Essential features of a successful start-up website
The internet is a competitive environment and your online start-up needs to capture the attention of potential customers. From clean design to search engine optimisation, this useful guide highlights some of the steps you can take to create that all-important positive first impression.
Websites built in a Content Management System (CMS) are easy to update and help to keep the cost of maintaining your website to a minimum. CMS such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are ‘open source’ meaning the software is developed by a community of technical experts to ensure it operates as efficiently as possible. Open source software is free to install and for a small fee, you can choose from a range of stylish, professional templates that can be customised to fit your brand and business needs.
If you have a software or technical product, the combined visual and audio nature of video content makes it easier for users to understand complex messages. Video also increases product retention and is more likely to be shared on social media, helping to extend your audience reach. Another benefit is that search engines love video content so featuring a video on your website can boost your search rankings on Google.
Include obvious social media icons on every page so users can easily share your content. It’s important to update your profile with fresh content to keep people interested in what you have to say. Try not to be too self-promotional with your posts and remember to share relevant content from other websites/profiles so that users see you as a useful source of information. A good way to generate engagement is to encourage colleagues and associates to follow you so they can like and share your posts beyond your immediate fan base.
A call to action (CTA) is the button, link or image that visitors should click to become customers. Feature it prominently on the page, ideally above the fold i.e. the top part of the page before a user scrolls down for further information. If you’re using a contact form, keep the number of fields to a minimum and make your CTA easy to identify by using a contrasting colour to the rest of the page.
Your website is your business store-front so this is your chance to make a lasting impression. Provide a clean, fresh looking design with plenty of white space to give the user’s eyes a rest. Break your text into short, easy to digest chunks to make it easier for users to scan the page. Improve your UX with a logical navigational structure so that visitors don’t get lost, and feature quality images or stock photography to create a professional image of your business.
There’s nothing more frustrating than wasting time searching for contact details on a website. Some people still prefer to speak to a real person before they complete an online transaction. It’s important to provide obvious contact details on your site so you don’t lose those customers, ideally in the header or footer and on a dedicated contact page.
With search optimised content, you can dramatically increase your chances of getting to the first page of Google. For example, include unique titles, meta descriptions and H1 tags on every page. Ensure your keywords are relevant and useful and feature them throughout your web copy. Link to external sites to help Google understand your niche and increase the trust and quality of your site. For more search engine optimisation (SEO) tips, visit our blog on how to make your website Google friendly.
Another way to improve your position on search results is to keep your site updated with fresh content. This could either be in the form of a regular blog or updates to existing content. With each update, search engines take note and rearrange your rankings. Google treats useful content as a ranking signal so think about the type of content your target audience would find useful and write about it in your blog.
As a start-up, you need to establish your brand and make it memorable. You can do this by providing testimonials on your website which will give customers confidence in your service and make them more likely to purchase from you. Product awards or accreditations are another useful trust signal.
Web Foundry are experts in developing websites and digital solutions for ambitious start-ups and entrepreneurs. Get in touch if you need help transforming your start-up idea into a business reality.
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