Why B2B Sites Need Sidebars - Business Goals Trump Cool Points

Responsive websites, the biggest trend since beanie babies.

I think they are here to stay, but if you are a B2B company, make sure you think long and hard about how your content rearranged for mobile visitors.

This is a follow-up post to ”Why Responsive Web Design is NOT Right For Your Website” that seemed to be more popular than Justin Bieber at a One Direction concert.

Responsive Design is can be used to do a lot of things but I sincerely believe that making content 100% of the width of your page and treating your site’s sidebar/CTAs like second class citizens is a bad thing.


  1. People can simply double-tap to zoom in on content on smartphones
  2. Pushing CTAs below the fold renders them next to invisible to visitors
  3. Pushing CTAs above the content is a bad user experience
  4. Responsive websites make your visitors re-learn your site layout and typically are done poorly (this is a personal reason).

Responsive Design Can Work

http://myrainbownursery.co.uk/ is a beautifully designed responsive site and the home page exemplifies the notion that I am stressing: No matter what keep the call to action above the fold.

The Rainbow Nursery site does this pretty well, I’d shrink the header text a little bit on the fully mobile site but otherwise, this is flawless and in line with business goals.

But on individual pages and on the news/blog page, it’s another story.

The Blog on the Desktop

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that they are actually implementing inbound marketing strategies and there is a mission-critical call to action in the sidebar.

This page is great! A rainbow, a call to action, clouds, what more could you want?

But then…

The Blog on Mobile (a.k.a. responsive)

bye, bye sidebar. It’s way below the fold.

How in the world are people supposed to convert on the call to action (that should be there)? They can’t!

If we were to flip this on there head and smash the sidebar content above the content, now we run into a shitty user experience. The visitor will see all the sidebar content and have to scroll down to see the content that they searched for (or clicked through on)

Conversion Fail!

Don’t be a sad clown. Keep your sidebar intact.

A Question:

If responsive web design is all that and a bag of tricks, why are some of the largest media sites in the world still not responsive?

Answer? It’s the same as why businesses should really thing about responsive layouts. You lose screen real estate. For Media companies this means less ad space for B2B companies this means hidden CTAs (see: below the fold)


What do you think?