Starting a new business is an exciting time. As well as setting up every aspect of your new company – from finance to product range – you need to create your marketing strategy.
A website is one of the most important investments you will make. Every 30 seconds $1.2 million is spent on websites in the US – and you want your part of it.
Your website is your shop window – it’s the best way to promote your products or service to customers, attract new ones and sell to existing ones. It’s your means to communicate with the world and establish your brand in a potentially crowded marketplace.
When starting a business, we tend to focus on the things that we’re good at, and leave those we find difficult. Web design often falls into the latter category – but it needn’t be that tough.
Here are five main steps to creating a startup website.
Your brand is a complicated thing. It’s an essence that distills everything about you, your offer to the world and your identity. We won’t go into the complexities of branding and logos here (the good news is, we already have).
Simplistically, your website it needs to embody your brand and your business entirely.
The first is to clarify your market offering. Is it a product, a service or both? When you’ve done so, you can begin the exciting process of selecting a design that doesn’t just appeal to you, it appeals to your customers too.
A technology based business is going to need to look modern and contemporary. Your new garden design and maintenance business needs to offer a different proposition to customers.
When building a product-based site it’s equally as important to choose the right template. Are you offering a small range of products with in-depth content, or are you selling a large variety of products and need to manage a comprehensive inventory? Whatever business you are in, you need to create a brand and select an appropriate template that sells itself.
A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s an old saying, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
If you’re a photographer, images are obviously what you’re selling. But whatever service you’re providing, you’re going to need strong and bold images to promote it.
Those with merchant sites or acting as re-sellers will benefit from access to high quality images, but they need to be displayed appropriately. Choosing the right approach is the start of your choices. Within it you have the freedom to create scrolling galleries, full-page images, set feature images and much more.
Opting for a template for a picture-loaded website is a good idea. The benefits of a template are ease of use, but also of personalisation – you have the freedom to change and amend the website around some solid foundations. A template can also be quickly and easily updated, which is particularly important when exploring your content plan (that’s tip 3).
Your website content – the words, images, promotions and products – need to change regularly. That’s not just common sense, it’s good business too.
The language on your site needs to be clear and accessible. A decent font obviously helps here, but it’s about the words you use to promote your brand. Keep it clear, simple and to the point. That’s not our advice, but a search engine giant Google’s.
When creating your site, you need to spend time planning the content and keeping it updated and relevant. It’s an investment in your site, your brand and your business.
Managing content proactively can have a clear impact on your sales. Grocery stores regularly rotate products, appealing to different audiences. Whether that’s promoting new offers, getting rid of existing stock or highlighting seasonal specialities if it’s good enough for the store, it’s good enough for the website too.
Social media is the newest way to promote your business, and with hundreds of millions of users, Twitter and Facebook are the established giants. Both offer easy ways to communicate with your customers, so make sure that they are part of your marketing strategy.
It’s good when the familiar icons are forming a part of website designs. You can see in an example below how social media access points are clearly identified for your visitors.
It’s not just social media that can help keep you in contact. Mobile users now make up almost half of website visits in the US, and if you’re not providing a responsive site, you’re missing out.
Your start-up website should perfectly function on desktop, mobile and tablet, with the responsive elements built in. This means, whenever you update the content, it functions on all devices. It’s this sort of flexibility that makes a website template the perfect choice for you and your business.
Starting a new business is difficult – you need your customers to choose you over others. Compelling content, clear photography and a strong social media presence help, but testimonials can be the clincher.
When selling your products and services create a connection with your customers, and collect testimonials which can then be used on your site. It’s the kind of external validation of your business that’s arguably the most important thing you do.
It’s particularly important for a service. You can see how powerful they are on this hotel website template. You can go beyond this though.
It is easy to create branded pages simply, which means you can go beyond mere testimonials to create case studies, with rich content like pictures and video. Change up your website front page to share these stories, and post links to Facebook and Twitter.
A new business needs time, investment and understanding. It’s likely you’ll have the right skills to make your new company work, but there are going to be some gaps.