5 Web-Development Elements Startups Shouldn’t Overlook

5 Web-Development Elements Startups Shouldn't Overlook

A website is a company’s digital hub for information, as well as a point of contact between them and their audience. A strong website filters in quality leads for conversions and optimises a viewer’s journey for actions. It may sound simple, but startups often overlook the subtleties that make Web Development an art. An Entrepreneur may be content with a sleek landing page, but is that landing page specifically accomplishing what their website objectives entail?

Effective Web Development & Web Design encompasses each element of the design and coding process to create a coherent user experience. Here’s 6 Web-Development elements that startups and entrepreneurs shouldn’t overlook when creating and maintaining their websites.

  1. 1. Website Speed
    In terms of user frustrations and pain points, website speed ranks as the most important variable in determining how a viewer reacts to a webpage. Windows for attention, especially on digital platforms, are becoming shorter and shorter due to the sheer volume of activities being digitised. As a startup, you want to ensure that you leave a positive first impression in terms of efficiency. If a viewer feels as if a website is taking too much of their time then they may become frustrated. That impulse reaction could negatively effect their perception of that brand and associate it with tardiness. Startups should regularly do speed and health checks on their websites to ensure the pages are operating smoothly, and optimise the website elements for a faster speed if the performance is inadequate.
  1. 2. User-Friendly Website Design
    Web design is more than just the look of a webpage. Intelligent web design takes into account a user’s viewing journey alongside the objectives and purpose of the website. If a website intends on generating leads, it should be designed and optimized for conversions. Conversely, if the aim of a website or landing page is to increase sign-ups, the viewer’s journey should be modified in a way to engage them into finding out more information. Whilst a website should most definitely look appealing, the key for entrepreneurs is to understand how to creatively turn their desired viewer’s journey into an efficient and aesthetically pleasing process. The content of a website can be informative and effective but if a website’s design isn’t suitable, it renders the content null and void as viewers may not consider the content credible if it isn’t presented well. Effective design elements always have a purpose. As a web designer, you should be able to answer why you’ve included specific design elements and their specific purpose, rather than “it’s there because I think it looks nice”.
  1. 3. Great Content
    The adage is “Content is King”, and this is profoundly true. Regardless of the objective of a website, it can never have too much content. The more relevant content a website has, the better it is for both the viewer, and Google, to understand what the business does and what their values are. Conversely, a website shouldn’t have too much varied content. For example, if a website for a business about organic clothing includes content about organic clothing, environmental benefits, and style guides, such content is relevant and will boost a website’s credibility. However, if the same website were to include a large portion of content for organic food, this may confuse both the viewer, and Google, about the purpose of the business and the website. Startups have to find the right balance for relevant content to ensure their main message is still heard louder than their supporting messages. The aforementioned example of an organic clothing startup could still mention thought leadership and opinions on environmentally sustainable efforts as it aligns with their mission. Nevertheless, this should not overshadow their core content, organic clothing, which should be at the forefront of their messaging.
  2. Sometimes entrepreneurs are enamoured by the prospect of having a mysterious website to tease their viewers into finding out more. This strategy does not work for new businesses as they don’t have an established brand, hence the viewer wouldn’t have a clue as to what the information, or lack thereof, would relate to. When starting a new business, an entrepreneur should always clearly state the aims, objectives, and offerings of the business to make clear to the viewer how and why they may benefit from the product or service.
  1. 4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
    Content can make or break a website; content that’s optimised for search engines can make or break an audience. Google ranks websites on their search results based on how relevant the website’s content is compared to the user’s search terms. This is why it’s important to be descriptive rather than vague or mysterious when it comes to a website’s approach to content. Startups can prepare for SEO by brainstorming and listing relevant search-related keywords, and building their website content around these keywords. Google also ranks websites based on the volume of relevant content they include. The more a website includes these keywords and phrases, the higher the chance of it being displayed higher on Google’s search results. Writing thought leadership content to post on a website blog is also a great way to build a website’s volume of content and improve SEO, as well as engage viewers with informative written pieces. Having a torrent of content that’s optimised for search engines makes it more likely that a website will attract its target personas as it improves their digital visibility and credibility.
  2. Content isn’t the only factor that boosts SEO, elements such as heading tags, as well as alt-tags, greatly benefit how Google reads webpages. The H1 header should contain targeted keywords, ones that closely relate to the page title and are relevant to the page’s content. Think of heading tags as a hierarchy based on importance. Alt tags are HTML attributes that determine how Google reads an image, since Google can’t physically view an image, it relies on alt-tags as a description of the image to then place it in Google Images. Using alt-tags effectively, especially for startups focusing on e-commerce, helps startups gain exposure through relevant image searches. It is also beneficial to use meta descriptions to summarise web pages for Google’s reference. Meta descriptions should give Google an idea of the content on a specific webpage, otherwise Google would have to translate and interpret a page’s content itself. Search Engine Optimisation isn’t difficult, however it is time consuming and a continuous process. Using effective SEO is the only way to be found organically through Google, and is a cost effective method to yield results.
  1. 5. Staying Up-to-Date
    It’s important for a website to keep evolving with the times. A website that may have been appropriate and achieved its objectives a couple of years ago may not have the same effect today. Likewise, a website designed today might not have the same effect in the future. Updating the design of a website, along with its content, will preserve a business’s online perception in the eyes of it’s users. Additionally, content should also be regularly updated if there are changes within the organisation. Startups should regularly update their websites with new projects they have worked on, blog posts on new ideas, and even potentially news updates. Updating a website to adapt to a contemporary landscape conveys a perception of proactivity and forward-thinking to your target audience.

