Building a tech website that sells
- strategy and design
Creating a website for a digital product or technological company requires a structured approach.
It consists of a number of steps that are closely interconnected. Executing these steps assures marketing consistency, appearing higher in search, increased traffic, lower bounce rates, and unique visual character. All this supports lead generation and increases the probability of closing deals.
Read this guide to building an effective website for your tech product or service.
Marketing and sales strategy
The initial stage of tech website design is understanding the top-level sales and marketing approach. Often the strategy is well understood across the company, while sometimes a couple of workshops are required to formulate clear communication goals and approaches. To build a great website the strategy has to be well understood.
- Understand your clients
- Clarify your selling points
- Know your competitors
Do you know what’s unique about you?
Making sure you understand the value of what you deliver helps you become convincing and assertive. Generic offers don’t stand out and are quickly forgotten. Your service definitely has a value, and it is important that your clients understand it in the same way as you do.
What are you really good at?
Does your product or service address specific needs? Have you found an attractive niche? Specialization helps build coherent communication, and focus on concrete messages to chosen groups of clients. It is important to identify and describe the uniqueness of your offer.
Who exactly are you selling to?
Make sure you understand who you want to appeal to. Your website will be visited by people of various levels of experience, lines of business, or education. These can be CEOs, CTOs, purchasing managers, engineers or junior specialists. They all have different needs and habits, but if you speak to everybody, you usually speak to nobody.
How to use a few words to say a lot?
Your sales and marketing should be able to tell everything that’s important about your company in 30 seconds. Similarly, a website visitor should almost I immediately understand what you do, who you are, and what is unique about your product or service.
What’s your character?
Marketing archetypes are a great way of giving your website, and all your commercial efforts, a strong character that stands out. There are 12 main marketing archetypes and the ones used by the tech industry most often are the sage, the magician, the creator, the outlaw and the hero.
How are your peers working?
In the tech world, it is better to find your own path rather than use ideas of others. But it is good to know how your competitors build their websites. How they talk about their products. What they emphasize and what leave out. Knowing this will help you stand out.
Content strategy and information architecture
In this stage, high-level choices about systemic and structural principles are made to make your website work. The common questions you should ask include: what is the structure of my website? How will this structure support the marketing goals? Are we focusing on educational content or simply making sure the visitors buy quickly? What is the ratio of text to visual assets?
- Decide on how to communicate
- Make sure you’re in line with clients
- Build a clear information hierarchy
What is the hierarchy and connections?
Website structure reflects the complexity of your product or service. The rule of the thumb is that the more sophisticated your offer is, the more information is required to explain it. While some websites can be simple “one-pagers”, others have multiple interconnected levels, dozens of sub-pages and large menus.
What to say first, and what last?
Hierarchy of information plays an important role in communication. With most people remembering the first and the last thing they hear or read, placing the right messages in the right spots is important. Saying the most important things in the beginning and confirming them at the bottom is a common approach. Avoiding monotony or very long scrolling makes the experience more attractive.
Should I use photos, videos or drawings?
Visual assets such as photos, graphs, drawings etc. are often associated with graphic design. They are, however, strategic elements of the website that should be thought through way before graphic designers do their job. For example, if you choose to illustrate the website with photos from your office, you need to make sure your employees are fine with that. And if you prefer fancy drawings double check if your target user personas will respond to it positively.
Most of the sites should be optimised for search engines to drive quality traffic. While SEO is a long term process, an initial analysis in the early stages of tech website development is a good idea. It reveals what are the commonly searched terms associated with your product or service and shows differences in regional markets. A SEO analysis also looks at competitors and their strategies.
- Appear high in search results
- Get more leads
- Be region-specific
What do clients search for?
Business people usually use words and phrases they feel comfortable with. They are not necessarily used in the same way. For example, keyword research would show if clients are looking for “site management software”, “construction management app”, “project management software for construction” etc.
Regional keyword variances
How searches differ across countries?
If you target specific markets, you should find out local differences in used phrases. Which markets search for “outsourcing”, which look for “offshoring” and “nearshoring”? What is the difference between a “software house”, “software development company” and “product development agency”?
Are my texts robot-friendly?
Specific products and services require a specific length of the text to appear high in search results. By analyzing the competitors we can understand what is our challenge: is a 600-word page enough or should we aim for 1000 words to achieve a good score from search engines? In this way, SEO helps determine the choices in the copywriting stage.
