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.