There are a variety of factors that go into designing a successful enterprise website. You need buy-in from a variety of stakeholders. You need a workflow that ensures the behemoth project stays on track. You need talented designers and writers to convey all that valuable information you want to communicate to your customers—and to prospective customers.
But there are a lot of misconceptions about enterprise website development, too. While these larger companies are obviously profitable, it doesn’t always mean they’ve completely figured out how to translate their success to the Internet. We’ve seen companies with big budgets butcher an enterprise website design. We’ve seen slickly designed, award-winning websites with so many moving parts that they are impossible to navigate. We’ve seen basic, templated websites that don’t remotely communicate the capabilities of companies with unbelievably impressive revenue streams.
So the moral of the story is that no matter the size of a company, or the scope of a project, there are always things that can go wrong during enterprise website development. However, have no fear: there are some simple concepts you can rely on to improve the performance of your enterprise website, whether you’re starting from scratch or simply fine-tuning. Today we’ll discuss five.
1. Clarity Is Always King
When people visit your site, they’re hunting for information. It’s really that simple. Maybe they’re wanting to dig deeper on your products and/or services. Maybe they’re vetting your leadership. Maybe this is their first experience with your brand altogether.
That’s why it’s so important to quickly and clearly explain what you do. This involves the perfect marriage of design and copy, and you absolutely don’t have to overthink it. With the right messaging, and the right calls to action, you can succinctly give site visitors exactly what they’re looking for. Mallard Creek Polymers’ site serves as a perfect example of this.
If you’re a titan within your industry—say a Wal-Mart, Apple, or Amazon—then maybe you can get away with assuming your customers know everything about you. But for most businesses, your enterprise website content strategy should treat site visitors like first-timers.
2. Emphasize the User Experience
This continues the theme of the previous tip. If visitors are confused about what you do, they’re definitely going to head elsewhere. But even if visitors know all about you, and they struggle to navigate your site, then they’re still going to lose interest. As we mentioned in the intro, your site can be the prettiest, most cutting-edge site in the world, but all those bells and whistles are meaningless if visitors can’t find the information they’re seeking.
From a design standpoint, simple layouts that maximize white space, utilize effective graphics and photos, and avoid any sense of clutter will be more appealing to your customers. And when it comes to content, focus on quality, not quantity. Whether you’re writing a headline or a 1,500-word blog post, content should always answer this question: Is it, in some way, solving a customer’s problem? (More on that in a bit.)
3. Ensure Your Site’s Responsive
Once again, this tip builds on the previous one since it’s directly tied to design. So to hammer home the importance of responsiveness, here’s the perfect stat: in the last five years, mobile traffic has gone up a whopping 222%.
So, needless to say, if you’re site isn’t responsive, you’re missing out on a ton of potential traffic. To dig into those numbers a little deeper, in 2013 smartphones accounted for approximately 16% of worldwide web traffic, while in 2018 that number had jumped to approximately 52%.
While it seems absurd to say in 2019 that you need to have a responsive website, just take some time to surf enterprise sites on the ol’ worldwide web using your smartphone or tablet and you’ll see that there are wildly successful companies who still need the reminder. Maybe one day responsiveness will be assumed within every website build or redesign—but we’re not quite there yet, so we’ll keep stressing its importance.
4. Solve Your Customers’ Problems
The last two tips have been more design-centric, so let’s focus on content for a sec (beyond just the “quality over quantity” advice). It’s important to have a comprehensive enterprise website content strategy. This starts with understanding the buyer journey. And if you understand the buyer journey, you understand that your product or service is solving a specific customer problem.
If you take this concept to heart, it should permeate your entire content strategy. And keep in mind, we’re not just talking about body copy and headlines. Your content should be varied for different types of consumers, which includes videos, white papers, eBooks, infographics, and, of course, blog posts. And while your content should be valuable, it should also constantly be updated so it never gets stale. Ultimately, the best enterprise websites are more than just an online storefront—they’re resources for info-seeking customers.
5. Don’t Forget About Lead and Demand Generation
There’s one thing the Internet can’t change: companies still strive to generate leads and brand awareness. Once again, content plays a key role in this online.
If your site isn’t generating consistent business, something’s gone awry. If it’s not, it’s time to look at your calls-to-action and content offers. By being more strategic with them throughout the site—and creating unique landing pages for them—you have the potential to deliver more prospects to your sales team
For example, most enterprise sites have the standard contact forms, but expecting a customer to click on that call-to-action means you’re only accounting for one stage of the buyer journey—that moment the customer has already decided to make a purchase. That’s great, but you must account for the different points of your sales funnel. For example:
Top-of-the-Funnel Content: eBooks, Infographics, and White Papers
Middle-of-the-Funnel Content: Case Studies and Videos
Bottom-of-the-Funnel Content: (Product Data, Contact Sales Request, and Other CTAs)
Each business is different, but this serves as a good enterprise website content guide from a standpoint of lead and demand generation.
Take the Time to Improve Your Enterprise Website
Hopefully the lesson learned today is that even the biggest companies can struggle online, especially as it relates to building and managing a user-friendly and lead-generating website. In fact, no business is immune from missteps on the Internet, and the only way to survive is to have a philosophy of constant improvement to stay ahead of the curve.
Hopefully, if you’re a marketer reading these tips, you’re nodding because you’ve been doing these things all along. But if you’re not, with a solid design and content strategy you can correct course. Because there’s another lesson to take away from today: it’s never too late to improve the performance of your enterprise website.
Want to see how we’ve helped enterprise websites improve performance? View our case study:"Improved Website & SEO Delivers More Leads to Chemical Supplier"
As Lead Designer for Knowmad, Sarah helps our clients bring to life their creative visions and establish a compelling, professional online appearance. She focuses primarily on website design, blending beautiful aesthetics and UX to create memorable online experiences.