What Return on Investment (ROI) does your company need to receive from its website? Are sales the most important? How about brand awareness and engagement? Determining the ROI of a website varies from company to company. You need to know what will make your website successful, and then use that as a point of reference when building or modifying it.
This is the first article in a four-part series to help you determine website ROI for your business. Is yours a B2B or a B2C company? Before we get into the numbers — pertaining to the amount of traffic, lead generation, and conversion — we’re going to help you understand what your website needs and then explain how the numbers follow.
Business to Business (B2B)
You’ll want a clean, flat design with professional typography that focuses on simplicity and minimalism. Possibly the best advice we can give as regards a B2B website is to keep it simple so that as it is updated through the years, the user experience doesn’t change and your long-time clients continue to know where to find what they need (this is most important for those who use brand awareness and engagement to generate money).
Quite frankly, every website should be built from the end-user’s point of view. The user experience on a B2B website differs from that on a B2C website, in that you want resources, features, and contact options readily available throughout a visitor’s stay.
It’s easier said than done, but when it comes to usability, your website should adhere to your target audience. Think of this in terms of how technically challenging your website is or needs to be. If you have a tech- and Web-savvy clientele, your site can afford to be slightly complex. Selling to the less tech-savvy users? We’ll keep it simple.
How Web-Savvy Are Your Visitors?
This is where most companies fail… and fail miserably. You want your content to explain the entirety of your products but in a way that makes sense to the layperson. Next you’ll need resources for the expert that works with the layman. Finally, your content must keep branding neat and consistent while also explaining the sales process. Do not hide the sales process– the minute a visitor questions the sales process or your integrity, you have lost a sale.
No, mobile is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Your website must be easily navigable through the devices that we all use every single day – smartphones, tablets, e-readers, etc. If your company’s site isn’t responsive, I’m sure you’ve had at least one embarrassing conversation about it. One where you meet someone, tell them about your company, and the first thing they do is pull out their phone to find your website. Uh-oh, your website doesn’t look so hot on their small screen and now you’re fumbling through your words trying to assert your company’s credibility.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
While the rule of simplicity remains true for B2C, you have more liberties here than you do with B2B companies. The must-haves: high-quality images, a color scheme that incites users to feel or act a certain way, and brand consistency across all the pages on the website. (The last thing you want is to confuse a visitor while attempting to generate an action out of them.)
Your visitors are usually your buyers, users, and hopefully also the champions of your products. Product features, awards, and reviews should be easily found along with other resources that help visitors make confident decisions . Lastly, sales options and a call-to-action is a must, but keep this simple — you don’t want to irritate potential customers.
Search and filters are important but beyond that, and possibly more important, is an easily accessible ‘cookie trail’ so people can go back. Another necessity is an easy way for the users to ‘favorite’ an item without having to jump through too many hoops. Want to really improve your website ROI and usability? When clicking on a given item, have the page open in a new tab instead of the same one so that visitors don’t lose their place (and patience!) and your website receives more page views.
Beyond the obvious product descriptions, you’ll want resources for visitors to read. Build credibility. Are you locally-owned, operated, and manufactured? Tell us!
Another positive strategy is to provide deep insight into the production and shipment of your products. Engaging content for B2C sites is more than a necessity; it is possibly the most important component of your website.
Usually we lose website features as the device gets smaller (for example, a site has 10 user features on a desktop but only 5 on a smartphone). What you should remember for your responsive techniques is that your visitors are the buyers. When they’re on their smartphone, they need the capability to make purchases efficiently and without hassle.
Now that you have a good understanding of what your website would need, ask yourself what ROI would you want for it. As this series continues, I’ll be talking about how to generate more traffic, convert a visitor into a lead, and how to increase the return on your website.