 

 

  1. As an entrepreneur, you may have had an idea or concept of some or maybe all of the above elements and how to use them to your website’s advantage. However, it is imperative to use these web development elements in unison with each other to create a coherent experience. Having a plan and strategy for how to address the aforementioned elements will ensure that a website sustains its relevance and fulfills its objectives, which will in turn lead to user satisfaction as well as add intrinsic value to your brand. If a startup can’t afford to address these aspects of web development themselves, they should consider outsourcing to a digital agency, because as mentioned earlier, an ineffective website could do as much harm to your business as having no website at all.


6 KEY STEPS A STARTUP CAN'T AFFORD TO GET WRONG

6 Key Steps a Startup Can’t Afford to Get Wrong

The beginning and early-middle stages of developing a startup can be an exciting, albeit unpredictable period. During these times, it’s vital that entrepreneurs secure their long-term interest in their venture by ensuring they have prepared for every stage of their development; from their business plan, to recruitment, and growth. Fortifying the backbone of a startup by drafting unerring legal documentation, preparing diligent financial planning, and using effective marketing strategies is a long-term investment – not a cost.

 

Startups in Dubai are a dime-a-dozen, and most ventures often fail due to a mixture of poor preparation and execution. Even the word ‘entrepreneur’ is used so liberally that mentioning the phrase without that certain spark in your eyes often results in skepticism.  With the market being saturated beyond imagination, how can a startup avoid pitfalls, grow as a business, and not become just another statistic?

 

  1. Writing a Strong Business Plan, and Continuously Re-evaluating it

 

It’s essential for Business Plans to be well thought out and actionable. Successful entrepreneurs understand their objectives and have a vision of where they aim to be, however, they also have a realistic roadmap of how to get there. A good business plan fits the business need. Business Plans created for investment can differ drastically from business plans intended for inter-organisational reference. The former may be heavy on have sales objectives, selling an idea, team, and a market, to investors. Conversely a business plan intended to manage the company doesn’t have to polish and present the company to outsiders, and instead focus on operational information. These Business Plans clearly define responsibilities for implementation, to identify people who will be responsible for every significant task and function.

 

Entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid of seeking help and advice on their business plans – especially if this is their first venture. It’s important to gain knowledge and perspectives from individuals with more expertise, or with experiences in different business areas. Hiring a management consulting firm or a trusted individual consultant will benefit you greatly should you feel like you need assistance in setting up your startup.

 

Lastly, an entrepreneur should always re-evaluate their business plan. This is important because business plans are based on assumptions, and assumptions can often be wrong. Business plans are live documents and should be reassessed and evaluated continuously. The benefit of this is being able to document any knowledge or experience gained that can affect your business, such constructive feedback, if any obstacles are met along the way, or if startups decide they may need to pivot.

 

  1. Drafting Airtight Corporate and Commercial Agreements

 

An imperative element of ensuring a smooth and successful business process is through infallible legal documentation and agreements. This is essential throughout every step a business takes as every stage can require additional agreements and contracts. When forming a company, an entrepreneur needs to ensure that investor agreements and partnership agreements are all-encompassing to avoid internal disputes. Additionally, during the operational stages, a business should implement secure supplier and vendor agreements to safeguard their interests.

 

Startups must consider Labour Law in the UAE when hiring individuals to avoid overpaying for an employee in the future. This is vital as employers need to fully understand and explain what their employees are entitled to, both in terms of national laws and their contracts. Furthermore, businesses need to also understand the rules and procedures for hiring and firing employees so they can’t be liable for wrongful onboarding or termination. With regards to limitations on spread of information, confidentiality and intellectual property are especially important for startups in technology industries or services dependent on a unique selling point. Entrepreneurs need shield their offerings from intellectual property theft, especially considering the lack of shielding for intellectual property locally in the UAE. Confidential information should be protected both internally and externally through the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements and Intellectual Property agreements where applicable.

