For Startups: Guide to a Successful Company Website
How to build the best website for your startup - hint: SEO is important.
For Start-Ups: Guide to a Successful Company Website
With more than half of the global population currently active online, the internet has revolutionized the ways in which we communicate and access information. For business, the internet has given consumers direct access to the global market with services, products, and contacts right at their fingertips.
Building your brand as a start-up can seem like a daunting task, but taking advantage of the internet to grow your network and rapidly draw consumers can be your key to success. A company’s website can act as its foundation, securing a constant connection to the business world and a far-reaching platform for its products and services.
But in the process of building a website, you might find yourself overwhelmed by all of the decisions relating to design, functionality, style, language, and more. This guide will equip you with everything you need to know to create a successful website for your startup.
1. Website Address
Choose a domain name that is simple and memorable. Ideally, consumers should be able to recall it easily and spell it quickly, so avoid overly long names and punctuation. As for extensions, choose .com instead of .net, .co, etc.
Arguably, the most important part of a website is its homepage, also known as its landing page. This is where visitors will gain their first impression of your company and decide whether to stay or go. Your homepage should clearly communicate your service, making the idea easy to grasp from just a glance.
Your homepage should also convey your company’s purpose, values, and what sets you apart from competitors. Keep it short, simple, and succinct -- allow the reader to click on links to relevant pages if they’re interested in learning more. In terms of placement, your most important information should be above the fold, meaning that the viewer won’t have to scroll to see it. Everything above the fold should aim to capture the viewer’s attention and keep them on the site.
Credibility markers are a small, but essential feature to integrate into your homepage. These can take the form of certification badges, press mentions, input from satisfied customers, client stories, and logos of notable companies who support your business. For start-ups, these will instill trust, provide greater context around your business, and distinguish it from others.
It’s also important to make sure that your homepage is not only compatible with desktop browsing, but also with mobile browsing to accommodate the growing 4.28 billion mobile Internet users worldwide.
Try to incorporate many opportunities for interaction with the website interface, like search bars, hyperlinks, slide shows, etc. These are all openings that will encourage the visitor to use or learn more about your service.
Rather than commands like “Click Here,” use hyperlinked text to provide information and entice the reader into clicking.
4. User Experience
Your top priority should be to meet the user’s needs-- If their primary need is to search for something, include an easily accessible search bar (think of Amazon and eBay). If they’ve come to sign up for a service, place the sign-up button in a prominent spot. If they simply want to learn more, make sure that information is available and easy to find. You want to provide the best user experience possible, or else you risk losing customers.
Users should be able to navigate your site with ease. Incorporating features to guide them can help eliminate any ambiguity. For instance, if you have a search bar, use placeholder text to give an example of what to search.
To narrow the scope, think about a target audience and tailor your website to appeal to their specific needs. Make it easy for these users to get in touch with you through a form or contact information.
5. Calls to Action
Think about what kind of action you want the user to take on your website. Is it signing up for the newsletter? Or buying the product? Establish calls to action and lead users to them with distinctive color, visible sizing, and language that is eye-catching and irresistible. For instance, use messaging like “Sign up for your free book today.”
Include links to your social media-- one of your calls to action can be getting the viewer to follow your accounts. But avoid having too many calls to action, which can overwhelm the user and end up having the opposite effect of inspiring action.
Simplicity is key when it comes to language. Write in as few words as possible without losing meaning and use everyday language that is easy to understand. The main goal of your website is to get information across as smoothly and effectively as possible, so you will lose readers with jargon and overwhelming amounts of text.
When it comes to an effective headline, language should still be simple, but powerful enough to pique interest. It should compel the reader to take action or learn more about your service.
Color: To make your brand more memorable and distinct, use a consistent color palette. Studies show that color can play a significant role in your website’s success, due to its psychological effects on viewers. Different colors trigger different emotions and thought patterns -- for example, red evokes a sense of urgency, danger, and passion while yellow is associated with sunshine and vitality. Read more here about color psychology.
To decide on colors that work well together, consult the color wheel. Two approaches are to use either contrasting colors, which are opposite each other on the wheel, or harmonious ones, which are next to each other. You can use contrasting colors to make certain aspects of your website stand out, like the calls to action.
Typography: Keep it consistent and simple with one or two fonts. Ensure that they are easy to read and not distracting.
Graphics: Use beautiful and eye-catching graphics to engage the viewer. Visuals can have a profound effect on the viewer’s impressions, understanding, and recall, sometimes conveying information better than words can. Pictures of people, in particular, can increase the user’s trust in the company and instill a greater emotional connection.
Branding: Use logos, imagery, and color palettes to create a unique brand identity and boost public awareness of your business. A prominent identity will make your page more memorable and aesthetically appealing.
Layout: To make your homepage easy to scan, use headers, columns, and bullet points to break information down into digestible pieces. Take advantage of whitespace to create a cleaner look, separate elements of the page, and provide breathing room for the content. While it may be tempting to cram as much content as possible in the limited space you have, whitespace will improve the site’s readability and can emphasize certain aspects of the site. For instance, surrounding the Sign Up button with extra whitespace will make it pop out. Additionally, use whitespace to make sure that your homepage isn’t cluttered with too much text, calls to action, or graphics.
With these concepts in mind, take a look at the websites of top companies such as Airbnb, Fiverr, Upwork, Slack, Amazon, etc. to draw inspiration and see how they employ the tactics above to amplify calls to action, create lasting impressions, and compel the viewer to explore their service.
With all of the information presented in this guide, you can start designing your company’s website. In the beginning stages, keep a close eye on the analytics of your site while experimenting with different colors, layouts, and wordings. Adjust accordingly and soon you’ll have an effective website to form a strong foundation to drive your company’s success.
As a start-up, a strong online presence can be one of your most valuable assets.
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