These 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
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.