Designing a website for a startup is a huge responsibility. As a new business owner, you are looking to make an impressive entrance into your industry and your website is an integral part of that. Unlike experienced companies, startups are newcomers with limited industry knowledge. At this level, they rely on their team of experts to hit the ground running. More often than not, this involves working with a professional web design agency.
With the internet becoming the biggest tool for product research, many companies prefer to launch with established websites, leveraging the online market for visibility. Startup websites help budding entrepreneurs build their brands and effectively market their products and services. The goal is to ensure that even before consumers begin transacting with the business, the website creates an unforgettable first impression. However, achieving this is no small feat.
A survey by PRNewswire revealed that 27% of small businesses don’t have websites. Various factors such as financial constraints and ignorance consolidate to create the 27%. As new establishments that have yet to make significant profit, expenditures are largely based on the business capital, leaving no room for secondary factors. Unfortunately, web development is typically considered secondary.
While the remaining 73% with websites offer hope, they too experience certain difficulties. Naturally, consumers seek the best value for their money and because several vendors offer the same products and services, they can be picky. However, for business owners, this only intensifies competition. Additionally, the average consumer tends to trust bigger brands over newer establishments because experience often conveys efficiency. When designing websites for startups, one needs to consider these obstacles.
8 Important Things to Know About Web Design for Startups
Considering the challenges common to startups, the determined entrepreneur typically aims for outdoing the competition and establishing trust with potential customers. An outstanding website is an effective method of achieving this. Here are eight key points for designing a website for a startup:
1. Choose the Right Domain Name
Undoubtedly, you’ve invested a lot of resources into establishing your business and it is expected that your domain name reflects this. Much like your business name, your domain name is part of your identity. It is how the online community identifies and locates your startup on the internet.
A memorable and intuitive domain name is one of the building blocks for developing your brand into a powerhouse. A strong online presence begins with an equally strong identity. Think of it as how you want to be addressed as a business owner, this emphasizes the importance. A clunky website name can tarnish your credibility and discourage online visitors. When choosing a domain name, consider two things, namely how relevant it is to your brand and how catchy it will be to web users.
Additionally, your online presence cannot exist without a web host. If the domain name is the address, think of the web host as the building that houses your website. Like renting or buying a brick-and-mortar business space, you also need to get an online space for your website to operate from. Several companies offer web hosting services and choosing the right one for your startup may seem daunting. However, by weighing the needs of your business against their offers, you can better narrow your options.
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2. Make it User Friendly
Since websites aim to attract customers, web designers are expected to create designs that web users find interesting. Your design is to reflect themes that are based on the business type and targeted consumers. To illustrate, if a startup is an educational enterprise aimed at children, it should consider incorporating academic and child-friendly elements into its design.
User-compatible design is usually concerned with the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). The experience of users on a website depends on how well the interface is designed. Essentially, UI focuses on how a web space is decorated, and the web design presents your startup to its target audience. Consequently, bear two things in mind as you work:
- Represent the brand
- Attract the users
A seamless user experience is one of the goals of quality web design. You want users to enjoy the designs you have created for them, aesthetically and functionally. This means in addition to designing an attractive website, navigation should also be easy. Your designs should help guide users to important information and functionalities. Envision satisfied users leaving the website and your design significantly contributing to that satisfaction.
3. Provide Quality Content
Consumers are fast becoming wary of recycled content and one of the surest ways to keep them engaged is by providing quality content. Create content that augments the user experience and offers relevant information. Additionally, customers are likely to have questions about the products and services or the brand in general. Design the website to answer these questions, ideally through an FAQs section.
Quality content also involves implementing SEO practices. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of website creation. It was reported in 2017 that over 90% of consumers searched for local businesses online. The results provided by search engines in response to these searches aren’t randomly generated. They are based on how optimized website copies are for search engines. For better optimization, include relevant keywords and key-phrases in the web content. Potential customers can easily access the website when its content is relevant to their searches.
Since SEO is essentially aimed at providing online visibility, startups need to be compliant. High search engine results page (SERP) rankings increase organic web traffic, the largest source of online vistors. Designing a website that puts the startup at the forefront of online traffic is crucial and achieving this involves strategic content.
4. Keep it Simple
Startups are often characterized by lofty ideas and a fixation on the more popular competition. Consequently, there is a tendency to think bigger is always better. If not moderated, these big plans and the need to outdo competitors often produce complex websites. What you essentially need to do is convey your ideas with enough simplicity to inform the average web user. Technical bravado may require complicated designs in some areas but avoid making every page too complex.
A simple web design doesn’t necessarily mean a minimalist design, it only means all unnecessary elements have been removed from the design, code, and content. Instead, focus more on simpler color schemes and uncluttered design layouts.
