Successful SaaS Web Design Strategy: Part two of four in the series

Successful SaaS Web Design: Part 2 of 4

This is part 2 of a four-part series on maximizing your SaaS website design for optimal marketing, business development, and sales results.

Phase 2: SaaS Website Creative Quick Links

  1. Information Architecture and User Experience Design
  2. Content Creation & UI Design
  3. Development & QA
  4. Feedback Loop
  5. CMO Tips
  6. Action Step
  7. Article Summary

The rest of this series on SaaS Website Design

  • Part 1 of 4 – Phase 1: Strategy
  • Part 2 of 4 – Phase 2: Creative (you’re already here)
  • Part 3 of 4 – Phase 3: Technology (coming soon)
  • Part 4 of 4 – Phase 4: Optimization (coming soon)

Interested in growing revenue, increasing ROI, reducing risks, and scaling your SaaS brand? Propr is here to help with Creative and Advisory Services designed to maximize your marketing ROI.

Step 1: Information Architecture & User Experience Design

What is Information Architecture for SaaS?

Information architecture (IA) focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. The goal is to help users find information and complete tasks. [source: usability.gov]  

What is User Experience for SaaS?

User experience (UX) focuses on profoundly understanding users’ needs, values, abilities, and limitations. It also considers the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project. UX best practices promote improving the quality of the user’s interaction with and perceptions of your product and any related services. [source: usability.gov]  

With your ideal custom profile in hand, begin the creative process by developing your customer segmentation strategy. Not all customers want to be funneled to the buy now button immediately, so you must provide clear paths to learn more about your offerings, build trust, and communicate your value proposition and benefits. 

We like to think of the user journey as one of two paths: downtown bypass or scenic route. You must build your website’s content and experience plan to accommodate mission-driven visitors and browsers. For instance, when I go to the mall, I want to get in and out as fast as possible. That’s the downtown bypass user, ready to complete their mission fast and without nonsense. The research is complete, and their next steps are clear. Enable that. The scenic route folks want to browse without a goal other than learning, exploring, and hopefully, being delighted. 

Points of Conversion

Consider all the opportunities to connect more intimately with your site visitors; they should be your future customers. 

Consider signing up for your emails, downloading a resource, following on a social channel, submitting a contact form, purchasing, upgrading, or renewing. These are the various ways you’ll want your ideal customers to convert in some capacity on your SaaS website.

Create Tiered Calls to Action

Each landing page, which are pages you want visitors to land on via search or are top-level pages in your site navigation, should all include the three tiers of calls to action.

What are the three tiers of calls to action?

Simple and straightforward, the tiers of calls to action are meant to provide a friction-free way to connect further with your site visitors. 

  1. Give something away – your blog, a no-strings-attached resource. 
  2. Give to get – a strategic offer, like a guide or technical resource. 
  3. Buy now – self-explanatory.

Your marketing, business development, and sales strategy should drive the strategy around creating your conversion points and calls to action. Please note that these are no individual strategies; they should be the same goals and objectives from a high level. If you could use help developing a holistic strategy for growth, check out our Advisory Services.

Step 2: Content for your SaaS Website

Should content be informed by the design, or vice versa? The debate rages on, but my take is this: when you have a clear strategy and focus for your SaaS website, for instance, by following this guide, lead with content and messaging. Because a website, in its purest form, is a vehicle to present content. That’s it. If you are designing first, you’ll be neglecting the power of your messaging or masking its weakness. Either way, it’s not ideal for the highest ROI. 

We recommend starting with a Google Sheet to create a content inventory. Each page, each section of the pages, header, footer, etc., should have a section in your content inventory document. Write the initial draft for headlines, lead-ins, body copy, CTAs, images or graphics, videos, and whatever else your site requires. Don’t get bogged down by overthinking it. Use simple descriptions or Lorem Ipsum, FPO (for placement only), etc., but always give it a brief description so your designers know what to create.

10 Things to Consider When Developing Messaging for Your SaaS Website

Implementing effective messaging on a Software as a Service (SaaS) website is crucial for its success. As I mentioned above, your website is a tool to present information, and most of the time, when we work with a SaaS client, their messaging is poor, and everything else is a symptom of that. So, focus on making your messaging clear and concise, and speak to your customers in terms they understand but filter through your unique brand voice. 

