Startup website design is an important part of building your online presence. Creating your business website is one of the basic tasks that you will be focusing on at this point. It’s important to get that website done right so that it accurately reflects your brand. It will many times be the only thing that potential customers will have on which they can base their first impressions of you.

One mistake that a lot of business owners make when they are tackling startup website design is thinking that they don’t need to put a lot of thought into it. Designing the site itself shouldn’t be hard, especially if you have an awesome website developer. But you do need to make sure that you have prepared all the information that you need to make important decisions about what it should look like and what it should be able to do.

Are you ready to take that next step and start designing your online presence?

If you are, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it, below are 7 tips that you can use to guide you. Everyone needs a bit of inspiration now and again, right?

Understanding the Competition

The first thing you will want to do is go back to all the research that you did back when you were planning your startup. Dig up those files on your competition and update them if you need to. This research will help you to understand who your top 10 competitors are. You need this information to get some ideas on how you should present your business through your website.

The competition has a lot to offer you in terms of the both the appearance of your website and its content as well. If you have done your due diligence during the planning stage, taking these next specific steps for your website should be a piece of cake.

(1) Styling Fonts and Colors

Have you already decided on what font and color to use to brand your product? If you haven’t, then you can also look to the competition for ideas. Take a closer look at the fonts and colors that they are using and try to understand the logic behind them. If you have already decided on a font and color scheme for your brand and it’s not set in stone, you might still want to consider making a few changes to be more competitive.

Text is not often considered a visual element, but it actually does have a significant visual impact. Your text will play a major role in the overall presentation of your brand on the website. Remember, your text is what a lot of visitors will tend to spend the most time interacting with.

Typography

Some time ago and still in some cultures, typography was considered a science as well as a true art. The internet has spoiled us with all the available fonts for download, but we can still learn valuable hints from this lost art.

The two main points to focus on when choosing a font are to make sure that it:

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  1. supports the sense that your words are trying to convey by reflecting the same meaning, and
  2. elicits the desired psychological reaction from the audience.

The website font that you choose can change the way that your audience feels about the message that you are sending. Use this simple yet wholly effective tool to give your text greater impact. Here’s a useful infographic that you can refer to for more examples of fonts and their psychological effects.

Whatever font you choose, make sure that you are either reflecting your brand identity or reinforcing a promise that you are committing to deliver to your targets. Play around with your spacing as well, and if you are using a combination of fonts, make sure that they look good together on the page and don’t send conflicting messages.

Color Moods

Just as the visual representations of language affect readers, colors also have their own moods that get transferred onto readers. Just think of the way that certain colors make you feel and you’ll get the general idea. There are bright and dull colors, hot and cool colors, primaries, secondaries and all kinds of combinations. Each one has a range  of emotions attached to it that you can take advantage of. Color can be a big part of your branding and the message that it carries.

You can find more detailed information about colors here, and the page has a neat brand color image as well.

(2) Pages

Now that you have your vital colors and fonts in place, you need to decide on the structure of your website. What pages do you need, and what kind of content should you have on them?

Structure

Go back to your competitors and look at the overview of the information that they are providing. Take note of the way in which they present that information through the structure of their pages. Don’t forget to look at the structure of their content menus as well.

Ask yourself now about the usability of that structure. Does it encourage you to click through? Can you find what you are looking for? Does it take you logically from on step to the next?

These are all important questions that you want to answer then base your own structure off of. Your readers need to be able to get from your home page to where their questions can be sufficiently answered so that you can lead them to where you want them to end up.

Content

Now you can get into the content itself, looking at both text and images as well as videos and other elements that are present.

Ask yourself about the content and how it relates to your business. What is the purpose of each page? Do I need this content?

Now put yourself into the place of your target customers and ask yourself how the content speaks to you. Is the message clear? Is it too much or too little information?

Use your answers to make a plan for what content you need to prepare for the website. Make sure that you get it professionally done so that you are presenting your audience with only the best quality – it will reflect directly on how they perceive your offerings!

Don’t stop with just the basic contact and about pages. These are very important, but you want to be more dynamic with what you are presenting to them. It’s not just a place for them to start, but you want it to be a place where you can captivate them and guide them to complete the sales funnel.

(3) Call to Action

As you are looking through your competitors’ content, notice their calls to action. Where do they position their CTAs? How often they are calling their readers to action? How are they formatting or designing these CTAs?

You will not be able to tell exactly how well these calls to action are performing for your competitors. You can, however, get a general impression of how they appeal to you. Call a few family members and friends over as well to give their opinions on how they react to the different styles and messages. Clear CTAs are important on a website, so get as much feedback as you can before crafting your own.

Do you have free materials to share with them? Add that in.

Do you want to show them something more? Give them the link.

Do you want to encourage them to engage with you? Make it impossible for them to resist.

(4) Responsiveness

Everyone today is on mobile, so make sure that you are choosing a responsive platform and theme for your website. People who are on their mobiles or visit your website on tablets need to be able to properly view your website. If they get on your domain and the site looks messed up, they will not be impressed. Even old customers may be disappointed and feel that you are not interested in continuing to provide consistent quality service.

(5) Subscribers

This time you’re going to have to do some new research. The goal here is to find out how your competitors are attracting new subscribers. Are they using email forms on the website? Are they driving for responses from other channels?

An email opt-in is one of the most effective ways to collect subscribers, but there are other methods to try. The best one may be different for your line of business, depending on your niche and how you see that you can best connect with your targets.

(6) Credibility

Finally, you really want to know how your competition is faring on the rating scale. You may not want to emulate them if they aren’t doing too well, but knowing what doesn’t work is as good as knowing what does. Find out how your competitors are building credibility and try to gauge how much effort they are putting into getting reviews, adding client logos to their site, partnering with other publications, and the like.

Understanding their efforts in this vital aspect of brand building will show you what you need to do to remain competitive. It can also point you in the right direction for where you can go to encourage good reviews and build partnerships.

Conclusion

Once you have a good understanding of what your competitors are doing, you can take their successful efforts and make them your own. There’s no need to start from scratch with your startup website design, and you really shouldn’t. You don’t want to take shots in the dark here when you can use what you’ve learned to create a website that puts a more attractive and effective spin on what they have.