10 Tips For Your Start Up Business New Website
18th February 2021
If you are just starting out in business, one of the first things you are likely to want to think about is your web presence. In our latest article, we look at the top tips you can apply to your brand new business website to give you the best possible start.
One of the most positive things that we have seen come out of the pandemic and lockdowns has been the number of individuals who have had the time to take a passion project and turn it into a viable start-up business. In many cases we have seen these businesses start out selling their products through social media or online market-places such as Etsy. However, in order to take their new business to the next level thoughts have quickly turned to a website.
Our team of experts have looked at the things that your business needs to think about for its first website, and how you can implement them to get in front of the right customers, helping you to sell your product or service online, without being solely reliant on other platforms. Having your own website will allow you to take control of your business.
1. Focus on your visitor – not your business
When it comes to writing the copy for your first website one of the most important things to remember is that you need to write for your visitor, and not for yourself or your business. You will know your business inside and out, you will have shorthand for different processes and, whether you think you do or not, the chances are there will also be some jargon associated with your product.
As you sit down to write the words that will sell your product or service you need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Think about what it is they will be searching for, what problem are they trying to solve that will lead them to your website?
Your website is your shop window and it’s your job to showcase your product or service in a way that will indicate to your customers exactly what they can expect from you. Carry out research into what your visitors need, think about the search terms they might use and feed all of this information into your website.
2. Trust signals – allay their fears wherever possible
One of the key things that you need to be able to do through your website is demonstrate that your business is trustworthy. There are a number of things you can add to your site that will help you to do this, and we call these trust signals.
Some of the most common trust signals you might want to think about:
- Secure certificate on the website: Demonstrating that your website is secure is important. Most modern browsers will display a locked padlock in left hand side of the address bar if your site is secure and some will even ask your visitor if they want to visit your site if it is not secure. Speak to your developer about this if you are unsure if your site is secure.
- Reviews and testimonials: Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful kinds of marketing available to any business. We are all conditioned to seek out recommendations, whether this is directly (by asking if anyone can recommend a lawyer, for example) or indirectly (by purchasing a product you have seen your friends using and posting about online perhaps). If we can’t source our own recommendations from people we know, then we will look for them elsewhere. There are numerous review platforms that you can use to collect and respond to reviews. We would suggest using a well-known, searchable platform if you can, such as TrustPilot or Google reviews. Incorporating real reviews into your website is a great way of showing how trustworthy you are.
- Policies and procedures: Make sure you document things like your delivery and returns policy, your complaints policy if you have one. By documenting and adhering to your policies, you are showing people that you can be trusted and that you put your customers first.
- Contact details: We’ll go into more detail about this further down the line, but tell your customers how they can get hold of you if they have a question or concern. This means you need to make sure the phone gets answered and emails don’t sit in your inbox unanswered.
- Linked social media accounts: Encourage users to visit you and interact with you on social media. The chances are they will do this anyway, but if you facilitate this for them by linking to your social channels you are demonstrating your trustworthiness.
- Modern and slick: It’s difficult to quantify what “modern” or “slick” mean from one user to another, as it can be a matter of taste for some, but if your site looks as though it was built in the early days of the internet it is likely to turn users off. Make sure your site is on-brand, but also looks up to date, and is as easy to use as possible. If a visitor finds browsing your site frustrating or searching for your products & services on the site is difficult, this can put a potential customer very quickly.
3. Clearly explain your product/service and ensure you answer these questions
a. How much
b. What is it
c. When will I get it
d. How do I get started
When it comes to drafting the content for your website, you need to leave your users with no doubt as what your product or service is and what it can do for them.
This is particularly true when it comes to service-based businesses. Your website needs to explain exactly what it is that you are offering – clearly, directly and informatively. If you can help it, you should not leave your potential customers needing to ask more questions before they are able to take up your service or purchase your product, because this will give them an opportunity to change their mind.
We understand that there are some industries that are unable, or unwilling, to give a price on their website. If you are able to though, you should include prices on your site. If you can’t do that, don’t make it impossible for people to find out the costs.
There are many more questions that your website can answer on your behalf, but if it doesn’t answer these 4 questions then you will struggle to convert visitors into customers.
4. Clear and sensible calls to action
On each page of your site there should be a clear call to action. You should make it obvious what you want the visitor to do as a result of digesting the information on this page, and then you should make it as simple as possible for them to do so.
Businesses often make the mistake of assuming that their visitors will do what they expect, and forget to simply ask them to do it. Sometimes we do just need to remind them that the next step is theirs to make, whether that be ordering a product, or making an enquiry – adding a button at strategic points in your content will remind them to do so.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customer to “Buy now”, “Contact Us” or “Find out more”.
5. Give your information away
For many businesses, this can be a controversial statement, but one worth paying attention to. Your website is about setting you apart from your competition. One way to do this is to establish yourself as the expert in your field.
We aren’t suggesting that you give all of your expertise away and render your service unnecessary, what we mean is that you shouldn’t hoard all of your knowledge.