You want to communicate your product’s value proposition, guiding users through onboarding and ultimately converting them into customers. Here are some best practices to consider:

  1. Clear Value Proposition: Clearly communicate what your SaaS product does and how it benefits users. Use concise language that addresses their pain points and highlights the unique features of your solution. Avoid flowery language that can be confusing. 
  2. Compelling Headlines: Use attention-grabbing headlines to capture visitors’ interest and encourage them to explore further. Highlight critical benefits or offer solutions to common problems your target audience faces. Again, don’t beat around the bush; get to the point!
  3. User-Centric Copy: Just like with design choices, the copy must focus on how your SaaS product solves specific problems for your target audience. Use language that resonates with your users and speaks to their needs rather than focusing solely on the features of your product.
  4. Simplify Complex Concepts: Break down complex concepts or technical jargon into simple, easy-to-understand language. Use visuals, animations, or interactive elements to help illustrate your points and improve comprehension. This is where your brand and marketing people should shine. 
  5. Consistent Brand Voice: Maintain a consistent tone and voice throughout your messaging to build trust and brand recognition. Whether your brand is professional, playful, or authoritative, ensure it aligns with your target audience’s preferences and expectations. Continue using a similar voice on all marketing channels. 
  6. Use Social Proof: Incorporate testimonials, case studies, and user reviews to build credibility and demonstrate the value of your product. Highlight success stories or quotes from satisfied customers to reassure visitors and encourage them to take action. But strike a balance and don’t overdo it. 
  7. Call-to-Action (CTA) Optimization: Place clear and compelling calls-to-action throughout your website to guide visitors towards desired actions, such as signing up for a free trial or scheduling a demo. Use actionable language and visually prominent buttons to encourage clicks. See above for more on CTAs. 
  8. Personalization: If it is in-budget, tailor your messaging based on user behavior, demographics, or other relevant data points. Personalized content can increase engagement and conversions by delivering relevant information to visitors.
  9. A/B Testing: Post MVP, consider experimenting with different messaging variations, headlines, CTAs, and layouts to identify what resonates best with your audience. Conduct A/B tests to compare the performance of different elements and optimize your messaging accordingly. Test your messaging using Pipeline Velocity.
  10. Optimize for SEO: Incorporate relevant keywords and phrases into your messaging to improve your SaaS website’s visibility in search engine results. Create informative content that addresses common user queries and provides valuable insights about your industry or niche. Structure your content on key landing pages using a FAQ-style concept. It’s where the future of search is going. More on this later, but for now, notice the structure of this article.

Checklist: Designing your SaaS Website

Designing a Software as a Service (SaaS) website involves creating an appealing interface that effectively communicates the value of your service and ensures a positive user experience. Here are some best practices for designing a SaaS website:

Clear Value Proposition: Your value proposition is all about positioning. Clearly communicate what your SaaS product does and the benefits it offers. Use concise and compelling language to highlight its unique selling points. But don’t get stuck using jargon or overtechnical speak, going on and on about features that do not differentiate; focus on your value prop.

User-Centric Design: User-centered design is all about your customers. Prioritize user experience (UX) by creating an intuitive and user-friendly design. Consider user flows, easy navigation, and a clean layout to make it easy for visitors to understand and use your service.

Responsive Design: Responsive design is all about performance. Ensure your website is optimized for various devices and screen sizes. A responsive design improves accessibility and provides a consistent experience across desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. If your customers tend to use mobile or desktop more, it is OK to lean toward optimizing for those more and the others less. But always be intentional. 

Simple Navigation: Simplicity in navigation is all about purpose. Keep navigation menus simple and well-organized. Users should easily find the information they’re looking for without feeling overwhelmed. Use clear calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide users through the site. Consider cognitive load theory, our short term memories can only handle 5 (plus or minis two) options at one time, so fight to keep your navigation to 5 options max, once you go over that, you risk overwhelming your users and if that happens, they leave. 

High-Quality Visuals: High-quality content is all about perception. Use high-resolution images, graphics, and videos to showcase your product. Visuals can help explain complex concepts and make your website more engaging. We prefer JPG images at 100kb or less unless your customers are all on desktop and you have large images and wiggle room on file sizes. Giant images will impact site speed and performance, frustrating your users, so optimize everything. 

Minimalistic Design: Minimalism isn’t boring; it is elegance. Embrace a clean and minimalistic design. Avoid clutter and unnecessary elements that may distract users from the core message or actions you want them to take. Furthermore, whitespace is your friend and shows your customers you care about them. Resist the urge to fill up all the space with more stuff or the dreaded “make my logo bigger” nonsense. 

