Website Design and Entrepreneurs... Oh My!

Starting a new business? Getting serious about ramping up an existing business? Don’t forget the web!

There’s a lot to deal with when starting a new business—company name, tagline, messaging, business plans, marketing strategies, and initial funding to name a few. Too often, I have well-intended entrepreneurs reach out for website guidance. Some of these wonderful folks have planned well. Some have shoved website design and development into their plans as an afterthought. Some have, frankly, overestimated the importance and budget needed to get a new business online. Here’s five things to keep in mind when you’re planning for that entrepreneurial adventure.

web design1. Splash page! Don’t be afraid to go minimal for your first web presence. A well-crafted landing page, created with the right design and message, can work to generate buzz about your business and still represent you adequately online—to begin with. If aspects of your business plan aren't fully defined, let a general and inviting SPLASH page represent you for a while. For some ideas of what to do with that one-page website, check out these One-Page Websites.
2. Go Social! The social media evolution has become a revolution. Make sure you are fully set up on your selected social media platforms. Include relevant company information, locations, and primary messaging as well as catchy cover art and images within your content. As people begin to hear about you, you increase your odds of being shared and found if you’re properly set up on social media. You will, of course, have to decide which social platforms are congruent with your message and target demographic, but that’s a strategy issue. (See #5 below.)
3. Video! Nothing tells a story like video. People will readily connect with you if they know you. Consider letting people know you through video. Video doesn’t have to be “professionally” done. Feel free to sit down with a friend and tell them the “why” of your business. Let the video capture it and then use it!
4. Mobile First! With the rise of tablet usage and the ever-increasing size and capabilities of mobile phones, you will need to begin to plan for your online presence by accommodating mobile usage. Ensure that your primary message and/or services are front and center in the mobile design. Speaking of primary messaging and priorities…
5. Web Strategy! This one should be #1, but then you wouldn’t have read the rest if I had led with this over-touted, critical, and unsexy topic of strategy. Still, you need one! Before you go online with your business, dedicate some time and resources to developing a specific web marketing plan. What part of your overall marketing objectives can be accomplished online? Where do you need to be present? What can you forego initially—while money and other resources are tight? As the old saying goes, plan your work then work your plan.

Start-Ups and new businesses have to make some hard choices about what they can and cannot accomplish. Take courage in knowing you can pick and choose from your online choices, as well, and not try to do it all at once.


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