Startup Website Checklist

You have an idea and it’s going to change the world—or at least disrupt the status quo and make some serious money in the process. You’ve got a business plan written up. The prototype is currently being developed. You’re working on your investment pitch.

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Startup Website Checklist

You have an idea and it’s going to change the world—or at least disrupt the status quo and make some serious money in the process. You’ve got a business plan written up. The prototype is currently being developed. You’re working on your investment pitch. 

Unfortunately, the law of successful startups today requires that a website be created. And it can’t just be any sloppy, old website like your forefathers built in the 90s. It needs to be user-friendly, free from glitches, and have a form and function that make visitors want to stay and have a look around. 

The good news is that creating a website doesn’t have to be your biggest headache during the startup launch. Instead, it can be your biggest asset. To help get you started, here is a checklist for your company’s first website.

1. An Email Magnet

An email magnet is exactly what it sounds like. It is an aspect—or multiple aspects—of your website that attract visitor’s emails. It is essential to create strong email magnets throughout your website because you need emails. The more emails you collect, the bigger your mailing list. The bigger your mailing list, the wider your reach and the more potential you have for turning leads into customers. This is not only important to your bottom line, it is also a major consideration that investors look at when they evaluate you and your offering. 

One of the most effective ways to collect emails is by making a lucrative offer. You can do this by creating unique, engaging, and insightful content that everyone wants. This could be white papers, industry research, webinars, ebooks, or anything else that your website visitors would find helpful in their job or personal life. Practically, how this works is to post a link to the content. When the visitor clicks on this, they are first sent to a form page, where they are asked for some basic information, including their email. Once they fill this in, they can download the content. 

Extra tip: A great way to increase success with email magnets is by including convincing, yet concise CTAs.

These CTAs should be spread throughout the website. However, not all of the CTAs should ask for an email. Some can suggest taking a look at the product or service and others can encourage visitors to follow the startup on social media. 

2. Google Analytics

Google provides an analytics service that can be connected to any website. It monitors and provides insights about website traffic. It allows you to see where your traffic is coming from, what pages visitors are most interested in, and how changes in your site impact site visitor growth. 

It’s easy to connect to your website and the basic version of the tool is free. If you really dive into understanding and utilizing the service, you can see significant growth in both visitors to your website and profits. 

3. Conversion Goals

Getting your website up and running isn’t just about the technical side. You also need to consider business goals and how to set and monitor them. In terms of the website, some of the most effective and insightful goals revolve around conversions. 

You should consider how many sales you need in order to start making profits. From there, you should look at industry averages for how many emails you need to collect, calls you need to make, and website visitors you need see in order to reach this sales goal. In other words, how much traffic do you need to create a lead? And how many times do you need to connect with that lead to turn them into a customer?

These numbers will help inform your decisions about how often new content should be published, how many contact forms you can place around your website, and much more. It will also enable you to more effectively harness the power of Google Analytics. 

4. The Blog

Content is king. There is no way around this fact. When you launch your website, the best way to attract visitors is to offer content that answers their questions about something they are interested in or want to find out more about. The rule of thumb is to launch your website with at least four blogs published on it. 

5. SEO-Readiness

The number of startups entering the market is growing by the minute. In order to make an impact and beat out the competition, you must be able to stand out. And the best way to do this is by moving up in search engine rankings with SEO. In order to guarantee a higher ranking in search engine results, you will need to include:

SEO meta description
A short paragraph in a webpage’s HTML that describes the page’s content. This then appears under the page’s URL in search results and when it is shared on websites and social platforms. 

H1s, page titles, and image alt tags
These tags tell both search engines and site visitors what the page contains. This helps search engines to more effectively rank your site for queries and it is easier on the eyes for website visitors—image alt tags, however, are only seen by the search engine and not by visitors.

6. Google Search Console

This free web service is provided by Google and designed for webmasters. In other words, if you have your own website, you can use the Search Console and its tools to: 

  • Monitor your website’s performance
  • Gain a bird’s-eye view of the search traffic that comes to it
  • Identify and fix issues on your website that are minimizing its visibility in Google

7. Contact Information

It’s not just about providing a way for your potential customers and investors to get in touch with you, it is how you offer that contact information. The first rule of thumb is to avoid @gmail.com addresses. These look highly unprofessional. Instead, you should get an email address that includes your website domain. 

Alternatively, the contact information could be hidden and all contact could be provided through forms on the website. The contact page could simply have drop-down menus where visitors can specify what their query is about and who they would like to get in contact with. There could also be a text box, where they can type their question or statement. However, the address that replies should be one with the domain name in it.

8. Email Marketing And Social Platforms

Your website is just the springboard for growing your customer base. You will need to create various touchpoints so that leads can be pulled through the sales funnel. This means that you need to connect your website to an email marketing tool, such as MailChimp, as well as the various social platforms. Not only does this create more touchpoints, but it also eases marketing campaign creation and social posts with more automation and smoother workflows. 

It is vital that you grow an email mailing list and regularly send out email marketing campaigns. Additionally, it is just as important to set up social media profiles on the most popular platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. By setting up these platforms, even if you are not able to post to them regularly, you have still staked your claim on them (i.e. no one can use the startup company’s name and set up an unauthorized account). 

9. Site Performance And Security

You can have the most interesting and compelling information on your website, but if it is glitchy or not secure your site visitors will quickly leave. For this reason, it is nonnegotiable to have comprehensive security across your website. If you get your domain name from a reputable source, they will likely offer several security options—purchase them! There are also additional measures you can take, depending on whether your site includes eCommerce or offers a user portal where customers must login. 

But performance goes beyond security. It includes how the site works and functions. To ensure total functionality and ease of use, you should test every aspect of the website. This includes: 

  • Making sure that every page, link, and form functions when the site goes live. 
  • Testing what unexpected behavior leads to (i.e. if a bad email address is entered into a form). 
  • Checking for complete functionality on mobile devices and tablets—LamdaTest is a great one to use. 
  • Working through every possible customer journey to ensure that site visitors see a CTA, can easily sign up for newsletters, and can quickly gain access to the rest of the website from any site page.
  • Guaranteeing fast website speed and load times (i.e. use a CDN, optimize images, choose a faster DNS provider, etc.).  

10. Additional Website Considerations

Building and launching the perfect website is not an overnight project. And while we dove into the nine topics above and fleshed them out, these are far from the only considerations. A few other important checklist items include:

  • Adding customer testimonials, if available.
  • Providing a consistent and clear tone across the website.
  • Promoting yourself as a bigger deal than you currently are—even if the startup is just a few individuals working from home, include those addresses as your office addresses.
  • When you go live, turning off password protection and robots.txt.
  • Including an investors page.
  • Publishing a press release and cast your net wide with who you send it to (include a downloadable media kit for the press).
  • Having a favicon.
  • Making sure your shopping cart and payment processing system works flawlessly.

Following this checklist will boost your business considerably, but can be a big burden on any startup. To help with this heavy load, work with a firm that holds your success paramount. And for those who want to grow their new startup but are afraid they don’t have the cash flow, Activator Studios is a good option. We work with startups for equity. Pitch us your idea and let’s activate together.