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Website Redesigns: A Hot Topic in the Business to Business (B2B) Space
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last week I wrote a piece on planning a site redesign in the Web 2.0 World. The good folks at BtoB Magazine were good enough to include the post in the B2B posts of the week on BtoBonline.com. It just goes to show that website redesigns or the ideas of conducting one are a hot topic especially in the B2B arena. At Enquiro, we work with B2B clients everyday and lately almost everyone of them has either just completed a website redesign or are contemplating a site redesign in the next six to twelve months.

The great thing about SEO as it applies to website redesigns, are that the same rules apply. You still have to carefully plan out the redesign and you still have to identify the goals for your website or web properties that you would like to redesign. Remember not every site needs a redesign. Unless your site architecture is limited and the content that you have stale, you may not even require a redesign at this time. It depends on the limitations of your current site. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is our site scalable? Can you expand the site if needed?
  2. Is your site Web 2.0 compatible?
  3. Does the content on your site address the needs of your audience?
  4. Is your site search engine friendly? Can the search engine spiders effectively crawl and index your site?
  5. If I was our customer, how would I engage with our site? Would I purchase from our company?

Let’s take a closer look at each of the points.

Is Your Site Scalable?

We know that for optimal search engine rankings you need to have unique and informative content on your site. Does your current site allow you the opportunity to easily add content to your site? If you are using a CMS, whether it be an Enterprise version or even your own proprietary content management system, can it be used to efficiently add unique content to your site? Can you add things like blogs or forums to your site to provide a richer experience for your user?

Is Your Site Ready for Web 2.0?

We’ve already discussed this previously, but you need to ask yourself if your website is ready for Web 2.0? Are you able to syndicate your content, are you optimized for blended search results (video, images, News, blogs, Flash, etc.). Again what does your audience expect to see when they arrive at your site? Are they looking for Mashups or widgets? Or are they simply looking for informative content regardless of the type of media? Regardless your site should at least be ready for Web 2.0 to address future needs. Now having said that, do not redesign your website simply for Web 2.0. Again, carefully weigh the pros and cons of your existing site and methodically determine if you should partake in a site redesign.

Does Your Content Resonate with Your Audience?

You’ve heard it once, you’re going to hear it again… Content is King. In order to be successful online, you need to have informative content on you site that address the needs of your audience. Especially in the B2B sector as we know that sales cycles can be long with the purchase decision happening weeks or potentially months after the initial engagement with your website. You need to provide the content that visitors are looking for whether it be comparison matricies or white papers, or product demos. While this may not warrant an entire website redesign, it may be easier for your to create this content and share this content through the launch of an updated site.

Don’t Forget SEO - Is Your Site Search Engine Friendly?

The one thing that is consistently neglected in most site redesigns is SEO. Yet I personally do not understand why. In simplest form SEO helps make your site more search engine friendly. Having a more search engine friendly site means better rankings and improved visibility in the competitive landscape that is the search results. Improved visibility equates to more traffic and ideally more qualified traffic. More traffic generates more leads and more leads turn into more sales which improves your bottom line. Get it? It’s a simple process with an often complex means of getting there. The fact is, you need to make your site search engine friendly, that means proper URL structure, on-page optimization, effective external link inventory and clear navigation. (Of course there are a number of other items, but you get the point.)

If You Were Your Customer, How Would You Interact with Your Site?

As it is right now, and you were your own customer or prospect, how engaging is your site? Are you providing them with the information that they need to make an informed purchase decision? If they are ready to convert, have you identified clear conversions and clear conversion paths? Do you have effective landing pages? There are a number of engagement triggers that your site should feature in order to engage your visitor. Chances are that if your site does not feature any of these "triggers" then this could be another vote for a site redesign.

Preparing for a website redesign takes time, but it is time well spent. Especially in the business to business arena where qualified lead generation is so important. Whereas brochures and booklets used to communicate your organizations solutions and benefits, your website now acts as your main marketing tool. Do not neglect it.

Original Post: ASK Enquiro

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, July 15, 2008  
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