User experience and visual design
User experience design and visual design are interconnected processes assuring that the users feel comfortable on your website. At the same, we must assure that our goals are reached through purposeful planning of user behaviour.
- Improve conversion
- Make clients stay longer
- Build great visuals
What should be the behaviour of the visitors?
User journeys are the expected steps that the user makes when visiting your website. While it is not possible to predict the behaviour with precision, we can use tools that help the visitors navigate from the entry point to the desired action, such as a purchase or filling a contact form.
Do you know what you expect from the users?
Whenever possible, we should set conversion goals. We don’t necessarily have to predict what percentage of visitors will buy our product or service. But we should know what conversion means in our case. If the website has an e-commerce component - a finalised purchase will be a goal. On a marketing website for a software agency, it would be starting a chat with the salesperson or submitting an inquiry through a form.
Does the design support your claims?
Visual design predominantly supports communication goals. It has to be consistent with your value proposition and should appeal to your user personas. If your archetype is “magician” - show some magic. If you talk to hardcore engineers - be clean and technical.
Is your website equally great across devices?
Making a decision about how many different devices and screen sizes will be supported should be based on analyzing your user personas and their habits. If they are likely to visit your site on the go, the focus should be on various mobile screen sizes. In specific cases, traffic can come from tablets or smaller laptops, while in more conservative environments - almost exclusively from desktops. The number of breakpoints should be chosen carefully to improve user experience without unnecessary costs.
Testing and improvement
How will you make your website better in the future?
Clients’ needs change, as does the business environment. So do websites - they rarely remain static. New content is added, call to action buttons modified and structure is expanded. Those changes should be evidence-based - with tools such as Google Analytics, Hotjar or Decibel you can consciously track users’ engagement and improve your website.
Putting the client first and using an appealing, SEO friendly language together with AI-based text analysis tools makes your copy powerful and effective.
- Put the client first
- Be SEO-friendly
- Create memorable texts
The choice of style
Persuasive, conversational or straightforward?
The choice of writing style largely depends on your target groups and the type of product or service you offer. Disruptive technologies would choose bold, sharp claims, while more conservative services would focus on a calmer, matter-of-factual style. As in the case of graphic design style, the way you use language should be consistent with the message you want to convey and the archetype you chose.
Focus on the client
Do you say “we” or “you”?
It is tempting to write about ourselves, but this can sound too egocentric. A good copy is about the client, the user, the persona. Try to say “you”, try to show benefits to the client, talk about actions and problems you solve for them. Don’t use too many adjectives about yourself. It can sound artificial.
Does the reader feel comfortable?
Most of the people don’t like reading what they don’t understand. That’s why your sentences should be short. The paragraphs not too complicated. The words common, rather than complicated. There are tools that help copywriters measure the complexity of the written content. Use them to make sure your visitors don’t feel stupid.
Do you feed the robots in a smart way?
The text on your website should not be written for robots. It should be written for humans. If it is, artificial intelligence will give it a high rank. But there are also spaces on your website that can be used to boost your chances of appearing high in search results. These texts tend to be longer, richer in keywords and broader. The key is to find a balance between the size of the content and user experience (too much text can be overwhelming).
Development of a website is about loading speed, good CMS, and avoiding SEO mistakes that make your site less appealing to search engines.
- Develop SEO friendly code
- Modify content easily
- Optimize loading speeds
SEO friendly technology
Do robots like your code?
Does it take time for the page to load?
If it takes time for the page to load, you are likely to lose a significant proportion of users. According to some research, just 1 second of additional load time costs 10% in lost revenue. Long load times make your site seem unattractive and prevent visitors from coming back. Load times are also a factor in determining the SEO quality of your site and slow loading sites do not appear high in search results.
Can you modify the content easily?
A Content Management System helps you add or modify content on your website. It can be a complex commercial solution, an open-source system or even a basic markup, that allows simple uploading of content in text files. The most important thing to remember about CMS is that it should be user friendly also for people without much technological background and make modifications easy.
Should I care about Internet Explorer?
In most cases optimisation for the latest versions of major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari is sufficient. In some cases, however, Internet Explorer or other less popular browsers should also be supported. It is because in certain industries, including the public sector, IE is still a popular application. Before deciding on which browsers should be supported, check available analytics to see what share of traffic comes from non-standard sources.