As an entrepreneur, you only get one shot to make a good first impression. The look, feel and content of your website plays into how potential investors perceive you. A well-designed, clever website that targets your demographic will net you more positive attention than a website that looks like it was hastily put together or made using a free utility like Weebly. Begin the planning and testing process early to get your website off without a hitch and get your business off to a good start.
A startup website that focuses on a catchy design at the expense of content can backfire, yet many startups focus more on the packaging than on what's inside. Give serious thought to the content of your website. Map out your information architecture so you know what type of content you need to create and what purpose it serves, then develop personas that represent your target demographic. Write your content so it speaks to your personals, using language that will draw them in. A website geared toward college students will use very different language (and need a different design) than one targeting young parents, for example. Reread and revise your content until it communicates your message effectively and clearly — and plan to use analytics post-launch to ensure that your content is reaching its audience.
A mobile-optimized website resizes the Web page to fit the screen accessing the Web page. Whether your user has an iPad, iPhone or other small device, your website will display clearly and your user will be able to easily navigate the site. At this point in time, a mobile website is a must, especially for businesses like startups that want to be perceived as current. There are plenty of tools you can use to optimize your site for mobile, so don't skip this important step. Before you launch, do usability tests across browsers and devices then target any inconsistencies that arise. If your sites fares poorly in Chrome or IE, you'll miss a large user segment.
Site performance and reliability
If your Web host is not reliable, users will experience your website as slow and may find that your website experiences a high rate of downtime. While this is (or should be) unacceptable for any business, it can be particularly dangerous for a startup that may be relying on early user views for conversions or capital. Users can get a poor impression of your startup from a slow website and will leave the website at best, and diss your company to influential players, at worse. Ensure that any Web host you're consider has a high rate of uptime and good user review before committing, then optimize your Web pages to ensure a fast load time. Selecting a Web host with good customer service also helps you navigate any snafus smoothly and quickly.
While startups do need to move quickly in general, devote as much time as you can to perfecting your website pre-launch. It's easier to start with a good first impression than to correct a negative impression that arises after a poor start.
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