and easily
With the right PPC keyword strategy, you can add fuel to the marketing fire and generate a boost in your web traffic and leads.
Master Local Marketing & Dominate Your Area
If you haven’t read part one and part two of our series on local marketing, we encourage you to make time to do so. The understanding and implementation of local SEO, Google Business Profile and website design and development tactics in combination can help you stand out from your competitors and dominate business in the local area.