The United States has the highest concentration of startups anywhere in the world; currently more than 70,000 want to make their mark, according to Startup Ranking. But only 40% of start-ups become profitable, with competition being the biggest challenge for these companies.
An online presence is critical to the success of a startup in today’s business environment. When consumers test or test a brand or service for the first time, they automatically connect to the Internet and check that the business in question is visible.
A dedicated website will therefore provide the necessary exposure for many of these companies and give them insight into the response of potential customers to the product / service offered.
A slow or even poorly designed website could therefore have a significant impact on a company’s growth. Websites need to represent what start-ups do as a company, as well as what they stand for, while effectively communicating their brand; start-ups will want to attract the interest not only of new visitors and potential customers, but also investors.
There are several ways to achieve this, and design has proven to be an important element. For start-ups, there seems to be a certain format for web design that allows them to present themselves in a special way to stay competitive among competitors.
This article presents the views of many startup experts to better understand the best site layout for a new startup.
Strong home page of the site
Now it is no longer necessary to know how to code to establish an online presence. There are a number of website platforms that allow start-ups to create a platform at no cost – some website creators are even free to use.
To ensure the success of a startup, websites will need to drive significant amounts of traffic. Visible homepage and social sharing features come into play here. The homepage should provide visitors with a snapshot of what the product / service is being offered and why it is currently better than the rest of the market offering.
“You need to start with a strong home page,” explains David Soffer, founder of the launch news site. TechRound. “This is the first thing people see when they visit your site, and successful startups often have a strong message or slogan that explains how they are different from their competitors and what they bring to the table right at the top of the page.”
Effective websites will be able to tell both consumers and investors what the new business is doing, what visitors can take advantage of from their offer and how they can quickly acquire it. As far as brand awareness is concerned, some companies may choose to use a slogan to draw attention to the company name; this is usually included in the broader brand of the site.
In general, start-ups typically use large fonts and bold colors in the design of their home pages. Soffer also notes that a large proportion of businesses include graphics or images that move or change colors as the user moves.
“It’s a great technique that shows imagination, enthusiasm and proactivity about the brand,” he says.
Given the nature of start-ups, it is also crucial to provide a strong ‘call to action’ – where visitors can order or share their information. This message can be further strengthened if companies include statistics or data that support their claims or vision.
Like well-established brands, start-ups have the opportunity to present their achievements on their home pages – not only to help build trust around their brand, but also to show their growth in the market. Newly established companies do not have to be shy about showing the companies they have worked with, awarding one prize, or any positive media outlets they may have received.
Social sharing features are also good to host on the home page to allow visitors to share the launch page with their networks. Social media integration has long been a best practice for website design and most website builders will have this functionality in their platform.
Details, details, details
An element of a startup website that is probably overlooked is “About Us”. Unlike small or large well-established brands, these departments – regardless of sector – are a burden on the company’s founders and partners.
When testing a new product, consumers often wonder why the product was created at all and where the idea may have originated. Understanding the background of the founders often sheds light on the experience of those who run the company and where the innovation would come from.
Start-up founders are often involved in PR and other initiatives that help grow their brand. As a result, the faces of the founders, the team, and all senior members are often visible on these pages. Not only do the people running the business look more visible, but they are also connected to consumers and investors.
In addition, if the start-up has obtained funding, there may be information about the funding partner and its participation.
Andrew Speer from fintech start-up, Capital Bean, says the “About Us” page is “very important for trusting new and potential customers who see you for the first time”. He notes that although startups may choose to present the path from idea to product and why they differ from competitors, there is an opportunity to tell a story.
“[For start-ups these pages are] detailed and thoughtful, they are not small and thin in content, ”he says
Interact with the site as a transaction
Another important element of a startup website will be the site where they conduct customer transactions – this can be by downloading, signing up for a free trial, or paying a subscription.
Launch sites usually come with good offers to gain new customers, and displaying prices via spreadsheets is a very popular topic for platforms and subscription companies. Transparency has been key to all start-ups and ensuring there are no hidden costs will be key to building customer relationships.
In some cases, if a customer leaves the startup website, a pop-up window may appear giving the customer one last chance to purchase the product / service.
Newsletters and stay in touch
Start-ups may not have presented their value offerings at a very early stage, so it is common for these companies to present data capture where potential customers can leave their email address to receive more information.
For more experienced and repetitive entrepreneurs who are used to attracting interest or have already acquired some PR, regular traffic is likely to be more frequent. Therefore, having a landing page and a clear form to stay in touch with will be effective.
A very common feature of start-ups is the inclusion of a special section for articles on mental leadership. Articles can be contributions from a team or industry experts who have given their insight into a current issue.
When Dime Alley – Founded a US-based lending company, its website was full of articles dominated by data and statistics. Dime author Alley Ben Sweiry says this was a tactic to ensure the company was positioned as a resource from day one.
“Over time, we’ve included guest contributions from other experts in our industry that talk about the future of the sector – and it’s always a good start for a start-up, especially if you share it on LinkedIn and try to make a name for yourself,” he says.
Depending on the industry
There is no doubt that the type of industry or product on offer will influence the design and layout of a website.
For example, the launch that launches an app will typically consist of just a few pages to encourage consumers to download the app instead of spending time on the site. In these cases, companies often opted for a single website that is systematically divided into digestible blocks or frames.
There may be only a few pages for platforms. However, when a consumer signs up for a free trial or logs into their account, access to the rest of the platform is unlocked. In some cases, it’s as simple as a home page that looks like Google; simply click the button and you are ready.
For start-ups trying to change their well-being or health, the visual elements become much more noticeable. In addition, more often created content or mental guidance aimed at conveying a positive message.
But the biggest indicator of what a new launch site should look like is just one click away – look at a competitor.
Companies that have been in the space for a long time will already have a concrete idea of what tone fits well with the audience; they will understand the user’s path and eventually refine the text used in their messages.
Using a competitor’s website as a template – while ensuring there are no copyrights for the brand – is a good place for startups to understand where they are unique and what messages can be used to position them as a competitor in space.