You’ve got your content together. You’ve got your branding elements. You’ve got your essential components.
Now, how do you organize everything on a B2B website? How should content be laid out to give visitors the information they want? How do you capture attention visually without being distracting and unhelpful?
We talked before about keeping in mind that B2B website design needs to be tailored to research phases. There’s much less opportunity for emotional triggers and reactionary conversions, so we have to remember that we’re in it for the long haul. Content needs to be laid out for both the first impression and the return visit for more information.
Concise, Contextual Value Propositions
It’s an oversimplification, but useful nonetheless: visitors are either researching your company and product generally or looking for more specific information. The main content of the homepage is often designed for the “general” researcher, while your deeper content is crucial for the return visitor who needs information.
To assist the visitor in finding the information they want, each piece of content’s “value proposition” needs to give an indication of what the rest of your content is and what questions it will answer. Craft killer opening sentences for your blog posts. Summarize in-depth content on pages with a few lines at the top. Contextualize links to your downloadable content and focus on outcomes.
Ultimately, seek to value your visitors’ time by helping them know what they’re getting into. They’ll be able to find the content they need faster, and will have a better impression of you overall.
Lay Out Information for Eyes
Extending from your initial ‘value proposition’, it’s important to lay out the rest of the information in a way that suits visitors’ natural eye movements. Yes, we’re talking about the familiar F-shaped reading pattern, but the implications run deeper: the first paragraphs and the first parts of each section signify what the rest of the content is about. Even detailed, technical information needs to first draw the reader and show the value of the most important information, and then give the supplementary details inside the paragraphs.
Try understanding what an ideal customer of yours would find important by listing out the questions they would have about a particular topic. Start with the more general, essential questions (i.e. “Is your product secure?”), and then support your answer with details (i.e. “How do you prevent attacks on your service?”) in the content below.
Forget the Fold
It’s important not to get too caught up in ideas like “the fold”, which is an antiquated way of describing a current problem. The nuance is crucial to understand.
For starters, we know that visitors will scroll, but you can also encourage that scrolling by ensuring your layout never looks complete on load. That’s about all you need to know about “the fold”, because nearly all other data related to it is really telling you to organize by importance. Obviously, information at the top will be seen more, but even this older study on scrolling and attention summarizes with:
People will look very far down a page if (a) the layout encourages scanning, and (b) the initially viewable information makes them believe that it will be worth their time to scroll.
When placing calls to action, it’s also easy to get caught up “the fold”, and expecting they should always go above it. It’s far more important that you put them below a proper amount of information than it is to put them higher up on a page. You’ve got to know (or try to learn) when someone is ready to convert, and place elements of the layout appropriately.
Ultimately, understanding that you can guide a visitor’s research (however in-depth) with introductory copy, significant words, and proper call-to-action placement is essential in building great layouts for website content. Design content consumption for the readers who need what you’re offering.