B2B Website Optimization: Why it Matters and How to Do It
The launch of your website is not the end of the race; it’s the beginning.
Many B2B tech companies make the mistake of investing a hefty sum, hundreds of human hours, and a dump truck full of other resources to launch their website, but nothing to maintain it.
Would you purchase a house and never update anything to make the house more enjoyable or livable? If your outlets didn’t work, the gutters leaked, or the garbage disposal flooded the kitchen, would you not make the repairs? Of course not! You’d make upgrades to your paint colors, decor, furniture, and overall flow. You’d repair what was broken. You might even undertake a few mini-renovations here and there. The same is true for your website.
Website optimization is the process by which you analyze data to improve your website’s design, structure, and content based on your overarching goals and relevant data. This process is absolutely critical to the overall success of digital marketing campaigns, as it ensures your website transforms as the needs of your audience and the goals of your company do, too.
The Website Optimization Process
There are many moving pieces of your website. Each can be optimized — from the length and location of videos, to the color and content of call-to-action buttons. This can make the process appear overwhelming. Reduce your stress with this simple process:
- Refer to website KPIs and data: Did you set measurable goals at the beginning of your website redesign process? If you don’t have exact KPIs, now would be a good time to make some. Your goals could be something like: “increase form conversions by 20%,” or “increase product video views to 150 views per day.” You will want to use these KPIs to determine which aspects of your website aren’t helping you reach your goals.
- Select what to optimize based on data: Based on the data you review, you will want to select one to three website components to optimize. If you try to optimize everything, you’ll end up overwhelming yourself with data points and work.
- Strategize for optimization: Now is the time to brainstorm. For example, if your goal is 150 product video views per day, and you’re currently only receiving 75 views, you would want to sit down and begin to strategize: how can we double viewership each day? Maybe you change the video’s location, length, freeze frame, or even the color of the “play” button.
- Execute: Once you decide what you want to optimize, and your desired course of action, it’s time to implement your strategy. Take notes on the data prior to optimization and what your goals are with the newly optimized content. You’ll want to refer to these notes when you analyze your efforts.
- Analyze: Analyzing your optimization efforts should happen at least 60 days after a change has been made to allow ample time and data to accrue. If you are happy with the results, it’s time to start over with a different aspect of your website. If you’re not happy with the results, repeat steps one through five. (And don’t feel discouraged.)
How Often Should You Optimize Your Website?
Website optimization is an ongoing process that begins about 30-60 days after your website launches. After this point, you should determine the frequency at which your marketing team (or your agency) will analyze your website, determine optimization recommendations, and make improvements. We recommend repeating this process every 60-90 days per optimization.
Optimizing Design, Structure, and Content
Based on our experience working with B2B tech companies on optimizing their websites, we’ve outlined some of the most common pieces of the website optimization process — most of which you should be able to do on your own. Be careful not to optimize too many content pieces at once, because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t. Tweak one thing at a time and measure carefully for clear results.
Visual content is a large bucket of optimizable content that includes photos and videos. For this category, here are suggestions of what you could optimize:
- Location: Changing the location of an important photo or video on a page can increase its chances of being viewed.
- Length: For video specifically, you can try different lengths to see if a particular length results in more views and conversions.
- Content: Sometimes something as simple as changing an image can increase conversions.
Call-to-action buttons are an easy piece of content to optimize that can make a big impact on conversions. For this category, here are some considerations for website optimization:
- Location: Maybe no one is clicking your calls-to-action because they’re buried at the bottom of a page. Switching up the location of your CTAs is a simple optimization that goes a long way. If your CTA was previously at the bottom of a page, try moving it up — or add an additional button closer to the top of the page.
- Color: CTA buttons should stand out from the rest of the content on a page. If no one is clicking your buttons, it may be because they blend in. Use a bright accent color to draw attention to the button (or buttons) you want website visitors to click.
- Content: Sometimes you think you’re giving great directions, but if your CTA aren’t getting clicked, the “next step” might not be clear enough. Experiment with different CTA button verbiage to earn more clicks.
