A website serves as the online presence for your business, and for a startup a website is often the first opportunity your customers have to learn about who you are and what you have to offer. Someone who visits your website should immediately understand your business and the product or service you deliver. Unfortunately, too many websites are poorly designed and developed. Here are some of the most common startup website mistakes and what you can do to avoid them:
Website Not Aligned with Target Audience
Every business should know their target audience, and if you think your target audience is “everyone”, you are not targeting anyone. Who wants, needs and is willing to buy your product or service? Only when you understand your customer and how they make their buying decisions, can you effectively build a website that will align with your audience and convert browsers to buyers.
Overly Complex Websites
Once you know your customers, you should be designing a website with them in mind. What kind of information are they looking for, and in what form? Do they want text, video, audio, animation or all of the above? When designing a website, especially for new businesses where you are learning about your customers, less is more. Start with the basics, knowing you can always add features in the future.
SEO and Keyword Focus
While it is true that a well designed website should incorporate SEO, many entrepreneurs start with SEO and create content loaded with keywords, but providing no real value to the site’s visitors. Focus on creating the content your customers want and need, and remember, if you are too keyword rich, you may be penalized by the search engines.
Contact Information is Hard to Find
When your customer is ready to interact with you or has a question, they do not want to spend time searching your website for contact information. Customers with short attention spans will go to another site if they find yours is too troublesome. Make your contact information, including phone number, email and physical address, easily and readily available.
Good Looks, Difficult Navigation
Another common startup website mistake is to develop an visually pleasing site, which is difficult to navigate. A well designed website should look good but also be easy to get around. Breadcrumb navigation allows users to see where they are and can easily backtrack when needed. You want a site that both looks good and is simple to use.
Lack of Social Proof
The common adage today is that people do business with someone they know, like and trust. But how do you develop trust when you are a new company? One way is through testimonials, or social proof. When someone sees that people have already done business with you and have had a good result, it helps them make a buying decision. Include written testimonials, or even better – pull out your smart phone the next time someone compliments your business and get it on video, which you can then upload to your website.
Non Responsive Designs
Is your customer browsing your website on a computer, laptop, smart phone or tablet? These days, chances are the answer is all of the above. They may be looking on a laptop in the morning, smart phone during lunch and tablet in the evening when laying in bed. Will they have the same website experience regardless of device? If not, you need to consider updating your site so it is fully responsive and looks the same on all devices.
For any entrepreneur, there are some hard and fast rules to follow. Understand your audience, design and develop a product or service that meets a need and show through your actions that you are someone people can know, like and trust. Applying these same rules to your website will go a long way in helping connect with your clients, and grow your business.