Does your startup have a website? If the answer is no, you might want to ask yourself why. It might not seem as though a website should be essential for a business to succeed, but it is. In today’s marketplace, if you are not at least spending some time focusing on your web presence, you can’t really be sure that your business will stay alive for very long. If you have a website, but you are not confident about it, you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs feel this way at first about their website, and the reason for that is that it takes a lot of hard work to get a website to be professional. If you follow these ideas, however, you will be off to a good start.
Treat It Like A Front Page
Think of it this way: your website is the front page of your business. It doesn’t matter if you hardly ever take any sales online, or your website is just there because you think you should have one. When you are actually designing it, you need to think of it as ultimately being an advertisement for your business. Pretend that every visitor has never heard of your startup (and perhaps they haven’t, yet…). What impression are they getting from your website, straight off the bat? If it is anything short of amazing, you will want to think again about the design of your website. The best way to approach this is to ask yourself to describe your business in one sentence. Then turn that one sentence into something bold, visual and intriguing. You will be amazed at what this can do for your business.
Use SEO For Improved Traffic
One of the major elements you will need to think about during setting up your website is traffic. Ultimately, the more traffic you draw into your website, the better. If you have anything set up as ecommerce, even if it is only a few items for sale, then this is especially important. But even if your website is just going to be that front page we spoke of, you will still want to do everything you can to make sure as many people see it as possible.
Fortunately, there are these days a huge number of tools available which you can use for just that purpose. Many of these tools and techniques fall under the heading of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you don’t already know, SEO is the act of improving the likelihood of your website appearing high up on the Search Engine’s Results Page (SERP). There are a lot of things that fall under this umbrella, and one of the main ones has to do with keywords.
Researching what keywords your potential customers are looking for, and then including those in your website, is hugely effective in drawing people in, as is knowing the intent behind those specific searches. How intent works in SEO is a tricky and complex issue, but ultimately the more you understand about your customer’s searches on search engines, the better equipped you are to drive traffic to your website.
The more people who visit your site, the better, so make sure you are doing at least something to drive traffic. If necessary, find professional help with your SEO efforts. You will be glad you did.
Think About Navigation
The simpler your website is, the better, as your customers will want to stay there for longer and might even return more often. One of the best things you can do to make it simpler is to ensure that navigating around the site is as easy as possible. There are many unique solutions to this problem, and a quick search of the web should throw up a fair few templates which you might be able to make use of. However you do it, you want to make sure you are putting some kind of effort into making navigation as easy as possible.
At the very least, you want to make sure that people can easily get from any page back to the home page, as this is the most commonly sought after navigation button. Most often, websites will have these buttons at the top or side, and this is certainly an elegant solution. However, you can do it however you like – as long as users will feel that they can easily get around your website, you are good to go. You will know if there are any troubles, because the relative pageviews and bounce rates of your different layered pages will show the discrepancy. Pay careful attention to this, and if necessary tweak the design so that navigation is given more of a precedent in the web design.
Linking To Social Media
Chances are, your startup will benefit hugely from having an active social media presence as well as its own website. But in order to make the most of both of these, you should endeavor to link them together. There are many ways to do this, some of them quite simple, and they are all effective means of ensuring that your startup’s online presence is more integrated, more brand-loyal and therefore much more effective.
At its simplest, this just means that you have an integrated button or widget on your home page displaying your latest tweets. Even this will ensure that people see much more of your web presence, and is definitely worth installing. If you want to go a little further, you can do so by also linking to your website through your tweets and updates. You would be surprised at just how effective such measures can be in drawing awareness to your brand as a whole – which, after all, is the whole point of the website.
If you allow your website to have a fighting chance of survival, then your startup will begin its life in a much better position than it would otherwise. This alone is reason enough to carry out the steps above as soon as possible.