Keep in mind that the need for users to easily find what they need is more important than showcasing technical skills. Studies show that frustrated users are likely to leave websites and never return. Instead of burying relevant information under complexities, offer them in navigable designs. Some benefits of simple web designs are:
- They offer better accessibility.
- Web pages load faster.
- Content is easier to scan through.
- Your work is quicker and easier.
- Such websites run smoothly on desktops as well as mobile devices.
5. Create a Responsive Design
A responsive website is designed to adapt to a variety of electronic devices such as desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. A single responsive website is easier to manage than separate versions for different gadgets. It also prevents frustrating user experiences like repeatedly having to adjust screen size and orientation.
A responsive design puts web users first by recognizing that they use an assortment of technologies. To garner a clientele, startup websites need to be accessible to as many users as possible. An unresponsive website hinders this by favoring some users over others. Reportedly, mobile devices account for about 58.99% of global web traffic but unfortunately, mobile users are often marginalized since websites are typically designed for desktops. It takes a proactive web designer to consider usability on mobile devices as well.
Another key advantage of a responsive website is that it improves online visibility. With more web users visiting from mobile devices, it is no surprise that Google, the world’s most popular search engine, recommends responsive web design for search optimization. For better SEO rankings, consider creating a responsive design.
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6. Design to Advertise
While websites are mostly designed to cater to web users, the interests of the business owner cannot be overlooked. Apart from attracting visitors and providing an interesting user experience, web design is also an effective marketing tool. A website’s user interface is a potent way of converting visitors into customers.
A strategic web design can advertise products and services for a startup. Page by page, your graphics can create a narrative that visually communicates what the business has to offer. With the clever use of images and graphics, visitors are immediately informed of the options available to them.
As new businesses, startups need aggressive digital marketing and cutting-edge web design is a powerful tool. Beyond the four walls of a store or office, an online presence can attract large crowds. About 76% of consumers reportedly become acquainted with businesses through their websites. Depending on their experiences, more than half of these are likely to proceed to the company’s physical location, so it’s important to create a web design that showcases your startup and builds its brand.
7. Build Credibility
Distrust is one of the major factors affecting startups. Consumers often prefer businesses with experience and established reputations. Transacting with a fairly new company is sometimes a risk consumers aren’t willing to take. Therefore, it is imperative to build trust using web design. Since websites are usually consumers’ first contact with businesses, they ought to be designed in a way that conveys credibility.
Testimonials are a great way to convert potential customers. While other forms of marketing may be perceived as exaggerating the company’s prowess, consumers find testimonials more reliable. Such reviews are seen as recommendations from average consumers like themselves, helping them know what to expect. You can also add photos of the business owner(s), employees, and office building as stand-alone images or creative infusions into the design. By showing potential customers the faces behind the business, trust increases.
If a startup offers products and services that require a step-by-step process, consider adding snippets of the production process to the web design. For example, the design could feature clips of employees at work so visitors get a better picture of the what and how behind their purchases. Social media is another effective way to build credibility. Add links to the startup’s social media accounts so potential customers can further research their services.
8. Design an Interactive Website
With most websites following similar design templates, an interactive website stands out by offering a far more interesting experience. It is exciting when technology mimics human interactions. We see this with artificial intelligence such as robots and virtual assistants like Clippy, Microsoft’s widely-loved UI assistant. The excitement is replicated when websites are designed with interactive features.
Unlike established companies with their regular clientele, startups need to maximize every website visit. Since the goal is to convert every visitor into a customer, design the user interface to create an unforgettable experience, particularly on the first visit. Interactivity forms a connection with the user much like he/she is relating with a salesperson. Unlike static pages, the user experience becomes communicative and more importantly, it converts visitors.
While increasing web traffic is important, it isn’t enough to establish a successful business. If visitors are unimpressed by what they find on the website, they leave. In addition to attracting visitors, seek to retain them. Design a website that transcends the typical click-and-scroll functionality. Make it amusing and engaging in a way that compels users to interact with it. Consider adding features like interactive virtual assistants, engaging calls-to-action, chat widgets, animated functions, slideshows, and short quizzes/games.
About 66% of startups fail within the first decade. To escape this statistic, small businesses need outstanding strategies to break into the business realm. Impressive web design is one such strategy that helps build a successful enterprise. A well-designed website introduces the startup in a manner unlike any other. With one click, potential customers can access all they need to know about the business. This makes the role of a web designer vital.
Creating a stellar web design for a startup is rarely easy. However, by leveraging factors like simplicity and navigability, a good digital agency can design a unique and engaging website with compelling content.