In the majority of service businesses, users are paying for expertise – but they need to understand the benefits of paying for an expert. For example:
- Most businesses need to have an accountant, unless they are large enough to have someone in-house, the majority of businesses need some help with accountancy services. If your business offers this, you need to explain a few things to the potential customer:
1) What are the benefits of using an accountant to them as a business
2) Why you are the best accountant for their business
You need to give them a reason to come to you and remember your name when they are looking for your product or service. Sharing regular, useful content will help you remain top of mind and establish you as a thought leader.
6. Ensure there are plenty of ways to contact you
Your website needs to make it easy for your customers to contact you. We’ve often seen contact details hidden away, or completely missing from new websites, and it makes much more sense to ensure that your visitor can find what they need.
At the least, you should have Contact Us page with a simple form that comes through to your main email inbox. Ideally, though you should also have a contact number and email address that visitors click through to contact you.
If you are concerned about sharing your personal details, or are concerned about not being able to answer the phone all of the time, then you can look at a number of telephony options you can look at, including a VoIP service or answering service. When you create your website you can also arrange for email addresses to be created using the same domain.
7. Avoid using a mobile number or Gmail address
If you can do so, we would strongly advise setting up a VoIP landline number that you can use as your business phone line, and you should get email addresses set up from your domain. Making use of your mobile number or free email address gives the impression of being a small business. A business email address of firstname.lastname@example.org looks more professional and trustworthy than email@example.com.
VoIP lines and email addresses are a relatively inexpensive way of demonstrating that you are serious about your business. It’s another form of trust signal, it demonstrates that you are invested in your business.
8. Invest in good imagery
We are visual creatures, and a website that is just a wall of text can be off-putting for visitors. If you are selling a product online then you must ensure that you take clear, beautiful shots of the products you are selling.
Invest in a good set-up that can be easily recreated, and ensure that your images are clear, sharp and show off the product to the best of your ability. Taking the next step up by branding or watermarking your images will get your brand out there too.
Even if you are selling a service rather than a product you can make good use of images to break up the text. If you aren’t using your own pictures, and are instead relying on stock images, we would suggest that you do purchase the license for them if you can. There are many free options for stock imagery but with paid images, you have a better chance of standing out from your competition.
Think about the style of image that suits your brand too, if you establish a style early on it will really help your business to look cohesive and pulled together.
9. Choose a platform that can scale
There are numerous web platforms available to businesses today looking to start out their journey online. There are tools and platforms that profess to help you create your website from scratch without the need for a developer’s input that are designed to be used by business owners and marketers as well as more technical platforms that require the ability to write code or work with a developer.
Regardless of how technical you need to be in order to create the site, you should be able to amend the content yourself. A Content Management System or CMS (https://www.netmatters.co.uk/considering-a-content-management-system-the-things-you-need-to-know) will enable you to do this, and should form the basis of your website if possible.
Your website needs to be able to grow with you and your business, so it is also useful to understand the pricing and processes for expanding your site. Look into whether you will be the owner of the site, if you move away from the company who are hosting or building your site. Can you move your site to a new host or developer? Other things to think about include; how easy is it to change the look and feel of the site? Can you amend the meta-data on every page to help with SEO? Can you change the layout and structure of your site?
This is a big and complex area, but make sure you do your research and you will find the right platform for you.
10. Be prepared for marketing costs if you want visitors
Building and launching a website is not a “one and done” exercise. Once you have built your website - that is often when the hard work begins.
Once you’ve created a website that showcases your brand, you need to think about how you are going to get it seen. No matter how creative and beautiful your site is, it is unlikely that someone will accidentally stumble on your site if you don’t put the time and effort in to making it visible.
Don’t worry though, with a little bit of time and investment, you can make your hard work pay dividends. Depending on your brand and your product, you have a wide-range of options open to you to give you a truly “multi-channel” approach to your digital marketing, and it is important that you are not relying on a ‘all your eggs in one basket’ style approach.
There are a number of tasks you can carry out (and should carry out regularly) to ensure your site is as search engine friendly as possible. Make sure to use all of the on and off page signals you have to drive traffic to your site and tell the search engines what you are talking about. Over time, you will see results through organic search.
The quickest and most predictable way to get traffic to your site though, is to pay for it. This can be through search ads, or even social media ads. Think about who you want to target, what intent you want to tap into and create adverts that draw visitors to your site.
Organic social media posts will also help to drive traffic to your site and if you already have a following, make sure you are sharing links back to your new site regularly. If you need to build up a following, spend time getting involved in related conversations, follow people who are talking about your products and industry (or similar) and start posting regularly. You can also look at link-building strategies to help drive traffic from other sites to your website.
Whether a financial cost or time (or both), driving traffic to your site does have a cost associated, but if you are serious about the success of your site you need to think about this and factor it into your website build.
If you are starting out in business and are looking for a website, these top tips are a fantastic starting point. If you would like to discuss your options with us we would be happy to help, from pay-monthly managed websites to bespoke builds, our team of web developers can offer everything you need and give you the best advice. With our own in-house digital marketers too, our websites are built with driving traffic and conversions in mind.
Contact us on 01603 704020 to talk through what you need for your start-up business website today.