 

It is crucial that a business ensures their documentation is in compliance with UAE laws. Many startups in the UAE are run by expats who may not fully understand the intricacies of UAE laws. Investing in the correct legal advice and documentation from day one may save time and resources down the line by being able to foresee and plan for avoidable issues and disputes.

 

  1. Realistic Financial Planning

 

During the initial stages of a startup, allocating your funds effectively is a determining factor for success, or early liquidation. When businesses track their income and expenditure, they’ll be able to monitor how they’re using their capital and resources and determine if their processes can be optimised.

 

One of the most important aspects of financial planning is setting up emergency funding in case anything goes wrong. More often than not, startups tend to spend too much cash when they start earning, which ruins the already set financial plan and leads to additional funding being spent on keeping the business afloat. An effective financial plan takes this kinds of situations into consideration and helps business owners save for real emergencies.

 

With effective bookkeeping, either in-house or outsourced, an entrepreneur can focus on what they’re best at and let a professional handle their books and file their tax returns (VAT). Efficacious accounting and financial planning will save a business money in the long term and also allow for realistic financial projections, feasibility studies, and evaluating a startup’s valuation at multiple stages.

  1. Investing in the right Marketing Channels

 

There are a variety of ways startups can choose to market their products or services. Each marketing channel can be effective depending on the nature of the startup, as well as the marketing budget. If a business anticipates that their marketing budget will be relatively low. One of the best ways to market is to avoid marketing altogether; instead, create a system that lets your customers do the marketing for you. Consider the fact that people are four times more likely to buy a product when it’s referred to them by a friend. Whilst more traditional marketing channels such as sales, outdoor promotion, print and television ads are still beneficial depending on the type of good or service, digital marketing presents a more cost effective avenue towards getting a target personas to engage with a startup.

 

With each passing second, digital marketing becomes slightly more important. Getting found online is crucial in today’s business landscape. An expensive, yet highly effective method to generate leads online is by using pay-per-click advertising (PPC). PPC Advertising is expensive when targeting high-traffic keywords, however if a startup startup fits into a niche, the cost could be significantly lower. With PPC ads, success depends largely on how much is spent on a given ad campaign, along with effective audience targeting. Another key element of a startup’s digital arsenal is social media marketing. Whilst not something that can be done casually, social media offers businesses an avenue to be personable and engage with their audience. The more you engage with your audience, the more brand value and loyalty you build.

 

Consumers also regularly search for their needs online, and being amongst the top Google search results by utilising effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an excellent way to get exposure at a minimal cost. This can be done by optimising your website with the relevant keywords your target personas are likely to search for. Another cost effective method for gaining sales online is Email marketing, with some sources claiming a return on investment (ROI) of 400 percent or more. As long as a business has a good mailing list (organically curated, rather than bought), and a steady but non-invasive stream of outgoing email blasts, startups should see a significant return on any investment into their email marketing.

 

  1. Knowing the Value of Interns

 

An internship is a two-way process. While the business will benefit from the skills and working hours put in by the intern, they also need to provide knowledge, training, and guidance to someone on a full-time basis. If an intern requires specific training, this can take time away from staff members as the intern learns their responsibilities. To get around this, it can be a good idea to make use of a shift planner to ensure that the intern doesn’t take away too much time from one specific staff member.

 

The benefits of having an intern in a business are the fresh perspective that they bring, and their work ethic. If you manage to find the right fit, one of the most valuable assets that an intern can bring to any business is their enthusiasm; someone who is working as an intern should be doing everything in their power to earn themselves a full-time position by the end.

 

When deciding whether or not to hire an intern, a startup should ask themselves what the purpose of an intern would be. If the objective is to build an employee’s understanding of your business from the ground up, and have them grow with the business in the long-term, then hiring an intern would be a great option. However, if the focus is on getting immediate results with a short-term requirement, then onboarding a service provider may be a better option. This is so a startup can receive professional quality services while saving time on training a new employee.

 

  1. Outsourcing Intelligently

 

Whilst some startups have the luxury to be given carte blanche with their budgets, many others are often incredibly price conscious. Depending on a startup’s budget, an agency or consultancy firm of any size might seem like a costly option. The way some businesses circumvent this issue is by outsourcing internationally to countries where services are generally offered at a cheaper rate.

 

This may be more beneficial in terms of cost, but it may not be entirely cost effective.. There are questions to be raised in terms of the quality of the service that would be received, along with the return on investment. Whilst price isn’t always indicative of a service’s quality, there is likely a reason as to why some organisations offer services at such a low price. It’s up to an entrepreneur to analyse whether or not they understand the value of what they’re receiving at that price as opposed to solely looking at price as a defining metric. Outsourcing internationally can also be time-consuming as offshoring business functions can lead to barriers in communication, a lack of understanding, and culture clashes. Scheduling a one-on-one with an offshore partner could become a nightmare depending on factors such as time zones and their response times. It’s also much harder to be on the same page and develop an understanding on both sides because of these communication barriers.