Consistent Branding: Consistency is the difference between good and great, be great. Maintain consistent branding elements, including colors, fonts, and logos. Consistency builds trust and helps users recognize your brand across different channels.

Performance Optimization: Performance is all about performance, so it keeps repeating. Optimize your website for speed to ensure fast loading times. Slow websites can lead to higher bounce rates. Compress images, leverage browser caching, and minimize HTTPS requests to improve performance.

Clear CTAs (Call-to-Actions): I can’t stress this enough: make it easy for your customers to complete their mission. Clearly define CTAs that guide users toward the desired actions, such as signing up for a trial, downloading a whitepaper, or contacting your sales team. Make sure they stand out and are easily clickable.

Social Proof: Make bold claims, but back them up with genuine social proof. Display customer testimonials, case studies, and any relevant industry certifications to build trust. Highlighting security features can also instill confidence in potential users.

Responsive Support Options: Be helpful when you can’t be there. Provide easy access to customer support through live chat, email, or a help center. Clear support options can reassure users that assistance is available when needed. If you’re using bots or AI, don;t just set it and forget it, you’ll be making a majory mistake. You’ll need to train the machines for up to 6 months to get them to be effective, otherwise, get used to frustration your visitors and losing business. 

Scalable Design: We can’t predic the future, but commit to thinking about it and design your site for expansion and constant improvement, as we all know, a website is never done, it is just the latest update. So, always design with scalability in mind. As your SaaS product evolves, your website should be able to accommodate new features and updates seamlessly.

SEO-Friendly: Be found! Implement SEO best practices, including keyword optimization, meta tags, alt descriptions, and a sitemap. This helps improve your website’s visibility in search engine results.

Analytics Integration: Use data to learn and improve, but don’t use data to set your brand’s vision. Integrate analytics tools to track user behavior and gain insights into how visitors interact with your site. Use this data to make informed design and content decisions.

Accessibility: It all boils down to accessibility. Here are a few things I want to stress. Ensure color contrast meets standards, use the squint test (let your eyes go out of focus and see if you can read the copy) to ensure a high level of readability, don’t place text over images, don’t make things look clickable if they aren’t, use the best technology and development practices to exceed standards. Check out Propr’s stance on website accessibility and for helpful links on testing, tools, and current guidelines.

I have a whole section below to guide your web development efforts, ensuring your site is accessible to everyone because that is non-negotiable.

Step 3: Development & QA

I haven’t written extensive code professionally since the early aughts (yeah, I’m an old head), but with 25 years in the business and leading countless successful web projects, I know what makes a website perform. 

Build high-performing teams for your project, resisting the tendency to silo folks who are working on the same mission. We work very closely with our developers in our high-performing teams because it works best. Strategy, design, content, project management, and development are all on the same team when it comes to a successful website project but have specific roles and responsibilities in the team’s success. We consider development, mainly front-end dev, to be the production side of web design, but they need to balance tech and creativity for optimal results. 

Developing a Software as a Service (SaaS) website requires careful planning and execution to ensure a user-friendly experience, successful deployment, and high ROI performance. Here are some rules and tips to consider for the web development phase’s success:

  • User-Centric: Prioritize user experience (UX) by building a clean and intuitive interface. Please keep it simple and easy to navigate.
  • Responsive: Ensure your website looks good and functions well on all devices, from smartphones to desktop computers. Responsive design is good design, but remember it is OK if you don’t fully optimize your site to phones if none of your customers come from mobile (but it can’t look bad on small devices either). 
  • Performance Optimization: By now, you must be exhausted by how much I talk about performance, but hey, you want results, right? Optimize your website’s performance for fast loading times. Minimize file sizes, use lazy loading for images, and reduce unnecessary HTTP requests.
  • Accessibility: Make your website accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Follow accessibility standards like WCAG and use semantic HTML for better screen reader compatibility. See the accessibility section for a whole lot more on this. 
  • SEO-Friendly Structure: Structure your HTML markup and content to be search engine-friendly. Use proper headings, meta tags, alt-descriptions, and semantic markup to improve search engine visibility.
  • Modular and Scalable Code: Write clean, modular code that is easy to maintain and scale. Use CSS preprocessors like Sass and modular JavaScript frameworks like React to organize your codebase efficiently.
  • Cross-Browser Compatibility: Test your website across browsers and devices to ensure consistent performance and appearance.
  • Version Control: Use version control systems like Git to manage and track changes to your codebase. This allows for collaboration and easy rollback if needed.
  • Security: The bots, bugs, spammers, and hacker ghouls are out there, and they are coming for your website. Not taking security seriously can lead to big time-sucking surprises. Here are a few tips: use cloud hosting like WP Engine, install WordFence to block spamming IPs and to keep risk minimized, and don’t use page builders (this can be contentious, but the arguments for page builders are never compelling to me), reduce the use of plugins, and always back up your site regularly and use robust authentication protocols.
  • The Feedback Loop: Gather feedback from users and stakeholders regularly to identify areas for improvement. Iterate on your design and functionality based on user input. See the feedback loop section in the next phase below.

