The Definitive Guide to SaaS Websites

Strategy

Homepages

Product Pages

Pricing Pages

Solutions Pages

About Pages

Landing pages tend to get all the attention in B2B SaaS, but no one signs up without already knowing your company or having done research about your product beforehand. This is where your website comes in.

It’s the workhorse of any SaaS marketing strategy and it’s only becoming more important as buyers seek out increasing amounts of information before making a purchase.

Here's the data:

Before starting to design or redesign a SaaS website, here are the strategic components you should have in place for the process to go smoothly:

What You’re Selling

Positioning
Positioning is the cornerstone of your website’s copywriting, the specific product features you highlight, and the information you put on your website. It's where your product fits in the market.

You position your product to create assumptions among your audience that are both true and highlight your strengths.

Good positioning puts your product in a place that highlights its competitive advantages (that a valuable audience values) while making its weaknesses irrelevant.

Unique Value Proposition and supporting messaging
A key part of your positioning is your Unique Value Proposition (or Unique Selling Proposition).

Your UVP is how you describe the high-level benefits and value your product brings your audience.

It feeds most famously into your homepage headline, but you’ll also use it as a foundation for messaging and product information across pages like pricing, solutions, and product.

For many SaaS companies, their UVP is simply a combination of what the business does and why it does it best in one sentence.

Who You’re Selling to

Research your audience deeply to build trust
Getting people to a trial means earning their trust and you can’t do that without really understanding who you’re selling to.

Different groups think and behave differently and have different buying processes, needs, and wants. The better you know your target audience, the more effectively you can address these differences and get them to convert.

To persuade people to sign up for an account or demo, you need to know the needs and concerns that drive them to become your customer or your competition’s. address them in terms of the person’s goals.

If you don’t know your customers well, you’ll have a much harder time selling them enough through your website to earn signups and scheduled demos.

Whereas if you do the research to get to know them, your website is more likely to be relevant in their world and increase their trust in you.

What to research in general about your audience to build a better converting SaaS website:

For more tips, I wrote a beginner's guide to customer research.

Building your site for “Other” Audiences
When we talk about audiences and the people we’re marketing to, we usually mean potential and current customers.

But marketing can involve important audiences other than your main one like press, influential industry people and organizations, and potential new employees.

While they are secondary, your SaaS website needs to help them outside of the product and company information on your site.

This is often done with audience specific links in your footer like a press kit or jobs page link.

Building Trust with Your Website

Customers won’t engage with you until they feel you generally have the right product and trust that you can keep it that way.

Buying a product carries risk in the customer's eyes. The amount of risk increases as the cost of the product increases, both in dollar amount and in implementation effort required by the customer.

You use your website to de-risk the purchase for customers by answering their questions clearly and conveying credibility without making them do much work.

Remove unknowns
When a customer first arrives on your site, they won’t know much about your product or company. A lack of information increases the risk that a product won’t work out.

So you use your site to remove unknowns in a potential customer’s mind and build their trust across your site.

Some of the different ways to remove unknowns:

With product information

With company information

With website design

Social proof and trust symbols
People want to see that other people have not only bought your product, but enjoyed it as well, because it de-risks their purchase. The logos, quotes, and other elements you use for this are called Social Proof.

Social proof taps into our natural herd mentality. There is safety in numbers and a product that’s used by a lot of people has a higher chance of being a safer choice.

Social proof is a very powerful way to show credibility and build trust. It comes in several forms, with the most common being customer logos displayed on the homepage.

Quotes are most effective from influential people or brands who are customers. The most ideal quotes line up with the theme you established in a page's hero.

If a lot of people have used your SaaS application and you display that number on your homepage, your potential customers are more likely to trust you and become customers.

There are many types of Social Proof that you can use on your site:

Make your social proof relevant to the page and the page section. If there’s a theme you’re pushing, tie your social proof into it.

For example, you should put quotes and case studies about the value of your product on your pricing page while having your product page social proof reference how your product solves customer problems. 

Building Trust with Messaging
Messaging’s first job is to inform and its second is to build trust. 

How you can build trust outside of social proof:

Address concerns upfront

Style and structure

Style and structure

How Your Audience Buys

SaaS Buying Stages
People go through different stages before they buy SaaS products. First they have to be aware that they need a product like yours and have a budget to spend on tools, and then they need to be aware of your product and company.

Many of these people will go on to do deep research, including searching for the best alternatives to your product.

SaaS Buyer’s Journey
The different stages that make up the 5-step SaaS buyer’s journey:

  1. Awareness - First, your potential customer has to be aware they have a problem to solve. They start to explore their problem and take the first step toward understanding how to solve it. As soon as potential customers become aware of your product and how it can solve their problem, they move to the next stage in the journey.
  2. Consideration - A buyer in the consideration stage has clearly defined their problem and is trying to understand what type of solutions meet their needs. This is where you provide detailed information to convince buyers they need to buy a solution and get them to the next stage.
  3. Intent - This stage is where potential customers compare and contrast various alternative solutions. They’re showing deep interest in case studies and have very specific product and company questions. This is where you convince customers that your product is the one they should choose.
  4. Purchase - You’ve made the sale, but the job isn’t done. The purchase stage is where marketing helps to develop an ongoing relationship with customers to support them as they continue to use the product in the next stage, Retention. 
  5. Retention - The customer renews your product month after month. This is the longest stage (hopefully) in SaaS and provides opportunities for expanding on that initial sale. SaaS businesses can be made or broken by how good their retention rates are. 

Your SaaS site will have the most significant impact in the Awareness, Consideration, and Intent stages.

A websites for all stages
Potential customers will arrive on your site at different stages of their buying process, seeking different information for each stage.

You need to design your site to get the right information to potential customers at the end of their buying process without putting off those just getting started. Luckily, the deeper the stage, the more effort the buyer will put in to get answers.

Design your site with Awareness, Consideration, and Intent in mind. How this commonly breaks down in SaaS:

Copywriting

From your homepage to your pricing page, good copywriting is a key part of a SaaS website that drives leads.

Good copy increases conversion rates. Bad copy makes it harder to understand what you do and can create bad assumptions about what your product does and does not do, why it does those things, and who it is for.

Producing effective copywriting is the end result of building a thoughtful messaging structure and lots of practice.

Messaging frameworks
It can be tempting to just jump in and start writing copy for your site, but writing great copy is much easier and faster with a messaging framework.

Messaging frameworks help keep you more focused around your site and page themes, making your copy more effective.

With a framework, you’ll also already have a strong foundation to build off of for each piece of copy, saving significant time.

Here are some resources if your don’t have a good framework in place:

Cognitive Load
Your brain is a computer; take on too many tasks and it will slow down.

This concept is called Cognitive Load.

The words you use on your website to describe features and the styling of the text itself can either increase or decrease the cognitive load of potential customers and the time it takes to understand your copy.

And with attention spans shrinking every year, you need to get across your points as efficiently as possible.

What increases cognitive load on your website:

In writing:

In text design:

How to decrease cognitive load:

Tips for copywriting more effectively
There are three areas to manage for effective copywriting: the structure of your copy, your sentences, and words you use. 

Structure

Sentences

Words

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- Jon

About me

I have run growth and marketing at B2B SaaS startups like Heap and Periscope Data (acquired by Sisense), helping to generate millions in revenue. Helping folks with marketing is a passion of mine, and I'm building marketing products to help people grow startups faster.