It has gotten much easier over the years for new startups to build attractive and appealing websites. In the past, this might have required the touch of a professional, as well as some fairly hefty investment. But today, there are numerous platforms that help even amateur web designers to put together beautiful and easily navigable websites.
As much as this may be the case though, startup founders should not ignore the finer details of their websites. If you are starting a business for instance, you should look to expand your thinking, and ask not just how you can make your site attractive and easy to use, but also how you can make it appear particularly professional. This ultimately comes down more to strategy than pure design. But we have some tips that can help you make your website more professional with relatively little effort.
If you really dig into web design tips, you might be shocked at how much analysis goes into color. The Next Web’s take on “web design color theory conveys the general idea, touching on all sorts of intricate considerations that designers take into account. While plenty of these considerations are perfectly sensible and valid, most of them won’t be your concern unless you’re particularly invested in visual appeal, or particularly interested in color psychology.
With that said, simple coordination of color can go a long way toward conveying professionalism. Limiting your site to a small number of featured colors and making them appear throughout the site makes the whole experience appear uniform and intentional — even if on a subconscious level. Something as simple as a call-to-action “button” being the exact same color as a site’s divider lines can communicate a professional approach.
List Your Location
This point basically speaks for itself. But with so many startups operating primarily online these days, visitors can sometimes grow suspicious if a site doesn’t appear to be based anywhere. This doesn’t mean you need to have a physical office or mailing address listed. But a site that lists a clear location simply tends to look a little bit more legitimate than one that ignores location altogether. Putting down the location from which you’re running the business is a subtle way to communicate that the site represents a real business.
Use Real Team Photos
A professional startup should not shy away from featuring bios on an “Our Team” or “About Us” page. But to make things even more professional, these pages should feature real photos of team members — as opposed to avatars, blank spaces, or stock photos, all of which visitors tend to recognize for what they are.
One way to do this is to ask team members to supply photos from social media. There is at least some authenticity to this, but the better option is to have professional photos taken — which is cheaper than you might expect! The local drug store can take simple headshots every bit as easily as a professional photographer. It will still cost a little bit of money, though we’d add that a Groupon feature about photo coupons indicates that there are available discounts for photos at certain stores. Specifically, people can save up to 55% on certain kinds of photos at a local Walgreens. This makes it easy to acquire simple headshots, which when uploaded to a site can help to present the appearance of a professional company full of real people (as opposed to a mysterious site using fake profiles, as so many do).
As we made clear in our ‘Top 5 Software Tools For Entrepreneurs and Startups in 2020’, the right tech can go a long way toward making a new company more efficient and more productive. While that piece focused mostly on internal operations though, there are also some examples of software tools improving interactions with customers. Chief among these in 2020 is the use of chatbots on websites.
Once upon a time, these tools were somewhat underwhelming, and could actually annoy site visitors. Today’s chatbots are increasingly sophisticated, though, and are easy to add to existing sites. They can interact with visitors for various purposes, and in doing so convey a level of professional care and consideration for the consumer experience.
Optimize for Mobile
This final tip can be somewhat more involved and does have to do more with design. But it’s also a point that can’t be ignored. Per a CNBC report on projected internet usage, it’s expected that almost three-quarters of the world will use “just their smartphones” to access the internet by 2025. This means that mobile layouts for websites are no longer optional. A site that looks fine on a computer but becomes scattered or inconvenient on mobile will come across unprofessional, plain and simple. But by optimizing the site layout and functionality for mobile, you can ensure that the experience is every bit as polished no matter what kind of device someone may use to access your platform.
Along with a strong design and regular updates, these subtle ideas can transform your startup’s online platform. Even a well-designed site will give off a meaningfully more professional impression by taking advantage of these concepts.