B2B Web Development: Your Guide to Web Development for B2B
B2B web development is the key to your company’s success
If you’re trying to sell your products or services to other businesses, the Internet is your best resource to reach large audiences quickly. But to market online, you need a website, which is why it’s essential for you to implement B2B web development.
For any company that uses digital marketing, having a website is crucial. Your website will ultimately serve as the center of all your online marketing, with everything from your paid ads to your social media leading back to it.
To build a site, you need to invest in B2B website development, so you can drive qualified traffic and revenue for your business.
But what is web development for B2B companies, and how does it work? We’ll answer both of those questions below, so read on for more information.
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What is B2B website development?
B2B web development is the process of building a website for your company, from the initial coding of your site to your choice of color scheme and font.
It’s worth distinguishing between web development and web design, both of which are common marketing terms. Web design refers specifically to the surface-level elements of your site –– the components that users will actually see and interact with when they visit.
Web development, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses both the surface-level elements and the behind-the-scenes coding that structures your site.
Front-end vs. back-end development
When you build a website, you build it on multiple levels. There are the visual components like navigation and page layout, and then the coding that runs your site beneath the surface. Those two levels are called front-end and back-end, respectively.
Front-end development focuses on the visual aspects, or the web design — it consists of creating and optimizing the elements of your site that users will see when they visit.
Back-end development, meanwhile, handles the behind-the-scenes site components. You need to have code in place to run all the functions on your site and store data from forms –– back-end development is how you set that up.
Manual coding vs. CMS
When it comes to back-end development on your site, you have more than one option at your disposal. You can manually code everything on your site, or rely on a content management system (CMS) to help you do the job.
Manual coding is certainly the more complex option, requiring you to have a certain degree of coding knowledge to set everything up. However, it also gives you more freedom to build your site exactly how you want, making it stand out from other websites.
If you don’t have any coding knowledge — or access to anyone who does — you can always rely on a CMS, which does the coding for you. A CMS allows you to build your site visually, with many offering a drag-and-drop builder. Using a CMS can be easier, but also limits your customization options.
The B2B web development process
Once you’re ready to start building your site, don’t dive straight into the coding process. You’ll want to follow a series of steps to ensure that your B2B website development goes smoothly.
Here’s a six-step process you can use to build your B2B company website:
1. Lay out your goals
The first thing you should do before developing a website is determine some goals for your site. Essentially, you want to ask yourself, “What do I want this site to achieve?”
Some example goals you might come up with include:
- Educating users about your industry
- Presenting your company as trustworthy and efficient
- Demonstrating how your products work
The reason you want to come up with these goals is that they’ll dictate everything you do in the following steps. Knowing what you want your site to do will tell you what pages you need to include and what type of content should appear on them.
2. Design a sitemap
Once you’ve laid out your overarching goals for your site, you can start planning the layout of your site. The best way to do that is to create a sitemap, or a visual plan of all the pages on the site and how they’re connected.
As a brief note, this type of sitemap shouldn’t be confused with an XML sitemap, which is a technical document. The sitemap you’re creating in this step is very simple and can be made with nothing more than a marker and a whiteboard.
What you want to do is plan out all the major sections of your site, as well as all the specific pages you want to include in each of those sections. From your homepage to individual service pages, plan out everything you’re going to initially put on your site.
Be sure to organize everything in a way that makes sense. Don’t haphazardly throw all the pages onto the whiteboard — group your service pages in one section, your blog in another, and so on. Structure your website in a way that will be easy for users to understand and navigate.
3. Register a domain name
The last thing you must do before you start building the actual website is register your domain name. Your domain name is your site’s URL. To choose your URL, you must find one that’s available and then purchase it.
Take your time on this step — don’t just grab a domain name and go. Try to find a domain name that’s short and succinct so that users will have an easier time remembering it. The best strategy is to use your business’s name as the domain, like mikescarpets.com for Mike’s Carpets.
If your business name isn’t available, though, try a variation of it, like mikescarpetsstore.com for Mike’s Carpets. Your domain name will be what users see in the address bar anytime they visit your site, and you want it to adequately represent your brand.
4. Develop your back-end
It’s at this point in the process that you can finally begin building your website, beginning with your back-end. The bulk of your back-end optimization will involve coding and setting up ways for your site to store information.
For example, if you have a form on your site that collects email addresses, you’ll need to store those addresses somewhere, and your back-end is where that happens. Your back-end can also handle things like tracking traffic to specific pages.
