Five essentials for a start-up business launching a new website
So, you’ve got a great product or service and you’re ready to go out there and sell it. But how much have you thought about the marketing strategy you are going to employ? Here are some top tips for start-ups looking to create a solid online presence to market their business to the world.
With the world moving increasingly online, businesses now need to have a strong online presence or risk being left behind. Great for creating direct sales, a website is also a highly valuable marketing tool. Websites can be the main point of sale, contact, and branding all in one place; therefore you need to ensure it is doing what it is designed to do. Above all, a good website should be intuitive, user-friendly, and capable of handling requests in an efficient manner. It is an unfortunate fact that two thirds of start ups fail within their first three years. Although a good website is not a sure fire way to guaranteeing success, it can be an extremely effective way of growing your customer base, generating sales, and amplifying awareness of your brand.
Whether you are launching your first website, or are looking to upgrade your business’s current online offering, these essential pointers are a great place to start.
- Think about how your website will be used. How your website will be used will depend entirely on your company and the services you are providing. For an ecommerce site the focus will be on selling goods directly through the website. Therefore make sure the products are easy to navigate, there is a simple search function, and the checkout process is smooth. For other businesses, however, the focus may be placed on providing information rather than initiating an immediate transaction. In this case the website should be designed to be simple and concise, with all information readily available, and clear contact information should the user want to know more about the service you offer. Don’t make potential customers hunt for the information they need, make it easy for them.
- Make sure your website can be found. There is no point in having an attractive website if no one is actually visiting it. In order to increase the traffic to your website you need to either spend money on paid ads, or increase your organic rankings through employing SEO tactics. Think about the key terms somebody looking for your services on google would type and see if your website is coming up within the search results. If you haven’t actively done any onsite SEO it is likely that your website will not rank. Don’t worry, this is something which can be improved, however, you need to be patient as this process does take time. If done correctly, however, this will increase your visibility and should be reflected in increased visitor numbers. Until your organic search visibility improves you may wish to consider PPC marketing. This will see you rise to the top of the rankings; however, you will need to pay for each and every click through to your website from these ads.
- Analyse your online performance. You can track how users are navigating the website, what pages are popular, and track instances where users are leaving the website without progressing to a sale. This information is invaluable in gaining an insight into your customers’ behaviour and what they are looking for when they are browsing your website; don’t just assume you know what they want. Keep an eye on bounce rates; if users are clicking off your site as soon as they arrive, you need to look for the underlying reason behind this. Is there a problem with the design of the site, or are you not providing the information they need? With search engines giving users thousands of websites for any search, you have to give users a reason to stay on your site once they land on it rather than going back to the search listings and clicking on the next one. Make sure your website is engaging, attractive, and most importantly answers the users query.
- Make your website accessible on all devices. How people access the internet is changing. More and more of us are leaving our desktops and laptops switched off, and reaching instead for tablets and mobile phones. Therefore not only do you have to ensure you have a website, you also need to take steps to ensure it is optimised for use on mobile devices. Ensure it is responsively designed so the website works just as well on whatever device your user is on. Depending on your business and its audience, you may wish to consider creating your website using the ‘mobile first’ model. As the name suggests, this is a website created with mobile usage in mind first which will then be adapted for desktop displays.
- Create clear calls to action. Once you have got a potential customer to your website, you need to make it clear what you want them to do next. This may be completing a sale, calling to find out more, or signing up to a newsletter. Ensure your calls to action are clear and stand out from the rest of the page.
A lively and engaging website can be a great marketing tool for your business and a fantastic way of finding and connecting with new customers. Make sure you start well by creating a user-friendly website that provides your potential customers the right sort of information. However, solidifying your online presence should be seen as an on-going process. Make sure you regularly populate your website with fresh and informative content which is naturally infused with selected key words. Get in the habit of monitoring the performance of your website and don’t be afraid to make subtle changes if your conversion rate is disappointing. Putting in the time and an effort to create an effective website really can pay dividends for your business going forward.