Developing a successful website for your SaaS business can be a challenge. The single most important action you can take to send yourself in the direction of success is to determine your goals from the outset and build accordingly.
If your company abides by an inbound marketing stratagem, your website is considered to be the main focal point of your marketing team’s lead generation efforts. Quite often with SaaS websites, the site itself serves not only to attract and convert new clients, but it is also the product itself, and needs to have a balance between attracting and converting new clients and serving the purposes of those already in business with you.
Getting Smart Web Design Right
One of the biggest SaaS challenges is simply attracting and retaining prospective clients. Simplicity is a recurring theme in successful websites, especially those with steep competition, for a reason. In web design for SaaS, one of the most essential web design best practices is achieving an appropriate use of whitespace.
Clean and simple website design can be achieved by having a limit to how much text and how many images are fitted into your pages. This will have an absolute impact on the overall usability and ability to retain and convert. One study showed a clear indication that proper use of whitespace in the right and left margins as well as between paragraphs can enhance user comprehension by nearly 20%.
DON’T clutter your website with irrelevant “stuff”
DO use whitespace to enhance the primary content and keep your website readable
Show Your Product
One of the major mistakes (among a dozen common to SaaS companies) you can make with your website is not offering up enough high-quality and relevant SCREENSHOTS for your visitors to observe. Just talking about your product and its features makes you less accessible to a general audience who is typically a highly visual crowd. Giving your website’s audience those sweet, sweet screenshots helps the buyer visualize themselves using your software, and can aid in their evaluation of whether or not they want to try your software or become a paying customer.
When including screenshots in your sales copy, there are some simple rules of thumb to be mindful of.
- First, you want your screenshots to be relevant.
- Let each screenshot you include serve an actual purpose rather than just being pleasing to the eye.
- Video can be even more effective than screenshots when trying to convey functionality to the buyer.
It takes users just half of a second to form their opinion about your company once your website has loaded, so you want to be sure to use your above-the-fold space (the top of your page, visible without scrolling down) to focus heavily on the benefits and features your software sets out to solve. Grabbing users’ attention by answering to their needs early on is a great strategy for attention retention and ultimately leads to more conversions.
DON’T rely on walls of text to get your message across
DO most of your explaining visually, with high quality screenshots and videos
Design with a Plan: Build for Growth
Growth-oriented design means that opportunities for your subscribers to upgrade their services and close free trial users should be built in from the ground up when designing and developing your website.
Most SaaS providers don’t generate the majority of their revenue from their first-time buyers. The majority actually comes from their loyal subscribers who are confident in the basic service offered and have opted to expand their functionality or upgrade to a pro edition.
Strategizing this business model early in your website’s development can help you reduce churn more effectively as these upselling and cross selling strategies can offset the churn you’ll likely experience in any SaaS endeavor.
DON’T go into a design or redesign of your SaaS website all willy-nilly
DO have a plan based on enhancing earnings in a competitive marketplace from the inception of your design
Coming up with Content
If you know ahead of time that you will primarily promote one form of content over another, i.e. text vs. video for example, you can incorporate that into the actual layout and design of the website. Additionally, if you have content that you consider more vital to the buyer experience than other content, implementing this directly into the above-the-fold section of your front page could be a good idea.
Contextual content adapts to the reader and provides a custom tailored user experience. Depending on variables like profession, time of a day, device being used, and other data, content can be delivered to the end user based on the context in which the user is experiencing the website. Contextual content is better adapted to meet the needs of your client or potential buyer by being delivered based on variable inputs specific to the user’s interaction with the website.
DON’T inundate users with a barrage of disparate content topics
DO keep content relevant to the solutions offered by your SaaS company
Regular people will use your site. Depending on the general applicability of your software solutions, any number of industries could send visitors your way, and most of them aren’t likely to understand highly technical content and industry jargon, unless this is a niche you go after.
DON’T bombard your readers with too much technical talk
DO use a conversational tone to connect with your readers
Focus on User’s Benefits, not Product Features
When conceiving your site design, consider the ways your product’s features can help users and focus on that, rather than pushing them in the users' face and making them figure out how it can be helpful. Explain how your SaaS solution can add value to the visitors’ lives. Consider what problem each feature solves for your customers, and expound upon that in a way that helps the visitor clearly see an immediate benefit of using the product. This is an excellent place to point out that buyer personas will be incredibly helpful in outlining the way the content of your site should read.
DON’T wax poetic about your software’s features ad nauseam
DO help readers understand how your software product can enhance their lives
Identify Subscribers Needs
You need to have an understanding of what technical specs your existing customers or target audience are working with, so you can design accordingly. Important information to have at your disposal would be something like what screen sizes are most commonly used to view your content and use your product.
If you find most new customers are discovering your platform on their mobile devices but then end up using the actual software you offer at their work desktop, then you’ll want to take this into consideration during a redesign of your SaaS website. In any case, responsive design is essential with today’s diversity in device type and screen size.
Choose a Development Method
When you work with a web design agency, there may be a decision to be made over which development method will best suit your project. The traditional web development methodology is known as “waterfall” in which the process is linear and testing comes last, as the project comes to completion. With SaaS companies often having their main product/service integrated into the backend of the website visited by prospective clients, however, the newer “agile” development methodology makes more sense to start getting a positive ROI early on, but by all means do your homework, both to evaluate costs and time of execution.
DON’T assume one method works better than the other
DO evaluate your options and take time selecting the right web design agency
The Worst Mistake to Make...
A good way to stifle your conversion rate is neglecting to include a “try it before you buy it” option for new prospective customers to test run with no risk to them.
All the best screenshots can’t replace a chance to let the user try it with their own hands. Offering a free trial helps would-be customers to make up their minds and make a purchase if they find the product fits their need.
DON’T pressure prospective customers to take a risk on your product without feeling certain it will meet their needs
DO offer a free trial so users can experience the benefits of doing business with your SaaS company
This is a good start to a smart web design for your SaaS business. Actually, any business. Whenever you take your audience's needs into consideration rather than the bells and whistles that can embellish your product, you're on the right path.
Curious to see where you could take your SaaS business?