As mentioned earlier, you have a choice when it comes to your back-end — you can code it all manually, or you can rely on a CMS. If you use a CMS, the job may be easier for you, but you’ll also have to rely on preexisting page elements and templates.
Whatever you do, don’t just pick a template and make a few changes before going live. You don’t want your site to look generic or appear like other websites that may have used the same template. Make your site your own as much as possible.
5. Develop your front-end
Once your back-end is set up and ready to go, you can move on to front-end development. This part of the process is where you start web design. You’ll create the elements that users will see on the page and optimize them for both visual appeal and functionality.
Some of the best ways to optimize your front-end include:
- Branding yourself through your visuals
- Optimizing images
- Making your site mobile-friendly
- Creating an intuitive navigation setup
- And more!
Ultimately, the primary goal of your front-end optimization is to create a positive user experience. When people visit your site, you want it to look appealing and function smoothly. If your site looks bad or has issues running, not many people will stick around.
6. Launch your B2B company website
With your front-end and back-end both ready to go, it’s finally time to launch your site! Of course, you won’t want to launch it without checking and testing it first — you don’t want to risk having errors on your site that cause issues for users.
Go through and troubleshoot everything on your site, verifying that all the forms work and that all the pages load the way they should. After you’ve double-checked that everything is in good shape, you should go live with your site.
From that point, you can continue optimizing your site to make new adjustments and improvements in response to user behavior, driving leads and conversions as you go!
WebFX knows web development for B2B companies
Ready to start developing your B2B company website? WebFX is here to help! With over 1020 client testimonials, we know web development for B2B companies, and we’re the agency businesses trust to drive stellar results for their campaigns.
With our web development services, you’ll get help optimizing your site for each of the steps listed above. You’ll also receive a dedicated account representative to keep in touch with you about every decision we make on your site.
B2B Web Applications
Are you looking for applications that can make running your B2B company or brand easier? Seeking out more information on B2B and why a software solution might be needed to efficiently track your sales and leads?
Read on to learn more about the B2B technologies and applications offered by WebFX, and the solutions we have made available to improve your day-to-day business activities.
What is B2B?
B2B is the acronym for “business to business.” This term is used to describe companies that provide products or services to other businesses rather than direct to consumers. In other words, the term is used exclusively in connection with ecommerce and advertising where one business targets another business.
Enabling business applications to communicate across corporate boundaries can be complicated. WebFX can assist you with navigating through this highly effective business strategy with our own B2B applications.
Who needs a B2B web application?
B2B applications are used for various purposes, from tracking leads to monitoring sales and sales force activities. If you are in the B2C (or “business to consumer”) field, a B2B application probably won’t help you. But if you work for a B2B company, our applications and technologies may be right for you.
Are you a trade house planning a public Internet marketplace or a private online exchange? Or are you planning an electronic purchasing center for your corporate website? Whatever your situation, your company can benefit by with efficient ecommerce environment that reduces the cost for buyers, suppliers, and your own organization. A B2B application can also streamline your in-house processes so you can better keep up with customer demand.
With today’s cost-effective business to business ecommerce solutions, it has been easy for customers to have web access to product information and availability, order status and history, and account information. However, to have a totally flexible B2B ecommerce environment, site operators must have full control over product content, product management, inventory, order fulfillment and shipping. That’s where we can help.
Business to business applications from WebFX
At WebFX, we provide our clients with complete e-store solutions designed specifically to enable medium to large sized businesses deploy B2B ecommerce solutions. Our dynamic and user-friendly ecommerce solutions for various businesses offer an extensive range of features and functionalities characteristic of a sophisticated online store or electronic marketplace. Our turn-key packages make ecommerce solutions affordable for most business types.
The high-end technologies in which we program our business-to-business applications include:
- BEA – AquaLogic
- Sugar CRM
- Sage – ACT!
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Microsoft Sharepoint
The WebFX difference
Unlike other B2B marketing firms, WebFX has extensive experience in all areas of online marketing, and how they translate to your daily activities. We don’t have one person who claims to “know” SEO—we have multiple experts in the SEO field. We don’t “think” we know B2B—we know we know it. Our team is educated and experienced, and we’re ready to work together to create a solution that’s right for you.
Whether you’re looking for a simple B2B application integration or a full-fledged B2B ecommerce store setup, we can do it for you. And we can improve your rankings, increase the effectiveness of your online marketing, and better provide solutions for your sales team while we’re at it.
With WebFX, you get more than a simple application or so-called solution. You get the whole package. Contact us today to find out how we can elevate your B2B company to the next level.