B2B Website Best Practices: How to Improve User Experience and Bounce Rates
In last week’s blog post, we discussed 5 B2B website best practices that you can use to help get your company found online. Now that you are generating more website traffic for your company, you need to focus on getting that traffic to stay on your website.
It depends on the industry, but most websites have a 30-60% bounce rate on average. This means that a majority of the traffic that enters your corporate website leaves without navigating to any other pages. And they may never come back!
To engage visitors, you need to pay close attention to the design and usability of your company’s website. Here are some tips you can use to improve user experience and decrease your bounce rate.
The First Impression
Your website represents who you are and what you offer. When people see it for the first time they are thinking:
- Is this site credible?
- Is it trustworthy?
- Is this a professional company?
- Is this company stable?
- Does this site make me feel welcome?
- Am I in the right place?
You need to ask yourself all of these questions when designing your website. Now, design may not be the most important factor in a website overall – and many people put too much emphasis on how a site looks instead of how it works – but it does play an important role in making a good first impression.
Tips for a great website design:
- Proper use of colors: Use the right colors for your audience and to draw attention to select elements, but don’t try to make everything jump out. Also, avoid a chaotic mix of colors on your website. Instead, pick two to four colors for your template and marketing materials.
- Animations, gadgets and media: Avoid anything unnecessary. Using Flash animations because they look cool is the wrong strategy. In most cases, it’s best not to use an animated background or background music. Only use media and animations that help support content and information.
- Layout: Create a clear navigation structure and organize page elements in a grid fashion (as opposed to randomly scattered). Also, don’t be afraid of white space and avoid clutter.
- Typography: Make sure your website is legible. Use fonts, font sizes and font colors that are easy to read. For easier page scanning, use bulleted lists, section headers and short paragraphs.
While design is important, don’t forget that great content is what your visitors are ultimately after. A well-designed website might convince visitors to take a closer look, but they won’t look twice if the content isn’t useful and organized. After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
It’s best to keep elements on your site fairly consistent from page-to-page. Elements include colors, sizes, layout and placement of those elements. Your site needs to have a good flow from page to page. This means colors are primarily the same as well as fonts and layout structure. Navigation should also remain in the same location of your layout across your website.
For layout structure, three page layouts exist for most websites: One for the homepage, one for content pages and one for form pages. For example, your homepage will have a different layout than a landing page for a PPC campaign. Keep the elements in these layouts consistent to help keep your visitors from feeling lost.
Using the Right Images
Images can be a powerful element on any website, but you need to use them wisely. For example, consider stock photography. Stock images are seen everywhere because they are easily accessible and inexpensive. But are they good to use?
Marketing Experiments performed a test comparing the use of stock photography or real imagery on a website and the effect of each type on lead generation. They found that photos of real people outperformed the stock photos by 95%. Why? Because stock images tend to be irrelevant. Resist the temptation to use photos of fake smiling business people!
As a result, take care to place meaningful images on your site. Every image transmits a subconscious message to your audience and sometimes the result is different from what you might expect.
Perhaps one of the best ways to keep visitors on your website is having a good, solid navigation system that supports all search preferences. In fact, more than three-quarters of survey respondents from a recent HubSpot study say that the most important element in website design is ease in finding information. If people can’t find what they are looking for, they will give up and leave. Important factors in a site’s navigation include:
- Keep the structure of your primary navigation simple (and near the top of your page).
- Include navigation in the footer of your site.
- Use breadcrumbs on every page (except the homepage) so people are aware of their navigation trail.
- Include a Search box near the top of your site so visitors can search by keywords.
- Don’t offer too many navigation options on a page.
- Don’t dig too deep – in most cases it’s best have navigation that is no more than three levels deep.
- Include links within your page copy and make it clear where those links go. This is also great for SEO!
The overall rule for a proper navigation structure is simple: Don’t require visitors to have to think about where they need to go and how to get there. Make it easy for them.
Make sure that anyone visiting your website can view it no matter what browser or application they are using. To gain significant traffic, your site needs to be compatible with multiple browsers and devices. With the growth in mobile phones and tablet devices, people are surfing the Internet more than ever before. Be sure to get some of those views by allowing everyone to view your site, no matter what kind of system they run or browser they use.