Interested in growing revenue, increasing ROI, reducing risks, and scaling your SaaS brand? Propr is here to help with Creative and Advisory Services designed to maximize your marketing ROI.

10 Web Development Standards for Accessibility

Ensuring accessibility for Software as a Service (SaaS) websites is crucial to ensure that all users, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can access and use the service effectively. 

Here are some critical considerations for building for SaaS websites accessible:

  1. Easy Navigation: Make sure your SaaS website can easily get around without a mouse. Some folks rely solely on their keyboard to move around online, so ensure all your buttons and links can be clicked with the Tab key.
  2. Screen Reader Friendly: Make sure screen reader software can understand everything on your site. That means adding alt text to images and adequately labeling all your form fields.
  3. Color Choices: Pick colors that work well together for your text and background, especially for folks who might have trouble seeing certain colors. There are tools out there to help you check if your color combos are easy on the eyes.
  4. Responsive Design: Your website should look good and work well on any device, from phones to big computer screens. Let people adjust the text size without messing up your layout.
  5. User-friendly Forms: Keep your forms simple and easy to fill out. Label everything clearly and give clear instructions so nobody gets confused.
  6. Semantic HTML: Use semantic HTML elements to structure the website’s content meaningfully to assistive technologies. Use headings, lists, and other semantic elements appropriately.
  7. Media with a Message: Add captions and transcripts to your videos and audio so everyone can enjoy them. Stick to HTML5 for multimedia stuff whenever you can.
  8. Show Where You Are: Make sure it’s clear where you are on the page, especially if you’re navigating with just a keyboard. Add visual indicators for buttons and links so folks know what they’re doing.
  9. Test and Listen: Regularly test your site with assistive tech and chat with folks who might have different needs. They’ll give you the best feedback on how to make your site more accessible.

Making your SaaS website accessible is super important, and it’s not as hard as it sounds! By following these guidelines and best practices, SaaS website developers will do the right thing and create a more inclusive and accessible user experience for all users.

Deployment of your New SaaS Website

It is always up for discussion, but we default to launching new websites in the evenings on the least trafficked day of the week. But it is entirely up to you and your team. Run down our five steps to launching your website with minimum trouble and maximum impact. 

  1. Final Testing and Quality Assurance: Make sure it’s polished! Give your SaaS website a final check-up before it hits the big leagues. Test all the fancy features to make sure they’re smooth as silk. Fix any bugs or glitches you find so your users have a seamless experience right out of the gate.
  2. Prepare Marketing and Promotion: Get the Word Out! It’s time to shout from the digital rooftops about your awesome new SaaS website! Cook up marketing magic with killer content, social media buzz, and maybe a few light-hearted emails. Let your audience know what’s cooking and why they want a taste. Chances are some of your customers may be annoyed at the change, so get ahead of that likelihood and message how it’s all about them, and the new website will be even better. 
  3. Infrastructure Setup and Deployment: Set the Stage! Get your digital house in order before the big reveal. Make sure your hosting and infrastructure are locked and loaded. And don’t forget the security measures – you want your site to be as secure as a vault.
  4. Launch Plan and Timeline: Mark Your Calendar! Circle the launch date in bright red and get ready to party. Rally your team and make sure everyone’s on the same page. It’s showtime, and you want everyone firing on all cylinders.
  5. Post-Launch Monitoring and Support: Keep an Eye Out! Once the curtains go up, keep your finger on the pulse. Keep tabs on your site’s performance, listen to what your users say, and be ready to swoop in if anything goes awry. Your users count on you to keep things running smoothly, so stay sharp!

