Let’s be honest, what’s the first thing we’d do when we hear about any upcoming or a new startup? We can safely guess most of us would go on Google (SERP), research about it or look at its website or any social media presence, right? The world today is almost completely digital-dominated. A startup in this digitally driven world is lost if it lacks a credible digital footprint. When embarking on a web project, it’s significant that it communicates with your business objective, goal, and brand identity.
Website visitors will form a primary opinion about your startup within seconds of landing on your website. Most of the time this first impression will be based on visuals and design. And we all know that “first impression is the last impression” is true in many cases. Your website is the face of your startup. And it's worthwhile to invest time and effort into having a good website design and development that aligns with your goals and objectives. At the same time, your website also serves as a means to establish a connection and trust with your users. Although the design field is very fluid and ever-evolving, the basic methods that determine the trustworthiness of your website have been almost stable throughout. These factors, as enlisted by the NN Group, are: having a consistent design quality across the entire website, ensuring upfront disclosure of all the information that relates to customer experience, being comprehensive, correct, and current, and lastly, being connected to the rest of the web.
Let’s dive into more details about how taking some of the important approaches while designing the website would increase its credibility & how it will boost the growth of your business.
Visuals and aesthetics certainly dominate the first impressions, but a well-functioning site is what makes the foundation of a website. Here are a few important approaches startups should consider while designing websites, which will help them to achieve their business objectives.
Here we go!
1. Explain your product & solutions
According to a study done by NN Group, your users would most likely read only 20% of the text written on your website. You don’t want them to miss out on the core sections where you explain your product/solutions. To help them understand the features, functionality, and use cases of your offerings, it is crucial to leverage other mediums such as infographics, videos, and product tours. These mediums drastically shorten the time your visitors take to get a grip of your technology, eventually increasing sales for you.
2. Build trust
There’s no doubt that trust is a very important prerequisite to build any relationship. It’s that invisible element that impacts every other aspect of a relationship. This cannot be truer for the relationship you are trying to build with your website visitors, whom you want to convert into customers. Let’s have a look at the pyramid of trust established by the NN Group that’ll help you identify which stage you’re at with the majority of your visitors.
* reference link *
First-time visitors of your website will start at level zero i.e. no trust established yet. How do you bring them to higher levels by just making simple additions to your website? Elements such as testimonials, customer case studies, media coverage of your startup are some of the common yet helpful ways to boost trust. But there are few subtle and more impactful ways to build trust:
- Ensure your website design follows standard usability heuristics as established by Nielson and Norman
- Allow your visitors to reach out to any team member by providing links to their Linkedin accounts
- An updated about page, also showcasing your company culture
- Include your partner logos
- The clarity in what you do by using the right copy throughout your website
- Incorporate an instant chatbot to tackle more than half of the customer queries, way before they escalate to tickets. However, they should be effective in getting the users closer to what your technology does. Chatbots can be tricky, but they will serve the purpose if they can streamline users to important pages on your website like product tours, free trials, about the team, resources, or pricing.
Apart from these, there are always those minute aspects such as page load speed, concise visual language across all pages, no broken links, no ads or pop-ups bombarding on the user’s screen while they are busy assimilating what you do.
3. Exhaustive & active resources page
Here is where the useful dynamic content of your site comes from. No matter how good your product/solution is, if you don't have an exhaustive resource section on your website, you’re not on the fastest path to success. This is the primary reason visitors return to a website. It serves the purpose of educating and informing your users regularly. Depending on your offering, you could have one or more of the following resources:
- Customer case studies
- Tutorial videos
- Webinar sessions
- Industry news, reviews, and reports
You may ask why so much content is needed. An active resource center is the hub of all your inbound marketing efforts. Search engine rankings will significantly shoot up if you include relevant and popular keywords in your resource content. A useful resource content will also increase backlinking to your site and eventually increase traffic and conversion rates. A constantly updated resource center will motivate your users to keep revisiting your site and also perhaps subscribe to regular updates.
4. Free trials/product tours/sandbox demos
There will always be those inquisitive visitors of your site who’d want to tinker with your offerings first before diving into committing to your product/solutions. Free trials can do wonders for startups since it provides a firsthand experience into the features and functionality of the product or solutions. But, here’s a note of caution, free trials can be disastrous for some startups. If your offerings are too complicated for a layman to understand without any guidance, or if a short (even a month!) free trial period is too soon to gauge the merits of your offerings, or if your free trial is giving away all the value of your offering, you’d be better off without free trials. In such scenarios, there can be better alternatives to provide users a peek into your offerings. These can be explainer videos, product tours, or a sandbox demo of your offerings. To take a step further, you could also have no-obligation contracts or have money-back guarantees if they work for your startup.
5. Build a community
A community of your users and your team will foster better relationships and greater trust in your startup. Many startups leverage portals such as slack or discord to connect users and with the team. But what makes up a community? Let’s try to understand its anatomy.
Consider the example of a product-based startup that has a product support forum on slack/discord. As we see in the diagram above, the influencers can be the employees or founders of the startup who drive the community and shape the discussions and interactions within it. Next are the more engaged or active members who are constantly involved in the discussions and also in a way influence the influencers to bring up new topics of discussion. The followers are the fellows who join the forum primarily to follow and learn more about the product. It is these followers who are most likely to drop off if your forum is not helping them in any way. Having a super active community helps to avoid this by solving a chunk of their queries or concerns regarding your offering. Such issues when raised by the followers' category can be addressed by not just the influencers, but also by the engaged or active members. This way your team, in a way, gets extended and even your active users help your startup in handling many of the queries. This is particularly useful in early-stage startups.
Well, that sums up some of the important ways to make your website credible and thus helping you in fuelling growth for your startup.
But do remember that a website is a very dynamic modular interface that will keep evolving forever. It’s also vital to identify what users expect out of your website. The best way to do this is by regularly analyzing using proper tools and carrying out qualitative user testing of your website. This helps to identify the pain points on your website which can be seen by abrupt drop-offs on any page. Invest time on your website and realize how rewarding it is for your startup. We’d like to close this by echoing what Dr. Ralf Speth, the CEO of Jaguar, had once said: “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”