For some tips and inspiration on optimizing your calls-to-action, check out this blog post: The “Bump, Set, Spike” Approach to Creating Calls-to-Action that Convert.
Are few people—or zero—filling out your forms? If a landing page is getting a lot of traffic but very few conversions, it might be a problem with your form — which means it is time to optimize! With forms, you will want to optimize the following qualities:
- Length: While short forms normally get more conversions than long forms, they both have their place. For example, your shortest form (1-2 form fields) is likely for your blog subscription or newsletter, while your longest form (6+ form fields) is likely your lead qualifying form. Content downloads and other resources fall somewhere in between. In most cases, B2B tech companies struggle with getting conversions on their longer forms because of the perceived larger
commitment. If you’re not happy with your number of form submissions, try shortening these longer-length forms.
- Location: If a form is buried at the bottom of a long scrolling page, it might not even be seen. Heat map technology — software that shows the most and least popular areas of your site — can help you determine how far on a page website visitors get on average. If they’re not even reaching the form, you likely need to move it up.
Navigation is the most important part of your website, and should be analyzed and optimized over time. With navigation, it isn’t as easy as saying “change the color for the next 60 days.” Rather, a navigation’s ease of use should be closely analyzed using heat map technology and videos of how individuals use your site. From there, you will want to work closely with your design team to make the necessary changes.
For example, maybe your company opted for a modern “hamburger” navigation (the type of off-canvas navigation accessible by toggling three little bars that look like a hamburger). Due to growing mobile use, these menus are becoming more popular on desktop to offer a seamless user experience. However, depending on your audience, you may realize that you need to return to a standard bar navigation based on your own research.
Optimizing a page layout happens when you’re simply not happy with the results of a particular page, or category of pages on your website. For example, pages with high bounce rates or low time spent on the page may be an indication that website visitors aren’t satisfied with the page content and experience. In this case, it is likely a combination of text content, visual content, calls-to-action and form position that need to be carefully analyzed and optimized.
Search Engine Optimization
Obviously another component of ongoing website optimization, is ongoing optimization for search. When you launched your website, you (hopefully!) took the time to optimize your URLs, title tags and meta descriptions for the keywords you wish to rank for. However, with Google changing its algorithms hundreds of times per year, keeping an eye on your organic rank for top keywords is important. We recommend revisiting your website’s title tags and meta descriptions on an annual basis to determine if they need to be optimized based on Google’s changes and your organic rank.
Need some help with your B2B website’s SEO? Let Golden Spiral help.
Tools for Website Optimization
In order to optimize your website, you’re going to need data. Lots of data. Here’s our suite of recommended tools that can give you all the information you need to know to make smart decisions about optimizing your B2B tech website.
- Google Analytics: While this is the only completely free tool on the list, it is arguably the most important. Google Analytics provides excellent insight into the overall performance of your website, and can even track key events (like watching a video) and conversions (like requesting a demo). To help, we’ve already written this article on essential data points you should be tracking in order to optimize your site.
- Wistia: If you’re using video to showcase your products, you should also be using Wistia. This video marketing software tracks video engagement, including total views, and even the average amount (e.g., 37%) of the video that is watched. The tool also allows you to embed forms to collect data, and add calls-to-action to drive conversions. It also integrates with HubSpot.
- Hotjar: Wondering which aspects of your website are “hot” and which are not? Hotjar provides heat maps to help you understand how website visitors are using your website. This would be helpful when analyzing how page layout affects website bounce rates and form conversions.
- SmartLook: Probably the coolest tool on the list, Smartlook provides videos of individuals using your website — and is truly an eye-opening experience. Like Hotjar, SmartLook is extremely helpful when you’re optimizing page layouts, or even your website’s navigation.
Website optimization is an essential part of your marketing strategy. It ensures your website is working in a way that helps your B2B tech company meet your goals. When you continually optimize your website to meet your user’s needs, you are investing in your business.