Investing in a new website is a big decision for any business. It’s the face of your brand online, a marketing tool, a knowledge base and even a recruitment platform.
But energy businesses are at the forefront of this century’s biggest challenges. You need a website that allows you to move as fast as the industry does, a website that shows your commitment to a low carbon future and positions you in the clean energy space.
How do you achieve this? Here are our top tips to help you get started.
What does a ‘good’ B2B website look like?
A good B2B website will attract the right kind of traffic, engage visitors, and convert leads. But it also needs to:
- Be usable, accessible, and optimised for search engines (SEO)
- Be secure and follow data protection laws like GDPR
- Load fast on fibre networks and sluggish mobile connections
- Be easy for your team to manage and keep up to date
- Adjust to fit an ever-expanding range of devices
- Align with your brand guidelines
… and most importantly, a website needs to meet your users’ needs. It must direct people to the right information at the right time and always signpost the next step - whether that’s buying a product, applying for a role, or finding the right contact to discuss a big investment.
There are lots of moving parts! It’s easy to get caught up in the technical detail. Do you stick with the tools you know or try something new? Where did you register that domain? Is that 3rd party system still going to work?
An agency can help you with your tech questions, but here’s what they’ll need from you…
1. Your objectives
Before you approach an agency, it’s critical to establish exactly what you want your new site to achieve. A website is so much more than a brochure, it’s a business tool designed to deliver specific results. How do you want it to earn its keep?
- Why is now the time for a new website?
- Which business goals are being let down by your current site?
- What do you want your new website to achieve? Focus on the destination.
- How do you plan to measure its success?
Unfortunately, simply wanting a better website is not a clear objective and many professionals end up learning the hard way that solely stating so won’t correlate to business results.
2. Your audiences
You can't be all things to all people.
Once you know your goals, it’s time to clarify who your audiences are. Where they are coming from, and where do you want to direct them? Your business caters to a specific group of people—so should your website. It’s not for everyone.
- What motivates them? What are they most interested in?
- What problems do they have that you can help solve?
- Where do they spend most of their time online?
- Which audience is your highest priority?
3. Your content
Then it’s time to think about your new website’s content. Content production is usually the most labour-intensive part of a web build. Don’t underestimate it!
What’s the big picture?
How do you tell your story? What do you do and why should people care? Don’t make them guess. Start by collating examples of current company taglines, values and mission statements to help get your agency up to speed.
Past content investment
There’s no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. If you have a lot of old content, it’s worth doing a quick audit. What can you keep, remove or improve?
Depending on the age of your current site, your content may need reformatted to better suit the web of 2022. Be prepared to invest in new photography and edit old copy into shorter action-driven chunks. Infographics and video are great, but they take time and money to produce so leave room for that in your plans.
4. Your resource
Is one quarter always quieter for your business? Do you need to update your website for a specific event? When you choose to take on a new website project is an important consideration. A bespoke website build can take 12-18 weeks to complete.
Off-the-shelf web solutions have come a long way and can be cost-effective, but they’re not all equal. Cheap builds often sacrifice control, functionality or accessibility. Some systems make it difficult to migrate content if you do plan to move to something else in future. If you don’t think you’re ready for a bespoke build, ask your agency which off-the-shelf solutions are most future proof.
Do you have a budding writer on your team? Can you afford to take them off their day job to produce content for a new website launch? What about after it's launched? Google loves fresh content, so you need to consider how you’re going to keep things up to date.
5. Your branding
Do you have a solid set of brand guidelines? Do they consider how things look on screens? From the accessibility of your colour palette to how your logo looks at tiny sizes, web usage brings another layer of considerations.
An agency like Hampton can support with developing brand guidelines from scratch, as well as updating existing guidelines for digital purposes.
One often unexpected cost on a web build is fonts! Even if your company already own a license for your brand’s font for desktop computers, you will still need a specific license for web.
Kelsey Barbour - Senior Account Manager
Some things to avoid…
The Bandwagon effect
Just because a competitor has a certain feature doesn’t mean that it’s working for them, and without inside knowledge you may never know for sure. Focus on what’s right for your business and your audience. The same goes for taking inspiration from websites in other industries. What works for ASOS or Amazon might not be right for you.
Treating it as ‘one and done’
A website is a business tool that should evolve with you. The average lifespan of a website is only 2 years and 7 months [src]. But with careful planning and maintenance, you can extend its life and make future updates easier.
Three seconds can be the difference between people staying on your site or hitting that back button. It’s also a real chore for your team to keep a bloated build up to date. A fast website build is better for your users, your team, and the planet.
The internet currently produces approximately 3.8% of global carbon emissions, which are rising in line with our hunger to consume more data.
With so many companies driving the transition to clean energy, there is intense competition out there and plenty of scepticism to counteract. The tips above will set you off on the right path towards a site that performs for both your business and your audiences.