Introducing a new product or service to the world? A startup website can be your most powerful marketing tool. While brochures, sales sheets, direct mailings, and social media can be effective supplemental materials, a website offers unrestricted freedom to tell your story and educate your potential customers. You are in complete control of the user journey and visual experience. With that said, the perfect startup website should adhere to a common set of best practices to ensure its effectiveness.
What is a Startup?
Although your mind might naturally skew toward Silicon Valley tech companies when you hear the word startup, the concept is much broader. Whether you are launching the next biggest fitness app or a local landscaping company, any business in its infancy is considered a startup. This phase is your chance to set the stage and establish the future of your venture. Sure, you’re likely focused on customer acquisition and operations, but marketing is equally important. That’s where your startup website comes in!
Startup Website Best Practices
Attention spans are shrinking. You have a visitor’s attention for mere seconds—in which you must convince them to stay and learn more. This is actually advantageous for startup websites because your new business doesn’t have a whole lot to say just yet! We’ve compiled some best practices our team uses in site development for emerging brands:
Capture Their Interest
Use one big, impactful statement on your homepage telling visitors how you are shaking up the status quo. What are you doing differently than the others? Why should they care?
Less is More
As cliché as it may seem, a startup website is one instance where less really is more. Too much content can actually work against you. Your overall design and content strategy should be simple and straightforward. This approach will pique curiosity and push users to dive deeper.
Give Them Something
Find your perfect balance between less is more and informative. It may be more art than science but we’ve seen plenty of startup websites that skew too far on the side of mysterious and abstract. We’re not trying to make our customers work for it here—but instead give them only what they need to see in that moment.
Connect with Your Audience
Your company may be brand new, but using familiar lingo and keywords can help them feel connected to your product or service right away.
Plan for Growth
A good startup website will help your company get to the next level. From day one, be sure you’re using a domain name, logo, color scheme, sitemap structure, and content management system that can grow with your business. You may want to add a blog in the future or several static pages. Don’t paint yourself into a corner with a temporary site and brand elements that will need to be scrapped entirely as you progress.
You’re the new guy (or gal) on the block and ready to disrupt your entire industry. Unfortunately, the overused handshake clip art on your homepage tells a different story. Elevate trust with your visitors by including original videos and photography whenever possible. This is especially true if you are selling a product, but just as important for any type of business. People want to see that you are real and legitimate. Utilizing stock photos that they’ve seen on a hundred other startup websites adds nothing to your story. Stock imagery certainly has its place if used tastefully, but don’t be afraid to let people in with authentic visuals.
Stand Up to the Competition
We’re seeing a big upswing in “competitor vs us” pages lately and they are wildly effective. Sure, your competitors might not be thrilled to go toe-to-toe with your business, but it’s a no-nonsense means of conveying your advantage to customers. Shopify is one of the major players doing this really well. Did we mention it has incredible SEO benefits and acts as a great landing page for paid advertising?
Follow the Trends
When it comes to the overall look and feel of your startup website, take cues from the latest trends in the design world. By implementing modern elements into your user interface, you give your company a hip and connected vibe—which improves the overall sentiment of your brand.
This point is paramount for all the launches we do at ACS, but even more so for startup websites. Whether you want your visitors to call, email, subscribe, or buy, presenting a clear call-to-action is essential for success. Don’t allow them to get lost. Formulate your content to always direct them to a common endpoint. Optimizing conversions is what this is all about!
Provide Social Proof
Display social proof prominently on your site to increase user confidence. This includes reviews, testimonials, social media comments, publicity, etc. Even early adopters don’t want to be first—so give them proof that prior clients, customers, and tastemakers are pleased with what you offer. Once you’ve collected enough social proof to add to your startup website, it will absolutely become one of your most effective sales tools.