Your startup should certainly have a website. A huge percentage of consumer traffic is generated through a company’s site, and it can act as a central hub linking together your social media, press and customer support.
It is, however, important that you don’t rush in when creating or commissioning a website. There are plenty of factors that determine whether your website will be a bustling hub or a tumbleweed haunted ghost town. Here are a few things you should consider before getting online. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Get researching!
Who Is Your Audience?
As a business owner, you should already have considered this question before you even begin to think about getting online. Market research is an essential opening play when creating a start up. In terms of helping you make decisions about your website, knowing your target audience is indispensable. The graphic design, navigability, text and use of media will all depend on your target demographic or demographics.
Dig around on the internet and find websites aimed at the group you want to entice. Don’t copy them, but instead look at the visual and verbal cues displayed by the more successful examples. If you are playing the long game, it might also be worth doing some interviews with members of your target audience to ascertain what they desire in a business website. Nothing is more telling than primary evidence.
What Data Do You Want to Collect?
Websites collect a great deal of information from visitors, but not all of it is useful for (or even usable by) every company. As a start up, it is likely that you only have a small number of staff and a small amount of time that can be given over to data analysis. As useful as big data is to small companies, it is worth noting that the process of sifting through piles of irrelevant user information can hinder your progress as well as help it.
As well as acquiring information through cookies, websites can serve to collect more targeted data through interactive features. Questionnaires and games are increasingly being employed by web designers to help companies get the answer to specific questions through interactions with their websites. This can be an invaluable way of conducting market research.
Who Do You Want to Design It?
Hiring the services of a professional web designer can be massively helpful. Checking out the portfolio of a prospective designer is very important. If they have never worked on a project like yours then hiring them could be a huge risk. Try and find a company that has experience in your industry.
Companies like Bluelinemedia.co.uk specialize in designing websites for small companies looking to get an attractive digital storefront.
Alternatively, you could go down the DIY route. Some web hosts offer site building tools with a modular, easy to use design interface. These sites can look very good, but often lack any discernible personality.