Ryan Howard was right in The Office: Every business needs a website, even Dunder Mifflin. But Howard learned a real-life lesson when he tried to get his site up and running. The challenges he encountered trying to build the site led to it staying “under construction” since 2002. Even now, long past the internet’s early days, startups face a slate of challenges when they try to build a website — whether they opt to use a pre-formatted template, code it from scratch, or outsource the development. That’s because there’s a lot more to creating a website than picking the perfect sans-serif font. Here are five challenges every startup faces when building a website:
No matter how good you were at editing MySpace as a teen, you probably don’t have the coding chops that a professional developer does (unless of course you grew up and became a professional developer). Designing a sleek site with the capability for users to do more than just point and click is no easy task, and having useful features like social media integrations and multimedia interactions is key to creating an engaging online experience. Plus, a site’s code constantly requires updates since customers’ needs and the internet itself are constantly evolving.
We mentioned earlier that you could choose to buy a template for your website instead of coding it from scratch. But the problem with that choice is that, by definition, your website won’t be unique. A website is important for startups to accomplish the tasks of customers purchasing products and requesting services but also as a branding and marketing tool. Especially for startups, your website could be a customer’s first interaction with the company and make or break their opinions on your brand. In other words, functionality alone won’t make your site stand out.
This challenge goes hand-in-hand with the above. The overall layout of your website needs to be simple and unique to draw in users. Individual design elements (logos, images, and more) will make a big impact on how users perceive your brand. For instance, one Harvard Business Review study found that customers were more willing to buy products from companies with well-made, descriptive logos than overly simplistic ones. That finding held true for both startups and established businesses, like Dunkin’ Donuts: The company's full name with a coffee cup resulted in more willingness to buy among respondents than a simple “Dunkin’” logo with no accompanying image.Professional graphic designers can create images that impact users’ perception of your brand and can make them consistent throughout your site.
Snappy and clear writing throughout your website guides users to where you want them to navigate. Not only is copy important for creating a logical user journey beyond your homepage but also for making your brand personable. The choice of writing that’s casual or formal, humorous or serious, and so on defines your brand’s relationship with customers. The other reason your site copy is important is that your choice of words affects where your site appears in search results on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how brands align their websites with their choice of queries. If someone searches your company’s name, for instance, your SEO work will determine whether or not your website is on the first page of the search.
Knowing how to interpret site analytics is key to understanding who is interacting with your company once you get the first iteration of your site up and running. Savvy analysts can drill down into site interactions to determine what users click on a site; how long they stay on each page; whether they buy products, sign up for newsletters, or perform any other desirable actions; and more. Those learnings matter because they can explain where users’ journey through your website takes a wrong turn. The average rate at which users leave sites with products in their carts that they don’t purchase (aka cart abandonment rate) is nearly 70%, according to the Baymard Institute. Knowing why that happened and when creates a path for your company to prevent it for future users. The big takeaway: The five main hurdles that startups face when trying to build their websites are also the five biggest opportunities for them to create websites that drive the results they’re looking for—whether that be acquiring customers’ emails or…selling paper.Looking for some help in building your website? Send us a message.