We're now in an age where one bad website experience is all it takes to lose a customer.
Let that sink in.
As a B2B business, your website is your home/storefront/office on the internet. It's usually the first place your potential buyers visit to know more about you and your offerings.
Whether they find your business through social media, search engines, third-party websites, email or referrals, they are likely to end up on your website.
It’s therefore not surprising that their perception of your business to large degree be shaped by their experience when they land on your website.
Put yourself in their shoes.
Remember the last time you:
Landed on a website and it took so long to load that you just abandoned it
Or tried to access a web page on your smartphone, and the text and images were cropped
Or clicked through to a blog from Google only to get that oh-so annoying 'Subscribe to our Newsletter' pop-up that completely blocked the page
These experiences are extremely frustrating, right?
If any of these happened on your first visits to those particular websites, odds are you won’t return to them ever again.
Now imagine how people would feel if they had such an experience on YOUR website.
B2B buyers are busy. Any friction on your website will cause them to bounce, which will severely hamper your conversions and reputation.
All the time and money you're spending on driving traffic to your website will go to waste.
And it’s not just users who hate websites with a bad user experience. Search engines do too.
Enter Google's 'Page Experience' update
Google wants to make things better for users. Starting from June this year, it will start penalizing sites that don't meet certain user experience standards.
This is expected to be an important ranking signal going forward.
What this means is...if your SEO strategy is still focusing heavily on keywords and ignoring user experience, your site's rankings are likely to get hit.
So there's a lot at stake here.
How Google will assess your website
Your website's user experience will be evaluated on the following factors:
Core Web Vitals: How does your site perform in terms of load time, interactivity and visual stability? In other words, how much time does your website take to load? How fast does it respond to user inputs (button clicks, form inputs etc)? Are there any sudden/unexpected movements in the elements on your site which could hamper the user experience?
Mobile-friendliness: How usable is your site on mobile devices in terms of fonts, images, menus, use of flash etc?
Safe-browsing: Does your website contain any malware or unwanted code that can compromise the user's privacy or security and/or negatively affect their browsing experience?
HTTPS: Is your site's connection is secure? Does it have a valid SSL certificate?
Intrusive-interstitials: Does your site have any unnecessary pop-ups that make your page content less accessible?
Here's a checklist to help you get your website ready
Improve your loading time. You can do this in the following ways:
Compress large image/video files. Try and use the new WebP format for compression
Minify CSS and Java Scripts
Use a CDN (Content Distribution Network) to make images and other important content load faster
Create AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) of your website. These are basically lighter versions of your site that load quickly on mobile devices.
Enable browser caching to improve load time for returning visitors
Make sure all the pages on your site are mobile-friendly
Ensure your text and images are responsive
Keep menus short and organized
Keep the main content and CTA above the scroll
Scroll becomes longer on mobile so add a 'Go to top' button at the bottom
To reduce scroll, keep your content shorter than the desktop version, and remove unnecessary elements from the mobile version
Install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate on your site
If you have already installed SSL, make sure it hasn't expired (Check for the padlock in the URL bar)
If your site doesn't have a valid SSL certificate, users may get a warning from their browser, which can make them leave your site
Avoid using intrusive popups, particularly the ones that cover the entire screen
If they are necessary, make them easily dismissable
Set Newsletter/Blog sign-up pop-ups to appear 30-seconds or so after the user lands on the site
Note: Cookie-related pop-ups or banners that cover a small portion of the screen are acceptable
Check your pages for malware or security issues
Check Google Search Console for any security warnings
Set up email alerts that you can get in your inbox in case there's any unusual activity
Use a reputed website security scanning service like HostGator
Use a heatmap tool like Hotjar
Analyze how users are interacting with your site
See which parts of your site have usability issues
Fix pages where users are dropping off
Though content is still going to be a far more important ranking signal, not paying attention to the user experience can be detrimental both to your rankings, and more importantly, to your brand.
So make it a top priority.