December 8, 2016
Given the bootstrapped nature of startups, it’s important for them to keep costs low and get everything right the first time. The margin of error is slim, so every mistake they make means wasted time and squandered resources. Startups cannot afford to use their capital to correct their mistakes because of how costly they can get.
Therefore, if you are running a tight ship, the creation of your website needs to be swift and error-less. Thankfully, this handy guide will help you avoid the typically pitfalls of website creation. Check out some of the most common errors below:
Generic Domain Names
Normally, your domain name should be your brand or company name. However, if your brand name contains a generic term, then it’s best to scrap it and strive for uniqueness.
Take Moz for instance. The digital marketing agency was once known as SEOMoz. Back then, it made sense to have the term “SEO” in their brand because they offered SEO solutions to their target market. However, as time went by and they expanded to other services in the digital marketing field, the name SEOMoz was no longer accurate to the services they were offering. Therefore, they made the transition by dropping the “SEO” from their name to just “Moz.”
“You don’t want to pin yourself down to a certain niche if you think you might expand out of that niche,” says Robert Mening in this handy post about choosing a domain name.
When coming up with a domain name, or even a company name, it is important to consider the long-term effects of having a generic term included in your brand name.
Boring Web Design
The appearance of your website is important in drawing your target audience. Because you don’t have the equity of bigger brands nor the leverage of better-funded businesses, you need to pull every trick from the web design book to develop a compelling website.
“If your story can be told with a single image, then don’t use twenty,” says Jerry Cao in this post at The Next Web. “But if your story needs twenty visuals to work well and be understood, then definitely don’t try to do it in eight. It’s all about making your story as detailed or simple as it needs to be: no more, no less.”
If you truly want to cut the mustard, then you need to integrate storytelling into your web design. Stories can be communicated not just through words but also through images. Remember, you don’t need multiple designers to tell the story for you. Simply focus on a message that you feel will connect with your audience the most and develop it into a full-fledged story that runs across your page.
The practice itself may seem like a dirty word for startups, but SEO can help your business get serious traction if done the right way. You can rank on top of search results for your keywords and drive organic traffic that rivals the traffic brought by paid advertisement.
Best of all, SEO doesn’t cost much compared to other startup costs. Spending up to $5,000 for your SEO should yield sustainable results. While we did mention that startups need to bootstrap and run lean, it is still important to spend money for things that yield positive results moving forward.
“The problem is that SEO usually costs a lot more than they expect, so they don’t have a lot of money left over to spend on it,” says Kalen Smith at Leverable. “They may feel that a few thousand dollars a month is a lot of money to spend on SEO. However, it is a critical investment to make at the beginning.”
That said, you still need to invest in your SEO campaign so you can measure and scale your efforts. Hiring an SEO specialist who will help guide you through the process will get you a better understanding of how SEO can benefit your startup website in the long run.
Content serves as your startup’s mouthpiece. Everything that you publish on your blog or social media page is a bridge between you and your audience to start a meaningful, if not profitable, discourse.
However, your content will be drowned in the noise of other content if it doesn’t speak to your target market. It’s one thing to say things you want to hear; it’s another to say things that resonate with your audience.
“Without personas, you may only be guessing what content your audience wants,” says Jody Harris in her post on CMI.
Therefore, developing buyer personas allow you to engage your audience from different buying stages more efficiently. Creating content specifically for your personas will help you attract them to your product and services and into making a sale.
One of the biggest mistakes startup owners make is letting the product sell itself. The product won’t sell itself. Stop thinking that. Right now. Your product needs a salesperson who will bring your startup sites in front of your buyers and audiences. And it direly needs someone who will look for ways to promote it to the world in creative and unique ways.
For starters, being active on marketing sites can immediately attract the attention of your online market. In fact, joining meetups and meeting like-minded people who share your passion for startup will go a long way in building word of mouth. From there, you can think of bigger campaigns that let you scale and optimize your promotions strategy to bring your startup website to greater heights.
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