by Kristy Campbell, Chief Operating Officer at Rev1 Ventures
You’ve validated your market and designed a minimally viable prototype. You’re in discussions with strategic partners and potential beta customers. Advisors agree your startup is on the right track.
Now is the time to get your web site up. Here are five tips to help build a first web site that will help your business grow.
1. Think of your first B2B web site as one step beyond your elevator pitch.
It’s the first place a potential customer will go to check you out. Present a professional appearance; Show that you are a real company with solutions to help real businesses solve problems, grow revenue, or reduce cost. Don’t be over-ambitious; in the beginning, the goal is to spur interest, not close deals.
2. High quality messaging is the cornerstone of your website.
If you are a good writer, go for it, but if you are not, don’t try to be. It’s better to pay an expert to craft your message and make it clear and appealing than to flounder with an unfinished site. Ask around. Request references and links to web content they’ve written before.
Focus the content on the core of what you do. What value will customers receive from doing business with your company? How is your solution different from competitors? Never lead with your technology—make a brief mention at most. If you have a white paper or customer testimonial, feature it.
Profiles of founders and advisors add credibility. Call out strategic relationships with business partners, research institutions, or industry groups. Do not start a blog unless you can reliably post multiple times a month.
3. Keep it simple.
Whether you create the site yourself or hire someone to help you, choose a proven website building platform, like WordPress, with templates that are easy to update and modify. You don’t want to have to pay someone every time you change a photo or a paragraph. Secure a domain name that makes it easy for people to find your company. Then sign up with a web hosting service that is reliable and compatible with WordPress. Resist any urge to add a bunch of bells and whistles that you don’t need. Don’t boil the ocean with flashy technology.
4. Educate yourself on how people come to your site and how they flow through once they are there.
To create a website that becomes a useful element in the company’s lead generation process, understand the back-end. What are people searching for? What content and keywords bring them to your site? Google Analytics provides free tools and the training to use them. Understand the basics around how your message resonates and how to identify more customers that match your target personas.
5. Successful businesses are always working on their websites.
Your website provides feedback on your messaging and market positioning. It’s a way to see how your message resonates with potential customers. Plan to iterate. Invest an hour a week looking at competitors’ web sites or viewing web designers’ portfolios.
No matter the stage of business, industry, or marketing strategy every startup must have a presence on the internet; it’s the first place a prospect will go. Creating a professional website doesn’t have to be a giant task. Just be clear. Be Actionable. Be concise. And don’t boil the ocean.
As Chief Operating Officer of Rev1 Ventures, Kristy Campbell leads Rev1’s innovative approach and is one of the designers of the company’s stage-based studio that helps new and experienced entrepreneurs identify, build and scale disruptive companies. In addition to developing the company’s entrepreneur and partnership programs, Campbell works directly with Rev1’s growing portfolio to help them execute strategic sales and marketing efforts that help companies generate awareness, customers, and a repeatable sales pipeline.