 

Outsourcing locally could be a costlier option, but startups must consider the value of having onboarding within close proximity. If you can partner with a firm who understand your values, culture, and goals, it makes the operation process much easier and saves time. This would also make communication more frequent and thus reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.

 

In summation, there are a plethora of steps that entrepreneurs need to look at getting right during the vital early-stages of a startup. Mistakes can and will be made along that timeline, however it is in their benefit to plan as carefully as possible, and also be proactive in their approach towards adapting to change. You can never be too prepared, and by paying attention to the six elements outlined above, a startup can set the foundation for sustained growth and smooth operations in the long-term.

 

This post is a part of a series of informational blog posts on our V7 Group blog. Watch this space for more posts by our experienced and enthusiastic team members as we aim to assist you on your journey towards succeeding with your venture.

 


7 ESSENTIAL FAQS ABOUT ANNUAL LEAVE: UAE LABOUR LAW

7 Essential FAQs About Annual Leave: UAE Labour Law

7 Essential FAQs About Annual Leave: UAE Labour Law

Annual leave rights, rules and provisions can be found in Articles 74 to 81 of Federal Law 8 (1980) of the UAE Labour Law.

 

Questions relating to annual leave in the UAE are commonly asked and rightly so. It’s important that employees keep well informed about UAE labour laws and how they can comply with the rules and regulations correctly when taking their leave.

 

Here’s what you need to know:

 

  1. As an Employee, What are your Leave Entitlements?

As an employee, If your period of employment is greater than six months but less than a year you are permitted to a minimum of two days paid leave for each month you’re employed. Should the employment period be greater than one year, an employee is entitled to 30 days of paid leave annually as per UAE Labour Laws. This annual leave may include public holidays and/or weekends that fall within the aforementioned 30 days, however this policy is at a company’s discretion. It is also dependent on an employer’s policy as to if additional leave days are given to employees.

 

  1. Which Official Holidays are UAE Employees Entitled to?

As an employee in the UAE, you are entitled to an official holiday, with full wages, for the following public holidays:

 

New Year: (1 January 2020)

 

Eid Al Fitr: (29 Ramadan-3 Shawwal)

 

Arafat Day: (9 Dhu al Hijjah)

 

Eid Al Adha: (10-12 Dhu al Hijjah)

 

Hijri New Year: (23 August)

 

Commemoration Day: (1 December)

 

National Day: (2-3 December)

 

  1. Are Public Holidays Included in the Calculation of Annual Leave Days?

Yes. A period of annual leave will include official holidays or “sick days” specified by employee contracts, agreements, and laws, that fall within the period of the annual leave.

 

  1. What is Payable to an Employee during their Annual Leave?

At the very least, employees should be paid their basic wage plus housing allowance, if applicable.

 

  1. Who Determines the Duration and Start-date for the Annual Leave?

An employer maintains the right to decide when an annual leave begins and also reserves the right to divide the annual leave into two sections at their discretion. Additionally, based on working requirements, they can also keep an employee from getting whole or part of the annual leave. However, under these circumstances if the annual leave has not been carried over for the following year, then an employer must pay the employee their wages in addition to a leave allowance for the days they worked – which is equal to their basic wage.

 

Nevertheless, an employer can only defer annual leave once in two consecutive years and must still pay the employee the annual leave wages. Therefore, no employee is required to work during their annual leave for more than one instance in a two year period.

 

  1. When Should Annual Leave Wages be Paid?

Employees should be paid their full wage before they have taken their annual leave, along with the wage of the leave days they are entitled to, as in accordance to the provisions in UAE Labour Laws.

 

  1. Is an Employee’s Services are Terminated are they still Entitled to Payment in Lieu of Leave?

An employee is entitled to receive their wages for annual leave if their employment is terminated, or if they stopped working after the notice period determined by law. The employee will be entitled to receive any remaining wages for annual leaves that they have not received. This will be calculated on the basis of the wages they received at the time when the leave was due.

It must be noted that many of these answers can depend on an individual company’s policy. The points mentioned above are in accordance to the UAE Labour Laws as a bare minimum for Employee Rights that every company must comply with, however, many organisations have more specific rules and agreements. We encourage you to enquire about what your employer’s policies are regarding annual leave.

We hope this post has answered any queries you may have had concerning Annual Leave in accordance to UAE Labour Laws. If you have any other questions regarding Employee Legal Services, please feel free to contact V7 Legal using the forms on our website!