Building the Company Website – From Startup to Start Over

Building the Company Website – From Startup to Start Over
Kate Headen Waddell - Thu Jul 01, 2010 @ 02:54AM
Comments: 13

B2B WebsiteThese days, just about everyone has a website – or they really ought to. But just “having one” isn’t nearly enough anymore.  While you can sort of forgive the local bakery for having a website that looks like it was created by those proverbial 100 monkeys typing away in the basement, B2B consumers are not so forgiving.

No matter what size your company, your website needs to look polished, modern and professional. And YES that includes polished and professional copy that was written specifically for the web. But beyond that – what does your website need to include, how big should it be, and how deep should it go? That depends…

Tabula Rasa: The Startup

If you’re just getting started, one of the first things you will want to do is create your company website. The most important thing to do in this phase is to get something up quickly, and then build on it as you go along. Starting with your basic brochure-type website is the perfect way to go. This includes such pages as:

Home – a brief intro to exactly what you company does and why you do it better

About – keep it to a general company raison d’être; too much detail at this phase could be detrimental

Products / Services – highlight some bulleted benefits for each

Contact

Try not to fall into the trap of over-planning – get these four pages up and make sure they’re perfect. If you really can’t afford to have professionals do it, get yourself a customizable WordPress template (like at www.vivathemes.com) and keep the copy brief and to the point. And make sure to have several people read it and give you feedback on messaging, spelling and grammar.

On a Roll: Polishing and Adding Content

As you go along, you can add deeper level pages, white papers, case studies, and other collateral to beef up your site and pack it with more information. For example, you can break out a separate page for each product and service, and write up some case studies from satisfied customers to add to the appropriate pages.

Once you get some income coming in, hire a designer and writer to polish up what you have. Consider this your branding phase; a professional designer and writer can help you shape a unique identity so that you can own your niche and add even more clients to your roster.

Deep in the Bog: Start Over

If you’re not careful in phase number two, your website could really get away from you. This generally only happens when a company hits a hundred employees or more, but at some point someone notices that no one is guarding the barn door and the website has become a mishmash of non-unified messaging and content.

The best thing to do at this point is to put someone in the marketing department in charge and start over. Maybe not from scratch, but a complete content review and reorganization is in order, along with appointing a gatekeeper for adding pages and content in the future.

Keeping an eye on the company website is a critical business tactic. And having a website that is appropriate to your phase of maturity will ensure that you attract and impress the right types of prospects – instead of scaring them off.

Have any tips for the B2B company web? Share them here!

About the author: Kate Headen Waddell is a strategic copywriter specializing in web copy, white papers, case studies, solution briefs and other B2B marketing tools. You can visit her website at www.smartb2bmarcom.com.

Comments: 13

Comments

1. John White  |  my website   |   Fri Jul 02, 2010 @ 08:34AM

Speaking of the Contact page, I note a trend in Web design to devote the Contact page to a form-fill, without a physical or mailing address. I think that's a mistake, because the address lends credibility. Many sites have moved it from the Contact Us page to some page under About; I don't mind that, as long as it's on the site somewhere.

2. Kate Waddell  |  my website   |   Sat Jul 03, 2010 @ 07:23AM

Great point John, I have also noticed a lot of new sites putting contact info on EVERY page of the web instead of having a dedicated page - what a great way to encourage folks to get in touch without having to dig for the information.

3. GaryG  |  my website   |   Tue Jul 06, 2010 @ 08:01AM

Great post Kate! Blogs are great for your website as they help improve SEO and Wordpress is fairly simple to use too. It's definitely important to have a sitemap too because that keeps you organized!

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