By Amy Johnson, community coordinator for A Small Orange
Your business’ website is arguably one of the most important aspects to getting an entrepreneurial venture off the ground. It’s therefore imperative that yours is a smashing success – it should be clear and informative as to what your business is and does, and it should encourage the user to want to engage in business with you and your company.
So, where do you start? There are plenty of websites that can tell you all of the best practices for launching your start-up’s website, but few that outline the pitfalls to which you might fall victim. What should you avoid in launching your start-up’s website?
Graphic and information overload.
Don’t assume your site is universal.
Actually, assume it’s not. Test your site on each of the popular devices: computer (try a few browsers), iPhone, iPad, Android device and BlackBerry. You need not have a mobile app right from the start (unless it’s part of your business), but you should make sure that your site is compatible wherever eyeballs are likely to be; in our increasingly mobile community, many websites receive more views from mobile devices than from computers. You want a user to navigate to your site and stay there, so make it a rewarding experience. If your site crashes or is difficult to navigate, your customer (or potential customer) is going to leave.
Don’t overlook infrastructure as a key to your site’s success.
Certainly, you’ve had occasion to navigate a site and it crashes. Again. And again. This is frustrating, and the average user won’t stand for it; she will instantly take her business elsewhere. Be sure to have a web hosting provider that meets the needs of your site. This means that you want to ensure that whether you’re using shared hosting or a dedicated server, it has the capability and bandwidth to accommodate your site’s traffic and the functions that users will want to execute.
Don’t take visitors for granted.
Anyone who visits your site has the potential to become a customer or patron of your business, so make sure to record her digital footprint. Most people who land on your site won’t buy your product or service – at least not right away. But you want to be sure that you can stay in touch in case there’s something that you offer later that will engage her business. Have a simple, nonthreatening way for the visitor to leave her contact information. Perhaps you have an invitation to join an email list, or you could have a widget where the user can click to like your page on Facebook or other social media platform.
Your content should have clear value.
Regardless of what you’re selling or doing, the content on your site, whether it’s words, graphics or video, should have value with respect to your product or service. It should let the user know something about you, your company or your brand. However, you don’t want to create “white noise” on your site, or unnecessary content that serves no purpose (but is distracting). It makes your site look less professional and cheapens the message that you’re trying to convey.
Don’t take just any advertiser.
It can be tempting when starting a business to make money at every opportunity, but just as you would choose to invest wisely in real estate, business equipment or human capital, be sure that the advertisers on your site are a wise investment, too. A tasteful, relevant ad or two on your site is fine. But, be wary of anything flashy or tacky; that would give your site less credibility and make it less authoritative. Let your product or service speak for itself; if what you’re offering is worthwhile, the money will come. Don’t clutter your online space any more than you would your physical space.
For most, a website is the most customer-facing aspect to a business, and it’s often the first thing a potential customer will see. Put your best foot forward!
Amy Johnson is a long time writer and community coordinator for green hosting provider, A Small Orange. Their vision is simple: perfecting hosting while maintaining a homegrown feel with a focus on people – customers, employees, and the community. Amy enjoys reading and learning about online businesses as well as sharing her expertise and interests in green technology, all things website related, and running a successful online business.