Lastly, record your launch steps and protocols; that way, you’ll have a process for future deployments and a means to assess and improve things that didn’t go well. Don’t forget to update all of your templates, emails, collateral, social, and marketing channels with any new design and messaging changes rolled out with the new website; remember, consistency is vital. 

Step 4: The Feedback Loop

Kaizen is a Japanese word for constant improvement. Kaizen is a marvelous concept that I encourage you to adopt. No matter how much due diligence and pre-launch testing and experimentation you do, the product will not be perfect. So, take the scientific method to heart and launch your new SeaS website early and often. That’s right, get it live as soon as it meets your standards, then open the feedback loop to learn, revise, refine, and improve all aspects with priorities developed based on your strategic goals and objectives. 

  1. Feedback Forms and Surveys: A classic. Implementing feedback forms and surveys on the website allows users to provide direct input on their experience. Keep these forms concise and focused to encourage participation and gather actionable feedback.
  2. Customer Support Interactions: In the trenches. Monitoring customer support interactions for recurring themes and issues provides valuable insights into user concerns. Addressing these issues with urgency can improve user satisfaction and retention.
  3. User Behavior Analytics: Data. Utilizing user behavior analytics tools helps track user interactions and identify areas of the website that may need improvement. Analyzing metrics such as page views and conversion rates can guide optimization efforts.
  4. Net Promoter Score (NPS): Ranking. Implementing NPS surveys helps measure customer loyalty and satisfaction. Gathering feedback on what could be improved to increase satisfaction can guide strategic decisions and improvements.
  5. Feedback Channels: Engage. Provide multiple channels for users to submit feedback, including email, chat support, feedback buttons, and community forums. Make it easy for users to share their thoughts and suggestions at any point while interacting with the website.

With feedback and data collected, pull your project team leaders together to discuss your findings, prioritize the next steps, and then initiate ongoing optimization because site performance doesn’t stop at launch; it is just beginning.

Tips for the CMO

Chief marketing officers, directors, and leaders should pay more attention to pipeline velocity as a metric that measures not only sales success but also the effectiveness of marketing. As we laid out in this article, there is no better metric in 2024 to prove your worth and effectiveness. The team at Propr wants our marketing partners to become rock stars. Here are some tips for improving your team’s performance and outcomes by measuring pipeline velocity.

CMO Tip 1:

Always include brand, operations, fulfillment, business development, and sales teams in your site strategy and design plans, not just creative and development. You are all on the same team working towards the same goals, so get critical people involved because your success depends on it.  

CMO Tip 2:

Start with strategy, then plan accordingly. Measure and evaluate often, but never lose sight of your goals and objectives. 

Action Step:

Benefit from Propr’s expertise and experience to maximize your online visibility and attract and convert traffic to your website. Our expert team will ensure your website is search engine friendly and conversion-optimized, helping you attract more leads and customers. Let’s connect

Read more stuff from Bobby G:

 

Are you looking to grow revenue, increase profits, and scale?

Bobby Gillespie

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With 25 years of creative and marketing experience in leadership, planning, and executing performance-based branding and web design strategies, Propr and I help small and medium-sized companies and organizations grow revenue, attract new customers, manage and scale their brands, and improve marketing performance.

I’m also the author of Build Your Brand Like You Give a Shit.
Connect and follow me on LinkedIn.

Schedule a call to learn how we can help you transform your brand for consistent and better performance.

Article Summary

This phase emphasizes the importance of a four-phased approach to SaaS website design and provides detailed insights into Information Architecture, User Experience, Content Creation, and Development & QA. It stresses the need for clear value propositions, compelling headlines, user-centric design, responsive layouts, and performance optimization. Additionally, it highlights the significance of accessibility, SEO-friendliness, and post-launch monitoring. The Feedback Loop encourages continuous improvement through feedback forms, customer support interactions, analytics, and Net Promoter Score surveys.

Fast FAQ: SaaS Website Design

Addresses common questions regarding SaaS website costs, risks, and the definition of SaaS. Provides ballpark pricing for initial MVPs, custom websites, and enterprise solutions.

Key Takeaways

  • Focus on strategy and involve all relevant teams.
  • Prioritize user-centric design and performance optimization.
  • Implement accessibility and SEO best practices.
  • Establish a feedback loop for continuous improvement.
  • Engage with experts for maximum ROI and website effectiveness.

Summary source: OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT (3.5) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com

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