Your building product website is your most important digital asset. It’s the first place people go to learn about your products or services or to find out more about your business.

Whilst other touchpoints (product directories, social media, press releases, for example) are important, your website is your home-base – your ‘digital sales rep’ working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to promote your products and offerings.

For these reasons alone, your website should be seen as a crucial business asset – and one that is fundamental to your growth, whether you’re a manufacturer, supplier, distributor (or all three).

So, if you’re:

  • In the market for a new website, or
  • Trying to improve the one you’ve already got

We’ll be taking a look at what makes a great user experience for any building product website.

Read on…

What is the Job of your Building Product Website?

“People don’t buy a drill; they buy a hole.”

Read that again.

When you purchase a drill, you are hiring it to do a job: create a hole in the wall.

So, ask yourself,

“What is the job people are hiring your website to do?”

Your building product website will have many different jobs:

  • People may want to find out your pricing
  • People may want to get in touch
  • People may want to find out more technical product information

The list is endless.

Regardless of why people are visiting your site, they need to be able to accomplish their goals easily and efficiently.

Obtaining this list of ‘jobs’ can be problematic, though. Remember, you need to see your website through the eyes of your audience.

So how can this be achieved?

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Evaluating User Experience (UX)

User experience (in website terms) is about how a user feels when interacting with your site.

Establishing a positive UX may require you to think differently. Instead of thinking what YOU want your website to achieve, you must understand what YOUR CUSTOMER wants to achieve.

  • How easy is it for them to find what they need?
  • Do they come with questions and leave with answers?
  • Will their experience be positive, or will there be friction?

And the only way to truly understand your customer’s UX is to ask them, and not make assumptions.

We can all be blinded by our own unconscious bias, no matter how much of an expert we are in our field.

Carrying out surveys is a great way to get a large response from your audience about your website.

You can also invite your audience to chat with you via email or social media.

If you are struggling to get responses, offering an incentive (such as a coupon) is a great way to encourage users of your website to share their experiences.

How can I get data without reaching out to my customers?

No matter how many Amazon gift vouchers you hand out, it can be difficult to get people on board to share their experiences – especially if they’re a busy architect, QS or contractor.

Heatmapping software like Hotjar and Lucky Orange analyses where people are spending time on your website, helping you understand what’s driving up your bounce rate and where any areas of friction might be.

 

Bear in mind that heatmapping only gives you a fraction of information on how people interact with your site. Actively speaking and interviewing people will be much more effective.

5 Things That Make a Good Website UX

HubSpot identifies five characteristics for a great website user experience. They are:

  • Useful
  • Intuitive
  • Consistent
  • Accessible
  • Appealing

First, your website should be useful

People are coming to your website for a reason, whether it’s to get in touch, obtain a quote or read a blog. If users can’t accomplish the goal they set out to achieve, they’ll leave as quickly as they came.

Second, your website should be intuitive

The simplest way to create an intuitive website is to make sure each page answers one question at a time and asks visitors to take one action at a time.

Providing too much information or asking people to do too much will confuse them, leading them to take no action at all.

So, if on a product page, ensure it is easy for users to obtain data sheets and product specs.

If reading a blog post, make sure it’s easy for users to download a content offer that relates (for example, an eBook, whitepaper or any other form of CPD).

Third, your website should be consistent

Humans intuitively like consistency. So, aim for consistency in design, page layout, colours and fonts. To do this, you should establish style guides and brand guidelines.

Many building product companies we speak to don’t have any form of brand guidelines, so this is often one of the first things we do when re-designing their website.

Brand guidelines not only give your brand a strong identity, but they can also greatly improve the UX of your website. Imagine a specifier with multiple tabs open on their laptop during product research? Distinctive branding will help your website stand out from the crowd.

Fourth, your website should be accessible

How easy is it for users to access your content? When we conduct user insight interviews, people often say,

“I want to get to where I want to go in as few clicks as possible.”

Again, it’s about putting yourself in the shoes of your audience. Professionals like architects, developers and other decision-makers aren’t gifted with the benefit of time – so make life easy for them and they will thank you in engagement, trust and eventually, enquiries.

There are plenty of free website accessibility checkers out there. A quick Google search will provide you with lots of options. This is a quick, actional step you can take right now to check the accessibility of your website.

Finally, your building product website should be appealing

This doesn’t necessarily mean flashy and complicated. In fact, we’d argue that simple is much more appealing.

When a user understands a page’s purpose and content at a first glance, it creates a positive user experience.

That being said, here are a few design elements that you should consider:

  • Whitespace – this will visually frame important information and shape the focus of the reader.
  • Keep design simple and free of clutter.
  • Each page should support a single goal.

Conclusion: Your Website Should Constantly Evolve

If you’re looking to re-evaluate your website’s user experience in 2022, always remember that a website should be constantly evolving to serve the ever-changing needs of your audience.

So, ensure your website makes it easy for you and your team to make changes and adjustments along the way.

If you need any support with your building product website – whether that means adding more content or re-evaluating the content you have - don’t hesitate to speak to an expert at Insynth.

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Rich Newsome

Written by Rich Newsome

Rich is Head Writer at Insynth Marketing Ltd. He brings with him a passion for creating engaging content and building strong client relationships.